In these days of billion dollar public relations campaigns designed to convince the American people that somehow Social Security must foot the bill for a decade of unrelated fiscal failures, the headlines hardly surprise us anymore. But today on CNN Money we came across something which has really set the bar for balanced media coverage at a new low.Jeanne Sahadi?s ?Fixing Social Security: the Low Hanging Fruit? reads like a Peterson Foundation News Release. Quoting liberally from the multi-billionaire anti-entitlement crusader and the director of another Peterson funded group, the Concord Coalition, provides lop-sided sources for a story about Social Security. Surely CNN could have found at least one Social Security expert in Washington to balance the anti-Social Security rhetoric? Rhetoric like:
?it (cutting Social Security) would be a confidence builder with our foreign lenders? Peter Peterson, Peterson Foundation?They could begin with Social Security, which oddly enough has gone from being the ?third rail of American politics? to the low-hanging fruit? Robert Bixby, Concord Coalition
These ?experts? Sahadi consulted view Social Security cuts as low-hanging fruit and a confidence builder for foreign bankers …really? Is that really all there is to this story? How about a quote reminding CNN viewers and its online readers that Social Security hasn?t contributed one dime to our current fiscal mess–that Social Security is funded by contributions from American workers, not federal dollars? How about a quote from an economist or Social Security policy expert explaining that what fiscal hawks really want is for Washington to renege on its repayment to the Social Security trust fund?a trust fund built up by contributions from America?s workers over decades and now made to be the scapegoat for failed borrow and spend policies, skyrocketing health care costs, two wars, tax cuts for the wealthy and a Wall Street run amok (which ultimately collapsed our economy).Robert Creamer had this analysis in Huffington Post:
Frankly, I’m getting pretty sick of hearing guys who make ten million dollar bonuses on Wall Street tell Social Security recipients who make $13,000 a year that they have to “tighten their belts” because we “can’t afford them.” Let’s remember that the Wall Street types that make deficit reduction an end in itself are the same geniuses whose reckless speculation caused the collapse of the economy, cost eight million Americans their jobs and cost retirees tens of billions in pensions. You don’t see the people who caused this catastrophe “sacrificing” or “tightening their belts” for the good of the national economy.
This view, any many more like it, may not have the billion dollar backing of the Peterson Foundation, but to CNN, and for that matter, all news outlets, it?s value is intrinsic to the public?s demand for fair and balanced reporting.