The Horror: NYT's Timothy Egan Forced to Watch Fox News

I only am escaped alone to tell thee: Timothy Egan, a liberal reporter turned columnist for the New York Times, was forced to watch Fox News at the gym and lived to tell his readers about the horror in a Thursday post at, "The Clown and the Cop."

Trapped with a Fox News big screen in my stable of fellow trotters at the gym a few weeks ago, I took in the worldview that may give the White House to Republicans this year. After burning 400 calories, I was ready to torch the capital.

For almost half an hour I heard another rehash of how my tax dollars were spent on a clown, a comic and a mind reader at a retreat for government workers outside Las Vegas in 2010. Those tin-eared bureaucrats in the General Services Administration spent a total of $835,000. An outrage, of course, and it was typical, I was informed, of runaway government spending under Barack Obama.

Not mentioned during my face time with Fox was a defense bill passed by the House that same day authorizing $642 billion in spending next year -- almost $8 billion more than the Defense Department asked for. And this vote broke a promise by the Tea Party-backed Congress, when they agreed last year to cut defense spending over 10 years.

Later Egan, facetiously asked permission to give the facts a try but instead forwarded a long-discredited opinion piece trumpeted by Obama that claimed to show he is actually a spending "miser."

First, you have to go back to Dwight Eisenhower’s administration, more than 50 years ago, to find a rate of federal spending growth lower than that of the Obama administration. This counterintuitive conclusion was reported last month by Rex Nutting in MarketWatch, a Web site affiliated with The Wall Street Journal. It’s been labeled “mostly true” by the nonpartisan referee Politifact, though others have challenged the premise of the piece. Nutting took much of 2009 out of Obama’s column because the spending was authorized in the last year of the Bush presidency.

But even when he’s tagged with most of 2009’s outlays -- including the stimulus, which saved more than one million jobs -- Obama is a relative miser on the growth chart. Still, Mitt Romney continues to say that under Obama, federal spending “has accelerated at a rate without precedent.” Of course, Obama would like to spend more, and if given a free hand, may rise to a level justifying Romney’s claim.

Hans Bader at the Competitive Enterprise Institute dissected Nutting's claims, which even the New York Times questioned, and has links to other economics writers who did the same.