Friday, April 20, 2012

Budget Lies and Journalistic Disgrace

The Republican talking point machine is in high gear as we head into the silly season prior to the party conventions in late summer.  Economic growth is decent but not great.  The fictional 'war on women' is winding down leaving Republicans with little to talk about.  So why not resurrect the tired line about the president failing to pass a budget in three years, ignoring the fact that it is Congress' responsibility to pass a budget, not the president's.  They could even send Sarah Palin out to lecture about how President Obama is shirking his constitutional responsibility.  Wait, they did.  Of course, as Jon Bernstein notes, Palin doesn't even apparently understand the Constitution she so willingly accuses the president of violating.   In an interview with Greta Van Susteren on Fox Palin says,
And the number one thing, Greta, that he is responsible for is -- he today violating Article I, Section [9], Clause 7 of the United States Constitution in not having a budget. Going on three years, over a thousand days with no budget, no blueprint to run our federal government!
Really?  As others have pointed out, the section Palin cited says NOTHING about a budget or a series of appropriations bills.  It simply says that when the government spends money it has to be authorized by law and it has to account for the expenditures.  Both of those things have happened...the Budget Control Act of November 18, 2011 established spending levels for FY 2012 and the executive branch produces expenditure reports regularly as required.  No violations here.  Just a lot of hot air emanating from Ms. Palin, as usual.

But that isn't what bothers me.  No, it is the sheer lack of journalistic integrity displayed by Greta Van Susteren that allowed Palin to get away with this nonsense.  Now, I understand that expecting an infotainment channel like Fox to actually explain to its viewers how the appropriations process works might qualify me for delusions even greater than the ones Gov. Palin apparently suffers from.  Expecting the media to actually educate Americans is a tall order, especially when they don't want to be educated.  Nevertheless, the media play a vital role in preserving a democratic society and if the best it can do is provide a platform for know nothings to spout disinformation for partisan political purposes perhaps democracy isn't worth preserving after all.

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