Two ABC News stars have proven, once again, the media’s obsession with raising taxes over any effort to cut a cent of spending. Two days after the election, anchor Diane Sawyer repeatedly pushed House Speaker John Boehner to move away from a conservative position and agree to President Obama’s wish to hike income tax rates, but on Sunday’s This Week, Martha Raddatz refused to press House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi about getting Democrats to shift from their position and accede to any reduced spending.
Instead, she quizzed Pelosi about getting Republicans to accept a tax hike and how to get around such intransigence: “Have you seen any indication that the Republicans are open to raising rates?”
Pelosi answered with how “they’re talking about entitlement restructuring” and warning that “if that means harming beneficiaries, I don’t think that that’s such a good idea.” But instead of picking up on her opposition to entitlement reform, Raddatz stuck to taxes: “Could you accept a deal that does not include tax rate increases for the wealthy?”
Back on the Thursday, November 8 World News, however, Sawyer repeatedly pushed Boehner about taxes: “The President is talking about specific increases; he campaigned on specific increases in tax rates from 35 percent to 39 percent, for those making more than $250,000. So, is that on the table? Right now?” She pleaded: “Is it on the table to talk about?” and: “So, you will talk about it, even if you believe it’s the wrong approach, you’ll talk about it?”
More in Scott Whitlock's “Diane Sawyer Goads John Boehner: Obama Won; Why Won’t You Just Raise Taxes?”
From Martha Raddatz’s pre-recorded session with Pelosi, as run on the Sunday, November 18 This Week on ABC which Raddatz hosted:
MARTHA RADDATZ: Well, let’s talk about the details. The focus does seem to be on the revenue side of this. Your side is insisting on tax rate increases. But have you seen any indication that the Republicans are open to raising rates?
NANCY PELOSI, HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Well, they have said that they know that revenue has to be on the table, and that is why I have said, when we talk about revenue, what are we talking about? Are we talking about closing loopholes, are we talking about raising rates or are we talking about both, and they’re talking about entitlement restructuring. What does that mean? If that means harming beneficiaries, I don’t think that that’s such a good idea.
RADDATZ: Could you accept a deal that does not include tax rate increases for the wealthy? We’ve seen talk about a possible compromise that would leave rates the same but cap deductions for high-income earners. Is that something that’s acceptable?
RADDATZ: Not at all? No way?
PELOSI: The President has made it very clear in his campaign that there are not enough resources -- that what you just described is a formula and a blueprint for hampering our future. You cannot go forward -- you have to cut some investments. If you cut too many you’re hampering growth. You’re hampering education, our investment for the future. So just to close loopholes is far too little money if it’s -- and it could be -- they have said they want it to be revenue neutral. If it’s going to bring in revenue, the President has been very clear that the higher income people have to pay their fair share.
RADDATZ: I know you’re optimistic about this and confident this will happen, but last week on the show with George Stephanopoulos, Senator Patty Murray said she thought if you don’t have a deal by December 31st, we should just fall into the fiscal cliff...
From Sawyer’s sit-down with Boehner, aired on the Thursday, November 8 World News:
DIANE SAWYER: The President is talking about specific increases; he campaigned on specific increases in tax rates from 35 percent to 39 percent, for those making more than $250,000. So, is that on the table? Right now?
BOEHNER: Raising taxes on small business people is the wrong prescription, given where our economy is.
SAWYER: Is it on the table to talk about?
BOEHNER: I made clear yesterday that raising tax rates is unacceptable and frankly it couldn’t even pass the House. Putting increased revenues on the table, but through reforming our tax code. And I would do that, if the President were serious about solving our spending problem. And trying to secure our entitlement programs. The President and I have had various conversations. I'm confident that he and I can find the common ground necessary.
SAWYER: So, you will talk about it, even if you believe it’s the wrong approach, you’ll talk about it?
BOEHNER: Of course we’ll talk about it. We talk about all kinds of things we may disagree on. I’m the most reasonable, responsible person here in Washington. The President knows this. He knows that he and I can work together. The election's over. Now it’s time to get to work.
-- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Brent Baker on Twitter.