None of Sunday's five major political talk shows mentioned the House Republican plan, revealed last week, to provoke a debt ceiling crisis in order to force through massive cuts to programs like Social Security and Medicare if the GOP gains a majority in the November midterm elections.
House Republicans would threaten to force the United States to default on its debt — which would trigger a global economic crisis — unless Democrats agree to such cuts, according to all four Republican contenders to chair the House Budget Committee, Bloomberg Government reported on October 11.
That prospect apparently did not interest Chuck Todd, moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press; George Stephanopoulos, anchoring ABC’s This Week; Margaret Brennan, moderator of CBS’ Face the Nation; Dana Bash, anchor of CNN’s State of the Union; or Fox News Sunday anchor Shannon Bream. Their programs help set the agenda for the political press. But all of them ignored the reported GOP plan, even as they each devoted lengthy segments to which party will prevail in the midterms.
Notably, Bream had an extensive interview with House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) to discuss “his party's plans should they take the majority,” but did not ask him whether the party, if victorious, would threaten economic calamity in order to push through massive cuts to the social safety net. She did ask him about Social Security and Medicare cuts included in the Republican Study Committee’s budget proposal, and he denied that Republicans support them.
The closest the story came to reaching Sunday show viewers was Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) unprompted observation on Meet the Press that Republicans support cutting Medicare and Social Security:
Major cable news networks, broadcast news shows, and newspapers have all but ignored the prospect of Republicans threatening a debt crisis in order to cut Social Security and Medicare, as Media Matters documented last week.
Given the general caginess of Republicans when it comes to detailing what they would do if they take control of one or both houses of Congress, reporters owe it to audiences to hold their feet to the fire.