SHELBY SHAKEDOWN SHUT OUT?…. Mark Kleiman raises a good question, which I was curious about, too.
I don’t watch the Sunday talk shows. But did anyone ask anyone about the Shelby Shakedown?
It was a pretty big political development last week — there’s no recent precedent for a senator placing a hold on 70 presidential nominees, holding them hostage until the senator is paid off in pork. The White House raised a fuss about Sen. Richard Shelby’s (R-Ala.) scheme, and the Senate Majority Leader raised a fuss, so maybe the Sunday shows would devote at least some time to the subject?
I checked the transcripts, and found:
* NBC’s “Meet the Press” ignored the story.
* CBS’s “Face the Nation” ignored the story.
ABC’s “This Week” ignored the story.*
* “Fox News Sunday” ignored the story.
CNN’s “State of the Union,” to its credit, was the only Sunday show to mention the story at all, though host Candy Crowley described the controversy as “a little arcane.” The discussion lasted about a minute, and concluded with CNN’s senior congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, telling viewers:
“I think, politically, the reason why you heard Robert Gibbs go crazy at — at the White House on Friday, because this is like political manna from heaven for — for them, you know, of course they say they would rather have their nominees, but because the point that they have been trying to make, the point that the president has been trying to make since Scott Brown was elected is, wait a minute, Washington is frozen because all of a sudden we need 60 votes to do anything in the Senate, you know, never mind the fact that Democrats did the exact same thing when — when Republicans were in the White House.”
Bash’s claim is false, and she should know better. Democrats didn’t do “the exact same thing” — not only did Dems filibuster far less often than Republicans, but at no time during the Bush/Cheney era did a Democratic senator put a blanket hold on all administration nominees, holding them hostage until the senator was paid off in earmarks. The media’s reflexive “both sides do it” is a real problem for American journalism, and does a disservice to the electorate.
Nevertheless, to answer Mark’s question, there are five Sunday public affairs shows, and three blew off the controversy altogether. One mentioned it, but suggested to viewers that the story isn’t especially important.
Your “liberal media” at work.
Update: I was mistaken about one of the four. I thought I had checked the full “This Week” transcript, but the one I referenced was not the entire episode. Host Jake Tapper did bring up the controversy, and to his credit, covered the story better than the four hosts of the Sunday shows.
Here’s the full transcript of the program. Three of the five blew off the story, not four. My apologies.