Financial Non-Accountability At CNS: The Inevitable Biden Flip-Flop
Now that a Democrat is president, CNSNews.com editor Terry Jeffrey is all about being a deficit hawk again and blaming Biden for the increasing national debt.
By Terry Krepel
But before he could fully activate that double standard as President Biden took office in early 2021, CNS editor Terry Jeffrey had a little housekeeping to do under the old blame-avoiding method, declaring in a Feb. 11 article:
The federal government spent a record $1,923,752,000,000 in the first four months of fiscal 2021 (October through January), according to the Monthly Treasury Statement.
Since Trump was president for nearly all of this time, and Democrats did not assume and presidency or take control of the Senate until Jan. 20, Jeffrey is careful not to point out this debt was racked up under a Republican president and Senate -- as usual, the words "Trump" and "Republican" appear nowhere. The accompanying file photo is of Democrat Nancy Pelosi and Republican Mitch McConnell -- as if both parties shared equal blame -- while Trump was nowhere to be founded despite the fact that, again, he was president for all of 11 days of the time period Jeffrey was writing about.
For his next monthly summary on March 10, Jeffrey was starting to shift toward laying blame on Democrats. In complaining that "Federal taxes, federal spending and the federal deficit all set records in the first five months of fiscal 2021 (October through February)," Jeffrey didn't call out Democrats, but he didn't also tell his readers that the presidency and Senate were under Republican control until Jan. 20, or more than 3 1/2 months of that five-month period.
Nevertheless, the file photo Jeffrey used this time features only Democrats: Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.
Bashing COVID relief spending
At the same time Jeffrey was activating his coverage flip-flop, he and CNS also showed a double standard by being much more vocal in complaining about allegedly wasteful spending in a COVID relief bill debated and approved in early 2021 -- and in calling out Democrats while doing so.
Jeffrey declared in his Jan. 27 column that "The $1.9 trillion relief bill that President Joe Biden wants Congress to pass now as his response to the COVID-19 pandemic would cost Americans more than the entire federal government cost in fiscal 1981." Jeffrey did not make that comparison about the main relief bill passed in 2020 and signed by Trump, the CARES Act, even though it cost $2.2 trillion. Meanwhile, only now that Trump is safely out of office is Jeffrey criticizing him by name for running up the deficit:
Last March, President Donald Trump signed a $2.3 trillion spending law to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the relief bill was debated, CNS went on to blame Democrats for the supposedly wasteful spending in the bill, mostly by uncritically repeating Republican and conservative attacks on it:
CNS' op-eds also raged against the bill:
Jeffrey returned in a March 10 column in which he declared that it is axiomatic that the relief bill "will use tax dollars to pay for abortions" because it contains no Hyde Amendment-style clause prohibiting it. He identified no federal program or funding mechanism receiving relief bill money through which that might actually happen.
Meanwhile, Jeffrey had his usual culture-war attacks on it, as summarized in the headlines of the articles he wrote on it:
In the former, Jeffrey groused that the National Endowment for the Arts gave $25,000 to a theater group to put on a production calling itself "a groundbreaking trans and queer examination of American masculinity's deep roots in Trouble." Because he clearly has not seen the production and cannot attack it beyond its non-heteronormative subject matter, Jeffrey ranted about whether the NEA should get any money at all: "Did federally funded artists produce any great masterpieces in this period? Did American taxpayers get their money's worth? Should we now use a bill allegedly designed to fight COVID-19 to pay the NEA an additional $135 million?" He went on to suggest the production was "bad 'art'" even though, again, he has never seen it.
In the latter, Jeffrey bashed the NEA again, as well as complaining that "The bill also funds rental assistance and housing vouchers." He didn't explain why helping people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic pay their rent is such a terrible thing.
Yet for all that rage, CNS couldn't be bothered to produce an article on Biden signing the bill into law.
Back to hypocritical business
Meanwhile, Jeffrey returned to his old trick of airbrushing Republicans out of his complaints about spending. He wrote in a March 31 article:
The federal debt has increased by more than $1 trillion in the first six months of fiscal 2021, according to the official figures published by the U.S. Treasury.
Jeffrey failed to mention the fact that for the first 3 1/2 months of fiscal 2021, there was a Republican president and a Republican-controlled Senate, thus making Republicans responsible for a good part of that debt. But the article is illustrated with a file photo of Biden and Nancy Pelosi.
Jeffrey followed up with an April 26 article:
Federal taxes, spending and the federal deficit all set records in the first six months of fiscal 2021 (October through March), according to the Monthly Treasury Statement.
Again, Jeffrey failed to tell readers that there was a Republican president and a Republican-controlled Senate for the first 3 1/2 months of the fiscal year. Again, he illustrated his article with only Democrats -- this time Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.
On May 12, Jeffrey lazily recycled that article but with updated numbers, ominously adding: "This is the first time that federal spending has exceeded $4 trillion in the first seven months of a fiscal year." Once more, he censored the fact that there was a Republican president and a Republican-controlled Senate for the first 3 1/2 months of the fiscal year, and he again illustrated his article with only Democrats -- this time Biden, Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Jeffrey's bias was mirrored by his anti-Biden reporter Jones, who complained in an April 28 article about spending under Biden headlined "In His First Hundred Days, Biden Calls for $6.2 Trillion in Taxpayer Spending." She also baselessly implied a quid pro quo to the Obama by claiming that a program to improve nutrition standards in school meals was "a billion-dollar nod to former First Lady Michelle Obama." Jones did not explain why nutritional meals for children are a bad thing.
