Reports of a recent study by the Congressional Budget Office, showing that the vast majority of the money in the stimulus package won't be spent until after 2010, have Democrats on the defensive and the GOP calling for a pullback in wasteful spending.
Funny thing is, there is no such report.
"We did not issue any report, any analysis or any study," a CBO aide told the Huffington Post.
As Steven Benen points out:
Oops.It gets tiring having mainstream media (and AP, in particular) disseminate unresearched, unchecked, and unconfirmed information as fact, especially in their haste to bash whatever appears to have a liberal bent to it.
It appears that the preliminary, incomplete numbers put together by the CBO were distributed to a small handful of lawmakers in both parties earlier in the week. Someone(Republican congressional offices) then passed the misleading data onto the AP, which predictably ran with the incomplete numbers, telling the public that it "will take years before an infrastructure spending program proposed by President-elect Barack Obama will boost the economy."
Other major media outlets quickly followed, and voila, Republicans had a talking point: "Boehner and other Republican aides roamed the Capitol press galleries, flogging the CBO numbers."
Obviously, congressional Republicans were less concerned about reality than undermining an economic rescue package. But as DDay noted, let's not brush past media culpability: "It's pretty clear that the media has no ability to or interest in understanding this stuff, because then they wouldn't have their precious 'conflict.' So they regurgitate whatever some GOP staffer feeds them, just to spice things up."
OMB Director Peter Orszag, who used to head the CBO, has already responded to the bogus reports and talking points. Republicans and reporters might want to check it out.
And they wonder why print circulation keeps diminishing, and television ratings are scant?