The mainstream finally stepped up today,and on separate Sunday shows, challenged the lies and talking points of Republicans Paul Ryan and John McCain.
Paul Ryan tried to rewrite history on the sequester, but he ran into a brick wall named Jonathan Karl on ABC.
RYAN: The Senate hasn’t passed a bill to replace the sequester. The president gave a speech showing that he’d like to replace it, but he hasn’t put any details out there. So that is why I conclude I believe it’s going to take place.
But take a step back. We are here because the president back in the last session of congress refused to cut spending in any place and therefore we wound up with the sequester.
KARL: But Congressman, I’ve heard you say this and a talking point for Republicans for a long time. This was the president’s idea on and on and on, but let’s look at your own words. What you said right after the law putting this in place was passed in August of 2011. These are your words. You said “what conservatives like me have been fighting for, for years are statutory caps on spending, literally legal caps in law that says government agencies cannot spend over a set amount of money and if they breach that amount across the board sequester comes in to cut that spending. You can’t turn it out without a supermajority. We got that into law.
Now it sounds to me there like if you weren’t taking credit for the idea of the sequester, you were certainly suggesting it was a good idea.
A bigger surprise occurred when David Gregory confronted John McCain about his Benghazi cover up conspiracy theory.
Sarah Jones has full story, but the confrontation went in part,
JOHN MCCAIN: So there are many, many questions. And we have had- a massive cover-up on the part of-
DAVID GREGORY:But a massive cover-up of what?
DAVID GREGORY:-I mean, Susan Ri- wait a minute-
DAVID GREGORY:Susan Rice said there was a lot of-
JOHN MCCAIN: Do you care-
JOHN MCCAIN: Do you care-
DAVID GREGORY: I’m asking you-
JOHN MCCAIN: Do you care to-
DAVID GREGORY:-what is the Republican way-
JOHN MCCAIN: I’m asking you, do you care- I- I’m- I’m asking you, do you care whether four Americans died? Or do you- the reasons for that? And- and shouldn’t pe- people be held accountable for the fact that four Americans died-
DAVID GREGORY: Well, what you said was the cover-up-
DAVID GREGORY: A cover-up of what?
John McCain seemed quite surprised and then immediately enraged when he realized that David Gregory, whose standard reply to Republican talking points is a serious look and then the expression mmhmm, would actually challenge him on something that he said.
It is unusual for a Republican guest to be challenged once on any one of the Sunday talk shows. Republicans never seem to get challenged twice, and mainstream media Republican darlings like John McCain and Paul Ryan never get challenged at all.
There are a few different possible explanations for why this happened. Maybe the mainstream media is beginning to catch on to the fact that the 65 million people who voted for Barack Obama in 2012 represent the majority. I have grave doubts that this sort of earth shaking epiphany actually reached the corporations that control our mainstream media.
A more likely explanation is that Republicans have gone too far. Imaginary conspiracies to justify filibustering a defense secretary nominee and completely revising history in order to eliminate your role in it may be a bridge too far for the mainstream media. (The mainstream press has been allowing Republicans to invent their own facts for years, so why start trying to enforce a standard of truth on Republicans now?)
For whatever reason, we were treated to glimpse of what it would look like if our media held Republicans accountable for their lies and false statements. When Karl confronted Paul Ryan he got that familiar eyes glazed over deer in headlights look that we all know so well from the 2012 campaign. Over on Meet The Press, John McCain looked like he was ready to go all North Vietnam on David Gregory for daring to question him.
Republican are so used to being softballed by the corporate media Sunday shows that Ryan and McCain fell apart as soon as they pushed at all. If the mainstream media would do this everyday, Republicans would be held accountable for their lies, and maybe if the political price was high enough, they would choose to join the rest of us in reality.
If this what the mainstream media could be, it is time for viewers to vote with their remotes and demand a media that challenges and informs.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association