On May 28, Jeffrey used all the zeroes he could find (in violation of AP Stylebook rules on writing out numbers) to attack Biden's budget proposal:
The budget proposal that President Joe Biden released today calls for the federal government to run a cumulative deficit of $14.53 trillion ($14,531,000,000,000) over the next ten years.
Jeffrey recycled his attack on Biden's budget in his June 2 column, right down to irrelevantly emphasizing Biden's age:
Americans, President Joe Biden's budget proposal suggests, should not worry that he plans to significantly increase federal deficits over the next eight years.
Neither Jeffrey piece mentioned Trump, who ran up trillions of dollars in deficits during his presidency.
On June 10, Jeffrey served up his monthly lament about federal spending:
The federal government set new records in the taxes it collected, the spending it engaged in and the deficit it ran through the first eight months of fiscal 2021 (October through May), according to the Monthly Treasury Statement.
Remember that those monthly laments during the Trump administration sought to lay equal blame on Democrats and Republicans alike by including Democrats in the stock photo accompanying the article, even though Republicans controlled the presidency and Senate and Democrats controlled only the House. This time, the photo is of Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.
Jeffrey complained in a July 13 article:
The federal government set new records for taxing and spending through the first nine months of fiscal 2021 (October through June), according to the Monthly Treasury Statement.
Jeffrey used his July 15 column to complain about how much money the federal government has been spending per capita over the past century, serving up snapshots of each decade. For the 2000 budget, Jeffrey was loath to credit Bill Clinton, who was president at the time, for a reduction in per capita spending, so he made sure to also that "Republicans controlled both houses of Congress." For his summary of spending in 2020, Jeffrey acknowledged Trump but refused to explicitly
blame him, instead making the pandemic the villain -- and then, of course, explicitly blame Biden and Pelosi for additional deficit spending:
In 2020, when Donald Trump was president and the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the federal government, according to the OMB, spent $6,550,396,000,000 (or $6,837,699,370,000 in June 2021 dollars). That equaled $19,762.89 in unadjusted dollars and $20,629.70 in constant June 2021 dollars for each of the 331,449,281 in the United States, according to the Census Bureau.
Jeffrey's Aug. 11 article on the latest federal spending numbers followed July's pattern:
The federal government set a new record for the amount of taxes it collected through the first ten months of fiscal 2021 (October through July), according to the Monthly Treasury Statement.
Again, as usual, no mention of Trump or Republicans, and Jeffrey as found a different file photo of Biden and Pelosi to illustrate it.
Jeffrey's pattern did not change in the final months of 2021. Jeffrey declared in a Sept. 13 article:
The federal government collected a record $3,586,456,000,000 in total taxes through first eleven months of fiscal 2021 (September through August), according to the Monthly Treasury Statement.
Jeffrey made no mention of how the spending continued a pattern of higher pandemic-related deficit spending established by the Trump administration in 2020. He did, however, include a stock photo of Nancy Pelosi and the back of (maybe) President Biden's head, and he also bizarrely suggested that the country wasn't spending enough money on defense and too much money on helping American citizens:
On the spending side, the federal government spent the most money through the Department of Health and Human Services, which has $1,340,131,000,000 in expenditures in September through August.
Jeffrey repeated much of that, with updated numbers, in an Oct. 25 fiscal-year-end article:
The federal government collected a record $4,045,979,000,000 in taxes in fiscal 2021, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement for September, which is the final month of the federal fiscal year.
Jeffrey didn't mention that Trump was president for the first 3 1/2 months of fiscal 2021. Nevertheless, he included a stock photo of Biden, Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris.
The complaint was regurgitated in Jeffrey's Nov. 10 article:
The federal government, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement, collected a record $283,927,000,000 in total taxes in October, which was the first month of fiscal 2022.
This time, the stock photo was of Biden, Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.
It was lather, rinse, repeat for Jeffrey's Dec. 10 article:
The federal government collected a record $565,135,000,000 in total taxes through the first two months of fiscal 2022 (October and November), according to the Monthly Treasury Statement.
This month's stock photo featured Biden and Pelosi.Jeffrey spent his Dec. 15 column complaining;
If you divide the $28,908,004,857,445 in debt that the federal government owed before the debt limit was lifted by the 100,424,240 American households that paid net income taxes in 2018, it works out to approximately $287,859 per income-tax-paying household.
Jeffrey further complained that one can buy a decent house in many parts of the country with their share of the debt, adding: "Which would you rather have over your head? A roof that you will someday own? Or a federal government that is steadily increasing its control over your finances and your life?" We don't recall Jeffrey writing any similar complaints about how much one could buy with their share of the debt when Trump was president.
Jeffrey served up his usual monthly statement in a Jan. 12 article: "At the same time that it was collecting a record $1,051,873,000,000 in total taxes in the October-through-December period, the federal government was spending $1,429,567,000,000. Thus, it ran a deficit of $377,694,000,000." The stock photo accompanying the article, as usual, featured all Democrats.
Jeffrey complained again in a Jan. 20 article:
The federal debt climbed $20,353.58 for every income-tax-paying household in the United States during Biden’s first year in office, according to data released by the U.S. Treasury Department.
By contrast, Jeffrey wrote no similar article on how Trump added $8 trillion to the federal debt during his presidency.
As usual, there's a tag at the end of most of these articles stating, "The business and economic reporting of CNSNews.com is funded in part with a gift made in memory of Dr. Keith C. Wold." Is Jeffrey really serving Wold's memory with his journalistic deception and dishonesty?