When is a Spending Cut a Spending Cut?
As Tea Party Patriots know, many in the media have a liberal bias. This was prominently showcased in 2008, as Sarah Palin was treated to the worst of that bias while President Obama was given close to a free ride. This year, Mitt Romney is being given similar treatment.
During last week’s convention, however, CBS showcased a subtler form of bias – semantics. Here is an example (emphasis added):
Romney has made a core promise to cut $500 billion per year from the federal budget by 2016….
His campaign manifesto, however, is almost completely devoid of the “hard truths” Christie promises. In fact, Romney is promising to reverse $716 billion in Medicare savings achieved by Obama over the coming decade and promises big increases in military spending as well, along with extending tax cuts for everyone, including the wealthiest.
The few specifics Romney offers include repealing Obama’s health care law, cutting federal payrolls, weaning Amtrak from subsidies, cutting foreign aid and curbing the Medicaid health care program for the poor and disabled….
What’s left for Romney to cut is benefit programs other than Medicare and Social Security, which include food stamps, welfare, farm subsidies and retirement benefits for federal workers. The remaining pot of money includes the day-to-day budgets of domestic agencies, which have already borne cuts under last year’s budget deal.
Just these five paragraphs have substantial semantic bias in them. To wit:
- According to CBS, Romney wants to “cut” spending. But Obama “achieved” savings in Medicare. Clearly, they are the same thing, but the language used to describe Romney’s efforts is far more negative.
- The savings Obama “achieved” are anything but. They are, in fact, cuts to the program.
- CBS states Romney wants to extend “tax cuts for everyone.” This is true. However, stating this and adding “including the wealthiest” is both repetitive and is part of the narrative Obama is using to portray Romney as out of touch.
- Romney’s plans for Medicaid are cuts “for the poor and disabled.” But Obama’s cuts aren’t targeting seniors through rationing?
- Domestic agencies have indeed “borne cuts” through the Budget Control Act from last year. (Well, not cuts – a cut in the expected annual increase in spending. Another bias using inaccurate language.) However, this section of the article fails to note that defense also bore some significant reductions in spending.
Compared to a number of other articles, op-eds, etc. from allegedly neutral news organizations, this CBS fact-checking is far less overt in its bias. However, this potentially makes it more harmful when it comes to educating the public – after all, adding the title “fact-checker” ostensibly adds more value to something in the form of public trust. Failing to maintain the necessary objectivity while fact-checking does a disservice to those looking for the facts.