I think after all these years of covering the Sunday shows, it won't surprise you to know that I find them all ridiculously inane kabuki theater. The selection of which guests to book, the framing of the questions, the lack of follow up...it's all designed to keep the viewership from thinking critically about the issues of the day...or realize what really *are* the issues of the day. Sadly, it's a formula that has worked successfully for years. I think it's safe to say that if the media had not abdicated their journalistic responsibilities entirely during the GWB presidency, we would have seen those sub-Nixonian disapproval levels much, much sooner.
Now the part where I find myself going back and forth is whether news employees like David Gregory (I cannot call him a journalist in good conscience) know how out of touch with the rest of America they are (therefore making their attempts to frame the debate much more malevolent) or if they honestly are so insulated within the Villager mentality of the DC Beltway media that they don't know. After watching this web-only exclusive by David Gregory anticipating the Sunday show, I suspect that it's a little of both.
There's so much wrong, I'm going to ask your indulgence to simply add my comments to Gregory's framing:
It’s Friday afternoon and we’re getting ready for the show on Sunday. And as I prepare, I think the number one issue is this question that’s been knocking around in my head: Is Medicare the new third rail of American politics?
*New* third rail? What the hell, Gregory? Medicare has ALWAYS been a third rail in politics. Seniors value Medicare and any time a politician gets close to threatening it, they always vote against them. Happened in '95 when Gingrich made his rumblings on it and it's happening now. Either your memory is frightful or you've selectively chosen to ignore this.
Medicare can seem like kind of a bland policy wonk subject,
No, Medicare may seem like an abstract, bland policy wonk issue to you because you're neither old enough nor poor enough to be dependent upon it, but for many, many Americans, it's a question of life or death. That's not policy, that's reality. And that is exactly why your framing is so disgusting.
but it’s really the hot issue of 2012.
Really, no thanks to you and your Villager buddies. Shall I link back to the hundreds of times you have told Democrats that Americans care about the deficit, contrary to all polling? Gregory, you were about two steps behind all of us in catching the significance of the NY 26 election and why you studiously avoided the populist message of the Wisconsin protests week after week. Catch up.
In the NY special election this week turned on that issue of Medicare and whether the Republicans are going too far under the Ryan plan, trying to privatize it, make it a “premium support plan” where seniors would basically get a certain amount of money and try to go out and buy insurance,
Short answer to stupid question: Yes. They went too far. But nice use of Ryan's spinning of a "premium support plan". Let's call it what it really is: destroying Medicare. Because you NEVER get into the weeds on this one, Gregory. If you were truly worth anything as a journalist, the question you should pose to McConnell is how he thinks seniors on limited income would be able to afford the additional costs of insurance after that $8,000 voucher (paid to the state) is exhausted. What happens then? And what should people who have been paying into insurance for 30 years but under the "55 or over Medicare stays the same" bar do now to set up health savings accounts? How about all those 99ers, what can they do? See, those are questions that journalists looking to inform the public would ask.
or the Democrats, who really don’t have much of a plan to shore up Medicare but say Republicans are going too far.
I love love love this Republican talking point, Gregory. Good on you to regurgitate it without embarrassment. The Democrats have a plan. It's called Medicare. The program isn't the problem. The problem is cost controls, which involve regulating insurance industries. Further, Medicare is simply not the biggest drain on the deficit. Where's the discussion on the Bush tax cuts on the very wealthy? Of course, those probably benefit you, right, David? No need to bring that up.
I’ve talked to Republicans this week...
Color me surprised. Have you talked to Democratic politicians or maybe even a *gasp* ordinary American...ever?
...who say, ‘look, there’s a bet. We have a big bet going into 2012, which is that we can say that the Democrats, the President, are not serious about doing the hard stuff, dealing with entitlement spending, really dealing with the deficit. If we win that bet, maybe we win back the White House.’
And you're going to give them the platform to make such a ridiculous argument. Who is not serious about doing the hard stuff when it's the Republicans playing terrorists by attaching the completely unrelated Medicare with the debt limit? And for once and for all, you stupid putz, Medicare is NOT an entitlement. People pay into it their entire working lives. The whole reason that people are fighting back is because Republicans are treating Medicare as an entitlement to be taken away and given to corporate interests.
What the Democrats are planning on saying is, ‘look, we want to do a lot of things Republicans want to do, but we don’t dismantle or destroy Medicare.’
You know, if maybe you invited someone other than the tried and true ConservaDems on your show once in a while, you'd know that there's a whole caucus out there who don't want to do what the Republicans want to do, but want to focus on things that make America a prosperous country again.
And that’s what we’re seeing play out. That’s what played out in that Congressional race and that’s what Republicans say privately was the real damage that Newt Gingrich did on Meet the Press just a couple weeks back.
Let us never forget how important David Gregory has been to the issue. But more over, why is he only admitting in this web-only video that even Republicans are privately at issue with the Ryan debate instead of confronting Mitch McConnell with that ON AIR?
When he turned against (Ryan's proposal to destroy) Medicare, it gave Democrats an issue.
Yeah, because they said nothing on this prior to Newt's appearance. You're THAT influential.
He was saying publicly what a lot of them were saying privately and that is the politics were all wrong on this thing.
About which, again, you remain conspicuously silent when actually interviewing Republicans. Funny thing, that. It's almost like you didn't want to hurt their agenda.
Republicans were saying, ‘look, we got to make this a bigger conversation about the debt, about the deficit, about the President’s unwillingness—in their view—to really take this thing on.’
See, what you're tacitly acknowledging is that the Republicans knew that these draconian measures were a no-go, but in true Shock Doctrine fashion, tied it disingenuously to economic issues. And the sad part, you let them. You didn't point out that Medicare has nothing to do with the debt ceiling nor does ending Medicare actually address the deficit. Because, that would be giving your viewers information that would allow them to make an educated evaluation of the "seriousness" of the two parties. And you can't let that happen.
David Gregory, actively disinforming viewers on Meet the Press since December, 2008. Kudos, Stretch.