The Obama administration’s plan to cut Social Security benefits has received resounding approval by corporate media as a courageous move toward the center by President Barack Obama as well as an effort to use a more acute measure of inflation. Neither claim is trustworthy. Part of the administration’s plan is to change how inflation is calculated by switching to the “chained consumer index.” This would result in a small reduction in benefits that compounds over time, so the cuts get larger as retirees get older. Many in the corporate-controlled media depicted this as a bold centrist move.
Who exactly wants to see Social Security and Medicare cuts? Not many people, according to a recent Washington Post poll. Just 17 percent supported cutting Medicare benefits, and 21 percent said the same for Social Security. This finding is hardly surprising; throughout the past few years, budget deadlines and the budget cliffs, the American public has at no time expressed any robust backing for cutting Social Security expenditure to decrease the budget deficit. This inference in much of the corporate coverage of the issue is that both “extremes” will be unhappy, and thus the “center” will be content.
But this middle ground is a manifestation of the concentration of corporate media talking points. Corporate media has been part of the extensive campaign of misinformation as it relates to Social Security’s supposed funding crisis. The Obama administration is supporting an effort to cut benefits in the name of deficit reduction; it is not surprising that some in the media are championing those efforts and framing them as valiant centrism.