After Admitting GOP To Blame For Shutdown, Right-Wing Media Attack Obama Anyway

Despite admitting that Republicans played a major role in forcing the government shutdown, the right-wing media have adopted GOP messaging portraying President Obama and Democrats as unwilling to resolve the crisis.

Right-Wing Media Admit Republicans Are To Blame For Government Shutdown

Fox News Contributor Jonah Goldberg: “Republicans Can Be Blamed For Starting The Shutdown.” In an October 4 column, Fox contributor and National Review Online editor-at-large Jonah Goldberg asserted that the GOP is to blame for starting the shutdown, but President Obama and the Democrats deserve the blame for “making it as painful as possible”:

Shutting down the government in an effort to use a budget fight to get rid of Obamacare is not the strategy I would have recommended for the GOP. And while Republicans can be blamed for starting the shutdown, it's increasingly apparent that President Obama and the Democrats deserve the lion's share of blame for not only prolonging it but also making it as painful as possible.


In the 17 previous government shutdowns since 1977, presidents have worked to avoid them or lessen their impact. Obama has made no such effort out of an ideological yearning to punish his enemies, regardless of the collateral damage. [National Review Online, 10/4/13]

Fox's Rove: GOP Defunding Strategy “Predicated On Shutting Down The Government.” On the October 1 edition of Happening Now, Fox contributor Karl Rove explained that he was against the GOP strategy to negotiate on the budget because it was “predicated on shutting down the government,” but maintained that President Obama has no interest in negotiating. [Fox News, Happening Now10/1/13, via Media Matters]

Fox's O'Reilly: “They're All Playing A Big Political Game Rather Than Looking Out For The Country.” On the September 30 edition of Fox & Friends, Fox host Bill O'Reilly claimed that Republicans and Democrats were both to blame for a possible government shutdown because they “are trying to play to their base.” O'Reilly added that Obama is also playing to his base, and that “they're all playing a big political game, rather than looking out for the country.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends9/30/13, via Media Matters

WSJ: “Both Parties Are Responsible For Getting To This Point.” The Wall Street Journal wrote that both sides are to blame for the showdown in Washington because “Americans chose a divided government,” so the “inability to compromise now is rooted in the wide disagreement about the role of government.” The editorial continued:

We've criticized GOP Senator Ted Cruz for his strategy to make defunding ObamaCare a requirement of funding the rest of government. He and his allies know that Mr. Obama can never agree to that, and even millions of Americans who oppose ObamaCare don't agree with his shutdown ultimatum. It risks political damage for the House and Senate GOP in 2014 even as Mr. Cruz builds his email list for 2016.

Yet it takes two to tangle, and Mr. Obama is as much to blame for the partisan pileup as Mr. Cruz. This is a President who is eager to negotiate with dubiously elected Iranian mullahs but can't abide compromise with duly elected leaders of Congress. [The Wall Street Journal9/29/13]

GOP Tries To Get The Media To Pick Up Its Spin

GOP Senators Discuss Talking Points: “I Think If We Keep Saying, 'We Wanted To Defund It. We Fought For That And That We're Willing To Compromise On This... We're Gonna Win This.” A Paducah, Kentucky, TV station caught a discussion between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) talking about the ongoing GOP strategy to win the shutdown messaging fight and paint Obama and Democrats as unwilling to compromise. From The Huffington Post:

“I just did CNN and I just go over and over again 'We're willing to compromise. We're willing to negotiate.' I think ... I don't think they poll tested we won't negotiate. I think it's awful for [Democrats] to say that over and over again,” Paul said.

“Yeah, I do too and I, and I just came back from that two hour meeting with them and that, and that was basically the same view privately as it was publicly,” McConnell agreed.

Paul added, “I think if we keep saying, 'We wanted to defund it. We fought for that and that we're willing to compromise on this', I think they can't, we're gonna, I think... well, I know we don't want to be here, but we're gonna win this, I think.” [The Huffington Post, 10/3/13]

Right-Wing Media Echo GOP Messaging

Fox's Kilmeade: “I Just Don't Know Why They Didn't Conference To Begin With.” On the October 1 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck read a viewer comment stating that “it's amazing that the blame” for the shutdown “is not laid at the source, [Sen.] Harry Reid and the Democrat-controlled Senate.” Co-host Brian Kilmeade agreed, saying, “I just don't know why they didn't conference to begin with”:

KILMEADE: And instead of helping Congress reach a deal to reopen the government, President Obama is meeting with people who are signing up for Obamacare this hour. 

STEVE DOOCY (co-host): Great. Although we have heard that -- in fact, we went on to the government website. There are a couple of problems with it right now. Essentially a busy signal. But you can imagine that that would happen on the first day, even though they did have three years to work the bugs out. 

