In a stunningly one-sided story last night, 60 Minutes gave GOP Gov. Chris Christie the floor to push his war against public employees and the GOP narrative that has taken hold of the country--the debt crisis in the states isn't a revenue problem, it's a spending problem. Media Matters has an excellent summation of the segment.
In 2,600 words about state deficits, you won't find the phrase "tax cuts." Instead, CBS adopts the Republican framing that deficits are all about spending -- frequently with loaded phrasing like "gold-plated retirement and health care packages." And throughout the report, CBS allows Christie, New Jersey's Republican governor, to launch attacks on unions and make unsupported claims about budget problems, all without ever challenging his assertions and without including substantive disagreement from Christie critics.
CBS quotes Christie declaring: "We have a benefit problem. ... It's not an income problem from the state. It's a benefit problem. And so we gotta change those benefits." No contrary view is included.
On the killing of the job-creating rail tunnel into Manhattan:
You'd never know from CBS's handling of the tunnel that there are people, like Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, who argue that the tunnel would have had a stimulative effect on the economy, and that killing it was therefore shortsighted, as a stimulated economy produces more tax revenue. No, CBS simply presented Christie's opposition to the tunnel as gospel.
On his war with public employees and gutting of the state's pension system:
You'd never know from CBS' report that a big part of the reason that "Christie and his predecessors" failed to make required contributions to the pension fund is that they decided to use the money for tax cuts instead. (Like I said, the CBS report takes the GOP-friendly stance that deficits are all about spending, not revenue.)
It's a Grover Norquist wet dream, with 60 Minutes—which occupies the pinnacle of the "liberal media"— unquestioningly accepting the "spending problem" narrative. That's the narrative that won the day with passage of the tax cut deal. Which, in turn, is probably going to make the crisis in the states much worse.