On Tuesday's CNN Newsroom,
anchor Rick Sanchez, who's increasingly mimicking MSNBC's Keith
Olbermann's off-the-chart liberalism, took a swipe at several
First, let me try and set this up. You have heard the
conversation on this newscast and on many other newscasts just a couple
of weeks ago. There were many red state Southern governors who were on
the record saying we're so angry about this stimulus package, we are so
angry about the spending, that we don't want the money. We don't want
the money in our states.
You heard that from people like Haley Barbour and Governor Sanford
of South Carolina, to a certain extent, from Governor Jindal in
Louisiana. What six states, I ask, that resisted the stimulus money are
getting for what they're putting into the system now?
In other words, let me rephrase that. How much from every dollar
that they get from the government are they giving back or receiving? We
have got a brand-new statistic. I want to break this down for you. And
these are the six states that we were talking about, six red states.
Let's go to that graphic, if we have it. We are going to start with
Mississippi. Look at this. Look at this, all right? Mississippi gets
$2.02. That's more than twice what they send to the federal government.
In other words, they get twice as much as they put in. The people of
Mississippi get more than they are taxed.
Louisiana gets $1.85, Alaska, Sarah Palin, $1.83. Remember,
Louisiana was Bobby Jindal. Haley Barbour was the governor of
Mississippi who said he was mad because the people of his state were
getting cheated. South Carolina's Mark Sanford, his state? They get
$1.35, follow me here, $1.35 for every dollar they put into the federal
system. So, they're getting more than they're putting in. Idaho, same
thing, $1.19. Texas just about breaks even, just an interesting
statistic that we thought we would share with you, given the news items
that have been coming out for the last week or so.
Sanchez didn't indicate the source of his chart statistics. I
believe I know why. The data he presented identically match those
gathered by the Northeast-Midwest Institute,
which describes itself as a "research organization dedicated to
economic vitality, environmental quality, and regional equity for
Northeast and Midwest states." The figures compiled by the Institute, and presented by Sanchez as "a brand-new statistic," represent data for Fiscal Year 2005.
Another flaw in Sanchez's presentation was ignoring that Louisiana's
governor in FY 2005 was not incumbent Republican Bobby Jindal, but
Democrat Kathleen Blanco. Nor did he mention that some Democratic
governors, including John Lynch of New Hampshire and Tennessee's Phil Bredesen, have indicated they may not accept some of the stimulus funding.
In the interest of balance, Sanchez could have pointed out that,
according to the same source he used, Democratically-governed states
such as New Mexico, West Virginia, and Virginia also received
considerably more tax dollars from Washington than they sent.
The similarities between CNN's Sanchez and MSNBC's Olbermann are noteworthy. On Olbermann's Tuesday, March 3 Countdown program,
his three top stories were the ongoing Rush Limbaugh saga, the
Republicans-are-hypocrites-on-earmarks claim, and the creation of "an
independent Truth Commission on Bush‘s counter-terrorism policies." On
the second story, Olbermann cited "the nonpartisan group, Taxpayers for
The very next day, Sanchez also devoted time to each of those stories. Doing Olbermann one better, he interviewed the president of the Taxpayers for Common Sense.
I recognize that news is news and cable networks often cover much of
the same ground. Still, I find the pattern remarkable, particularly as
Sanchez assumes a more aggressively anti-GOP stance, even going so far
as to trot out "brand-new" four-year-old statistics.