NewsHour’s Economics-Free Economics Reporting

Calling a PBS NewsHour budget plan segment by Judy Woodruff “a primer on how to conduct an interview relying almost solely on Republican talking points,” Brad Jacobson (Media Bloodhound, 2/27/09) says her “first question isn’t necessarily a Republican talking point, but it might as well be”: “$3.66 trillion, is that a number you can actually grasp?”

Seriously, members of the mainstream media need to stop acting like they suddenly have the vapors over big government spending. The Republicans weren’t the only ones to preside over the most reckless spending in our government’s history over the last eight years, on a war of choice and tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans in an environment of profligate deregulation and zero investment in infrastructure and our citizens’ future. Mainstream news outlets and their anchors and talking heads watched it all unfold while expressing little or no concern at the time.

Woodruff’s second question is like a GOP talking-point smorgasbord.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, just two of the terms I heard applied to it today were, No. 1, “radical,” and the other one was “taking from the rich to give to the poor.” Is this about redistributing wealth in this country?

I guess she couldn’t fit “socialist” in there.

Relating how “Woodruff’s line of questioning, one GOP economic meme after another, continues nearly unabated throughout the remainder of the interview,” Jacobson thinks she’s continuing the Jim Lehrer tradition of “giving the often false NewsHour impression that the quality of an interview is due to its length instead of its depth.” Despite this unusual for big radio length, Jacobson dares you to “guess how many times she poses a question citing a criticism of an actual economist rather than a Republican?” His tally: “Zero.”

No newcomer to the journalist-as-Republican-shill model, read of Woodruff’s antics during the last presidential election cycle in this FAIR Press Release: “GOP Rhetoric on Kerry’s Voting Record Goes Unchallenged” (3/8/04)