Longtime journalist Carl Bernstein on Tuesday called on the press to abandon the false equivalence that’s colored much of the coverage of the government shutdown.
Appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” the man who helped break the Watergate scandal said that the current budget impasse is not a two-sided matter.
“This is about the Republican Party and what it’s going to be,” Bernstein said. “Is it going to conduct a fact-based, philosophical argument in our political system or is it going to be a nihilistic, hateful, asymmetrical in terms of facts and the truth part of the party, as in Joe McCarthy?”
And with that in mind, Bernstein said that the press should cover the story accordingly.
“This is about media as well. These poll numbers are about a totally different media culture than we’ve had in the past…we need to start covering this story not 50/50 — this much on this side, that on the other — we need to cover it factually,” Bernstein said. “Because there are facts here that will show what this event is about. And where, in fact, is this anger, hatred of Obama coming from? What is the root of this?”
Bernstein applauded the “Morning Joe” crew for highlighting a memo from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), who echoed President Barack Obama in saying that Democrats have already made concessions by agreeing to funding the government at sequestration levels.
“It’s about demagoguery and it needs to be viewed that way,” Bernstein said. “What you just did on the air with that quote from Eric Cantor, every newspaper in America, The Wall Street Journal, ought to have it on the front page.”
“It’s about truth. It’s about fact. It’s about a wing in [the GOP] that has no interest in truth or governing or fact and it’s bringing the country down,” he continued. “It might not bring the party down. Like McCarthy, it might work. That’s the terrible thing.”