The host initially push the notion that polls are what matter, and Americans aren’t satisfied with economic conditions under President Obama. The DNC chair pointed to real-world improvements — more jobs, stronger growth — which led Gregory to again rely on more polls. It was a reminder that, for the media establishment, polls trump facts every time.
When attention turned to debt-reduction efforts, Gregory said, simply as a matter of fact, that Republicans on the super-committee “did agree for tax increases that Democrats have not accepted this week,” and then tried to change the subject. The host wanted to leave viewers with the impression that GOP officials were making a good-faith offer, when in reality they offered some modest revenue in exchange for more tax breaks for the very wealthy. Gregory ignored all of these details, simply passing along the Republican talking point as if it were fact, when it’s not.
He then asked Wasserman Schultz:
“On the debt, how irresponsible is it that this president has allowed America’s national debt to increase by 41 percent over his term of office?”
What Gregory failed miserably to offer viewers was context and any of the relevant details. The president inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit, plus a global economic collapse, plus two wars Republicans never even tried to pay for, plus GOP lawmakers who fought to kill every deficit-reduction measure proposed by the White House. The question presupposes that Obama was fiscally “irresponsible,” which is ridiculous, and presupposes that Obama’s priority should have been the debt, rather than the economy, which is insane.
I expect this on Fox News. “Meet the Press” is supposed to have higher standards.
And to top it off, the host inexplicably showed a clip of Obama from July 2008 talking about his desire to lower the deficit if elected. July 2008 — before the crash, before TARP, before the need for the Recovery Act, before Republicans demanded an extension of Bush-era tax breaks that they refused to pay for.
Gregory pointed to Obama’s July 2008 comments and asked, “Should it not be turned on him now?” If a Mitt Romney aide had been asking the questions, they wouldn’t have been much different.
It was one of the worst interviews I’ve ever seen on “Meet the Press.”