The Hill reported that "GOP critics of the reconciliation process have said that it was never intended to ram through major legislation," but did not mention that Republicans used the budget reconciliation process to pass several major Bush initiatives.
Numerous media outlets and personalities have claimed or suggested that given the size of the current and projected U.S. federal debt, the Obama administration's health-care reform proposal is untenable, but did not address the administration's argument that health-care reform is essential to the long-term economic health of the country.
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A blog post at The Hill -- linked to by the Drudge Report -- reported that Sen. Judd Gregg argued President Obama's budget would lead to a higher national debt and annual deficits than the EU allows its member states. But The Hill did not mention that the U.S. national debt had already exceeded the EU threshold before Obama even took office, that some EU member states currently have deficits or national debts that exceed EU threshold levels, or that EU rules governing deficits include exemptions for circumstances such as "a severe economic downturn."
In reports on the budget blueprint offered by House Republicans, CNN did not note that the plan includes a proposal to give the federal government authority to take over failing nonbank financial institutions -- a proposal similar to one presented by Tim Geithner, for which he was sharply criticized by those same House Republicans.
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CNBC's Joe Kernen allowed Sen. Judd Gregg to advance the false Republican talking point that President Obama's income tax proposals would increase taxes on a large percentage of small businesses.
Fox & Friends' Gretchen Carlson claimed the Obama administration advocates regulating "executive pay at any financial institution" a day after falsely claiming that the administration has proposed capping executive salaries at all financial institutions. In fact, caps on employee compensation would be placed only on "financial institutions that are receiving government assistance."
Chuck Todd's suggestion during last night's press conference that President Obama should ask the public to "sacrifice" -- as though lost jobs, health care and houses aren't enough -- drew immediate and widespread criticism online. And not just from progressives. At National Review's "The Corner," Ramesh Ponnuru implicitly criticized the question, noting that Obama "made a reasonable point about the way the economy is already forcing people to make sacrifices." Todd's question drew rapid criticism on Twitter, too.
Now, we know that the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz regularly reads National Review -- he quotes its content frequently. And we know he's an obsessive Twitter-user, and was Tweeting during last night's presser. So it's a little odd that his article about the press conference doesn't mention Todd's "sacrifice" question at all. It was perhaps the worst -- certainly the most widely-criticized -- question asked, and yet the nation's most prominent media critic didn't even mention it.
In fact, if you didn't know anything about the press conference other than what you read in Howard Kurtz's article, you'd think Todd simply asked whether those who were "irresponsible" should be helped by Obama's policies. Here's how Kurtz described Todd's question:
NBC's Chuck Todd said that "some of your programs, whether for Main Street or Wall Street, have actually cushioned the blow for those that were irresponsible."
And here's the part of Todd's question Kurtz left out: "Why haven't you asked for something specific that the public should be sacrificing to participate in this economic recovery?"
Also missing from Kurtz's article: the word "deficit." That's more than a little surprising, given that the journalists who questioned Obama last night were bizarrely fixated on the topic.
Joe Scarborough falsely claimed that the president's "own OMB director admits" that his budget will "create an unsustainable debt." In fact, OMB director Peter Orszag recently said that deficits at the level estimated by CBO in scoring Obama's proposed budget "would ultimately not be sustainable," but also said: "I think that what you're going to see, again, under our assumptions, our policies lead to lower deficits than that." Orszag also recently asserted that "[t]he President's Budget," if enacted, would "put the nation on a sustainable fiscal path."
On CNN Newsroom, Fredricka Whitfield advanced the false Republican accusation that Democrats created the right for AIG to pay bonuses by passing the economic recovery act, asserting that Sen. Chris Dodd was "widely criticized for allowing the bonuses in the first place." In fact, AIG reportedly disclosed that it had entered into agreements to pay these bonuses more than a year ago, and the Bush Treasury department approved of the AIG bailout with this agreement in place. Furthermore, the relevant provision in the recovery act, which was based on an amendment by Dodd, actually restricted the ability of companies receiving money from TARP to award bonuses in the future.
On his Fox News program, Sean Hannity falsely claimed that "a parliamentary procedure called reconciliation" would allow the Obama administration to pass legislation "without any Republicans even having an opportunity to vote." In fact, according to the House Rules Committee's description of the budget reconciliation process, the version of reconciliation legislation agreed to during the conference process is then "brought back to the full House and Senate for a vote on final passage. Approval of the conference agreement on the reconciliation legislation must be by a majority vote of both Houses."
On CNBC's The Call, while purporting to describe "the value of our money," Larry Kudlow lit a U.S. dollar bill on fire, destroying part of the bill -- a possible violation of Title 18, Section 333, of the U.S. Code.
On America's Newsroom, Bill Hemmer did not challenge Sen. James Inhofe's claim that President Obama's proposal to cap annual carbon emissions and auction the right to pollute is "the most regressive tax that you can have, because ... someone who is very poor spends a very high percentage of his or her income on ... energy that they have to buy." Hemmer did not point out that, in proposing a cap-and-trade program in his budget outline, Obama addressed the issue of higher energy costs impacting consumers differently by proposing to return "[t]he balance of the auction revenues ... to the people, especially vulnerable families, communities, and businesses."
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