from CREDO Mobilize

The government shutdown is not the result of a legislative breakdown or both parties refusing to compromise. It is a direct result of the right-wing House Republicans’ legislative strategy of taking hostages and making extremist demands that are out of touch with the American people. Report the truth: House Republicans are solely responsible for the government shutdown.

Speaker Boehner

This week, the White House started pushing back on the media’s coverage of the government shutdown, with White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer calling an ABC reporter’s comments about the shutdown “some of the worst false equivalence I have seen in a long time.”

The major television networks have largely ignored the Republicans’ own words and tried to imply that both sides are equally to blame for the shutdown.[1] They seem determined to make the story of the shutdown one of a partisan standoff where both sides are equally to blame. This is dishonest.

News reports are largely blaming the government shutdown on the inability of both political parties to come to terms. It is supposedly the result of a “bitterly divided” Congress that “failed to reach agreement” (Washington Post) or “a bitter budget standoff” left unresolved by “rapid-fire back and forth legislative maneuvers” (New York Times). This sort of false equivalence is not just a failure of journalism. It is also a failure of democracy.

The facts are as clear as day. The Republicans have opted to use a shutdown as a way of pressuring President Obama to give up healthcare and other progressive priorities. Media coverage of the government shutdown and who is to blame should reflect these facts and inform the American people, but so far it has largely failed to do so.

The false equivalence and “he-said, she-said” coverage from major television networks and the dysfunctional DC press corps has dangerous implications for the proper functioning of our democracy. If Americans who watch television news don’t understand the fact that Republicans intentionally created the government shutdown and debt ceiling crises in an unprecedented attempt to extract extreme legislative concessions from Democrats, they won’t be able to hold those responsible accountable at the ballot box.

It is not the media’s job to cover up for the Republicans. It’s time for the media to come clean and report the truth: Republicans are solely responsible for shutting down the government.