Accuracy in Media

Two of America’s most significant newspapers appeared to work in tandem on Friday in efforts to pressure Republican lawmakers to abandon President Trump and reopen the government without wall funding.

Republican senators “clashed with one another and confronted Vice President Pence inside a private luncheon on Thursday, as anger hit a boiling point over the longest government shutdown in history,” wrote Sean Sullivan and Paul Kane of the Washington Post in “‘This is your fault’: GOP senators clash over shutdown inside private luncheon.”

There were clashes inside the closed-door and off-the-record meeting of senators, the Post wrote – between Sen. Ron Johnson (Wis.) and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), and between Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.)

“The outbursts highlighted the toll the shutdown has taken on Republican lawmakers, who are dealing with growing concerns from constituents and blame from Democrats, all while facing pressure from conservatives to stand with Trump in his demand for money to build a wall on the border with Mexico.”

No mention was made of pressure on Democrats, especially those with a lot of federal workers in their districts, nor that the number of Democrats crossing party lines in the House to vote for a measure to pay federal workers for his pay period without ending the shutdown has climbed from six to 10 in two days.

The Post pointed out Sen. John Cornyn (R.-Texas) the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, said, “Nobody was blaming the president, but there was a lot of frustration expressed about the situation we find ourselves in.” But in the next paragraph, it claims, based on anonymous sources, that “McConnell made clear to Pence and others in the room that the shutdown was not his idea and was not working.”

Julie Hirschfield Davis of the New York Times wrote that the key takeaway in “Collapse of Two Plans to End Shutdown Propels Urgent Negotiations,” is that six Republicans crossed party lines to vote for one of two proposals before the Senate that did not include wall funding but only one Democrats crossed party lines to vote for the proposal that did include it – even though both measures failed.

The results “undercut the president by revealing that his proposal drew less support in the Republican-controlled Senate than did the Democrats’ plan, which attracted a half-dozen Republicans willing to break with Trump.”

Like the Post, it wrote of “recent polls” that have “found that the ordeal is taking a heavy toll on Mr. Trump’s approval rating” – his rating on Rasmussen, the only daily presidential tracking poll, rose a point Friday to 45 – and that all this has “created a damaging narrative for his administration, fueling a perception that the president – who often promotes his concern for the country’s ‘forgotten men and women’ – and his team are unconcerned with the plight of working Americans who are suffering during the breach in government operations.”

It outlined the state of play of negotiations. Trump “has made clear he would not drop his demand for wall funding and that his support for measures now being considered was contingent on if “they pay some sort of prorated down payment on the wall, which you need.”

Democrats were being far more reasonable, the Times suggested.  

It talked of face-to-face negotiations between McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.

It quoted Sen. Ben Cardin, (D-Md.), saying, “What we have put on the table is our reputation as legislators, that given three weeks, we’ll come up with a successful conclusion on the border security issue.”

Some House Democrats “are poised as early as Friday to outline more than $5 billion in measures they support, a far larger sum than they initially entertained,” according to the piece.

But, as Schumer’s spokesman, Justin Goodman, pointed out, Schumer and Senate Democrats “have made clear to Leader McConnell and Republicans that they will not support funding for the wall, prorated or otherwise.”

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