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Media Won't Budge on Ridiculous Size of Budget

Liberals hate government. Huh?

Sure seems like it. Across America from Washington to Wisconsin, the left is threatening to shut down the seats of power and blame it on conservatives somehow. In Wisconsin and Indiana, legislators nicknamed "fleebaggers" have fled their responsibilities to democracy to hide from tough budget battles. In the nation's capital, they are gearing up to shut down government over a few billion in cuts. Meanwhile the president wants a budget that adds $7.2 trillion more to the national debt. All he needs is a stringed instrument and we could call him Nero.

And the media are going predictably nuts - blaming conservatives. The GOP is "slashing" or making "severe" or even "historic cuts," journalists argue. MSNBC's Chris Matthews explained that Republicans are causing a government shutdown, claiming "in the end, they're the ones shutting the door on government."

The Associated Press made the same argument but appeared slightly more sane, stating as fact that a temporary budget bill is needed. "It will take weeks or even months to work out differences on the massive spending bill, thus requiring the stopgap bill." Of course, Democrats could actually agree to cut government. But that never happens.

The Washington Post version of events made it seem like Republicans were ending government as we know it. "Yet in last week's feverish scramble to shrink government, House Republicans also ran the budgetary buzz saw through costly defense and homeland security programs that their party had historically protected. They left no sacred cows."

A "budgetary buzz saw" for $61 billion in cuts? The proposed Obama budget is $3.7 trillion. Cutting $61 billion of that is just 1.6 percent.

Let's put it another way. The median household income in the United States is about $50,000. Cutting 1.6 percent of that works out to $15.38 a week and that's before taxes. The GOP cuts are the equivalent of lunch for two at a good fast food restaurant like Chick-fil-a. Naturally, MSNBC's Contessa Brewer described the battle as Republicans backing "meanie money" while Democrats get the chance to "show a big heart."

So why are newsies so upset that the GOP is "slashing everything from foreign aid to high-speed rail," as NBC's Mike Viqueira put it?

There are two reasons for that ridiculous assessment. The first is that journalists don't just like Big Government. They love Big Government and all it stands for. That means Big Government solutions - health care, Social Security, rapid rail, the Wall Street bailout, the auto bailout and more. The only government program journalists don't like is the Department of Defense.

The second reason is that somewhere between "foreign aid" and the pork-filled "high-speed rail" fell cash to America's publicly funded left-wing media outlets NPR and PBS.

Public media is what a lot of this battle is about, even when journalists don't admit it. The news industry, such as it is these days, has fallen on hard times. As bad the national economy has been, the journalism industry has been much worse. The current GOP cuts include slicing $430 million from PBS and NPR.

In the context of this budget debate, that number seems silly. But it's not. This is such an important fight that lefty media types are willing to politicize your children's TV programs so they can save their own government payola.

Like Big Bird before him, Arthur the Aardvark took to Capitol Hill to protect PBS from those evil, budget cutting conservatives. Arthur "joined Democratic Reps. Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and others to hit back against Republicans," wrote the Daily Caller.

Because that's what we need - our tax dollars lobbying our government for more of our tax dollars. And all the while pretending that public media is something other than 24-7 liberal propaganda.

We could argue that all day. Lefties, who overwhelmingly make up the public media audience, won't hear it. They don't like to be reminded of the 1st Amendment either - you know, the part where it says "Congress shall make no law" that abridges freedom of the press. But putting journalists on the public dole does precisely that. Why do you think the left wants to increase the cost from $430 million to $30 billion? They want a strong national media that is beholden to Big Government.

It might not sound like much money, but it's an essential principle. Even though liberals and media types pretend the GOP is going to turn Arthur the Aardvark into roadkill, the only thing threatened is a bucket of red ink.

Dan Gainor is the Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center's Vice President for Business and Culture. His column appears each week on The Fox Forum. He can also be contacted on FaceBook and Twitter as dangainor.