Pushing conservatives off a fiscal cliff

| Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, 9:01 p.m.

The conventional wisdom is that to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff,” Washington politicians must agree to some method of tax increases (“revenue”) — even if low taxes are not the cause of our ills — along with some kind of promise of spending restraint on entitlement programs, which is our problem and which no one believes Washington will restrain.

The American left and our “objective” mainstream media — same thing, I know — are not helping the nation balance its budget. As usual, these partisan hacks are obsessed with tearing the Republican coalition apart, limb from limb. By empowering GOP moderates, they drive the conservatives into exile.

These liberals are dishonest but not dumb. They have no intention of honoring a pledge to curtail wasteful spending. What they want is GOP civil war.

On Nov. 27, the front page of The Washington Post exemplified the media's peculiar method of portraying the two sides. “Republicans begin to challenge the reign of an anti-tax enforcer,” they triumphantly proclaimed for the GOP moderates. The Democrats got this headline: “White House builds case for middle-class tax cuts.”

So where does this leave conservatives? This isn't fairness or balance. It's just another shameless day in the fun house of liberal media distortion.

Washington Post reporter Aaron Blake wrote the story on the revolt against Grover Norquist. The Post made its emphasis even more obvious in its free commuter tabloid called Express, which splashed this headline over Blake's story: “Is the GOP Over Grover?”

The same angle screamed from the television. On ABC's “World News,” anchor Diane Sawyer proclaimed, “We did see a sign the paralysis may be ending, a Republican mutiny against a man who had convinced them to take a pledge.” The graphic on screen read “Tax Revolt.” Only in liberal newsrooms is there such a thing as a “tax revolt” to raise taxes. On “CBS This Morning,” co-host Charlie Rose pushed Sen. Bob Corker to say he would “forgo the pledge because it is outdated and the country's problems are too big.”

Since when is a pledge outdated?

Now ask this question: Who is the left's version of Grover Norquist?

Only one paragraph buried inside the Nov. 27 Post story mentioned any pressure from leftist hard-liners. “A coalition of union groups aired ads,” in key states during NBC's broadcast of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, “urging Congress to resist cutting entitlement programs.” The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare has collected 65,000 signatures urging Congress to reject “any proposal that cuts or fundamentally changes earned benefits from our social insurance safety net.”

The left is pretending that Obama's re-election is somehow a mandate for its agenda. But the president's constant campaign mantra promised a “balanced approach” of tax hikes and spending cuts. Or is this pledge also “outdated”?

Unions and “progressive” groups met with Obama at the White House on Nov. 13 and came away proclaiming they were encouraged by his resolve to force higher taxes on the rich and preserve entitlements. The TV networks barely noticed it happened.

But if the deal makers can't come to an agreement and the country goes over a “fiscal cliff,” the mainstream media are determined to blame conservatives.

L. Brent Bozell III is president of the Media Research Center.

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