Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's messaging on raising the debt ceiling -- a big thing before a temporary increase was granted in October -- was that Republicans should oppose it because it will keep Democrats from spending more ... never mind that hitting the debt ceiling would keep the government from paying current bills and could damage the economy in the process. Lydia Switzer summed up the talking points in a Sept. 17 post:
The deadline is fast approaching for Congress to approve raising the debt ceiling, and the liberal media is astonished that Republicans will not simply go along with it. The increase, which needs Republican support to pass, is one requirement for the passage of the Biden administration’s exorbitant $3.5 trillion budget plan. Without increasing the debt ceiling, the US government cannot go into further (massive) debt.
On CNN Newsroom on Thursday afternoon, the anchors and guests agreed the Republicans’ lack of support for the Democrats’ excessive spending “could cause…irreparable damage to both the domestic economy but also the international economy.” In short, if Republicans don’t submit to the Democrats’ demands, the Republicans are somehow to blame for the consequences.
Of course, this patronizing interpretation of the facts suggests that it is the duty of members of Congress, no matter what, to pave the way for trillions of dollars of additional spending and usher in unsustainable debt.
Not only is this viewpoint misguided and fiscally irresponsible, but it also deeply misunderstands the purpose of opposing the debt ceiling increase in the first place: to slow down the juggernaut of national debt.
Switzer concluded by lecturing: "The Democrats and their supporters in the media have grown accustomed to a pattern of reckless spending. Perhaps this will be a wake-up call to the nature of debt and its consequences." This, of course, memory-holes the fact that the debt increased by $7.8 trillion under a Republican president and Republican-controlled Senate, which we don't recall Switzer or any other MRC employee being particularly upset about.
In a Sept. 21 post, Mark Finkelstein complained that warnings about the debt ceiling were "liberal fear-mongering" and that a CNN guest said that Republicans are "basically happy to let the world burn as long as Democrats take the fault."He then huffed that "Democrats don't actually need any Republican votes to raise the debt limit! They can do it on their own by tying it to their $3.5 trillion 'infrastructure' bill." Technically true, yes, but it means that Republicans are passing the buck instead of taking responsibility for governing (with no mention that Repubicans have their fingers all over that debt as well).
Rich Noyes complained on Sept. 22:
After unprecedented amounts of new federal spending, ostensibly to deal with the COVID crisis (though huge amounts of these emergency funds somehow found their way to congressional pet projects), the Biden administration is now asking Congress to raise the debt ceiling to prevent the calamity of a federal default.
While the media could use the occasion to slam dangerous unrestrained spending, we know from history that they will instead launch vicious attacks on Republicans who are insisting on reform as a condition for their vote for more debt.
Finkelstein returned on Sept. 29 to grumble:
We're all gonna die—and it's all the Republicans' fault! With some slight exaggeration, that was CNN's message this morning regarding Republican reluctance to raise the debt limit. Mugging a petrified look [see screencap] New Day co-host John Berman opened the show by predicting nothing short of "the potential collapse of the U.S. economy," because "Republicans have voted against paying U.S. debts."
Again, there was no mention of the fact that Republicans played a significant role in running up that debt.
On Sept. 30, Kyle Drennen gushed that "Republican Senator Pat Toomey repeatedly embarrassed leftist CBS Mornings co-host Tony Dokoupil by dismantling the anchor’s Democratic Party talking points about raising the nation’s debt limit. The GOP lawmaker called out Dokoupil for pushing 'a partisan political point of view that’s designed to provide cover for the Democrats’ spending.'"But Toomey wasthe one pushing a "partisan political point of view" in the form of MRC-approved talking points. Drennen even falsely declared that it was "disinformation" that raising the debt ceiling allows previously approved spending to be paid for.
The MRC largely shut up about the debt ceiling when the temporary deal was reached, though it weirdly obsessed over the idea that the Treatury could mint a $1 trillion platiunum coin as a workaround. But look for its partisan virtue-signaling to resume when the ceiling approaches again later this year.