Nov
26
2012

CEO Evening News? Tell CBS Their "Fiscal Cliff" Reporting Needs Balance

FAIR's new alert takes CBS Evening News to task for relying heavily on CEOs associated with the corporate-backed Fix the Debt campaign in their recent reporting about the so-called "fiscal cliff." If you're sending an email to CBS, please consider pasting your message in the comments section below.

Nov
20
2012

You Think You're Getting Social Security But You're Not, Says Multimillionaire Banker

Lloyd Blankfein (photo: Stuart Isett)

What should the U.S. do about the so-called "fiscal cliff"? Who better to ask than Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, "one of the world's most influential bankers"? That's what CBS Evening News must have been thinking, anyway, when they did a segment last night (11/19/12) all about Blankfein's opinions. CBS's Scott Pelley began: "When we asked Blankfein how to reduce the federal budget deficit, he went straight for the subject that politicians don't want to talk about." BLANKFEIN: You're going to have to undoubtedly do something to lower people's expectations. The entitlements, and what people think that they're going to […]

Nov
16
2012

FAIR TV: False Gaza Timelines, Failing at the 'Fiscal Cliff' and David Gregory's CEO Story

This week: What do corporate media get wrong about the "cycle of violence" in Gaza? Is there really such a thing as a "fiscal cliff"? And David Gregory says Obama's big mistake was not having an economy-boosting event with CEOs. You mean like the one he had a week after being inaugurated in 2009? Take a look–and spread the word:

Nov
14
2012

Fiscal Cliff Not a Cliff? Tell That to USA Today

usat-cliff-fp

Some commentators and journalists have pointed out the metaphor for the impending tax increases and spending cuts in 2013–the "fiscal cliff"–is highly misleading, and probably intentionally so. There is no way to reverse course when you fall off a cliff; you are plummeting towards the ground, making a terrible mess upon impact. Thus the brakes must be applied before the end of the year. In reality, this isn't true; Congress and the White House can actually go past the "cliff" deadline, and strike a deal early next year, without the supposedly dire consequences. The numbers thrown around in the press […]

Oct
15
2012

CEOs Tout Austerity–Without Being 'Ideological' About It

brokaw-mtp

This passage from Meet the Press (10/14/12) says a lot about how middle-of-the-road elite journalists think about fiscal issues. Here's NBC veteran Tom Brokaw and host David Gregory: BROKAW:   I was just going to say, I talked to a lot of major business leaders who want Romney to get elected, but almost to a man and a woman, they say, "But you know what, we're going to have to pay some more taxes in our category."  What they want to do, however, is to benchmark them against spending cuts, so that they can get spending down to 20 percent of […]

Oct
04
2012

Romney: I Like Being Able to Fire Journalists Asking Me Questions

Big Bird (from Daily Kos)

Asked in the October 3 debate what he would do to address the federal budget deficit, Mitt Romney named two specific areas that he would cut: He would repeal Obamacare–which according to the Congressional Budget Office would actually increase the 10-year deficit by $109 billion–and eliminate funding for PBS, which, along with other forms of public media funded through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, gets $445 million from the federal government annually–approximately 0.012 percent of the federal budget. Here's Romney addressing moderator Jim Lehrer: I'm sorry, Jim, I'm going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I'm going to stop other […]

Sep
27
2012

NYT on Obama's Deficit Talk: Get a Load of Brainiac

Barack Obama at Michigan commencement, 2009.

The New York Times' Jackie Calmes has a piece yesterday (9/26/12) on Obama's failure to rein in the budget deficit. The big problem is that Obama's explanation is apparently hard to follow: Four years ago, Barack Obama campaigned for president on a promise to cut annual federal budget deficits in half by the end of his term. Then came financial calamity, $1.4 trillion in stimulus measures and a maddeningly slow economic recovery. Now, despite small annual improvements, the deficit for the fiscal year that ends on Sunday will surpass $1 trillion for the fourth straight time. Against that headline-grabbing figure, […]

Sep
04
2012

Ryan's Lies… I Mean, His 'Overreaches'

Paul Ryan's RNC convention speech kicked off a lot of discussion about how and when journalists should do factchecking. Some reporters noted that, for instance, the people you factcheck can push back; other pieces wondered if it was making any difference at all. There are plenty of factchecking operations, but there seems to be a feeling that the lying and deception is more significant now than it's ever been. But if you watched TV coverage of the Republican convention, you may not have seen much in the way of factchecking. More to the point, some of the discussions could get […]

Aug
24
2012

Paul Ryan and Jesus Christ

Jesus/Tony Unruh

Flipping open the new issue of Time (9/3/12), a piece by Michael Crowley begins: Paul Ryan may be America's most famous budget wonk. Oh good grief. Crowley's point is not just to praise Ryan's devotion to spreadsheets. No, this piece is about the influences that made Paul Ryan the wonk he is today: But he's more than a number cruncher. Ryan's budget math is drawn from the political and economic theories of his many intellectual idols. And you get what you'd expect: Ayn Rand, Jack Kemp, Friedrich Hayek. But it's the passage about Ryan and Catholicism that is especially bizarre. […]

Aug
22
2012

Another Liberal Media Hit Job on Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan/photo by Marco Grob

Time magazine's Michael Crowley, from the new issue: In naming Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan as his running mate on August 11, Romney chose someone as deep as Palin was shallow, a studious wonk known for his mastery of that most substantive of all issues: the federal budget. For Crowley, this is actually toning down the Ryan praise. Just last year, he co-wrote a piece for Time that went like this: Just 41 years old, with jet black hair and a touch of Eagle Scout to him, the House Budget Committee chairman unveiled an ambitious package of huge budget cuts designed to […]

Aug
20
2012

What if Paul Ryan Isn't Really a Wonk? Krugman vs. Campaign Reporters

If you know anything of substance about Paul Ryan, it's that the Republican vice presidential pick knows his numbers. A Washington Post profile today by Michael Leahy (8/20/12) tells us: He got his start on Capitol Hill as a 19-year-old intern working in the mailroom of Sen. Bob Kasten (R-Wis.). That led in time to positions on congressional committees and habits he hasn't broken since, including a staffer's zeal for voracious research, for charts and PowerPoint presentations, and a facility for budget numbers that he recites with a savant's glee. As if that weren't clear enough, we're told later that […]

Jun
22
2012

NYT Discovers the Other Side of Spending Cuts

It's been said (by me!) that the big spending cuts set to hit the federal budget next year–so-called "sequestration"–are not created equal, at least in the eyes of the corporate media. The cuts, as designed, hit the military budget and non-military spending in roughly equal measure. The political calculation was that Republicans would object to the military cuts while Democrats would object to cuts in social spending. But in the corporate media, those non-military cuts hardly ever get any attention–perhaps because there are not powerful lobbyists and Cabinet officials complaining loudly about how the safety of the country is at […]

Jun
15
2012

Millionaire Pundit: Public Sector Pensions Are the Real Threat

CNN host and Time columnist Fareed Zakaria is no doubt a wealthy guy. He reportedly gets paid $75,000 for one hour speeches. Who has that kind of money? As CJR recently noted: Over the years, he has been retained for speeches by numerous financial firms, including Baker Capital, Catterton Partners, Driehaus Capital Management, ING, Merrill Lynch, Oak Investment Partners, Charles Schwab and T. Rowe Price, according to the website of the Royce Carlton speakers bureau. All of which brings us to his new column in Time magazine, where he rails against the cushy pensions of public sector workers and slams […]