S&P blamed downgrade on Republicans but corporate media “missed” that.

by on August 6, 2011 · 8 comments

in Economy, Media

By Thom Hartmann / OpEdNews / August 6, 2011

Have you seen, anywhere, in any media, or even heard reported or repeated on NPR, the following sentence?

 “We have changed our assumption on this because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act.”

 It’s right there on Page 4 of the official Standard & Poor’s “Research Update” — the actual report on what they did and why — published on August 5th as the explanation for why they believe Congress — and even the Gang of Twelve — will be unable to actually deal with the US debt crisis. Perhaps it’s just lazy — the bullet points at the beginning of the report don’t mention the Republicans or taxes, but instead just say, for example (part of one of six quick bullet-points):

“[T]he downgrade reflects our view that the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges”

In order to figure out that one of the reasons why is that “Republicans in the Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues,” a hard-working reporter would have to read to page four of the eight-page report.

It’s just too much effort for most reporters?

Although they do also mention this in the very first sentence of the report: “We lowered our long-term rating on the U.S. because we believe that the prolonged controversy over raising the statutory debt ceiling and the related fiscal policy debate indicate that further near-term progress containing the growth in public spending, especially on entitlements, or on reaching an agreement on raising revenues is less likely than we previously assumed and will remain a contentious and fitful process.” (Italics mine)

Or could it be that many reporters — and virtually all of the television talking heads — are themselves relatively high income-earners who don’t relish the idea of higher taxes?

Or could it be that reporters are afraid that if they report the actual language of the S&P Research Report, then Republicans will punish them by denying them “access” — i.e. refusing to show up on their programs — which is the career and show kiss-of-death for radio and TV programs that rely on big-name politicians to work?

I don’t know the reason, but it’s fascinating to see all the huffing and puffing about the S&P downgrade of America’s debt that all seems to be working so hard to avoid mentioning that critical sentence.

Inquiring minds want to know …

Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET.  http://www.thomhartmann.com


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Christopher Moore August 6, 2011 at 1:29 pm

It was mentioned in all the BBC, CNN, Reuters, and MSNBC stories on the subject that I read. Can’t speak to Fox, since I’d rather gouge my eyes out with a fork.


All mention that a significant part of the reason for the downgrade was the GOP’s refusal to even consider addressing the revenue side of the equation.


Frank Gormlie August 6, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Ah Chris! Nope, go ahead and re-read the post again and look for the exact quotation. I went to your CNN site and it DID NOT include the quotation that specifically blamed the Republicans. You have helped prove the point of this article. (I did not check your other sources.) But thanks for pulling these links together, and even giving a shit.


Frank Gormlie August 6, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Okay, Chris, see this is fun. I just checked your Reuters link and it too DID NOT include the original quote from S&P which again specifically blamed the Republicans.


Christopher Moore August 6, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Yeah true, they do not quote it directly, but they do both explicitly discuss it.

From CNN: “However, one of S&P’s explicit criticisms of the compromise was that it didn’t address the biggest drivers of the nation’s debt — Social Security and Medicare — and didn’t allow for additional tax revenue.”

From Reuters: “The agency said that policymaking and political institutions had weakened in the past few months “to a degree more than we envisioned.” This has major implications for the nation’s budget and debt problems.

For example, S&P now assumes that tax cuts brought in under President George W. Bush in 2001 and 2003 would not, as planned, expire by 2012 because of staunch Republican opposition to any measure that would raise revenues.”

Not that I expect it to have much impact on the hard-right ideologues anyway ;)


Frank Gormlie August 6, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Well, sort of. The point of the original post was that the mass media reports laid equal blame on both the Dems and the Repubnuts, which is not what the S&P report stated.


cahlo August 7, 2011 at 6:43 am

since when shoud S&P have anything to do with politics? the blame should be laid on congress (and obama) as a whole. one part i don’t get is why the debt ceiling has to be raised at all? there’s a whole lot of wasteful spending going on which should be addressed before raising anyone’s taxes – the EPA, dept of education, DOE, Ag dept, all the waste fraud and abuse in entitlements like welfare and medicaid, get rid of all the illegals. etc. thanks obama, idiot.


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