Charlie Rose’s Debt Commission Non-Debate

As you may have gathered by now, the deficit reduction plan offered by debt commission chairs Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles is pretty unpopular, particularly on the left.

But one place it was well-received: The Charlie Rose Show, a comfortable place for CEOs and insiders to pontificate. The fact that this show is a staple of public television stations around the country is part of the problem FAIR identified inour new report, “Taking the Public Out of Public TV.”

The Rose show presented a discussion of the Simpson/Bowles plan on November 11.One guest, Harvard’s Martin Feldstein, had this to say:

There is a lot to like in it. I think that it is very bold. Every aspect of the fiscal problem has been put on the table. And yet when I looked at the numbers I thought it didnâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢t go far enough.

The other guest–David Walker of the Peter G.Peterson Foundation–countered with his take:

I think it was a courageous plan. It was very comprehensive. There were changes in every major aspect of the budget. It demonstrates that we are in such a deep hole that nothing can be off the table and you have to make some tough choices. Frankly, I think he could have been even more aggressive with respect to some of the reforms.

Walker went on tocomplain, “It is amazing how muchcontroversy there has been, especially from the left, with regard to the Social Security reform proposals, because they are not dramatic or draconian.” He added: “You get the far right and far left that are out of touch with reality, we need to come up with sensible center solutions.”

And just to make sure viewers knew that the guests weren’t outside agitators:

ROSE: Did both of you have an opportunity to wade in on this commission to make your views clear?

FELDSTEIN: I did have a chance to talk with some of the commission members about my views on this.

ROSE: David?

WALKER: I had a chance as well, plus it’s my understanding that most if not all of them read my book Comeback America.

Public television, giving voice to the voiceless.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.