Fair and Balanced Headline: Dems Prepare to Profit from Shutdown

The Fox News article headlined “Dems Prepare to Profit from Shutdown” is a good example of the fairness and balance Fox’s reporting, and reading it provides some insight as to why so many Americans are deceived by the propaganda.

I’m sure most readers don’t even make it past the headline. But those that do will read this:

The new effort on the Democratic side involves taking cuts already made and adjustments in other expenditures outside the realm of Republican cuts – annualized changes in farm subsidy rates, for example – to claim that they are proposing half of the $61 billion in total reductions sought by the GOP

By “cuts already made”, I’m assuming that Chris Stirewalt is referring to cuts already on the table. The article offers no explanation of why, if Democrats add to existing proposals anything that Republicans haven’t already offered, such as cuts in farm subsidies, they’re merely “claim[ing]” to propose budget cuts.

It’s easy to figure out why Fox News wants to belittle the idea of cutting farm subsidies. Michele Bachmann’s farm subsidy receipts have become notorious in the non-Fox world. Some farm subsidy payments are legitimate but many wealthy people are getting paid to do nothing with land that they claim is farmland, and those folks represent an important part of the Republican base.

Mr. Stirewalt addresses the uncomfortable position that Speaker of the House Boehner is in, trying to prevent a government shutdown but also trying to appease the extreme right wing. He refers to reporting on this situation as a “narrative” and goes on to say, “While this narrative is very attractive to reporters who have been flogging Tea Party rebellion stories since three months before the 2010 elections, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work in the long run.” But it also doesn’t mean it’s false, as Mr. Stirewalt seems to suggest.

My favorite part is the quote from a “senior house GOP staffer”. The quote describes Democrats returning to the table several times, and offering more and more to Republicans in an attempt to head off the disastrous shutdown which now seems inevitable. Somehow, the quote describes this good faith effort on the part of Democrats as dirty. The staffer begins,

First, they didn’t believe one dime in spending could be cut. Then they relented and agreed to cut $10 billion after Republicans forced the issue.

If that quote is representative of the Republican mindset, than any attempt at negotiation indicates that your original offer was a lie. If Republican give in on anything, that means they were lying when they proposed their original budget cuts. Attempts by Democrats at reasoning with Republicans only indicates that Democrats are dishonest.

Reading the article critically reveals what a hack job the article is. But most readers don’t read critically. Mr. Stirewalt does an effective job sending the message to his readers that this is all the Democrat’s fault, that Democrats aren’t negotiating in good faith, and that it’s the Democrats who are forcing a shutdown.

Talking Points Memo’s article “Democrats And Republicans Prep For Government Shutdown Fallout” is much more fair and balanced. Whether Democrats actually do “profit” depends on how many American voters are fooled by Fox’s distorted reporting.

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