Networks Tout Tax Cuts for Millions in Obama Budget, Ignore Fuzzy Math

The three network morning shows combined gave less than two minutes of air time to President Obama's proposed 2015 budget on Tuesday, though they all managed to highlight how the plan "will cut taxes for thirteen and a half million working Americans" [Listen to the audio]. What the NBC, ABC, and CBS broadcasts all ignored was that the debt projections under the President's budget were off by $2.7 trillion compared to recent numbers released by the Congressional Budget Office.

As the Washington Post pointed out on Tuesday, "[Obama's budget] forecasts a dramatic reduction in deficits over the coming decade. The request paints a much rosier debt scenario than a report released by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office a month ago."

On NBC's Today, news reader Natalie Morales announced: "The nearly $4 trillion plan will cut taxes for thirteen and a half million working Americans while expanding the child independent care tax credit to help families afford child care." In a later news brief on the program, co-host Savannah Guthrie touted "highlights" of the plan that included: "...more spending on education, job training, and infrastructure. And new tax breaks for parents."

Morales did mention a more controversial aspect of the budget: "The President's blueprint also proposes cuts to Army and National Guard personnel." She also noted: "Political analysts believe the President's budget, though, is unlikely to get very far in Congress."

On ABC's Good Morning America, news reader Josh Elliot declared: "President Obama will unveil his $4 trillion election year budget plan today. It will include new tax breaks for 13 million low-income workers, but will not include proposed cuts to Social Security benefits."

CBS This Morning co-host Norah O'Donnell proclaimed: "This morning, the White House is getting ready to release a 2015 budget packed with stimulus money."

Skipping over the unlikelihood of the budget gaining support in Congress, O'Donnell portrayed it as bipartisan:

The centerpiece is an approach to fighting poverty that is favored by Republicans. President Obama wants to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit for another 13 million Americans. That program gives tax breaks to the working poor. The President would pay its $60 billion cost by closing loopholes for wealthier taxpayers.

O'Donnell explained that Obama was "seeking more than $300 billion for highways, bridges, and transit" and that the "nearly $4 trillion" budget was "slightly higher than the current budget."

Reacting to the President's proposal on Tuesday, House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan stated:

The President's budget is yet another disappointment – because it reinforces the status quo. It would demand that families pay more so Washington can spend more. It would hollow out our defense capabilities. And it would do nothing to preserve or strengthen our entitlements. The President has just three years left in his administration, and yet he seems determined to do nothing about our fiscal challenges. This budget isn't a serious document; it's a campaign brochure. In divided government, we need leadership and collaboration. And in this budget, we have neither.

— Kyle Drennen is Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.