Ignoring its own reporting, LA Times didn't note McCain's shifting time frame for balancing budget

››› ››› ANDREW WALZER

The Los Angeles Times reported that Sen. John McCain "advocated for his tax cuts and his plan to balance the budget by 'the end of my term in office.' " But the Times did not note, as it has previously reported, that McCain has repeatedly shifted on his time frame for balancing the budget, originally claiming he would balance the budget in four years, then pledging to do so in eight years, before reversing himself again to return to the four-year pledge.

In an October 12 Los Angeles Times article, staff writers Robin Abcarian and Maeve Reston reported that at an October 11 rally in Davenport, Iowa "[Sen. John] McCain advocated for his tax cuts and his plan to balance the budget by 'the end of my term in office.' " However, Abcarian and Reston did not mention that McCain has repeatedly shifted on his time frame for balancing the budget, originally claiming he would balance the budget in four years, then pledging to do so in eight years, before reversing himself again to return to the four-year pledge. By contrast, in a July 8 Times article, Reston and Louise Roug reported: "Three months after he discarded his pledge to balance the federal budget in four years, John McCain on Monday renewed his vow to do so." In addition, in an April 16 article on McCain's economic agenda, LA Times staff writer Michael Finnegan documented McCain's first shift when he noted that McCain's April 15 pledge to "balance the budget within eight years" was "a retreat from his previous vow to do so within four."

As Media Matters for America has documented, both McCain and his economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin reportedly said on April 15 that, in the words of Reuters, "McCain believes he can balance the budget in eight years." This represented a shift from McCain's reported pledge in February to balance the budget by the end of his first term, as Media Matters noted. On April 16, New York Times reporter Michael Cooper wrote that McCain said that "economic conditions are reversed," requiring him to reconsider his four-year pledge. However, on July 7, Holtz-Eakin stated during a conference call with reporters that McCain was again promising a balanced budget by the end of his first term.

Furthermore, Abcarian and Reston did not note, as Reston and Roug reported in their July 8 article, that many economists and nonpartisan analysts have expressed skepticism about McCain's plan to balance the budget in four years, stating that his proposal for numerous tax cuts would bloat the deficit or require huge spending cuts, as Media Matters has repeatedly noted. Indeed, Media Matters documented that, in the July 8 article, Reston and Roug reported that McCain's pledge to balance the budget in four years "defied skepticism among fiscal analysts over whether he could balance the budget even within eight years. ... Many say his proposed expansion of President Bush's tax cuts would put that goal out of reach."

In fact, Holtz-Eakin reportedly acknowledged that McCain's healthcare plan would require massive budget cuts to stay "budget-neutral."

From Abcarian and Reston's October 12 Los Angeles Times article:

Meanwhile in Iowa, McCain advocated for his tax cuts and his plan to balance the budget by "the end of my term in office." He offered a scathing critique of the price tag of Obama's spending proposals and accused him of being vague.

"We've all heard what he's said, but it's less clear what he's done or what he will do," McCain told a crowd of more than 1,000 in Davenport. "Rather than answer his critics, Sen. Obama will try to distract. . . . He has even questioned my truthfulness -- and let me reply in the plainest terms I know: I don't need lessons about telling the truth to the American people. And were I ever to need any improvement in that regard, I probably wouldn't seek advice from a Chicago politician," McCain said as the crowd responded with a roar.

Posted In
Economy, Budget
Network/Outlet
Los Angeles Times
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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