HASSELBECK: Right, and they've been anticipating glitches and delaying some set-ups. We actually have some e-mails coming in for us. So if you can't get them online, we have them for you here. We have one from John in Florida: “It's amazing that the blame is not laid at the source, Harry Reid and the Democrat-controlled Senate. How many years and days since a real budget has been passed?” 

KILMEADE: I just don't know why they didn't conference to begin with. I know how different both budgets were. But for the first time really since President Obama took office, we had two budgets. Why weren't they conferencing?

DOOCY: Good question. They're barely talking to each other. [Fox News, Fox & Friends10/1/13, via Media Matters]

Fox's Kilmeade: “One Thing Is Clear: Democrats Didn't Budge And The Republicans Did.” On the October 1 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade claimed that the GOP has been willing to compromise, but “Democrats didn't budge.” Co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck added that “the American people did not want Obamacare, did not want a shutdown, and Republicans were compromising to bring the American people what they wanted. Not well received, clearly.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends10/1/13, via Media Matters]

Pat Buchanan: “Republicans Have Voted To Defund Obamacare, To Suspend It For One Year, And To Reform It. But In Each Of These Three Votes, The House Also Voted To Fund The Entire Government.” Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan wrote that Obama and Senate majority leader Harry Reid are to blame for the government shutdown because the Republicans have been willing to compromise, but the Democrats only want to inflict pain on the American people:

Undeniably, Republicans have voted to defund Obamacare, to suspend it for one year, and to reform it. But in each of these three votes, the House also voted to fund the entire government.

Why, then, is the government shut down? Because Harry Reid and Barack Obama have issued an edict: Either Obamacare is fully funded and untouched in the continuing resolution, or we kill the CR, shut down the government, and blame you.


again, Reid and Obama do not want to ease the pain of the people. They want to intensify that pain, ratchet it up, maximize it, to put maximum pressure on and do maximum damage to the GOP.

The Obama-Reid strategy is, in a word, sadistic.

They are inflicting pain on fellow Americans -- to break their political enemies. And they can only succeed in sustaining their Big Lie -- that it is Republicans who want to keep the government shut down -- because of a collaborationist press. [Creators Syndicate, 10/4/13]

FreedomWorks' Matt Kibbe: “According To My Scoreboard, That Puts The Count At Three Republican Compromise Solutions To The Democrats' Zero.” In a op-ed, FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe claimed Republicans have tried multiple times to compromise with the Democrats, who have been unwilling to compromise:

This could have all been avoided, of course. The House has already sent three bills to the Senate that would fully fund the government.

The first continuing resolution would have permanently defunded the president's broken health care law. The second would have delayed it for a year, while the third would have delayed just the individual mandate and included a version of the Vitter Amendment (named for Sen. David Vitter) which subjects Congress to the same ObamaCare costs and restrictions as the rest of America.

All three were rejected by an obstinate Democrat-controlled Senate, unwilling to move forward unless Harry Reid gets everything he wants.

So instead of pursuing defunding ObamaCare, House Republicans offered to simply delay it the wildly unpopular individual mandate.  

According to my scoreboard, that puts the count at three Republican compromise solutions to the Democrats' zero. House Republicans have already come to the negotiating table. They shouldn't negotiate with themselves anymore. [, 10/3/13]

Fox's Krauthammer: “House Republicans Presented Three Bills To Restore Funding To National Parks, Veterans, And The District Of Columbia Government. Democrats Voted Down All Three.” In his October 3 Washington Post column, Fox contributor Charles Krauthammer claimed that the media would blame the GOP for the shutdown, but Democrats want “to prolong the pain and thus add to the political advantage gained from a shutdown blamed on the GOP”:

The mainstream media have been fairly unanimous in blaming the government shutdown on the GOP. Accordingly, House Republicans presented three bills to restore funding to national parks, veterans, and the District of Columbia government. Democrats voted down all three. (For procedural reasons, the measures required a two-thirds majority.)


I don't agree with current Republican tactics. I thought the defunding demand impossible and, therefore, foolish. I thought that if, nonetheless, they insisted on making a stand, it should not be on shutting down the government, which voters oppose five to one, but on the debt ceiling, which Americans favor two to one as a vehicle for restraining government.

Tactics are one thing, but substance is another. It's the Democrats who have mocked the very notion of settled law. It's the Democrats who voted down the reopening of substantial parts of the government. It's the Democrats who gave life to a spontaneous, authentic, small-government opposition -- a.k.a the Tea Party -- with their unilateral imposition of a transformational agenda during the brief interval when they held a monopoly of power.

That interval is over. The current unrest is the residue of that hubris. [The Washington Post10/3/13]