Rich Wilkins and Greg Palmer have you covered with rebuttals to these ridiculous comments from Charlie Dent. I’m more interested in what in the world the Morning Call was thinking letting Colby Itkowitz publish a one-sided item like this.
What you have in Washington right now is a hostage situation. Everybody agrees we need to raise the (statutory!) debt ceiling or the bond markets are going to freak out. There’s nothing to negotiate about because everyone agrees we need to do this. But even though everyone agrees, the Republican Party has decided to take the economy hostage anyway in order to force through an ideological agenda of deep spending cuts and smaller government.
Colby agrees with this. She even calls it a hostage situation in her report.
Now, in a hostage situation, typically the hostage-taker has some specific demands that he wants in exchange for releasing the hostages. It’s certainly not the responsibility of the person being extorted to suggest demands to the hostage-taker. He’s calling the shots! He’s the one with the hostages.
Instead Colby gives hostage-taker Charlie Dent a friendly platform to accuse Barack Obama of not coming up with a list of cuts for Republicans to demand.
While Colby had Dent on the phone, wasn’t the obvious follow-up question “What is your plan for the debt?” or “Under what conditions would you vote to raise the debt ceiling?”
It does not appear that Colby asked Dent to name the specific cuts he wants to see in exchange for his vote.
But knowing what the hostage-takers’ demands are is a critical piece of information for Morning Call readers to know in order to form opinions about who to support in this standoff. Are the House Republicans asking for something crazy? Are they asking for something reasonable? We don’t know, because Colby didn’t ask.
Or maybe she did ask and didn’t report that the Congressman declined to give specifics. But that too would have been a good thing for readers to know. In that case it would have been appropriate to write something like: “I asked Congressman Dent what concessions would win his vote, but he declined to name any specific cuts.”
It isn’t as though Colby has gotten the Congressman on the record any other time regarding what he wants to do about the debt. Indeed, this is a long-standing pattern for Ms. Itkowitz. Her coverage of the Congressman alternates between giving him a friendly platform to launch political attacks, a friendly platform to respond to political attacks, and beat sweeteners.
Greg Palmer is puzzled why Dent keeps getting reelected, but I think it’s reasonably clear: the total lack of critical coverage of the Congressman in the LV’s largest newspaper means voters are only hearing very one-sided Dent-approved stories about what he’s doing in DC.
I’ve emailed Colby to give her an opportunity to respond and explain her process. With her permission I will update this post with her side of the story.