AIM: Post “Fact Checker” Ignores Facts in Bachmann Hit Piece

From Accuracy in Media’s Cliff Kincaid:

The media attacks on Rep. Michele Bachmann never end. Glenn Kessler, the so-called “Fact Checker” at The Washington Post, says Bachmann is wrong in claiming that the Standard & Poor’s downgrade of the U.S. is related to Congress raising the U.S. debt limit. Bachmann is guilty of perpetuating a “myth,” Kessler says.

He goes on, “…Bachmann’s larger point is that the market turmoil is a direct result of raising the debt limit—and that Standard & Poor’s lowered its AAA rating on U.S. Treasury bonds because the debt ceiling was increased. This is incorrect.”

Kessler needs to check his “facts.” S&P says the debt ceiling increase is directly related to the inability of Congress to solve the problem of the rising debt burden. This is the point that Bachmann is making.

The headline over the S&P report refers, in part, to the “rising debt burden,” a direct result of the bipartisan deal that raised the debt limit. The report says, “The downgrade reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government’s medium-term debt dynamics.”

In other words, the deal did not reduce the debt. In fact, the deal raised the debt limit and did not arrest the long-term debt problem.

But the Post is so determined to undermine Bachmann’s presidential run that the facts have to be distorted by a “fact-checker.”

Kessler’s bio claims that he has had “an award-winning journalism career spanning nearly three decades” and that he has covered economics, tax, and budget policy. But he seems to lack the ability to read documents produced by agencies he is writing about.

David Beers of S&P has explained that the expansion of U.S. debt was a big factor behind the downgrade. On the CBS Evening News, he said, “We’re looking at the deal that was agreed this week and we’re (judging) by the test of ‘Does it turn the rising of the debt burden around?’ Our answer is, in our view, no, it does not.”

The deal, of course, could not turn the debt burden around because it raised the debt ceiling. This is why Bachmann opposed raising it.

On CNBC with Larry Kudlow, Beers said, “Well, given the continuing political gridlock, I guess what we’re looking for is some program which we think will make a difference over the medium term in slowing the, if not reversing, the rising trajectory of government debt as, for example, as a percent of GDP.”

The S&P report on the downgrade explains that “even assuming that at least $2.1 trillion of the spending reductions the act envisages are implemented, we maintain our view that the U.S. net general government debt burden (all levels of government combined, excluding liquid financial assets) will likely continue to grow. Under our revised base case fiscal scenario—which we consider to be consistent with a ‘AA+’ long-term rating and a negative outlook—we now project that net general government debt would rise from an estimated 74% of GDP by the end of 2011 to 79% in 2015 and 85% by 2021. Even the projected 2015 ratio of sovereign indebtedness is high in relation to those of peer credits and, as noted, would continue to rise under the act’s revised policy settings.” (emphasis added)

In other words, the spending reductions envisioned in the bill are not enough to reduce overall debt. Bachmann’s opposition to the bill is vindicated.

But this is not the story the media want to tell. Instead, they blame Tea Party Republicans like Bachmann for opposing the bill that resulted in the downgrade. And Kessler comes along, piling on Bachmann in order to add dramatic effect, even giving her “Three Pinocchios” for supposedly misrepresenting the facts.

It is clear that the liberal media will stop at nothing to try to discredit Bachmann, even lying about her alleged lies.

The Kessler attack is part of the media narrative about Bachmann, reflected in the recent Newsweek attack, that she offers the wrong solutions to problems. Not surprisingly, the author of this hatchet job, Lois Romano, was a longtime writer for The Washington Post.

As we have noted, media animus toward Bachmann seems to be driven not by her views on the economy but by her background as a conservative career woman who has raised a family and has traditional views on marriage and family issues. She has, however, worked as a federal tax attorney.

This is why the Post on Sunday ran an attack on Bachmann from a liberal Republican and former McCain adviser, Nicolle Wallace, who played a role in sabotaging Sarah Palin’s vice-presidential campaign.

In Congress, she sits on the Financial Services Committee and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. None of this matters, of course, to the liberals in the media who pretend to pass judgment on what we should know and believe about the candidates and their qualifications for higher office.

The unflattering Newsweek cover photo of Bachmann that accompanied Romano’s hit piece has had the unintended effect of alerting people to what is really going on here. NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams has even commented on the basic unfairness of Newsweek for two days in a row. Liberals in the media seem to understand that the attacks have gone way too far, backfiring on the media which launched them.

As a result, their anti-conservative bias stands exposed for all to see.