Newsnight economics editor Paul Mason has put together a little hit piece on Paul Ryan. Under the pretext of examining whether or not Ryan’s budget proposals will help the US in fiscal crisis, Mason attacks and demonizes.
Could Paul Ryan’s plans fix US debt?
Hands up all those who think we’re going to get an honest examination of those plans. Nobody?
Mason’s opening salvo tells you it’s an attack. Right away he claims that in a matter of days Ryan has “polarized US politics”. What? Haven’t Mardell and the rest of them been telling us that the country’s politics have been polarized and more divided than ever before since the nasty Tea Party got busy? All of a sudden we’re polarized?
The video clip of Ryan is cut short before we get to actual policy points, allowing through just a statement about cutting spending in general. So far, you’re not informed at all about the actual plans.
First expert commentator: this benefits the President. How does this help examine whether or not Ryan’s plans will benefit or harm the country? Don’t be silly: that’s not what Mason’s goal is at all. His real goal is show that Ryan is bad for the country, and a bad choice for Romney. Whether or not Ryan’s policies help the President in campaign rhetoric is irrelevant to a discussion about Ryan’s plans fixing the debt. But that’s what Mason gives you.
Then Mason plays an excerpt of Ryan giving the President a hard time over budget issues. This video has been making the rounds of the Rightosphere lately, as evidence of why Romney chose him. So the Beeboids do pay attention after all. But listen to what Mason says next. Ryan wants to cut Welfare and Food Stamps, apparently. And, “says, Ryan, growth would follow.” So that’s it, is it? Crushing the poorest and most vulnerable is Ryan’s recipe for success, eh?
It’s the simplest trick in the world: use the most general terms possible, no details, and claim “accuracy”. In fact, even the mandarins at the government program themselves admit that it’s more about putting back some means-testing as a way to get spending back to 2008 levels. Sure, they describe it as the cruel wresting of vital support for “low-income families”, but that’s their job. They’re not about fixing the debt problem. Mason is giving you a talking point more than he’s giving you a useful fact. Of course, the BBC can claim “accuracy” here, because Ryan’s plan would, in fact, cut expenditure on these programs. The hows and whys are apparently irrelevant.
But that’s not even the real point, is it? This is supposed to be about whether or not Ryan’s budget ideas will save the country. Mason, it seems, has no interest in giving you any information with which to decide for yourselves. Instead, he’s giving you partisan attack points. Then the biased reporting really kicks in.
Mason next shows a clip from Ryan’s recent stump appearance in Iowa. He got heckled, and Mason uses this as proof that “the Democrat half of the country” doesn’t like him. Again, we get no policy statement from him, just the bit where he gets heckled.
I’d like to pause for a moment and ask defenders of the indefensible to show me examples of the BBC showing the President getting heckled and reporting it as proof that a portion of the country has a legitimate objection to His policies.
As for the Ryan clip, all we see is him criticizing the hecklers, which is followed immediately by footage of the President having a great old time meeting some other Iowans. He’s at ease, smiling and pressing the flesh, complimenting the local prowess in sno-cone making, and nearly kissing a baby. No hecklers, no negatives, no hint that part of the country might object to any of His policies.
However, I have to ask if this footage was included in the interests of “balance”? If so, why? This is supposed to be about Ryan and his budget ideas. Actually, Mason cleverly uses this as a segue to support his rather fatuous statement that this election is suddenly about “where you’re from”. It’s bogus because Ryan was teasing. Anybody who doesn’t rely on or trust the BBC for their news on US issues will know very well about just how ugly and violent the Democrats in Wisconsin can get when they don’t like a politician. Ryan wasn’t seriously saying those hecklers could never be from Iowa or Wisconsin. He was just making a weak crack about them being rude. For Mason to take that and spin it into a larger issue of some kind of regional divide is even weaker. Now, one could make a case for the South not being so supportive of the President, but that’s all racism, according to the Left and the BBC, and not because they think Ryan’s budget ideas are sound. But that’s another argument altogether, and won’t help Mason’s agenda.
Then we get a liar from the Washington Post. She plays the class war game, much beloved by Mason and the BBC. The WaPo hack claims that choosing Ryan is proof that Romney wants to cut taxes on the rich, full stop. Once again the BBC can claim the vaguest definition of “accuracy” here, because a tax cut across the board – for everyone – will by definition include tax cuts for the rich. This is, in fact, Romney’s plan, something the BBC leaves out in order to seriously mislead you and grossly misrepresent the facts. Mason gets away with it this time because it’s some US mouthpiece saying it and not him. So where’s the balance, the explanation of even one single relevant detail of Ryan’s or Romney’s plan never mind whether or not it will help fix the debt crisis? Don’t make me laugh.
After this, Mason gives us another White House talking point: it’s Congress’s fault. No mention that the Republican-led House has passed a budget – twice – while the Democrat-led Senate has blocked it and failed to pass one in three years and counting. No mention that the President’s own offerings have been such a joke that the CBO couldn’t even score it and His Plan For Us never passed the laugh test enough for anyone in Congress to even consider it.
Mason gives us one last generality, that Ryan wants to cut spending in order to promote growth. “But that is one major throw of the dice.” Yes, that’s one opinion: Paul Mason’s. Which is the whole reason the BBC has these titled “editor” positions. It gives them an excuse to allow opinion-mongering in place of real reporting. Not a single second of actual reporting is in evidence here. Instead, it’s carefully selected and edited footage to support Mason’s opinion of Ryan’s fiscal conservatism.
Now that I’ve spent time playing the ball, it’s time to play the man. We know for a fact that Mason is a Marxist, and supports the Occupy movement. We know his political opinions from his tweets and his books and his support for and participation in far-Left organizations and conferences. All that on its own would be enough to cause concern over his capability for impartial reporting, except the BBC doesn’t accept that. Yet now we see his opinion being offered on air, and it’s the same one we see from his extracurricular activities. His personal political bias informs his “reporting”. It’s as plain as day.
Your license fee hard at work, promoting the domestic agenda of the leader of a foreign country.