Thursday, October 7, 2010

DMN Fail: Pete Sessions and Sam Johnson

This week, The Dallas Morning News made recommendations in the 32nd and 3rd Congressional District races for north Texas. In both cases, the editorials read as if the editorial board struggled to come up with plausible reasons to support what may have been a preordained outcome -- recommending the long-term incumbents Pete Sessions and Sam Johnson. The News simply dismisses the Democratic opponents ("out of sync", "too far left"), with condescension ("well-intentioned") and no serious analysis. Worse, the News didn't even bother interviewing the Libertarians on the ballot or analyze the Libertarian positions. The News just accepts without question the assumption that Sessions and Johnson are for fiscal responsibility, despite decades of history otherwise.

After the jump, two particularly bizarre examples from The Dallas Morning News editorials.

The Dallas Morning News recommends North Texas Congressman Pete Sessions (R-District 32) for re-election in part because he "issued appropriate cautions about the costs of Congress' health care reform package." In fact, the health reform law will *reduce* the federal deficit. According to the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office:

"The Congress has recently approved major health care legislation in the form of two pieces of legislation. ... On March 20, 2010, CBO released its final cost estimate for the reconciliation act, which encompassed the effects of both pieces of legislation. ... CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate that enacting both pieces of legislation will produce a net reduction in federal deficits of $143 billion over the 2010-2019 period."

As opposed to health care costs, which are paid for, the News makes no mention at all of the costs of either the Iraq and Afghan wars or the bank bailout or the Bush tax cuts for those making more than $200,000 per year, all of which Sessions supports and all of which *increase* the federal deficit because Sessions and his fellow Republicans made not even a pretense of paying for them. In fact, the one law that actually reduces the federal deficit, health care reform, Pete Sessions fought in all forms, every last provision, even regulations forbidding insurance companies from dropping coverage when their customers get sick.

The Dallas Morning News' recommendation for Sessions' fellow Congressman, Sam Johnson is, if anything, even more disconnected from reality.

On September 27, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010. The bill increases the availability of credit and tax incentives for small business job creation. The bill passed the House of Representatives 241-182 with only three yes votes from Republicans. North Texas' own Sam Johnson (R-District 3) was not among them.

Still, the editorial board of The Dallas Morning News must have really, really wanted to recommend Sam Johnson for re-election in order to write this:

"Last month, President Barack Obama signed bipartisan legislation by Johnson that eased the burden on businesses by eliminating taxes on company-issued cellphones."

Remember, Johnson voted "no" on the bill that contained this provision that the News credits Johnson for getting passed. Either the editorial board didn't bother to check facts when they wrote this editorial or they are like the hostage who slips nonsense remarks into his message to his family to signal that he's under duress and doesn't really mean what he's saying.

It's as if someone gave the editorial board an assignment to write endorsements of Pete Sessions and Sam Johnson and they couldn't come up with good arguments, so they picked things out of context, ignored obvious counter-arguments, ignored some ballot opponents altogether, and when that still failed, just accepted made-up stuff without fact-checking. FAIL.

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