Weekend Watchdog Wrap-Up

Bill Scher

With an extra dose on attention on ABC’s George Stephanopoulos after the “Worst Debate Ever,” he still failed to put the Watchdog’s key questions to Sen. John McCain.

He came close, bringing up McCain’s contradictory statements on the economy — even doing the Watchdog one better, finding McCain has said both that Americans are better off than seven years ago, and worse off.

But instead of following the set-up with a question forcing McCain to explain “why haven’t you given consistent straight answers,” Stephanopoulos lobbed an open-ended question, “The theme is going to be, and you know it, you’re out of touch, you just don’t get it. How do you respond?”

Further, McCain repeatedly said he was going to continue and expand Bush’s tax cut strategy, but Stephanopoulos never asked McCain what that would help the economy under McCain when it didn’t under Bush.

Stephanopoulos does deserve some credit: he did press McCain on his tax cut flip-flop.

McCain often says his original opposition to the Bush tax cuts was because they were not linked to spending cuts. But in response to questioning, McCain said he would approve further tax cuts even if he couldn’t get spending cuts through Congress. Stephanopoulos pressed the point:

STEPHANOPOULOS: But it seems like you have had an evolving position on tax cuts. 2001, you said the Bush tax cuts violated your conscience. 2003, you said you opposed them because we didn’t figure out how to pay for the war yet. 2008, you said you opposed them because there were no spending constraints. Now you’re saying it’s tax cuts even if the spending cuts aren’t there. Basically, no matter what the economic problem is, you say tax cuts are the solution.

MCCAIN: Because I can change the way we do business and cut spending.

Meanwhile over on Fox News Sunday, Karl Rove was on yet again as a “political analyst” to commentate on the Democratic primary, without ever asking him about the scandal he’s in the middle of: the politicization of the US Department of Justice.

Despite the news last week — Rove’s lawyer flip-flopping on whether his client would testify to Congress about the alleged political prosecution of the former Alabama governor Don Siegelman — Fox continues to treat Rove strictly as a pundit and not as a subject in the middle of a scandal.

Finally, on the Meet The Press, Clinton campaign head Geoff Garin was asked about Sen. Hillary Clinton’s reported criticism of MoveOn.org, but did not ask if the campaign would apologize for making a false statement about MoveOn.org’s position on the war in Afghanistan.


Worth noting this observation from Glenn Greenwald:

Having just watched more Sunday news shows than a human being should ever have to endure, it is striking — though unsurprising — that not a single one saw fit to mention this NYT story [exposing how the Pentagon has embedded the media with “military analysts” delivering Bush administration talking points] demonstrating that these news programs all fed government propaganda to their viewers. That they refuse to comment on this story and will now black it out says as much about what they really are, and what they really do, as the NYT story itself does.

There was a time when a blockbuster investigative report rippled through the rest of the traditional media. But now, it doesn’t happen on the merits. It needs to be pushed, by folks like us.

(Check out Rick’s post on the NYT blockbuster.)

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