CNSNews.com has long had a schizophrenic approach to federal deficits: attacking them and blaming President Obama by name for them during his presidency, but criticizing them much more gently under President Trump while not calling him out by name and seeking to hangh part of the blame on Nancy Pelosi even though she controls only one-half of one branch of government. This approach was made even more stark when it came to the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill.
CNS said little about the bill's contents before byond complaining that the Kennedy Center would receive $25 million under it. It devoted much more energy to accusing Democrats in general and Pelosi in particular of standing in the way of the bill's passage with a couple articles quoting Republican politicians attacking her.
- Sen. Cramer: 'Schumer Has to Pull Up His Big Boy Pants and Take Control of His Own Conference'
- Sen. Mike Braun: Senate Was Nearing Agreement on Relief Bill, 'Then Nancy Pelosi Shows Up'
- McCarthy: How Many People Were Laid Off as Dems Fought for Green New Deal?
When the bill did finally afvance to the Senate, Susan Jones unsurprisingly gave Mitch McConnell the credit.
It was only after the bill passed the Senate and was assured of passage in the House and, thus, Trump's signature that CNS raised questions about its provisions. An anonymously written article complained that public broadcasting would receive $%75 million for coronavirus mitigation -- as we noted, that's a fraction of 1 percent of the total stimulus cost, and it launched a cynical attempt by CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, to try and get public broadcasting completely defunded, as if there wasn't a pandemic going on. Managing editor Michael W. Chapman contributed an article on "self-described democratic socialist" (and frequent target) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticizing the bill as a corporate bailout that gives little to working Americans; Chapman did concede that the bill "has a fair amount of federal pork barrel spending thrown in."
And in stark contrast to its treatment of Pelosi, when Republican Rep. Thomas Massie tried to delay passage of the bill in the House by forcing an on-the-record vote, blowing up an earlier agreement for a simple voice vote -- something even Trump attacked him for -- CNS lionized him in a March 27 article by Melanie Arter letting him rant conspiratorially about a cover-up:
“They’re trying to cover-up their votes. They had enough people there to pass the bill, but they still refused to have a recorded vote, and they told me they were trying to protect members,” he said.
“They’re trying to protect the members who are there from political ramifications,” the congressman said.
Massie intended to call for a recorded vote, which requires at least half of all sitting House members to participate, despite warnings against doing so by both Republican and Democratic leaders and the White House.
“Like I said in there, I came here this week to make sure our republic doesn’t die in an empty chamber by unanimous consent. These people need to do their jobs. If they’re telling people to drive a truck, if they’re telling people to bag groceries and grow their food, then by golly, they can be in there, and they can vote, and that’s what we did this week,” Massie said.
Arter did note Trump's criticism of Massie, but not until after she gave Massie a soapbox.
CNS later cited a Republican senator criticizing "spending porn" in the relief bill and rolled out its buddy Mark Levin to whine about "real stupidity" in the bill and complain that "fiscal conservatism is dead" -- but also touted Franklin Graham attacking Pelosi for delaying the bill's passage, and Jones bashed her for talking about another relief bill "even before the full $2.2 trillion in bipartisan relief funding is out the door."
CNS' attitude was seemingly encapsulated in a March 31 blog post by Craig Bannister noting a Rasmussen poll finding that "while U.S. likely voters overwhelmingly support the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package passed by Congress, they also suspect it’s packed with costly, irrelevant pork-barrel items." It's willing to overlook the pork to hand Trump a political victory, then criticize it when it has no relevant impact.