On CBS, Chuck Schumer Scolds the Media for Putting an 'Undeserved Halo' on Paul Ryan

On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer preposterously alleged that the mainstream media have a conservative bias in favor of Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, giving him an "undeserved halo" when he is, in fact, a "fraud." But the MRC has catalogued numerous quotes, some listed below, documenting the media's hostility to Ryan's budget-cutting approach.

Talking to co-hosts Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell, Schumer first claimed that Ryan, “creates this halo for himself that he’s a budget reducer.” Schumer went on to insist that, “the mainstream media, maybe not the two of you, but the mainstream media, not just the hard right, gave Ryan this halo. Undeserved.” Lastly, Schumer argued that, “The halo came from the mainstream media who needed a hard right guy to say here’s the real compromiser.” [Video below; MP3 audio here.]

Neither host contested Senator Schumer's ludicrous assertion about the media's supposed pro-Ryan tilt.

Unfortunately for Mr. Schumer, his claims couldn’t be further from the truth. The record shows that the media have consistently demonized him as a cruel budget ‘slasher’ who balances the budged ‘on the backs of poor people and seniors.’ Below is a sample of some of the so-called ‘halos’ the mainstream media have placed over Mr. Ryan:   

“New battle lines have been drawn after Mitt Romney chose conservative Congressman and budget slasher Paul Ryan as his running mate.”
— Co-host Bianna Golodryga on ABC’s Good Morning America, August 12.

"He really slashes into social programs, and — I mean, it’s across the board — in order to try to get this budget back into balance.”
— Face the Nation moderator Bob Schieffer on CBS This Morning, August 13. Under Ryan’s budget, federal spending actually increases, albeit at a slower rate than under Obama, from $3.6 to $4.9 trillion, over the next 10 years.

“This guy could be worse than Quayle, more trouble than Tom Eagleton, because this time, the presidential candidate and his team knew the weakness, saw the trouble they were walking into before they walked into it. And that’s not the best argument for Mr. Romney’s business acumen. This may be the worst merger since AOL bought Time Warner.”
— Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball, August 14. In 1972, Eagleton was replaced after 18 days as George McGovern’s running mate for failing to disclose his history with mental illness.

“I’ve heard Paul Ryan described as a true conservative....Do you honestly think he is someone who will work and reach across the aisle to Democrats, or will he be an immovable object on key social issues and issues of ideology?”
— Host Matt Lauer to Newt Gingrich on NBC’s Today, August 14.

"Guess what? Paul Ryan is doing it on the backs of poor people and seniors...He's not doing anything in terms of raising taxes to compensate and say, 'you know what, the sacrifice is going to be shared across all areas of our economy.' The rich get off like scoundrels. They're happy, they're like the executives on Wall Street this week who are getting all these big bonuses....Everyone says we've got to have tax cuts, we've got to have sacrifice for this country - oh, it's just for the middle class and especially those despicable poor people."
- Juan Williams on Fox News Sunday, April 10, 2011.

"Representative Paul Ryan's 2012 budget, released today, includes reforms, what they call reforms, and also big cuts in housing assistance, job training, and food stamps, all of which would have a very big impact on particularly poor and minority communities, some say."
- Andrea Mitchell on her 1pm ET MSNBC Andrea Mitchell Reports, April 5, 2011.

"People who have been studying your numbers very carefully have been saying that the numbers don't add up....[They say] two-thirds of the savings that you want to make in spending cuts come at the expense of programs designed for the poor, for the disadvantaged. And this is reverse Robin Hoodism, if you like - take from the poor, give back to the rich again."
- ABC's Christiane Amanpour to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) on This Week, May 1, 2011.

Such comments by Schumer are not only absurd but factually inaccurate.  The quotes above are just a few of the numerous examples exposing the condemnation of Paul Ryan by the mainstream media.  Schumer claimed that Ryan’s convention speech was full of “mistruths”, but his statement about a media bias in favor of Ryan is the real “mistruth.”      

Here's the relevant transcript, from the September 5 program:

CHARLIE ROSE: Tonight the delegates here at the Democratic National Convention will formally nominate President Obama for a second term. New York Senator Chuck Schumer says Democrats are uniting behind the president. He told "The New York Times" that the consequences of not winning are becoming clearer. Senator Schumer joins us now. Welcome.

