On Wednesday night's broadcast of the PBS NewsHour (9/23/10), Gwen Ifill announced: "Now to the first of several conversations on whether or not to extend tax cuts that expire at the end of the year."
The first guest was Republican Glenn Hubbard, who Ifill told viewers "was the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush, and he helped to design those cuts." Not surprisingly, he is a big supporter of extending the tax cuts, and gave the usual laundry list of reasons why, and criticized Obama for creating uncertainty in the markets and so on.
So who else will they feature in this series? One clue came at the end of the show:
JUDY WOODRUFF: In our next conversation, we will hear from Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, who once testified in favor of the Bush tax cuts. He now argues, it's time to let them lapse.
Greenspan, it should be noted, is a conservative Republican, elevated to the Fed by Ronald Reagan, and a lifelong devotee of Ayn Rand. If the point of the series is to explore the tax debate among conservatives,the NewsHour is off to a great start.
Ifill has previously despaired at the partisanship of this debate–Republicans say one thing, Democrats say something else, which led her to wonder: "Is there any real way to sort that out, or is it in both parties' interest to keep that uncertain?"
Sorting it out is the job of journalists. NewsHour can't do that without finding some independent experts to talk about the issue.