Worse than Obama lying: The media lying for him

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Published by: Dan Calabrese on Monday January 14th, 2013

By DAN CALABRESE - No wonder this country's electorate makes such bad decisions.

Rob's already dealt very nicely with the fact that Obama is completely lying in his assertion that, without an increase in the debt ceiling, the federal government will be forced to default on its obligations.

I know you're going to say that all politicians lie, but I for one remain bothered by it, especially when the liar is the president of the United States. But at least people expect politicians to lie and usually listen through a filter that understands this.

If you ask me, though, representative self-government is much more threatened when the mainstream news media - either out of complicity or sheer laziness - echoes the president's lies. That's when the media's sanctimonious rot about being "watchdogs" or whatever they claim to be not only rings hollow, but positively hurts the country because the people who rely on them (however unwisely) truly don't have the slightest idea what the facts really are.

So, not that I was shocked by it, but my heart sank a little when I saw this sentence in a piece on Obama's presser today by the AP's Julie Pace:

Failure to raise the debt limit would put the United States into a first-ever default, a step that Obama said could "blow up the economy."

Quite simply, the statement Pace wrote here is a lie. It is totally false. If Congress refusees to raise the debt limit, it will not force a default in any way. Since, as Rob points out, interest on the debt is only $20 billion a month, and we take in $200 billion a month, it would simply force the administration to decide how to allocate the $180 billion that would remain. We would have 10 times the money we need to make our debt service payments.

Is Pace simply too lazy to check out Obama's claim? Maybe. The establishment media tends to coalesce around a groupthink-generated conventional wisdom on things, and they've accepted in all their groupthink wisdom that no debt ceiling increase means default. Actually running the numbers to see if it's really true - an easy thing to do - is almost seen as the action of a right-wing extremist infiltrator. C'mon. We all know Congress has to raise the debt ceiling or else we'll default. What's this checking-it-out nonsense? What are you, from Fox News or something?

Really, that's a pretty close approximation of the mentality of the media. Stand around a bunch of bored reporters waiting for a press conference to start. Or read the threads on Facebook where they all talk to each other. You'll see what I mean.

And here's why it's so dangerous: Congressional Democrats are actually pushing Obama to simply go ahead and borrow above the debt ceiling even if he doesn't get congressional approval to do so. They're openly encouarging him to break the law. How is it possible that they would even consider such a thing, and would not fear being absolutely ripped apart in the media for doing so? That's because they've pretty much convinced the media to see the issue the way they do, and that is simply an astounding development.

The media have embraced a narrative that says the Republicans want to "hold the economy hostage" and "risk default," where as the "adult in the room" Obama merely wants to honor the government's obligations to pay its bills. Obama is demanding that Congress raise the debt ceiling with no conditions whatsoever, and the media are joining him in painting any demands on Republicans' part as recklessly toying with the nation's fiscal standing.

It's hard to find the words to describe what rubbish this is. House Republicans have made it perfectly clear what they expect from Obama as the price for a debt-ceiling increase. He needs to agree to some serious, real spending cuts. If it's so important to raise the debt ceiling, why doesn't he do that? We're spending 25 percent of GDP and we need to get that number way down, so there's no harm in getting started on it.

Instead, Obama runs to the media and insists that this perfectly reasonable condition is the equivalent of Republicans asking him to cut off his left hand - and they report the news in exact synchronization with his preferred narrative.

He lies. They lie. And now a whole lot of Americans think that we'll default if the debt ceiling isn't raised, because they read that in an AP story that didn't quote anyone or attribute the statement to anyone. It simply stated it as fact. Which it is most assuredly not.

It's no wonder Obama won. People who rely on the media for their information have no idea what the hell is going on in this country.

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