FAIR Dispatch: ABC’s Drivel About ‘Partisan Rancor’

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By Peter Hart, FAIR
With select original commentary

Amanpour: Pretend journalism for a pretend democracy.

Some of the media commentary around the debt ceiling bemoans the state of the partisanship in Washington. Much of the chatter is about a supposed failure to compromise. As Josh Marshall argues, “this is simply false, even painfully so.” By any reasonable standard, the White House and the Democratic leadership have made an array of drastic compromises in order to win favor with Republicans–who are basically refusing to go along, since denying Obama any kind of “victory” is a key part of their electoral strategy for 2012.

But in corporate media, “balance” is essential. So both “sides” must be held responsible, never mind the facts. I was struck by this comment from host Christiane Amanpour on ABC’s This Week this Sunday (7/24/11):

This week with tempers flaring, the rhetoric has boiled over. Exhibit A, the war of words between two Florida congressmembers, Republican Allan West and Democrat Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.
Wasserman-Schultz fired the first shot on the House floor, criticizing West for supporting a debt deal that would cut Medicare.

West’s response, a furious e-mail to his colleague when he said, “You are the most vile, unprofessional and despicable member of the U.S. House of Representatives. You have proven repeatedly that you are not a lady and, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me.”

So how does Washington move past this partisan rancor?

Excuse me? Wasserman-Schultz criticized West’s support for a particular bill. She didn’t say anything outrageous–which is why ABC didn’t air a clip or even quote from her speech, the one where she “fired the first shot.” West’s intemperate “you are not a lady” response would suggest he’s the one with the problem here. But you can’t say it that way. Just like you’re not supposed to say that Republicans are refusing to support Barack Obama’s very Republican budget offers.

SELECT COMMENTS

5 Responses to “ABC’s Drivel About ‘Partisan Rancor’”
classicliberal2 Says:
July 27th, 2011 at 1:12 pm
This is fairly typical of mainstream press coverage of the debt ceiling “crisis.” It’s hard to find anything outside the partisan news shows that reflects what has actually happened, or that bothers to explain to the public what the debt ceiling even is. The alternative to raising it is a disastrous default (something else the television press has barely conveyed until the last few days), and there’s virtually no chance either the Republican leadership or the very Big Money interests that controls both parties are going to allow that to happen. There was no reason to offer Republicans anything in exchange for their cooperation on this, but, as usual, Obama’s course of action was to immediately cave; he has repeatedly offered up massive cuts in Social Security and Medicare that are absolutely anathema to his party, his base, and to the overwhelming majority of the public, in exchange for minor revenue increases. Because of the latter, Boehner and the Republicans preemptively refuse every offer, then tell the public Obama doesn’t have a plan, just speeches. And all the press can tell the public is that we have an impasse because of the “partisan rancor on both sides.”

Roger Bloyce Says:
July 27th, 2011 at 2:35 pm
classicliberal12: Yours is an accurate summary of our situation: a bought-off Congress, a spineless President, and a so-called journalists who give rational proposals and lunacy equal weight. Which of them has failed America the most? By far, the mainstream press.

Jeff Thompson Says:
July 29th, 2011 at 7:29 pm
@ankara escourt bayan: I wouldn’t call offering to slash Social Security and Medicare in exchange for minor revenue increases a rational proposal on the President’s part. I’d call it caving in to the Republicans in the worst way.

TimN Says:
July 29th, 2011 at 11:05 pm
Good analysis, folks, but I don’t think the President is caving; he wants, more than anything else, to cut a deal and then be seen as the great Conciliator (it seems to actually pain him to occasionally blame the Republicons for truly outrageous behavior and lies). What we mistake as caving is him actually thinking he’s doing a good deed. He’s also going after the magical, chimerical “independents” –you know, the low-information voters. who just want less yellin’ and screamin’. They hate “partisanship,” and so does our President. Look fo the Democrats to ultimately go along with a deal that doesn’t raise one nickel in revenue and slashes Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, as well as other vital things that benefit the vast majority of Americans. The Baggers are so stupid they don’t even realize they’re going to get on a silver platter what Dubya, only a few short years ago, could only dream about.

COMMENT ON TGP
Ed123 Says:
July 30th, 2011 at 01:30 am
Obama is not spineless, nor is he caving in to the GOP bandits. He’s just doing his part as an actor in this Kabuki theater designed to fool the masses. He wanted to cut social security, Medicare, and the rest of the people’s safety nest as badly as the Republicans, but his game (assigned role) is to pretend otherwise.  We’re talking filthy phoney here, folks.

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