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TV network stories blame Republicans, 21-0, for shutdown, not Democrats

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Barack Obama,Obamacare,Republican Party,Democratic Party,MSNBC,ABC,CBS,NBC,Government Shutdown

The nation’s big three news networks are falling right into place for President Obama and the Democrats, blaming the Republican Party for the government shutdown by a whopping 21-0 story count.

According to a survey by the conservative media watchdog Media Research Center, in 39 stories during the two weeks leading up to the shutdown, CBS, ABC and NBC blamed the failure to cut a budget deal on the Republicans 21 times, both parties four times, and Democrats zero times. In 14 stories, nobody was to blame.

Some examples of how the story is being played on the networks:

– "CBS Evening News" correspondent Nancy Cordes on Sept. 18: “Speaker Boehner was forced into the risky strategy by his right flank ... [a strategy] one Senate Republican described to us today as suicide.”

– ABC’s Diane Sawyer: “The president expressed outrage that one faction in one house of Congress is ready to bring the entire federal government to a halt.”

– "Face The Nation" host Bob Schieffer: “Will the moderate and more establishment Republicans continue to go along with the ultraconservatives? ... We’re headed to a shutdown unless the moderates in the House revolt.”


Should there be surprise about the media’s siding with Obama and the Democrats in their Obamacare budget coverage? Just listen to Time’s Mark Halperin on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," as quoted by the MRC: “The press is largely sympathetic to their arguments that it’s the House Republicans’ fault.”

Rich Noyes, the MRC's research director, sized the situation up this way: “The media's biased coverage, both in this shutdown and in past ones, may be one reason why a resolution seems so elusive right now. It's hard to imagine the Obama administration and their fellow Democrats taking this tough a line -- harsh name calling, absolutely no negotiations -- if they didn't expect their friends in the liberal media to direct all of the blame toward conservatives and Republicans. And so far, our research shows Democrats are getting exactly the kind of media coverage they hoped for.”

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.