Another Newsbusters media critique falls flat

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

I think I'm starting to understand why the media criticism produced by the Newsbusters crew is so frequently off-base. It's because they have no idea what they're talking about. Ever.

Here, take a look at Media Research Center Vice President Brent Baker's most recent complaint:

Cautioning the Obama administration's "deficit projections...are just that, projections," NBC's Chuck Todd on Monday evening bought into the White House's claim that Democratic health care reform bills that would add millions to the system are actually spending reduction measures, as he warned: "If health care doesn't pass, because this budget assumes health care will pass, that's yet another $150 billion that would be tacked on to the deficit." (Emphasis added)

See the problem? Baker is conflating spending reduction with deficit reduction.

The other problem is that Baker apparently hasn't been paying attention to the health care debate for the past year, as he derides as "ludicrous" the forecast that health care reform would reduce the deficit. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office consistently projected that the various versions of reform would reduce the deficit. White House budget director Peter Orszag says the $150 billion figure is simply an average of the CBO scores for the versions passed by the House and the Senate.

Finally, Baker's headline demonstrates that his lack of understanding of health care and the difference between "spending" and "deficit" is matched by his inability to understand the difference between assuming something and reporting someone else's assumptions. Baker's headline:

Not Passing ObamaCare Will Boost Deficit by $150 Billion, NBC and ABC Presume

Here's the Jake Tapper comment that headline refers to: "perhaps the most surprising, the budget assumes a savings of $150 billion over the next ten years from health care reform." So, that -- quite obviously -- is not an instance of ABC presuming anything; Tapper is telling viewers what the White House presumes. Similarly, NBC's Chuck Todd is clearly telling viewers what the White House is assuming about health care, not what he assumes.

This really isn't very complicated. It's the equivalent of me reading Baker's statement that ABC presumed that health care reform would save $150 billion and said "Brent Baker presumes that health care reform would save $150 billion."

Posted In
Health Care, Health Care Reform
NBC, ABC, NewsBusters
Chuck Todd, Jake Tapper, Brent Baker
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.