CNS' summer of interns pestering members of Congress with leading gotcha questions came to an end with a classic -- if by "classic" one means a deceptively simple question designed to let conservatives virtue-signal for answering "no" and make liberals look bad for answering "yes." The question: “The debt of the federal government is $28.4 trillion. Is that too much?”with some getting the follow-up: “Is there any federal program or agency that you would eliminate to reduce the federal spending?”
Perhaps reflective of thet nature of the questions, CNS' list of victims this time is much more Republican-skewed this time around:
- Richard Blumenthal (D)
- Josh Hawley (R)
- Ted Cruz (R)
- Mark Warner (D)
- Rand Paul (R)
- Richard Shelby (R)
- Joni Ernst (R)
- Dan Sullivan (R)
- Steve Daines (R)
- Steve Schatz (D) (which later added a "editorial note" stating that "This story was corrected on Aug. 13, 2021 to report that Sen. Schatz said debt-service payments "can" be maintained, and not "can't," as originally reported")
- Mitt Romney (R)
- Mike Braun (R)
- Ron Johnson (R)
- John Cornyn (R)
- Richard Burr (R)
- John Barrasso (R)
Most of the articles added conservative-friendly boilerplate that sounds like it was actually written by CNS editor Terry Jeffrey:
Over the last 39 years, the debt has ballooned, from $1.1 trillion to $28.4 trillion. The federal debt did not surpass $1 trillion until fiscal 1982. That fiscal year, according to the Treasury, the debt started at $997,855,000,000 and ended at $1,142,034,000,000.
In the 1994 Contract With America, conservative Republicans called for eliminating the Department of Commerce, Department of Energy, Department of Education, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
In the federal government, in addition to the legislative, judicial, and executive branches, there are 15 departments, such as Defense, HHS, Commerce, and Education. Also, there are approximately 453 agencies.
According to The Hill, “The federal government employs nearly 9.1 million workers, comprising nearly 6 percent of total employment in the United States. The figure includes nearly 2.1 million federal employees, 4.1 million contract employees, 1.2 million grant employees, 1.3 million active duty military personnel, and more than 500,000 postal service employees.”
Jeffrey, of course, is a massive hypocrite on this issues, fulminating about deficit spending when it happens under Democrats but refusing to call out Republicans responsible for deficit spending on their watch≥
So what have the interns actually learned this summer? Not much, really. They got resume-friendly clips of them interacting with famous (for D.C.) people, but it's not hard to yell a question at a politician when he or she is walking past you, or to pretend you're a reporter who's "just asking questions" when those questions are designed to be politically loaded and to advance one particular ideological point of view. In short: they may have learned some stuff, but much of it doesn't necessarily involve journalism?