Raise taxes? Cut spending?

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on December 19, 2012

From a report by Dan Gainor posted at BusinessandMedia.org (original post date 12/18/12):
For many Americans, ABC, NBC and CBS are the major source of news on business and the economy. Unfortunately, …network reporters are either ill-prepared to discuss complex issues of economics, finance and business or choose to be advocates for viewpoints rather than objective reporters who strive for balance.

Liberal preferences for government solutions and interventionism as well as hostility toward wealth and profit dominate network coverage.

The result was skewed, unfair and even inaccurate reporting on the economy and the private sector. In 2012, network reporters got many economic stories wrong.

For example… ABC and Others Lean Left, Embrace Tax Hikes for Fiscal Cliff Solution

The country is hurtling toward the Jan. 1 deadline of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts, if Congress and the president cannot make a deal to stop it.  Although each side has a different solution: liberals say raise taxes, conservatives say cut spending, the overwhelming focus of the network news has been on raising taxes. In fact, ABC’s “World News” talked about raising taxes as the solution 17 times more than they’ve covered spending cuts.

ABC devoted more than 10 minutes to talk of taxes and just 35 seconds to spending cuts (10 minutes 18 seconds to 35 seconds) in the three weeks following the presidential election and often harped on a pledge not to raise taxes as the problem. ABC’s Senior Political Correspondent Jonathan Karl pointed at the pledge as being a potential cause for the fiscal cliff. “The pledge is the biggest obstacle to any deal that would raise taxes,” he told “World News” viewers Nov. 26.

Combined, the three network evening programs focused more than twice as much on tax increases as they did on spending (29 minutes 31 seconds to 12 minutes 54 seconds) between Nov. 7 and Nov. 26.

It’s interesting that spending cuts received so little coverage since even President Obama admitted that entitlement spending is the top problem causing deficits. NBC ran that comment during its “Nightly News” Nov. 25. “We have to continue to take a serious look at how we reform our entitlements because health care costs continue to be the biggest driver of our deficits,” Obama said.

BMI also analyzed six months of coverage of the fiscal cliff ahead of the presidential election and found that the networks portrayed the issue inaccurately. They blamed Congress (and specifically Republicans in Congress) 16 times more often than they blamed President Obama. Both Congress and Obama should have been held responsible since the tax hikes and spending cuts were the result of a deal made by both of them.

The skewed coverage has impacted public opinion, as a Washington Post-Pew poll showed “53 percent are inclined to blame Republicans in Congress” if a deal is not made to avoid the fiscal cliff.