Perhaps I’m overly optimistic, but I have to say that I’m seeing the stirrings of a media backlash to the GOP overhyping of all of these scandals. Things seem significantly better than they were in the 1990s.
Meanwhile, some D.C. journos are now openly reacting badly to GOP scandal hyping. Remember that Daily Caller “scoop” reporting that the former IRS commissioner visited the White House 157 times? Garance Franke-Ruta’s debunking of the story prompted a surprisingly sharp discussion of it on Howard Kurtz’s Reliable Sources yesterday, with the Post’s Dana Milbank ripping into it as “shoddy reporting.” Meanwhile, House GOP investigations leader Darrell Issa is getting pilloried by reporters for suggesting, with zero evidence, that Obama administration officials coordinated IRS targeting of conservatives. CNN’s Candy Crowley insistently cornered Issa over the claim yesterday, and Ron Fournier (who has not refrained from slamming the White House) tore into Issa for resorting to “cherry picked evidence” and “weasel words.”
Again: The goal of Issa and others here is to create an atmosphere of scandal, with the deliberate aim of obscuring the importance of the details of the actual scandals themselves (as Rep. Mike Rogers has now helpfully revealed). But there does seem to be a real media effort underway in some quarters to point out that that the smoke coming from the GOP smoke machine doesn’t mean there’s necessarily any fire there. That’s a far sight better than the 1990s, when scores of reporters would eagerly clamber aboard their shiny red fire truck to chase even the thinnest wisp of smoke whenever Republicans told them to.
Update: One more data point. On Morning Joe today, Chuck Todd described Issa as a “guy who cries wolf,” noting that he had promised huge scandal dividends from Benghazi but hadn’t delivered, and that he is now making similar claims about the IRS scandal.
As noted here the other day, some liberals are pushing Senate Dems not to move the bill too far to the right in the quest for broad bipartisan support in the Senate, which some top Dems want to force House Republicans to accept it. Given House GOP intransigence, it is increasingly likely that reform’s prospects turn on whether John Boehner will allow it to pass with mostly Dem votes — an outcome that doesn’t require overwhelming majority support in the Senate in any case. So why water down the bill with more compromises?
“If we can come out of the Senate with close to a majority of the Republican senators and almost every Democrat, that may change the equation in the House and thinking in the House among mainstream Republicans. And they may want to go for our bill.”
The question is, How far to the right must the bill be moved to get nearly a majority of GOP Senators, and will that really get many House Republicans to budge on citizenship, which remains the core issue here?
Next up: Nevada, where a background check proposal is set to pass the state legislature. The GOP Governor will likely veto it, but moving the proposal forward in this state, which has a strong “gun rights” history, will be symbolically important.
It’s yet another way in which one of the main ideological preoccupations guiding policy makers for the last few years — that the solution to all that ails us is immediate, deep, and destructive spending cuts — has proven entirely wrong.