Weekend Watchdog Wrap-Up

Bill Scher

For the second week in a row, the Sunday shows ask a Watchdog question. But this week’s victory is a little hollow.

After Sen. John McCain lied to Tim Russert during Thursday’s debate about his past comments admitting a lack of knowledge on economics, Russert did take the Watchdog’s cue and confronted McCain on NBC’s Meet The Press.

But as Russert was asking McCain the question, both laughed like old friends. Then, while McCain acknowledged he had said “I still need to be educated” on economics, he then proceeded to say, “Am I smart on economics? Yes.” Russert failed to note the contradiction.

On Fox News Sunday, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson was nominally asked if the White House would allow the Senate to add increased support for food stamps and unemployment benefits. But that’s not good enough for the Watchdog.

Host Chris Wallace failed to note that the Congressional Budget Office concluded that proposal was a fast and cost-effective way to stimulate the economy in advance of a possible recession. Such analysis is created with our tax dollars so the public can make informed decisions in our democracy.

Yet Wallace did not provide any factual background to his question, in effect making the debate it a mere political game, and leaving his audience uninformed about the merits of the proposals.

Finally, while Face The Nation’s Bob Schieffer did suggest to Rudy Giuliani that “the more people found out about you, the more they didn’t like you.”

But he did not ask Giuliani to answer what that meant about his signature exploitation of the Sept. 11 attacks. He only asked an open-ended question, “what do you attribute this drop in the polls to?”

That’s certainly not the biggest softball the Watchdog has watched, but it still falls short of asking the Watchdog question.

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