I’m sure I could track down a dozen of these examples per day. I wrote a post yesterday detailing the washington post’s attempted smackdown of Obama’s AIG bonus handling that lacked any shred of evidence supporting their wild accusations. Today, the washington post delivers another gem: Obama’s budget strategy under fire. As usual, the corporate media barely scratches the surface of this subject, doing all of their readers an immense disservice.
The article uses one of the corporate media’s favorite methods of relaying information: he said, she said. In this case, its the Cons accusing the Obama administration of being a Chicago tough-guy by considering putting his energy and health care policies in a bill that cannot be filibustered. The post’s Lori Montgomery misidentifies how the Senate actually works by writing the method would allow Democrats to pass the bill with only 51 votes instead of the usual 60. Apparently our school system has been failing to educate us longer than I thought. There is no “usual 60” votes needed to pass a bill in the U.S. Senate. It requires only 51 unless someone threatens to filibuster it. There is a cloture vote to determine if consideration of the bill should continue or not – that’s the only vote that requires 60 or Senators.
Lori doesn’t share this vital information with her readers until later in her article. Indeed, she wrecks her journalistic credibility by purposefully withholding the information for that long. She does mention that Reagan, Clinton and the Boy King used the tactic to pass some of their own measures. Interestingly, I don’t recall the post taking Bush to task for not being the uniter he promised to be on the 2000 campaign trail. But they are all too willing to allow the Con talking point against Obama to pass by unchallenged – as if that were the news instead of the underlying procedural details.
Moreover, the acceptance of Con talking points completely ignores what the President said just yesterday. If Republicans have solutions, they need to present them. Standing on the sidelines and criticizing and obstructing everything isn’t what they’re there to do. Lori doesn’t put these things into perspective. The Cons are supposed to be there to work with Democrats to implement solutions. But today’s Cons haven’t believed in true bipartisanship for years. Their concept of bipartisanship is passing their policies without negotiation. That’s why they’re in the severe minority they find themselves in: they’re a whining, regional, out-of-touch group of people. Only a tiny fraction of the American public support their backwards policies.
Democrats like Sen. Lincoln and Sen. Baucus were abused when they were in the minority just a few short years ago. Today, they’re all too willing to allow the Cons more influence than the American people want them to have. What Democratic policies got through the Senate while Bush was in the White House and the Cons ran Congress, especially energy and health care policies? None. The fossil fuel industry took over our energy policy, resulting in record high oil and gas prices last year. The for-profit health management and pharmaceutical industry took over our health policy, resulting in double-digit price increases year after year after year. The American people do not want the fossil fuel or for-profit health industries in control of our energy or health care policies anymore. Allowing the Cons to control even a small measure of the procedure is cowardly and pathetic.
As I wrote above, the Cons are not interested in finding a middle ground. They haven’t been interested for as long as I can remember. They want to continue their way of running things – that’s why they’re called conservatives. There won’t be any progress if Democrats solicit Con input. Our energy and health care policies are in desperate need of complete overhauls. Senate Democrats are dragging their feet, being too willing to water down the necessary changes just so the corporate media won’t spread the name-calling the Cons rely on. It’s a sad state of affairs.
What makes it worse is the corporate media’s handling of the news. When groups opposed Bush’s strong-arm tactics, which would crush Obama’s any day (remember late night and weekend votes the Cons scheduled without notice, ensuring a lack of Democratic resistence – the post obviously doesn’t), the washington post treated them with derision. MSNBC didn’t regularly front-page articles from media sources that had a legitimate problem with the Bush administration. Journalistic standards indeed.