CHUCK SCHUMER: Good morning.  Good to be here. No duets for me either.

ROSE: you have said that Congressman Ryan is a fraud. Fraud.

SCHUMER: Yeah. His budget is one of the most fraudulent documents I've ever seen. He does try to make an effort to cut Medicare by dramatically changing it and people give him credit for that. We don’t agree with it, so be it.  But he takes every nickel of that savings and doesn't use it for deficit reduction. He uses it to reduce taxes on the wealthy further. His whole career has been promoted by these 20 Super PAC people. And he gained --

ROSE:  That doesn't make it a fraud.

SCHUMER: He gained the mantle as the one Republican who is willing to do the tough things and reduce the deficit and he doesn't and never has. I mean, you can't give him a halo of this is the guy willing to make the compromises when his budget does nothing to reduce the deficit and it is there in plain view and for months the mainstream media –

NORAH O’DONNELL: But Senator, with all due respect, where is the Democrats in the Senate budget?

SCHUMER: Well, we passed a budget in August of 2011 that Republicans voted for. It wasn't called the Budget Act. It was called part of the -- next step. We passed it. So we do have a budget and this is sort of – this is sort of-

O’DONNELL: And when does your budget balance the budget?

SCHUMER: Our budget balances the budget about the same time as Ryan's does.  Ryan's doesn't balance it for 50 years.

O’DONNELL: Until 2040. Actually the CBO says it balances in 2040.

SCHUMER: Here’s what I’m saying.  He creates this halo for himself that he's a budget reducer. Everyone attacks Democrats on our budget issues -- Ryan should be attacked and now he is. And the fact that in the speech he blatantly told mistruth after mistruth, how can you blame President Obama on Bowles-Simpson when he's the number one reason, had he voted for Bowles-Simpson we’d have it now.  That is an act of chutzpah.  Politicians stretch the truth, politicians cut corners when they are, you know in a box.  I've never seen this kind of thing. But what I'm saying is-

O’DONNELL: Don't both sides deserve some blame on that. No It is true that Ryan voted against the Simpson-Bowles budget but President Obama also did not brace his own commissions’ recommendations

SCHUMER: He then moved a Bowles-Simpson plan six months later. My point is not that -- everyone is blameful here on the budget. We’re all going to have to come together in the middle. My point is that the mainstream media, maybe not the two of you, but the mainstream media, not just the hard right, gave Ryan this halo. Undeserved.

ROSE: But the President of the United States said to him, I congratulate you for being specific and making a proposal when no one else is making a proposal. Remember that?

SCHUMER: Yeah the president is trying to be nice. But let me tell you –

ROSE: The halo came in part from the president.

SCHUMER: No, absolutely not.  The halo came from the mainstream media who needed a hard right guy to say here’s the real compromiser.  

ROSE: I raise a point about the fraud. But let me move to this convention.

SCHUMER:  Okay, good.

ROSE: Everybody seems to be at this convention worried about one big thing. Is how do you make sure that Democrats who may be thinking about not being better off, who voted for the president last time, not just Democrats, what can this party do to convince them if they believe they're not better off, if they're not comfortably convinced that the president has lived up to expectations to vote for someone else?

SCHUMER: Two different issues. We are better off. I mean I got this little chart here. Here's job losses under Bush.

ROSE: They have charts too, they have charts too, you know about family income and other things.

SHUMER: Charlie, Charlie. We lost 600,000 jobs -- January 1, 2009. Financial industry teetering on the edge, ready to go under. Businesses across New York state can't get loans. Our two major auto companies, no one thinks they have a future. 600,000 jobs lost. Today, is it great? No. Do we need improvement? Yes. Is it much better than in…100,000 jobs gained -- GM and Chrysler are leading the charge. Banks are back on their feet making loans to business, small businesses. What we have to prove to people, because most people are not interested in the past, we said, he said. We have to prove that we are focused on the middle class. We have a plan for that. We believe in helping kids go to college. We believe  in -- I just want to say this. The greatest, perhaps the greatest sin of Romney-Ryan and the Republican platform is narrowness. Romney has had a rarefied existence. And he seems to think, if you help him and people like him, that's going to solve the whole economic problem.

-- Jeffrey Meyer is an intern with the News Analysis Division of the Media Research Center.