Public TV’s Austerity Hour

As you may have heard, the White House-backed deficit commission failed to gain a supermajority vote to support a proposal from co-chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson. Their suggestions came under sharp criticism from liberal and progressive critics.

Butthe December 3 broadcast of the PBS NewsHour, a short report on that failure was tilted heavily in favor of supporters of the plan. Quoted in the piece were Bowles, Simpson and their ally Sen. Kent Conrad. Former SEIU chief Andy Stern, who voted against the plan, was the only no vote who was heard from.

On December 1, the NewsHour had interviewed Bowles and Simpson as they continued to make their pitch for their plan. (When asked how he would respond to critics who say the deficit panic is mostly hype, and that other problems are more pressing, Simpson said: “I will tell them to kind of sober up, and the fact that the tectonic plate has shifted in America.”).

And the December 3 broadcast included a discussion with conservative David Brooks–who supports the Bowles/Simpson plan–paired with “liberal” Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post, who also supports it, praising it for being an”adult” approach to the problem.

If only the debt commission had consideredopening the voting to the media–they wouldhave received near-unanimous support.

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.