I just saw KSDK’s (Channel 5 in St. Louis) coverage of the coming government shutdown. They showed clips of both Ann Wagner and Claire McCaskill telling us what they thought of the way it had all gone down. If the McCaskill clip was really indicative of what she has to say on the topic, or, horror of horrors, indicative of the general Democratic response, then we’re done for. If it wasn’t, then Channel 5 is attempting to confuse us by presenting a false image of an equivocating Democrat parcelling out equal blame for what are exclusively GOP actions – which is exactly the way that the anchor described McCaskill’s statement. We heard the following rambling sentence in the clip:
I find the situation we are in now beyond frustrating and I can imagine what the American people must be thinking right now, and it is very hard from a distance right now to figure out who has lost their minds, one party, the other party, all of us, the president …
My hope – actually, my belief – is that the very short clip, clearly truncated, cut out the heart of what McCaskill was really saying.
Certainly KSDK’ presentation of McCaskill’s message differed from the way she has been handling the issue up to this time. For example, earlier today, on the topic of a bill passed to guarantee military salaries in the event of a shutdown, McCaskill noted that such tiny measures wouldn’t lessen the pain that a shutdown will cause – and she was as clear as she has been on other occasions in the past couple of weeks about who the guilty party is:
I don’t think it makes it easier for the Republicans to shut down the government over us not agreeing to repeal Obamacare after we had an election last November that decided it …
The clip that Channel 5 showed of Ann Wagner couldn’t have offered a greater contrast. An energized, argumentative Wagner pushed the absurdly contorted GOP line that the House – the folks who are causing all the trouble – was working to keep government open while hardline Senate Democrats just wouldn’t compromise. She positively oozed indignation as she talked over Wolf Blitzer during the CNN interview* from which the clip was taken.
Wagner’s flagrant dishonesty aside, and no matter who did what in regard to McCaskill – wehther she cut the feet out from under her Democratic colleagues, or, as I am inclined to believe, KSDK either purposefully or incompetently offered selective reporting that distorted her response – lots of regular Americans, the sort of people who believe what they see on the TV news, took away the message that there’s blame to go around, and Democrats in congress deserve a share – maybe more than a share since, clearly, Ann Wagner was righteously incisive while Claire McCaskill was shamefaced and vague when seen on KSDK. This, my friends, is how the terrorists win.
UPDATE: Ed Kilgore’s survey of this morning’s headlines (day 1 of the shutdown) find them taking the “false equivalence,” bad GOP, equally bad Democrats route. He makes my point about how harmful misleading media coverage is far more eloquently than I:
Maybe such headlines reflect laziness and ignorance rather than silent partisanship, but they are more effective instruments for the GOP position than the fieriest Ted Cruz speech.
*You can see the entire interview that the Wagner clip was taken from on her Webpage. Be prepared, however, to gag when she brings up the canard about how Senators are shutting down the government because they won’t undo the fix that permits congressmen and congressional staff – who now must purchase their insurance from the Obamacare exchanges – to receive the same type of employer subsidies that the rest of us who have employer supplied insurance receive. Of course, Wagner, who is a millionaire many times over, doesn’t need the subsidy – and clearly doesn’t care if her staff don’t get the same treatment as other Americans who have insurance through their jobs as long as she can misrepresent the situation for political advantage.