This morning, David Greene of NPR's "Morning Edition" reported from Idaho regarding an intra-wingnut primary. Mr. Greene had several 55 MPH meatballs thrown directly over the heart of home plate in several interviews which ran this morning, but (completely unsurprisingly), Mr. Greene didn't even lift the bat off his shoulder.
Much of the piece focused on the Idaho National Laboratory, wikipedia page here. Greene spoke with two local women who described the huge importance the Lab plays in the local economy and has played in their own lives and their family's lives, and to Greene's mild credit, he does reference the "tension" between the local people's reliance on the federal money associated with the Lab and the surging popularity of the Tea Party message in this neck of the country. However, the piece quickly goes way, way downhill from there.
Greene interviewed wingnut challenger Bryan Smith next. Greene references that Smith has come out against Simpson's vote for the recent budget agreement, which included money for the Lab, and that Smith believes that "not spending more than you can afford" is more important than funding the Lab. Curiously, Smith then bemoans the fact that
In 1998, when he [Simpson] first was elected and ran for office, he - there were over 10,000 jobs at the INL. After 16 years in government, we now have less than 5,000 people employed at the site. So I disagree with the assumption that jobs have grown at the site during his tenure as congressman.Greene then completely bails out from asking any sort of hard-hitting and logical question at this point, instead meekly asking whether Smith was confident that as a newcomer in Congress he would be able to bring funding to the Lab. And therein lies the problem with NPR, and really with the larger corporate media in this country: if Greene was not a hack or stunningly incompetent, he would have asked Smith something along the lines of, "Isn't a 50% reduction in federal workers EXACTLY what you are fighting for as a Tea Party Republican? Shouldn't you be celebrating the reduction in the federal workforce and lauding Simpson for presiding over this reduction to the size of the federal government and the associated reduction in federal spending?"
Greene then interviews Simpson, who spouts platitudes about compromising in order to govern and whether the GOP will be an ideologically pure minority or a compromising "governing majority." Once again, no questions from Greene to Simpson which get across the point that "Shouldn't you, as a Republican, be running strongly on your record of reducing the presence of the federal government within your district? According to your political philosophy and that of many of your constituents, shouldn't that be something to celebrate?"
Finally, and most egregiously, Greene interviews a local Joe Sixpack, Leon Matejka. Right off the bat, you get the gist of what kind of person Matejka is: speaking of Simpson, he says he is leaning Tea Party and that Simpson is a "little bit more liberal on a lot of things than I am." This was immediately after Greene informs us that Matejka is retired after working at, you guessed, the federal Lab for fifteen years.
The following exchange then takes place:
GREENE: Sounds like such an interesting moment for a lot of Republicans here. Because on one hand you have a place that is so important to the economy that it's gotten federal money for a long time. And on the other side, you have a real desire right now to control federal spending in general. How do you kind of work that out in your head?Huh? To begin with, Matejka's answer is nothing short of gibberish, but is that really surprising coming from a wingnut? Further, Greene asks absolutely no questions to this former federal worker regarding why it was okay for him to collect federal government-issued paychecks for fifteen years but now "we've got to cut spending?" No questions such as, "How can you, who know firsthand the importance of the federal spending on the Lab to the economy of the very area YOU LIVE IN, simultaneously support gutting federal spending?" No commentary whatsoever to this man suggesting that his political beliefs are 100% hypocritical?
MATEJKA: Yeah, that's why I'm a little bit, you know, contorted in that whole thing, you know because I think we do need to quit spending our federal money like we are. But we're going away with so many crazy things that what I think will happen is one of those things that's crazy.
GREENE: And that really is the conundrum for a lot of people here. They feel like too much federal spending is crazy. But spending money on the lab isn't.
Perhaps that is Greene's insinuation with the final line quoted above, but it is high-time that right-wingers, particularly right-wingers who have or do directly rely on the federal government to put food in their mouths, are pressed and made to answer the question, "Why is federal spending on YOU or the area in which YOU live okay, but other, unnamed and amorphous 'government spending' constitutes a terrible crime against the next generations? Why is spending that benefits YOU different?"
Once again, we were given a window into the mindset of an average right-winger, and are privy to the hypocrisy that nearly every single right-winger engages in, and once again, all too predictably, a reporter with a golden chance to question said right-winger about the absolute contradiction between his political beliefs and the way he has actually lived his life, completely whiffs. But since this is NPR, I can't say I'm too surprised.