So there I was, listening to the radio whilst riding the TARC back home, when along came NPR’s All Things Considered:
Speaking on the Potomac River waterfront, President Obama advocated for renovating aging American infrastructure with the historic Francis Scott Key Bridge poised behind him.
SIEGEL: I gather he expressed some real frustration with Congress in the speech today.
LIASSON: He really did, and he has been repeatedly railing at the Congress for doing nothing…
[SOUND BITE] PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: But so far, House Republicans have refused to act on this idea. I haven’t heard a good reason why they haven’t acted, it’s not like they’ve been busy with other stuff.
SIEGEL: Well, on other stuff, President Obama has said that he’ll take executive action where Congress isn’t acting. What is he planning to do? What can he do in the case of the Highway Trust Fund?
LIASSON: Well, that’s the thing, there’s really not that much that he can do. You know, executive action, even though it’s extremely controversial right now and a source of great tension between the president and Congress, it’s a very limited tool. And the irony is that while Speaker Boehner is suing the president because of what Republicans say is the imperial presidency overreaching – overuse of executive action, the president is really frustrated that he can do very little with executive action.
Senators Chris Murphy and Bob Corker have drawn up a bipartisan proposal to help resolve the Highway Trust Fund’s impending financial problems. Their plan would pay for most federal transportation programs with a gasoline tax.
MURPHY: We can spend the next three years searching for a new magical funding solution but it’s likely that the best option is staring us straight in the face.
CORKER: I’m finally just to a point where I realize this cannot go on. I think the best way for the highway program to work is on a user fee basis. That’s the way it’s been set up.
HORSLEY: So far the idea has gained little traction on Capitol Hill. And it hit a dead end at the White House.
[SOUND BITE] NPR’S TAMARA KEITH: Would the White House support a higher gasoline tax to shore up the Highway Trust Fund and pay for much-needed infrastructure improvements?
[SOUND BITE] WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY, JOSH EARNEST: I believe that’s something that we’ve said a couple of times that we wouldn’t support.
HORSLEY: Despite the president’s appearance on the Key Bridge today, though, and the salute to Star-Spangled Banner author Francis Scott Key, there’s little sign this summer Washington is the home of the brave.
What we have here is something commonly referred to as journalistic objectivity; when news stories are framed within their given contexts rather than on ideological claims.
The first segment highlighted a press conference that took place on July 1st, where the President was highly critical of Congress due to an apparent lack of urgency on matters like the Highway Trust Fund. Immediately following the segment was a story that covered the same topic, but was told from the point of view of Congress: despite Obama’s accusations of Congressional apathy, Senators Murphy and Corker were trying to gather bipartisan support to increase the federal excise tax on gasoline in order to replenish the dwindling Highway Trust Fund, a measure the White House has repeatedly said it wouldn’t support.
Every now and then, on the eve of a blue moon, a news organization will offer a report from two separate perspectives. Actual news stories, that is. Not those opinion programs where
analysts commentators like Rachel Maddow and Bill O’Reilly condescendingly bash audiences over the head with the same old left vs. right arguments.
When the bus arrived at my stop, I stepped outside and breathed a sigh of relief knowing that I had been given a well-balanced, objectively-informed slice of knowledge. What’s better was that it wasn’t coated with idealistic vitriol and that it wasn’t angrily shoved down my throat.
It was a breath of fresh air. Coincidentally, that was right when NPR’s Fresh Air came on.