Healthcare Deficit: Bad; War Deficit: Good

Activist David Swanson (AfterDowningStreet.org, 6/24/09) has some problems with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s and Congressmember Tom Perriello’s recent visit “generating a story and big color photo on page 1 of the Charlottesville Daily Progress” under the headline “In UVa Visit, Democrats Call Deficit Reckless“:

The newspaper reported on Congressman Perriello warning that he could not vote for healthcare without a way to pay for it. There was no mention of the fact that the previous week, the day before Hoyer introduced his bill to fight deficits, both of these gentlemen had voted to spend another $97 billion on wars and to loan $100 billion to European bankers through the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Nobody in Washington had even hinted at where any of that money would come from, and apparently Hoyer and Perriello didn’t care.

The article did include a quote from a Republican blaming Democrats for deficits. But that’s doubly bad reporting. Republicans have pushed deficits up far more than Democrats, and just getting a haphazard (and inaccurate) quote from “the other side” misses the relevant context of the war supplemental vote. Here’s the patently false quote from Congressman Eric Cantor: “We’ve amassed more debt over the last five months than this country has amassed in the last 200 years.”

Swanson sees another example of this kind of overwhelmingly uncritical coverage in the same day’s visit by “two top environmental officials from the White House”: “Oddly, there was no particular news to announce at the press conference. Predictably, all the media outlets were there to trumpet the story anyway.” Listen to Swanson on FAIR’s radio show CounterSpin: “David Swanson on ‘Benchmarks'” (5/18/07).