I happened to turn on Face the Nation this morning whilst lazily turning the wheel of my stationary bike in an attempt to look like I was exercising. There were two guests--one was Congressman Paul Ryan, remoted in from Wisconsin, and the other was Senator Mark Warner, in studio with host Bob Schieffer. The interviews were conducted serially.
The entire show will be posted here eventually, and when it is, I urge you to watch. In it, you will be treated to a prima facie case of media bias, the kind that the media never seems to recognize in itself but which drives those of us who shake our heads in disbelief crazy.
Throughout the entire interview with Ryan (who is a cool customer, no doubt), Schieffer rarely uses the acceptable device of using statements of other politicians to raise criticisms of Ryan's plan. No--Mr. Schieffer spends almost the entire interview voicing his OWN criticisms of Ryan's plan. Especially galling was his attempt to (using the standard lefty talking points, natch) paint Ryan's tax reform plan as "tax cuts for the rich". Ryan does a good job of keeping his cool in the face of this ridiculosity, pointing time and again to the fact that HIS tax reform plan is the tax reform plan put forward by the President's own deficit reduction commission (Bowles/Simpson). Yes it lowers rates (for everyone) but it eliminates loopholes and deductions too--leading to the same revenue (and more when the economy grows) and a fairer (by Ryan's estimation) system. Schieffer just can't seem to get his brain around this--to him, it's just cutting taxes for "rich people" (his words).
Cut next to the interview in-studio with Senator Mark Warner of Virginia (Dem). Warner's a good egg all in all, and he's part of a group of six Senators (three of each) who are leading the charge to have much of the Bowles/Simpson plan codified into law. Schieffer's entire demeanor is different with Warner. He's not on the attack. It's as if Warner's reputation as a "bi-partisan" gets him a pass.
Most scurrilous of all, Schieffer--either poorly briefed, stupid, or simply a partisan lefty hack--tries to get Warner to criticize Ryan's tax (reform) plan. Warner doesn't do so, but he does take the opportunity to criticize other parts of Ryan's plan (nothing unfair about that). Then--most astonishing of all--Warner goes on to explain HIS group's tax reform plan--which is virtually identical to the Bowles-Simpson plan--eliciting nary a SNIFF of "tax cuts for the rich" from Schieffer. But Warner's plan IS Ryan's plan IS Bowles-Simpson--they are all essentially saying the same things--but when Ryan says it, Schieffer sees "tax cuts for rich people." When Warner says it, Schieffer sees bipartisan work at real reform.
The trouble with soft lefties like Schieffer is that they have truly come to believe that their view IS the middle, or worse, that it is simply the most enlightened.
Oh--almost forgot this one. Apparently, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was on the talkies this morning, and on two separate shows, he indicated that Republican Leadership had assured the President "behind closed doors" that they would vote to raise the debt ceiling. When Schieffer confronted Ryan with this, Ryan stated that he had NOT heard that, but that Republican leadership would work with the Administration to put forward a plan that cuts spending and allows an increase in the debt ceiling. Schieffer was simply incredulous that Ryan didn't know that Republican leaders had made this assurance to the President, and he even got Warner to comment on it.
Did it ever occur to Bob Schieffer that Tim Geithner wasn't telling the truth? That by publicly commenting on unverifiable statements, the Treasury Secretary might be-oh, posturing a bit, attempting to paint Republicans in a corner, following instructions from the White House? Schieffer just buys HOOK LINE AND SINKER into what could be a political trick by the Administration--without once even CONSIDERING that this could be the case. It's a better story for him if Paul Ryan's being left out to dry by Republican leaders. Doesn't fit the narrative that Geithner could be lying....