NBC's Williams Omits Charge That Bush Cooked the Books
With a second-straight reduction in the size of the 2006 federal deficit, NBCâ€™s Brian Williams again sounded a pessimistic note to taxpaying viewers of his October 11 program, while ignoring arguments that shrinking deficits point to a growing economy.
But at least he dropped the conspiracy theory he entertained just three months earlier.
On the July 11 â€śNightly News,â€ť Williams cynically conjectured that a downward revision in the budget deficit resulted from what â€śmany economists and administration critics sayâ€ť was White House manipulation of â€śits own deficit projections.â€ť At that time, the budget deficit projection for fiscal year 2006 was revised downward from $423 billion to $296 billion.
With October 1 came the end of fiscal year 2006, and as the government crunched its end-of-year calculations, it found the deficit to have shrunk even more.
â€śThe federal government today released its official budget figures for the fiscal year just ended, and the good news is the deficit fell to its lowest point in four years,â€ť at $248 billion, Williams told his October 11 audience.
As the Associated Pressâ€™s Martin Crutsinger noted in an October 11 story, 2006 saw a â€śsecond consecutive big jump in revenues, propelled by strong economic strengthâ€ť as the â€ś11.7 percent increase in revenues was the second biggest percentage gain in history.â€ť
Williams instead took a negative tack, saying that â€śnext year the deficit is expected to rise again, and long term, the budget will be strainedâ€ť by Baby Boomer retirements.
Also in contrast to other media reports, the NBC News anchor left out President Bushâ€™s argument that tax cuts have helped spur economic growth, resulting in higher tax revenues than last year, despite the economic blow from Hurricane Katrina.
â€śTax relief fuels economic growth and ... when the economy grows, more tax revenues come to Washington. And that's what's happened,â€ť the Los Angeles Timesâ€™ Molly Hennessy-Fiske quoted Bush from his October 11 afternoon press conference with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.