Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER
CNN throws a 527-word birthday party for the stimulus legislation passed in 2009, but forgot to invite any facts. Instead of telling readers what the stimulus consisted of and how well it worked, CNN just decided to tell readers what Republicans and the Obama administration say about the the stimulus. And -- breaking news! -- Republicans criticize it while the administration praises it.
The absence of facts from CNN's report led to awkward moments almost immediately. The second paragraph, for example:
Signed into law by President Obama in February 2009, the bill passed Congress with minimal Republican support. Democrats said it would encourage job creation and promote investment. Republicans criticized the original $787 billion price-tag and argued that it green lighted new spending instead of tax cuts.
OK, but is it true that the stimulus "green lighted new spending instead of tax cuts"? CNN never got around to telling readers this -- remember, facts weren't invited -- but no, it is not true. The stimulus contained $288 billion in tax cuts. (Another fact that would have been useful: tax cuts are less stimulative than spending on things like food stamps and unemployment benefits.)
CNN then moved on to quoting a series of Republican attacks on the stimulus -- by the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Senate Republican Leader. (Surprise: They all agree the stimulus was a failure.) That would've been a good place for some facts -- like the fact that independent analysts including the Congressional Budget Office and Moody's have credited the stimulus with millions of jobs and helping avert depression. And the conclusions of many economists (both during debate over passage and since) that if anything, the stimulus should have included more spending.
But none of that was included. CNN just told us that Republicans criticize the Democratic president's economic policies, and that members of the administration praise those policies. CNN may as well report that the sun rose in the east this morning.