There are many memes and mantras conservative pundits parrot relentlessly to fool the public into believing the left is destroying America and its traditional values. Fox News is notorious for using an Adolf Hitler tactic of repeating a lie 24 hours-a-day until the public believes the lie is a fact, and they have been successful to such a degree that they change public opinion at will. One of the conservatives’ most cherished mantras is that there is a liberal media bias in reporting that has convinced many Americans the only truth emanates from Fox News with their fair and balanced reporting. Ever since President Obama has been in office, most media outlets have belied any liberal bias and have in fact been guilty of conservative bias. One of the most repeated conservative lies this year is that the economic morass is solely the fault of the Obama Administration and now CBS has joined Fox News as another blatant shill for the Republican Party.
On Monday, Mark Knoller of CBS News said that President Obama has increased the national debt by $4 trillion surpassing Bush’s $4.9 trillion increase over 8 years. Knoller also said,” It’s the most rapid increase in the debt under any U.S. president.” However, Knoller is wrong and if he had taken the time to basic arithmetic, he may not have made such an erroneous statement about the president and the debt. That was not the end of Knoller’s “reporting” on the debt because he had to get some digs in at President Obama as if the Bush-Republicans presided over a booming economy. Knoller wrote that, “The national debt increased $4.9 trillion during the eight-year presidency of George W. Bush. The debt now is rising at a pace to surpass that amount during Mr. Obama’s four-year term.”
According to the Treasury Department, the current debt is $14.639 trillion and when President Obama took office, the debt was $10.626 trillion, but those figures do not tell the whole story and Knoller knows it. Whether he works for the Republican propaganda machine or not is unclear, but there is no excuse for a national reporter to make such a rookie error unless he was deliberately trying to portray President Obama as inept at handling the economy.
At the end of fiscal year 2001, the nation’s debt was $5.777 trillion, and Bush’s final budget was for fiscal year 2009, which ended with a public debt of $11.876 trillion. Any semi-competent 4th grade child using simple subtraction could see that Bush increased the debt by $6.099 trillion. Mark Knoller assigned Bush’s $2 trillion in debt in his final year to President Obama and there seems to be no reason except for propaganda against the president. The amount of the debt that Bush added was unnecessary if he and the Republican majority had not spent like rich college freshmen with daddy’s unlimited credit card.
Bush’s debt included two wars that were unfunded and unnecessary, an unfunded and prohibitively expensive Medicare prescription program, and tax cuts for the richest 2% of Americans according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The Bush Republicans also gave tax breaks to corporations that outsourced Americans’ jobs that resulted in unemployment claims President Obama inherited. The loss of jobs also meant tax revenues decreased dramatically and it still affects the nation’s economy. A large portion of the debt attributed to President Obama was for the stimulus spending to help get Americans back to work as well as repair our decrepit infrastructure.
It is seldom mentioned, but if the two wars and Bush-era tax cuts were ended today, the debt would continue rising because of the interest on the debt Bush ran up. Of course, Republicans and their conservative media will never mention anything that portrays Republicans as big spenders because it is too easy to blame President Obama. No-one in their right mind expects Republicans to be honest and admit they ran up the nation’s debt, but Americans do expect the media to be truthful and transparent although they have not been objective for over ten years. In fact, the media has been shilling for the GOP and conservatives on more than just the economy.
During the Wisconsin protests against Scott Walker’s union-busting crusade, the media was silent. In many newspapers across the country, there were no mentions of the tens-of-thousands of school teachers, police officers, and firefighters protesting to keep their right to bargain collectively. The media was also silent when Republicans faced angry constituents at town halls for attempting to privatize Medicare, but during the healthcare reform debates, they showed Koch tea party operatives disrupting Democrat’s town halls on every news program in the country. Recently when S&P downgraded the nation’s credit rating, the media omitted reporting that it was Republican’s inability to compromise and their lack of a balanced approach to reining in the debt that precipitated the downgrade. There is a concerted effort in the media to report opposition to President Obama and omit any negative stories about Republican malfeasance because nearly all major media outlets are owned by corporations that benefit from Republican’s legislative largesse; and that includes the faux left-leaning MSNBC.
There are many factors that contributed to the national debt, but the biggest is the unwarranted spending spree Bush went on at Americans’ expense. The media reports on the economy and the nation’s debt daily, but they never mention why the debt is so astronomical because it would reflect badly on Republicans. The media was once a respected champion of the people for unbiased reporting regardless of which party was running the country, but those days are far behind us. If there were occasional mistakes or omissions, they were quickly corrected to maintain a semblance of impartiality and transparency. These days there is no impartiality in the media, and Knoller’s story that Obama has increased the debt more than Bush is a prime example of conservative media bias. The test of Knoller’s credibility is whether he will issue a retraction and apology to President Obama for lying to help Republicans. There may be an apology coming, but only if Knoller gets permission from his masters in the Republican Party and right wing corporate news machine.