CANTOR: Well, I would say cooperate is let's look to where we can move things forward where we agree. Comprising principles, you don't want to ask anybody to do that. That's who they are as their core being.
STAHL: But you know, your idol, as I've read anyway, was Ronald Reagan. And he compromised.
CANTOR: He never compromised his principles.
STAHL: Well, he raised taxes and it was one of his principles not to raise taxes.
CANTOR: Well, he also cut taxes.
STAHL: But he did compromise-
CANTOR: Well I-
[Press Secretary, off-camera: That just isn't true. And I don't want to let that stand.]
And at that point, Cantor's press secretary interrupted, yelling from off camera that what I was saying wasn't true. There seemed to be some difficulty accepting the fact that even though Ronald Reagan cut taxes, he also pushed through several tax increases, including one in 1982 during a recession.
What was more unbelievable is how the conservative Media Research Center (MRC) responded to the interview. When I was checking to see if they responded to the interview, at first I thought they would just ignore it mainly because the interview looks bad and indefensible on Eric Cantor's part. I was wrong. They actually did respond to it, but not to what got the most attention in the interview. Their reaction: Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. Or... pay no attention to those facts pointed out. The MRC focused as they always do on bias rather than accuracy.
From Media Research Center:
Stahl abandoned any pretense of journalistic objectivity, repeatedly pressing Cantor to “compromise” – to agree with Obama on the rationality of raising taxes more, touting how even Ronald Reagan had recognized the need to hike taxes.
She also reinforced the very negative image the media created:
> He’s worried about the Republican’s hardline image and also his own which is why he invited us home to see the other side of Eric Cantor.She followed up that last characterization: “As an American, are you proud of the President?” Of course, last month Kroft never thought to ask Obama if he was “proud” of John Boehner, Eric Cantor or Mitch McConnell.
> Given his upbringing and his marriage, Cantor says he’s nothing like the intractable obstructionist the Democrats say he is.
> He’s working on humanizing his image, and presenting himself as more reasonable.
Repeating a favorite liberal talking point, Stahl asserted: “Your idol, as I’ve read anyway, was Ronald Reagan. And he compromised.
She then lectured: “There seemed to be some difficulty accepting the fact that even though Ronald Reagan cut taxes, he also pushed through several tax increases, including one in 1982 during a recession.”
Compare all that with the December 11 segments with Obama, as detailed in my post: “Kroft Avoids Scandal with Obama, Presses Him to Respond to Liberal Disappointments”[Media Research Center 1/2/11]
Basically their criticisms were that Obama was not asked tough questions but Cantor was, Reagan's willingness to compromise was a liberal talking point (especially with taxes), and that the media created the portrayal that Republicans are obstructionists.
There are numerous problems with those criticisms. Both Obama Cantor were interviewed about criticisms they both were reviving relating to compromise. Obama was seen as compromising to much and Cantor was seen a not willing to compromise. Brent Baker the author of the MRC piece also insisted that Kroft "avoided" discussing scandals with Obama.
So because Kroft did not mention something off topic, that's bias? Kroft asks tough questions when their on topic to what the interview is about.
Example: Kroft pressed Obama on the unpopular GM bailout. So much for liberal media bias. 13:28
Nothing shows more journalistic objectivity than to correct something said on the air if its factually incorrect. MRC does not even acknowledge what Stahl said about Reagan and his tax increases was true. Unless MRC's readers look up that claim for themselves, they'd probably automatically dismiss it "liberal media spin" or whatever. Reagan's major tax increases on middle class families in response to deficits created from tax cuts for the wealthy are well documented. It's clear Cantor does not want that to be known. His constituents stick to the myth of Reagan like a religion. To his press secretary, THIS IS PROBABLY NEWS!!! (See Below)
Average federal income taxes were highest under Ronald Reagan.[CBPP, 4/15/11]
Did the media or Republicans create the image of obstructionists? Is accuracy bias?
This just confirms further what LEFT HOOK blog pointed out about the Media Research Center.
Media Matters For America lists, as its mission, "comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media." Part of the mission of FAIR can be found in its name--the "A" stands for "Accuracy." These groups are centrally concerned with, among other things, correcting misinformation. Keeping the record straight. The MRC has a very different mission. The legend of Newsbusters reads "Exposing & Combating Liberal Media Bias." Their more detailed "About" page tells the same story. They're about "bias," not accuracy.- LEFT HOOK the blog 6/29/11