On his CNN show, Lou Dobbs falsely claimed that in an item criticizing a report by Ed Henry on President Obama's economic recovery package, Media Matters "tr[ied] to conflate the Office of Management and Budget numbers as somehow superior with the Congressional Budget Office." In fact, Media Matters merely pointed out that according to the OMB director, the CBO conducted only a partial analysis of the bill, which Henry did not report.
On the January 26 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, host Lou Dobbs falsely claimed that in a previous item criticizing White House correspondent Ed Henry's January 23 report on President Obama's economic recovery package, Media Matters for America "tr[ied] to conflate the Office of Management and Budget [OMB] numbers as somehow superior with the Congressional Budget Office [CBO]," which he asserted "is an absurdity." Media Matters did no such thing, merely pointing out that according to OMB director Peter Orszag, the CBO conducted only a partial analysis of the bill.
In the item, Media Matters did not argue that the OMB's analysis was "somehow superior" to the CBO's, but rather noted that Henry reported that the CBO study "was suggesting that a lot of the spending proposals in the original plan would not really take effect for a couple of years" without reporting that according to Orszag, the CBO study did not analyze all the provisions in the recovery bill. Indeed, according to a document posted on the Huffington Post website, which, according to a January 23 Huffington Post article, is the "whole" CBO " 'report,' " the CBO accounted for only approximately $358 billion of what Henry referred in his January 23 report to as "this $825 billion economic recovery plan." As Media Matters noted in the item, Orszag stated in a January 22 letter that the CBO "analysis, however, did not assess the overall package." He added: "Our analysis indicates that at least 75 percent of the overall package (including its tax component and the other spending provisions that were not analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office) will be spent over the next year and a half."
Indeed, responding to Media Matters in his January 26 report, Henry acknowledged that the CBO report "basically found early last week that less than half of the spending projects in here in the stimulus bill would actually stimulate the economy in the first two years of Barack Obama's administration. As we've noted, that's only part of essentially the bill that they analyzed." But as Media Matters noted in the initial item, Henry did not "note" that the CBO report "analyzed" only "part of" the recovery bill in his January 23 report. Instead, Henry reported only that the report "was suggesting that a lot of the spending proposals in the original plan would not really take effect for a couple of years, so it wouldn't clearly help create jobs in the first two years of the president's administration" and that White House "spokesman Robert Gibbs trying to say that basically this plan has changed a lot already since the CBO did its study."
During the segment, Dobbs referred to Media Matters as "a partisan bunch of hacks trying to play games," a "left-wing, liberal group" that "want to call themselves a watchdog group, but they are hardly that," and as "so silly it's beyond belief."
From the January 26 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight:
DOBBS: Let me turn to one other thing very quickly, Ed, because that left-wing, liberal group -- they want to call themselves a watchdog group, but they are hardly that -- Media Matters taking issue with your reporting here Friday night. Where does all of that stand?
HENRY: Well, they're upset that we used -- mentioned the CBO analysis, the Congressional Budget Office, that basically found early last week that less than half of the spending projects in here in the stimulus bill would actually stimulate the economy in the first two years of Barack Obama's administration. As we've noted, that's only part of essentially the bill that they analyzed. Robert Gibbs did point out late last week that this is still a work in progress, that the CBO took a just snapshot in time and the bill is still changing. He insists that the White House budget office here has looked at it and 75 percent of this will be stimulative. But if you follow Robert Gibbs' own logic, this is still --
DOBBS: How does he know? How does he know?
HENRY: Right. This is still a work in progress, as he himself says. What's most interesting, when you take a step back, is for the last eight years, I've been covering -- at least for part of it -- the Bush White House. The CBO was always held up by Democrats as a gold standard of nonpartisan analysis. Now that the CBO has analyzed an Obama initiative and has not come out completely favorable, it's interesting to see liberals now attacking the CBO and essentially saying that you can't trust them. What's most -- even more interesting is that the former head of the CBO is now the president's White House budget director, Peter Orszag. So obviously, President Obama thought the CBO was good enough that he picked their chief to be his new White House budget director, Lou.
DOBBS: Indeed he did. And with the OMB attacking the CBO in some of the most ridiculous counterclaims on the part of the Media Matters, that left-wing -- I mean, frankly, they are so silly it's beyond belief. But to try to conflate the Office of Management and Budget numbers as somehow superior with the Congressional Budget Office is an absurdity. Peter Orszag having to -- well, his head must be spinning as he tries to change roles here now as a member of the administration.
As usual, your reporting was outstanding. As usual, Media Matters is what it is, a partisan bunch of hacks trying to play games. We thank you very much.
HENRY: Thanks, Lou.