MSNBC’s ‘Train Has Left the Station’–and Left Truth Behind

Political Animal blogger Steve Benen (4/8/09) asks if maybe it’s “Already Too Late for the Truth” in cable news coverage of U.S. military spending, considering that directly “after Defense Secretary Robert Gates unveiled his recommendations for restructuring military spending–and boosting the Pentagon budget by $21 billion (4 percent)–the response was immediate: The Obama administration is trying to cut defense in a time of war. It wasn’t true. It didn’t matter.”

Quoting a former defense secretary telling MSNBC viewers a “clearly false” tale of “deep cuts in military spending,” Benen notes that anchor Contessa Brewer had asked him “to address the administration’s proposed ‘cuts’–not ‘what some are calling “cuts,”‘ just matter-of-fact ‘cuts,’ as if this were plainly true.” The fact that it was the former official himself who “eventually noted, ‘By the way, it’s not a cut. It’s a 4 percent increase,’ gives Benen

the sense the train has the left the station, and it’s not coming back. News outlets–including real ones, not Fox News–have already accepted the bogus notion that Gates’ plan cuts defense spending. Republican lawmakers aren’t just repeating the false claim, they’re practically apoplectic about it. The political world has apparently skipped right over the “some critics of the administration charge….” and gone right to accepting false GOP talking points as fact without debate.

Benen is left feeling that “our political discourse can be awfully frustrating sometimes”–especially when “reported” so awfully as this. Listen to the latest FAIR radio show CounterSpin: “Miriam Pemberton on Military Budget” (4/17/09).