What happens when journalists walk through the doors at 620 Eighth Avenue in Manhattan? Are they forced to check their rationality at the door? Made to wear some kind of perception-altering goggles that prevent them from seeing reality and then telling the readers of The New York Times about it? Because here’s how they explain the debt ceiling crisis in their “Morning Newsletter,” with German Lopez in the byline:
The bad news: Democrats and Republicans are divided. House Republicans say they want to use a debt-limit increase—and the threat of default—as leverage to cut government spending. Top Democrats have likened the Republican stance to a hostage-taking situation. The sides can’t agree even on whether to negotiate.
QAnon has seized the House of Representatives, and for Lopez and New York Times editors, it’s a “Routine crisis.” That’s how they titled this piece, with “A political fight is again putting the economy at risk.” There is one small concession in the rampant both-sidesing in the piece: “But the willingness of some Republicans to risk going into default poses potentially dire consequences.”
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“Some Republicans” being the ones who control the House of Representatives, and they aren’t “risking” going into default, they are planning to go into default. How extreme is this? Donald Trump—yes, that Donald Trump—is warning them that attempting to force cuts to Social Security and Medicare with the debt ceiling is bad. “Under no circumstances should Republicans vote to cut a single penny from Medicare or Social Security,” he tells them in a new video.
Why does what the Times says even matter? It matters because a lot of smart people who don’t follow politics like the readers of Daily Kos follow politics come away assured that everything is perfectly normal in this fight. That it’s the same old partisan warfare they’ve been reading about for years and that it’s basically playacting. It not only generates cynicism from a public that thinks “if it’s in the Times, it must be right,” it gives them the impression that a) this is just how it works nowadays, and b) the Democrats are as responsible for this with their crazy spending ways as the GOP, which wants to blow the system to smithereens.
That’s the same GOP that tried to overthrow the government just two years ago. Speaking of, 11 of the 17 Republicans tapped to head up House committees voted on Jan. 6 to reject the 2020 presidential election results. After Trump’s violent mob ransacked the place. The all-important House Oversight Committee now features “13 election deniers, 10 impeach-Biden-world advocates, and 3 congressional subpoena dodgers.”
There really isn’t anything that the GOP can do that the Times will condemn as extreme and un-American, including creating a constitutional crisis over the debt limit. Because that’s what it ultimately is. The Constitution says, in a number of provisions, that the executive branch pays the nation’s debts and maintains a functional government. It also says, “The validity of the public debt of the United States … shall not be questioned.” Period.
More than that, though, what the GOP is threatening could amount to a global financial meltdown. Just one side in this fight thinks that’s a thing that could/should be allowed to happen. Just one side is clutching that hand grenade, ready to pull the pin.
And the Democrats are to be equally blamed for taking a firm stance against negotiating with these economic terrorists? Only if you get your news from the Times.
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