Reuters published a story on the latest round of debt ceiling negotiations between Congressional Republicans and President Obama in which Reuters argued that “President Barack Obama and top Republicans faced growing pressure at home and abroad on Thursday to stop deficit talks from spiraling out of control and sending shock waves through the global financial system.” In the more than 750-word article which included speculation on the House Republicans’ motives and goals, Reuters reporters quoted no House Republicans.
Instead, the reporters chose to quote a JP Morgan executive who claimed that “No one, no one can tell me with certainty that a default wouldn’t cause catastrophe and therefore it’s irresponsible to take that chance.” Reuters also quoted House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) who said that “I don’t need to see markets drop 400 points but Republicans may need to see markets drop 400 points [to come to a deal].”
Reuters also chose to highlight the predictions of “economists and U.S. Treasury officials” who argue that a failure to raise the debt ceiling will necessarily cause a U.S. sovereign debt default. Reuters claims that Republicans “refuse to believe a default is imminent” neglecting to note that others also argue that a failure to raise the ceiling by August 2 need not result in default.
Despite the position of House Republicans in negotiations and Reuters’ attacks on their views of the consequences of a breakdown in talks, Reuters does not quote any House Republicans. Instead Reuters notes that “A leading Republican said Obama walked out of the [debt negotiation] meeting.” Reuters also states:
Despite the apocalyptic warnings from economists and U.S. Treasury officials, some conservative Republicans refuse to believe a default is imminent. A group of 56 Republican lawmakers sent a letter to Obama on Thursday saying there was enough money to stave off a debt default beyond August 2.
But that view is not shared by many of the party’s top leaders, who accept that if the debt ceiling is not raised in time there could be a default with drastic repercussions.
This is also stated without any on-record quotes, either from the letter or the “top leaders.” Finally, Reuters claims that “House Republicans are eager to deliver on a promise to slash spending and scale back the government, and a number of conservatives dispute the need to raise the debt ceiling.”
Reuters apparently finds the views of the minority party in the House of Representatives (which has little power) more important than those of the President’s negotiating counterparts.