Washington is so thick with spin that one of the games reporters play is called “over/under.” As in: what’s the over/under on how many times New York Senator Chuck Schumer (D) will use the word “extreme” to describe House Republicans?
There are various side bets. Like: how many more or less times will Sen. Schumer’s colleagues at the briefing use the word “extreme” in their opening remarks?
We do mean to pick on Senator Schumer, because that is the right thing to do, always, but “messaging” is truly a bi-partisan disease. It’s gotten so bad that no one in Washington believes a word anyone says.
Every so often, reporters get to see or hear the whole stupid game revealed. The New York Times today captured such a moment:
Moments before a conference call with reporters was scheduled to get underway on Tuesday morning, apparently unaware that many of the reporters were already on the line, Charles Schumer of New York, the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate, began to instruct fellow senators on how to talk to reporters about the contentious budget process.
After thanking his colleagues — Barbara Boxer of California, Ben Cardin of Maryland, Tom Carper of Delaware and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut — for doing the budget bidding for the Senate Democrats, who are facing off against the House Republicans over spending for the rest of the fiscal year, Mr. Schumer told them to portray John Boehner of Ohio, the Speaker of the House, as painted into a box by the Tea Party, and to decry the spending cuts that he wants as extreme. “I always use the word extreme,” Mr. Schumer said, “That is what the caucus instructed me to use this week.”
A minute or two into the talking-points tutorial, though, someone apparently figured out that reporters were listening, and silence fell.
You can read the full post here.
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