We should probably applaud CNN for doing something unique among American cable news media -- they actually made an effort to find out what life is like for actual Americans, instead of creating a bunch of hodgepodge panels out of political strategists to expel balloon juice from their word holes. In this case, the most trusted name in news dispatched a reporter to chat up some senior citizens in Pasadena, California.
That's a nice start! But there's room for improvement here: The CNN reporters and anchors could actually listen to what their interview subjects are telling them. As Digby points out, the network's on-air talent "keep ignoring what these people are actually saying in order to create a narrative that these people are upset by the 'sausage making,' when what they are actually upset by is the fact that the safety net programs are on the chopping block."
It's actually pretty infuriating! Here's a transcript in which CNN correspondent Sandra Endo just cannot let go of the Beltway Insider Perspective for even one moment:
ENDO: Absolutely Randi. A lot of emotion, strong opinions coming from a lot of the seniors we've spoken to. People are scared, they're worried, they're angry about what's going on in Washington. A lot of people are just frightened because they rely on their social security and of course Medicare and Medicaid for their livelihood. Let's talk to Bobbie right now. You were talking to me earlier about what's going on in Washington right now. Tell me how angry are you?
BOBBIE: very, very angry. It's because I wouldn't be able to live the lifestyle I live if I did not have my social security, even though I work part time, 36 hours a week. I could not live on either one of them alone.
ENDO: So you would be out on the street?
BOBBIE: probably worse than that because I don't think, the way I see some people on the street, I don't think I would be able to live that kind of life. I wouldn't be able to function. So I hate that that might be staring us in the face.
ENDO: Anastasia, what do you think of all the back and forth bickering?
ANASTASIA: I think I would like to see all of them have to trade places with us and let them try to live on what we don't have and what they're trying to cut even more of. Social Security has not even contributed to the deficit and yet they're more than happy to take it and use it wherever they'd like.
ENDO: And all the back and forth, the fighting?
ANASTASIA: The political games that they play. It's a bad role model for our kids I must say. Truth has become obsolete. And that's very sad. And yet we claim to be a country that tells the truth and that's democratic and yet we're not doing a very good job of that ourselves.
The reporter basically has to browbeat her subject into answering a question about the esoteric political entanglements that form this elaborate Kabuki play over the debt ceiling. When Endo kicks it back to anchor Randi Kaye, the latter responds by saying: "It sounds like some folks are worried about the long term and any changes that might happen to entitlements, social security, medicare, medicaid?"
Wow! You think? I can't wait for CNN to meet a single unemployed person. "Wolf, it's pretty grim. Did you know that not having a job inhibits ones ability to buy food? Some say that eating 'food' regularly is necessary to 'go on living.'"
Says Digby: "That woman Anastasia is better informed and smarter about what's really going on than any of the journalists involved in this piece."
But to what powerful political figures does Anastasia have access?
READ THE WHOLE THING: Pay no attention to what they're actually saying [Hullabaloo]