Framing The Debate: This Week Gives Tea Party Reps Unchallenged Air Time. When Do Progessives Get A Turn?

He who frames the debate, controls the debate.

There's a reason that this saying exists--it's absolutely true and there's no greater evidence of it than watching the Sunday news shows.

Case in point: the Tea Party Caucus in the House. Now this group of newcomers rode into Congress last year on a wave of fear, lies and dissatisfaction with the pace of economic recovery. Their understanding of how government and the economy works is simplistic and single-minded, counting on the ignorance of voters.

I'm more than a little annoyed by the overused analogy of running the country is like running a household writ large. Really? How many households have to negotiate trade agreements with other households? How many households issue bonds (which is where most of our debt lies)? Yet Christiane Amanpour allows Reps. Renee Ellmers, Steve Southerland, Joe Walsh and Allen West talk in exactly these terms without challenge or interruption.

Okay. I'm sure that if the executive producer of This Week responded to my emails, he would say that having representatives from the majority party is an appropriate booking and that the Tea Party caucus is a notable movement of today. That's an arguable position to take. However, how many freshman Democratic reps did ABC book after the Democratic sweep of 2008. None. I would also suggest that the media seems more enthralled by the tea party movement than most Americans. Why else would they cover exhaustively a few dozen protesters in Boca Raton and ignore the thousands protesting BP's environmental violations?

Furthermore, is it too much to ask Amanpour to have her research done to be able to point out that cutting spending in a fragile economic recovery would send the country spiraling into a depression and that any threat of not raising the debt ceiling will extend the economic crisis worldwide? How about merely pointing out that cutting taxes on corporations has not actually helped the economy over the last 10 years?

Since ABC sees their role as simply a platform for ideas, the obvious question to ask is when will the Progressive Caucus get their turn? They've offered up a budget alternative to Paul Ryan's. When's their turn in the sun, ABC? Or is it that you just don't want to frame the debate that way?

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