Washington Post reporter hammered for framing White House appeasement of Joe Manchin as making 'grueling cuts'

Media top headlines October 4

In media news today, Fauci gets slammed for claiming it’s ‘too soon’ to consider Christmas gatherings, Axios report Jonathan Swan says traffickers are using Biden’s immigration policies to encourage migrants into the U.S., and ‘Fox News Channel: 25 Years’ kicks off special coverage of the network’s 25th anniversary

Washington Post reporter Jeff Stein was hammered over the weekend for framing the White House’s potential appeasement of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., in order to pass a massive spending bill as making “grueling cuts” to President Joe Biden’s agenda. 

“[White House] aides planning how to make grueling cuts to Biden agenda to accommodate centrists Manchin’s $1.5T ‘topline’ = ~**60%** cut to Biden’s plans,” Stein wrote on Twitter. “Wrenching choices of what gets left out: Homelessness or climate? Seniors or poor? Hungry or sick?” 

The massive Democrat-backed $3.5 trillion spending bill, which progressives have demanded coincide with a bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, hit a roadblock in the Senate as moderates Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., refused to back it. Both cited concerns over the cost of the bill as reason for wanting to compromise and reach an agreement on a smaller, more targeted bill, something that appears to have made little progress following weeks of negotiations.

Critics took to social media to blast Stein, taking issue with his framing that changes to the spending proposal would amount to a “cut,” considering a negotiated bill would still lead to a massive increase in government spending.

“Washington Post ‘reporter’ frames passing a somewhat less-massive spending bill as a ‘cut’. No, it’s still massive new spending on top of government’s already-massive unsustainable spending,” wrote one critic, while another referred to Stein’s framing as “status quo bias-hacking.” 

“All of this is a massive increase in government spending. Nothing is a ‘cut,'” wrote former 2020 Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh, while another pointed out that the federal government was already set to spend trillions on non-defense related items over the next decade.

Conservative media watchdog NewsBusters suggested the Washington Post needed to have its own fact-checker “fact check” Stein’s claim. “How do you make “grueling cuts” to spending that hasn’t passed yet?” it wrote. 

Congressional Progressive Caucus chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., admitted Friday that progressives would have to lower their spending expectations for the bill in order for it to reach the level of support needed to pass both houses of Congress. 

If no deal is reached, two of Biden’s legislative priorities would be under threat ahead of next year’s midterms, potentially placing more pressure on Democrats amid his falling approval rating. 

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