One thing the GOP excels at is message discipline. If you say something enough times, it becomes true. Talking points like spending and debt, Obama being a radical leftist, and their willingness to work with the President on... anything have all started to become conventional wisdom.
(Side note: as I was typing this, an anti-healthcare ad came on that said Massachusetts voters put Scott Brown in office because they know how bad government-run health care is. Patently untrue: their health insurance system is nearly identical to the HCR bill under consideration [except with fewer cost control mechanisms] and MA voters like it, to the tune of 60%+ approval.)
How is this possible? The people doing interviews and hosting the news shows on which these people appear are spineless. With the possible exception of Chris Matthews, anchors don't ask tough questions, and they don't press for a real answer that's more than a talking point.
Just this morning, John King stood by and listened, and didn't challenge Mitch McConnell at all as he went off on the usual "Obama is spending us into oblivion" talking point. John King just let him talk and moved on. He didn't press him on his fuzzy numbers, holding Obama responsible for Bush's spending, didn't ask him why he was so willing to spend under Bush, didn't ask him why every member of the GOP caucus voted against PAYGO.
In the interests of looking "impartial," the media treats everything said on either side as truth. They don't do any fact-checking. I have to go to the blogs to find any journalists with the intestinal fortitude to actually look into the facts. CNN, the NYT, WaPo all treat as equal the claims made by both sides. Isn't it their responsibility to sort through the various claims and find where the truth lies? Instead, they act as mouthpieces for the parties. With the growth of New Media, politicians have plenty of mouthpieces that have no media filter. The media should play the role of fact-checker, and make sure the American public is well informed. Right now, they aren't.
As another aside, part of what sparked this post was a conversation I had at happy hour Friday evening with a friend. He pointed out that Obama says the GOP hasn't come to the table in good faith, while GOP leadership says that they've offered alternative policies and been stonewalled. He didn't know who to believe, and said that there needs to be a fact checker somewhere. My question remains: isn't that the job of the mainstream media?