Journalists in the Service of Pete Peterson
An essential and successful element of [idiot billionaire Pete Peterson's] strategy [of cutting Social Security] is to create an environment where it is widely if not universally believed that there is no alternative to his vision. In this view, it’s "not realistic" to believe the country can afford the same programs it once did. Those who are prepared to be "adults" will look at these "hard truths" without flinching and recognize that it is time to take citizens-have-to-do-with-less medicine.
The conceit is that those with "courage" will see past narrow, partisan concerns and embrace an ideal: a bipartisan consensus that has the strength to demand "shared sacrifice" from a childish and selfish populace.
A review of the proceedings of the [Peterson-sponsored] Fiscal Summits of the last three years makes agonizingly clear that most of the journalists who conducted interviews or moderated panel discussions both reflected and amplified the Peterson worldview — entirely unselfconsciously, it would seem.
So, for example, Lesley Stahl, the CBS 60 Minutes reporter, was fully a part of the Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson deficit-cutting team during her interview with both men: "You are going to have to raise taxes and cut things, big things, put restrictions on Social Security. Everybody knows that."
Virtually none of the reporters thought to ask about or suggest an alternative path, such as preserving Social Security benefits and bolstering the system’s reserve by raising the cap of wages subject to Social Security taxes (currently annual wages above approximately $110,000 are not subject to any Social Security tax).