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John Gibson, celebrating deficit news, bashes New York Times

Reported by Chrish - July 11, 2006 -

The cheering continued on The Big Story today 7/11/06 as FOX drilled viewers that a downward revision in how badly the government has overspent our kids this year is cause for great glee and "I told you sos." Bill Kristol cheered the loudest but Juan Williams followed with a more reasonable, dare I say fair and balanced, evaluation of the news. All semblance of equality was blown away with Gibson's "My Word" rant, where he not only touted the new estimate but also attacked the New York Times and columnist Paul Krugman (a widely respected economist who disagrees strobgly with the Bush administration's methods).

Bill Kristol's take on it is that this nugget justifies making the tax cuts permanent and extending the cuts to the estate tax, whch needs to be cut. Kristol says Bush needs to make this a "live issue" for the 2006 election season for political reasons and remind people that Republicans are for extending them and Democrats want to repeal them Asked why we don't just eliminate taxes altogether, Kristol says that the Laffer Curve shows that there is a point where tax rates get too low, but it brings up an interesting point (how convenient - this wouldn't be scripted, would it?). He was just talking to an unnamed Congressman who said there are Republicans who are "toying with the idea" to sunset the entire federal tax code in 2010, since a lot of these cuts sunset then, and in the interim four years they can come up with "real tax reform." Watch for this phrase to make its way into the mainstream dialog. Much like "tax relief" it implicitly says that the tax code needs, according to m-w.com, 1 : amendment of what is defective, vicious, corrupt, or depraved; 2 : a removal or correction of an abuse, a wrong, or errors.

He managed to get in the obligatory slap at the New York Times, saying we shouldn't hold our breath waiting for them to credit Bush's 2003 supply-side tax cuts.

Next up, Juan Williams made a strong argument that while it is an improvement the Bush budget is still in bad shape.
He made the point that it is a "cut" in Bush's own administration's projections for the growth in the size of the deficit. While it is good news that the deficit won''t be as large as first estimated, it will still be around $300 Billion dollars. Gibson, who wants apologies and vindication for Bush, put up a quote from house Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who said

"...Bush is trying to spin the fourth largest deficit in America's history and a small improvement in the deficit over last year as good news. The facts tell a different story: the Bush administration has presided over the largest fiscal turnaround in America's history - from $5.6 trillion in surpluses ..."

Gibson garbled the quote and stopped reading it aloud at "history" and the third and last screen didn't get shown, so FOX viewers didn't get to see OR hear therest of the quote: "to more than $3 trillion in deficits and debt. " Her entire statement, much too strong for Big Story viewers, went on

"By almost every measure, the President’s fiscal and economic policies are taking our nation in the wrong direction.

"Republicans are spending every penny of the Social Security surplus, interest payments on the foreign debt are growing at a record pace, and the long-term budget picture is bleak. The Bush Administration has no realistic plan for balancing the budget. Instead, the Administration wants to weaken and privatize Social Security and Medicare, cut benefits for the elderly, and give yet more tax cuts to the wealthy.

"The American people will not be fooled by President Bush's full-court media blitz surrounding this report. They know that it is time for a new direction."

Gibson acknowledges that we went from trillions in surpluses under Clinton to "deficits", but Clinton didn't have a "war on terror", or as we fed up Americans call it "an endless bottomless excuse for fiscal irresponsibilty. corruption, incompetence, and lawlessness."

Someone needs to tell Williams that Bush's "war on terror" is not the same as the "war in Iraq." He said that Gibson brought up the war in Iraq and those costs aren't even in the budget deficit projection that we're talking about.

Gibson dragged the New York Times into it again. This has gotten ridiculous on FOX; nary a program passes that someone doesn't take a pot-shot at the newspaper, usually more than one per hour. Eight minutes in and this is two.

Gibson says that the original report in the paper, July 9, said the news was "surprising". (Within the text of the article it says "The rising tide in tax payments has been building for months, but the increased scale is surprising even seasoned budget analysts ...") In today's editorial, however, "they say 'another mission accomplished' (Gibson makes quotes in the air ), as if this is another bit of business of Bush trying to, y'know, lie his way out of a bad situation."

What? Unfortunately, Williams takes the frame and runs with it, defending Bush against non-existent charges of lying by the evil NYT, saying he thinks the Times article is arguing that Bush is dressing it up, trying to make more out of it than it is. He shouldn't have bothered answering the straw man charges.

This whole made-for-tv fuss makes me think of some real-life scenarios: you expect to flunk a course but the professor slides you by with a D-minus - yippee! Your kid wrecks the car, you think it's totalled; it's not, but it'll cost you $10,000 to fix it and your insurance rates skyrocket - yippee! Just because something is not as bad as you feared doesn't automatically make it good. The Bush deficits still hurt our country, present and future. This is their standard m.o.; find a nugget of good news and celebrate it, elevating the tidbit to equal status with the whole big picture, and excoriate the other media who do not join the celebration for only focusing on the bad news - Bush haters! This is the Happy Iraq tactic morphed into the Happy Economic Future fantasy.