December 12, 2009

MSM Mythbusting (3 of 10)

Stimulus is the answer.

Media myth: $787 billion stimulus needed to fix the economy.

Stimulus wasn't just supposed to create jobs. It was the jolt of cash the economy needed to get going - at least, that was the broken-record claim from the liberal news media. From auto bailouts, to the stimulus package, to cash for clunkers, to calls by some for a second stimulus; journalists had trouble finding a downside to the government's massive spending spree financed by taxpayers' dollars and debt.

Two broadcast networks - ABC and NBC - showed particularly strong support for the president by relying on pro-stimulus voices by a more-than 2-to-1 ratio (139 to 56). As reporter Scott Cohn told the NBC "Nightly News" audience about a struggling Indiana community. "Economic stimulus isn't just a political debate around here. It could be a matter of survival."

Never mind the cost to the great-grandchildren of current taxpayers, the networks didn't even bother to ask how Obama and Congress would pay for the roughly $800 billion package.

Reporters like ABC's Dan Harris turned to experts like Mark Zandi in stimulus reports. Zandi declared "we have no choice," and then backed them up saying, "Most economists agree, we have no choice."

The news media also perpetuated the myth that the $787 billion package would be spent on infrastructure. CBS's Chip Reid said on Jan. 12, "The total size of the plan is about $750 to $800 billion - roughly $300 billion is for tax cuts for businesses and individuals. The rest will be spent on everything from roads and bridges to renewable energy to create three to 4 million jobs. Republicans are raising red flags about the amount of spending."

But in reality, little more than 3 percent of the funds would be allocated to road and bridge construction.

Months later, the media were still giving Obama credit for the stimulus program. Michelle Gielan of CBS "Morning News" said on Oct. 16, "there is new evidence this morning that President Obama's stimulus program is working. Federal contractors say it helped to create - to create or save 30,000 jobs, mainly in construction."

No comments: