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Fox News’ On The Record Pounces On Opportunity To Tarnish Obama With S&P Rating Downgrade While Ignoring Republican Role

Reported by Ellen - August 6, 2011 -

Friday night (8/5/11), Standard & Poor downgraded the U.S. debt rating. S&P blamed the recent debt-ceiling bill along with the “political brinksmanship” that made our system unstable. It’s a reference, of course, to Republican intransigence, but the Fox News analysis that followed the announcement almost completely ignored that aspect. That was followed by a slew of Republican and potential Republican candidates attacking President Obama.

The announcement of the rating downgrade came during a pre-recorded Hannity show. So the live analysis was left for Greta Van Susteren and On The Record.

First, Van Susteren brought on Fox News’ chief White House correspondent Ed Henry. We’ve previously noted how Henry has managed to work anti-Obama spin into what’s supposed to be objective news. He did it again last night.

Henry spent more time “explaining” the Republican position than the Democratic one before adding, “Bottom line is, both sides are going to be pointing fingers about who’s to blame here but at the end of the day, there’s one president and that president now has become the first in U.S. history to have debt downgraded on his watch.” Henry also used the “first president in U.S. history” line in another report during a Fox News Alert.

What Henry didn’t say? What S&P said:

The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America’s governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective, and less predictable than what we previously believed. The statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in the debate over fiscal policy. Despite this year’s wide-ranging debate, in our view, the differences between political parties have proven to be extraordinarily difficult to bridge, and, as we see it, the resulting agreement fell well short of the comprehensive fiscal consolidation program that some proponents had envisaged until quite recently. Republicans and Democrats have only been able to agree to relatively modest savings on discretionary spending while delegating to the Select Committee decisions on more comprehensive measures. It appears that for now, new revenues have dropped down on the menu of policy options. In addition, the plan envisions only minor policy changes on Medicare and little change in other entitlements, the containment of which we and most other independent observers regard as key to long-term fiscal sustainability.

… Compared with previous projections, our revised base case scenario now assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, due to expire by the end of 2012, remain in place. We have changed our assumption on this because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act.

But funny how Henry didn’t get around to the Republicans' role in the mess. Nor did Neil Cavuto who followed Henry. Cavuto quoted from S&P by saying, “fiscal consolidation falls short of what would be necessary” and somehow completely overlooked S&P’s comments about brinksmanship and Republicans’ refusal to raise revenue.

Greta Van Susteren did note that credit ratings agencies are the ones who gave triple A ratings to credit swaps and questioned “to what extent are we held hostage to them tonight, on a Friday night, because they don’t like the deal?”

Cavuto said “They are the only game in town.” But then he opined that our debt means the U.S. “probably doesn’t deserve a triple A rating anyway.” He went on to suggest that the only real solution is to make further cuts.



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