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Media Coverage of Fiscal Debate is Discouraging

Last night, from the floor of the House, Representative Paul Ryan delivered forceful remarks about our fiscal situation. In the course of his comments, Ryan made this point:

Here’s the problem we have right now, Mr. Speaker. We have a leadership deficit. I keep hearing.… “The president’s got a plan. The president’s offering  balance.” The president hasn’t offered a thing yet. Nothing on paper. Nothing in public. Leading on reporters at press conferences is not leadership. Giving speeches according to the CBO is not budgeting.

The president did inherit a tough problem. No two ways about it. What did he do with this problem? He drove us deeper into debt. One trillion dollars of  borrowed money for a stimulus that was promised to keep unemployment below 8 percent and went up to 10 percent and now it’s at 9.2 percent. A stalled economy. A budget the president gave us that doubles the debt in five years and  triples it in 10 years. That’s not leadership.

Chairman Ryan is doing the job reporters should be doing, which is to expose the myth that President Obama is the only “adult” in Washington, the one individual who has presented a reasonable and exquisitely balanced plan.

Obama’s game is transparent. He wants others to make the hard fiscal decisions while earning credit for making tough fiscal choices. There are many words to describe what the president is doing – cynical, shameless, contemptuous, audacious and unprincipled among them. But one thing he’s not doing is providing leadership.

The fact so many members of the press are allowing the Obama narrative to go unchecked and unchallenged isn’t surprising. But it is discouraging. The combination of intellectual laziness, a predisposition to believe what Obama is saying, and pre-existing political biases help explain what is driving the media’s coverage of this debate — and, in a broader sense, they help explain why journalism is among the least respected professions in American life.



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