As its readers know, the Washington Post really really wants to see big cuts in Medicare and Social Security and is happy to use its news pages to advance this agenda. In a budget piece today, it told readers:
"In a flurry of meetings and phone calls over the past few days, Obama has courted more than half a dozen Republicans in the Senate, telling them that he is ready to overhaul expensive health and retirement programs if they agree to raise taxes to tame the national debt" [emphasis added].
If the Post was not trying to push its Big Deal agenda, it would have told readers that Obama is willing to cut health care retirement programs. The issue here is reducing government payments, not changing the color of the forms used. It also would not use the adjective "expensive." While the country does pay a lot of money for Medicare and Medicaid, because it pays doctors and other providers much more than they get elsewhere, Social Security is actually relatively cheap compared to other countries' public pension programs.
Also, an objective newspaper would not have inserted the word "tame" since the data do not support the case that the debt is somehow out of control. The ratio of debt to GDP has been rising only because the collapse of the housing bubble led to a severe downturn. Had it not been for this downturn, the ratio would have fallen through most of the decade. The ratio of interest to GDP is near a post-war low.
The piece also asserts that:
"there was more skepticism of Obama’s motives"
among many Republicans. Of course the Post does not know whether Republicans really were skeptical of President Obama's motives, they just know that Republicans claimed to be skeptical. It is not good reporting to accept assertions from politicians at face value, since they are not always truthful.
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