May 07, 2002
Another view of media bias

I've taken conservatives to task several times in this space for whining about liberal media bias. One of the reasons why this is such a hot-button issue for me is that here in Houston you have to go out of your way to come across liberal media in the first place. If all you do around here is read the Houston Chronicle and listen to AM talk radio, one thing you won't get is an overexposure to "liberal orthodoxy", whatever that may be.

Here's an example from today's Chron. Perhaps this will help illuminate why the notion of liberal media bias is so laughable to me.

The Page One headline reads Bush's budget promise goes bust. It's pretty obvious from the get-go that blame for this broken promise will fall everywhere except at President Bush's feet.

President Bush's campaign promise to control government spending grows more elusive, with the nation's wartime budget about to mushroom and election-year politics promising huge new programs, particularly for the elderly.

Added to the mix are an enormous farm subsidy plan finalized by the House last week and to be cleared by the Senate this week; billions of dollars in child care funding Democrats want to add when Congress updates the nation's welfare laws later this year; an expensive drug subsidy both parties say they'll give senior citizens this year, and the inestimable cost of protecting the nation from another terrorist attack.

The bottom line for Bush, as diligent as his administration tries to be about clamping down on spending not related to the war on terrorism, will be a discretionary spending budget reaching $740 billion.

In other words, despite President Bush's heroic efforts, that nasty Congress will force him to spend more money than he wants to. But still, like the adult in charge that he is, he's in there fighting:

To try to contain nondefense expenditures, the Bush administration last week set the tone on two fronts for this year's budget battles.

First, it floated plans to rescind spending on programs such as student loan consolidation subsidies to help cover Bush's $27.1 billion emergency budget request for the war on terrorism and homeland security. Then the White House used a veto threat to try to stop lawmakers from adding their own spending priorities to the emergency measure.

What they don't mention, of course, is that the student loan consolidation subsidies amount to $5.2 billion, which as you may note is considerably less than $27.1 billion. There's no futher mention of any veto threat in this story, so what in particular the President threatened is unknown to the reader.

One place the President isn't threatening a veto is that enormous farm subsidy plan mentioned in the second paragraph. That bill, which has been roundly panned by pretty much everyone, will be signed into law by President Bush once it passes the Senate. It will add $73 billion to federal spending over ten years. That's a lot of student loans.

Naturally, this being the Chron, Bill Clinton must have something to do with whatever it is that's bad:

The added spending is expected to push the federal deficit for this year to more than $100 billion. The new spending continues an upward swing that began in the second half of the Clinton administration, while both the House and Senate were controlled by Republicans.

"We're very concerned that we don't continue the trend that was started under Clinton," said Neil Bradley, director of the Republican Study Committee, representing a group of 70 fiscally conservative GOP House members.

He and many other conservatives blame the federal government's bad spending habits on Clinton. However, even GOP aides acknowledge that lawmakers from both parties took advantage of the surpluses created by strong economic growth in the late 1990s.

If only Bill Clinton hadn't set such a bad example, then the congressional Republicans would have remembered that they once called themselves the party of fiscal responsibility and not gone on the wild spending orgies that are now so bothersome for President Bush.

Now that the word "deficit" has been mentioned, you might wonder what the effect Bush tax may have. Well, it's all explained here in Paragraph 26. Don't blink or you might miss it:

But all that extra spending -- combined with revenue losses both from increased unemployment, continued lower than expected corporate revenues and major tax cuts Bush ushered through Congress last year and again this year as part of an economic stimulus package -- promises to produce hundreds of billions of dollars in deficits.

See, the problem is SPENDING. Cutting revenue is merely an ancillary effect.

So the next time you complain about that nasty liberal press, log on to Houston's Daily Information Source (formerly known as Houston's Leading Information Source; scroll down to the last section to see what I mean) and give yourself the antidote.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 07, 2002 to National news