Media Coverage of Payroll Tax is Shallow and Incomplete

COMMENTARY | Regarding the latest in the Social Security payroll tax cut controversy: Political conservatives often complain of an alleged "liberal media." My complaint, primarily regarding TV, is of an incomplete or shallow reporting that fails to provide background and context.

If one were to only view the Dec. 21 coverage, one would conclude that the Republicans want a full year's extension of the payroll tax cut, while the Democrats only want two months.

Conservatives who complain of a liberal media are catching a break from the same media (although they don't seem to realize this).

Any reporter who goes back for simply two weeks of background will note that many Republicans originally were arguing against a full year. The GOP wanted Medicare cuts, unemployment cuts and the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Some Republicans such as Rep. Tom McClintock of California were even arguing against the wisdom of cutting Social Security revenues at all. (For that matter, few media report this as a Social Security tax cut.)

This is why Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell engineered last weekend's 89-10 compromise in favor of two months. Why aren't the incomplete and shallow reporters making more not of this? McConnell, who has returned to his old Kentucky home, now through a spokesman quoted in Politico, is siding with the House Republicans who want to veto what he wrought just a few days ago. Why aren't reporters questioning this hypocritical flip-flop?

And why isn't more attention being given to the Senate Republicans such as John McCain, Scott Brown, Richard Lugar and Dean Heller who are ripping their GOP peers in the House? Incomplete and shallow. That's the coverage, in the liberal and conservative media alike.