Media Matters calls David Gregory out for misinforming his viewers about Social Security.
During the February 1 edition of NBC’s Meet the Press, host David Gregory falsely asserted that “Social Security is about to go — pay out more than it’s taking in by 2010.” In fact, the 2008 Social Security trustees’ report estimated that “[u]nder the intermediate assumptions, the OASDI [Old Age Survivors and Disability Insurance] cost rate is projected to increase rapidly and first exceed the income rate in 2017,” not in 2010 as Gregory claimed. Moreover, as Media Matters for America has noted, the 2008 Social Security trustees’ report forecasts that, in the absence of a change in the law, Social Security will be able to pay full benefits until 2041, after which it will be able to cover between 78 and 75 percent of scheduled benefits through the end of the 75-year period the report’s long-range projection covered.
This is not the first time NBC has perpetuated myths about Social Security. As Media Matters documented, during the October 2, 2008, edition of NBC’s Nightly News, NBC News correspondent John Yang falsely asserted: “At current rates, analysts say Social Security will run out of money by 2041.” Additionally, on the September 18, 2008, edition of MSNBC Live, correspondent David Shuster stated that Social Security “will run out of money unless we make some major changes, at least in the next several years.”
Self-government requires the existence of an informed public. The existence of an informed public depends upon the ability of the press to present the public with facts. Gregory’s cavalier approach to the truth (he either did not know or did not care to find out the truth about Social Security) injures our democracy. This type of failure highlights the rot that pervades the for-profit news industry. Blogs and blogging represent an active effort by the citizens of our nations to respond to the damage that is being done by the traditional media’s repeated failures to fulfill their duty.
I may not have the same platform that David Gregory possesses as host of NBC’s “Meet the Press” but I do have more credibility than he does because I do the best I can to understand and respond to reality. I seek to be reality-based.
David Gregory should strive for a similar stance the next time he discusses the future of Social Security.