On March 12, Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the GOP’s budget proposal, sparking an afternoon of analysis and criticism. By Tuesday evening Reuters was contrasting Ryan’s budget with one sponsored by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). But there is one problem with the Reuters analysis: The Democrats didn’t actually release any budget for Reuters to analyze. So Reuters simply regurgitated Murray’s talking points.
In the Reuters report, the pair of budgets are deemed difficult to pass because they appear “crafted to appeal to their respective party bases.”
Reuters claims that the problem with Ryan’s budget is that it is likely aimed at getting Rep. Ryan the 2016 GOP presidential nomination as opposed to being a serious attempt to solve Washington’s budget problems.
As to the “Senate democratic budget proposal,” Reuters says that it will “shrink budget deficits by $1.85 trillion over 10 years but not balance the budget.” Reuters also notes that tax hikes are included in Murray’s proposal for “rebuilding crumbling roads and bridges, creating construction jobs.”
Reuters then quotes David Brown, a policy analyst for the Third Way, billed as a centrist Washington-based think tank. “These were two ideological documents. They are both bargaining positions,” Brown told Reuters.
Naturally, the fact that the Democrats haven’t passed a budget for four years isn’t mentioned at all in the Reuters analysis.
All this analysis of Murray’s budget is, however, a bit problematic. After all, Murray had not actually released her budget to anyone at the time of publication. Even Congressional Republicans had been denied any look at Murray’s budget proposal. So, how can Reuters, or David Brown, or anyone else craft any in-depth analysis on a budget proposal no one has seen?
On the other hand, Ryan’s budget is out there for everyone to see.
It appears that Reuters is taking all of the Democrats’ claims about their budget at face value and simply regurgitating Patty Murray’s talking points uncritically–and reporting them as news.