Saturday, May 19, 2012

Meet the Press Fails to Follow up with Paul Ryan on Austerity Issue

Meet the Press is a weekly American television news/interview program produced by NBC. It is the longest-running television series in American broadcasting history, despite bearing little resemblance to the original format of the program seen in its television debut on November 6, 1947. The current host is David Gregory, who assumed the role in December 2008. On May 21, 2012 David Gregory had  Paul Ryan  the Republican U.S. Representative for Wisconsin's 1st congressional district and Democrat Dick Durbin  the Democratic senior United States Senator from Illinois on to discuss the budget.

David Gregory mentioned what measures are needed to get the economy going again. The choice he posed to them is 'austerity' or 'growth' [spending], noting that in Europe austerity measures have failed miserably. Congressman Paul Ryan responded by saying it was a 'cautionary tale of what not to do' because they raised taxes. Ryan went on to say 'let's get unbroke and prevent austerity'. 

However the fact of the matter is what Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney and the Republican Party are advocating is a plan of harsh austerity, just not for the wealthy and transnational corporations. His 'Ryan Plan' as it is called, would entail massive cuts to Social Security by raising the age at which you can collect and the actual benefits. Worse yet it essentially abolishes Medicare and Medicaid by making them voucher programs that are phased out over time. On the other hand, it adds $4 trillion in new tax breaks over 10 years for the already wealthy and big business. 

There is crucial difference however between an actual investigative journalist and a moderator. David Gregory is not an investigative journalist. Paul Ryan repeated over and over that his plan would prevent the need for austerity, yet David Gregory never asked a single follow up question or challenged him on the facts. His plan is the very definition of austerity. In economics, austerity refers to a policy of deficit-cutting by lowering spending often via a reduction in the amount of benefits and public services provided. 

How can a serious journalist just sit there and say nothing while a politician redefines the English language in such an Orwellian manner. 

It would be akin to if Entertainment Tonight was doing an interview with Charlie Sheen and they asked him 'Do you still do drugs'? Meanwhile, right in front of them, Charlie was snorting cocaine and then responds 'Nope, I am clean and sober'. Any normal person would respond Wait a minute, you are snorting coke right now'! David Gregory is not a normal person.

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