Media manipulation and the memory hole


Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

GOPropaganda relies on the public having a short-term memory. It also relies on the media villagers having a short-term memory. The focus of news reporting on the current news cycle actually aids the media manipulation of GOPropaganda.

If you are paying attention you will hear Tea-Publicans in every speech, interview, and press release include an obligatory reference that "President Obama came up
with the sequester" which, of course, is exactly the opposite of the truth, as anyone with a long-term memory will recall.

How the sequester came about has gone down the memory hole thanks to a public that has a short-term memory, and media villagers with a short-term memory who only report the current news cycle without going back and including their earlier reporting from last year as a point of reference and an explanation of the timeline of events.

Steve Benen does their job for them in The 2011 ransom note and the GOP's sequester:

Was the policy actually Obama's idea? No. The argument is not only
wrong, it's dependent on the entire political world having a very short

Since this has become such an important element of the larger fight, let's take a minute to set the record straight.

In 2011, for the first time in American history, the entirety of the
congressional Republican caucus held the debt ceiling hostage. GOP
leaders presented the White House with a non-negotiable ransom note:
give Republicans over $2 trillion in debt reduction or GOP lawmakers
would crash the economy on purpose.

Left with no choice, Obama
agreed to negotiate, and accepted over $1 trillion in spending cuts, in
exchange for literally no revenue at all. Republicans said this was
insufficient, and demanded more than $1 trillion in additional savings — and if the president refused, they'd crash the economy on purpose.

policymakers agreed they needed more time to negotiate additional
debt-reduction measures, so they created a mechanism: a
"super-committee" that would work on a bipartisan deal. That, of course,
failed, when the panel's GOP members refused to compromise.

But policymakers, assuming the super-committee would probably not work out, had a back-up plan widely referred to as "the sequester."
The idea was to force both sides to the negotiating table — a sword of
Damocles hanging over Washington's head that would be so severe,
Democrats and Republicans would have a strong incentive to strike a deal
to avoid the drastic consequences.

Both sides put some skin in
the game: Democrats would be forced to swallow over $500 billion in deep
domestic cuts, while Republicans would be forced to swallow over $500
billion in deep cuts to military spending during a war. (Originally, the
White House asked that Republicans face a threat of automatic tax
increases, but Republicans refused — even hypothetical tax increases
were deemed outrageous — so they settled on deep Defense cuts instead.)

At the time, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the deal gave him "98 percent"
of what he wanted. Did Boehner complain at the time about Obama forcing
him to accept a sequester idea the Speaker found outrageous? He did
not. Not even a little.

Republicans now want Americans to believe this was all Obama's fault. Let's consider the evidence:

1. Republicans created the debt-ceiling crisis.

2. Republicans wrote the ransom note and named their price.

3. Republicans endorsed, accepted, and voted for this plan, saying they'd accept the consequences. and

4. Republicans now refuse to compromise (again) to deal with the mess they created.

So we're supposed to believe this is Obama's fault? That's only true if you ignore literally every detail and pretend reality has no meaning.

make this plain: the sequester is a key part of the ransom the GOP
settled for during the debt-ceiling crisis they created. It's a little
late to pass the buck now.

That said, if Republicans don't like
the sequester, they have a terrific option available to them: they can
cancel it and end this stupidity once and for all.

So in the coming days and weeks when Tea-Publicans are pushing this GOPropaganda talking point, media villagers have an obligation to call B.S. and to reference their earlier reporting from last year as a point of reference for an explanation of the timeline of events to remind the public with a short-term memory what really happened and who is responsible. Your failure to do so would make you complicit and an accomplice in GOPropaganda.

UPDATE: Glenn Kessler takes apart the latest talking point: The
idea that Obama, not Republicans, is responsible for the looming
sequester cuts because the White House suggested creating the sequester
in the first place

The sequester was clearly an idea advanced by the White
House in order to avoid a second debt ceiling showdown in Obama’s 2012
reelection campaign. Thus, the sequester was structured to include only
spending cuts — and to take effect after the election if the
supercommittee was unable to reach a deal. But Republicans agreed to
this plan and thus also are equally responsible for the looming
across-the-board cuts, absent a bipartisan agreement to delay or change

Greg Sargent adds that the whole thing was only made necessary in the first
place because Republicans took the step of using the debt ceiling — and
the threat of widespread financial disaster — to get what they wanted.


  1. The House passed the Budget Control Act[1] on August 1, 2011 by a vote of 269–161. 174 Republicans and 95 Democrats voted for it, while 66 Republicans and 95 Democrats voted against it.[14]

    Republicans voted EN MASSE for this sequester.These are the facts, no matter how inconvenient they are for you.

  2. Let me be the first to call “B.S.”. The sequester was, in fact, the brain-child of Jack Lew and Rob Nabors (i.e. the Obama administration).

    Obama owns this. Live with it.

  3. Let me be the first to call “B.S.”. The sequester was, in fact, the brain-child of Jack Lew and Rob Nabors (i.e. the Obama administration).

    Obama owns this. Live with it.

  4. So predictable. I see you must follow Boehner on Twitter so you’ll know what to say!

    John Boehner took a picture of text from Woodward’s book, The Price of Politics, in which Woodward wrote that then-White House chief of staff Jack Lew introduced the idea of sequestration into the debt-ceiling negotiations. Boehner passed this picture around, and even urged his staffers to replace their avatars with it. Boehner’s even pushing the hashtag “#obamaquester” in hopes of forcing the President to carry the weight of the Republicans’ failure.

    If it were true that sequester was Obama’s fault, Boehner wouldn’t have to go to such lengths; however, when the record defies your version of reality, great efforts must be made.

    The National Republican Conference Committee issued a statement saying, “Obama owns the sequester. He proposed it. He threatened to veto (any bill) getting rid of it.”
    the problem is that we never would have needed the sequester if the Republicans hadn’t decided to hold the country’s economy hostage by refusing to do the most basic task of raising the debt ceiling in order to pay off the things they already voted into existence.

    AZ BlueMeanie is correct. Republicans own this. Live with it.

  5. Try again, troll. The package was a bipartisan agreement negotiated with Congress — it is not a plan imposed on Congress by the President who has no such power. Republicans demanded discretionary spending cuts (social security and Medicare are exempted), and Democrats demanded defense budget cuts — it was designed to be mutually repugnant so that both sides would negotiate in good faith a balanced deal of budget cuts and new tax revenue.

    Most Republicans in the House voted for the sequester, while most Democrats voted against it, and Boehner boasted, “I got 98 percent of what I wanted.” Now Republicans are saying they will allow the sequester trigger to take effect rather than negotiate new tax revenue in good faith. It is their failure to negotiate in good faith that will lead to reduced government spending which will cause a recession and unemployment to rise, and it will be Republicans who cut defense spending that they claim to hold scarosanct — all because they refuse to consider raising taxes on the top two percent of income earners whom they represent. Only the Congress can pull the sequester trigger, the President does not control the trigger. It is the chain-smoking booze-hound Boehner who has his finger on the trigger.

  6. Let me be the first to call “B.S.”. The sequester was, in fact, the brain-child of Jack Lew and Rob Nabors (i.e. the Obama administration).

    Obama owns this. Live with it.