Posts Tagged ‘spin’

AP Rips Obama Infomercial On Facts, Honesty

October 30, 2008

By and large, the media has utterly failed to analyze Obama’s fanciful rhetoric to check for facts or for honesty.  Study after study has shown a profound mainstream media bias favoring Obama and attacking McCain.  A prominent ABC journalist called this bias “a very, very dangerous game … with the Constitution.”

A brand new study by the Project for Excellence in Media came out yesterday with absolutely devastating results on rampant media bias.

We’ll quickly be able to see the media bias, as people appearing on Obama’s infomercial – such as Roberta Johnston, Larry Stewart, and Mark and Melinda Dowell – either get their lives microscopically investigated the way Joe the Plumber did or not.  The media witch hunt (a.k.a. “investigative journalism“) into the life of Joe the Plumber – who drew a vicious media backlash for merely asking Obama a simple question outside his own home – was an unprecedented intrusion into a private citizen by a media machine that was determined to dredge up dirt on him.  If they go after Obama infomercial’s citizens the same way (can she really only afford to buy half a gallon of milk?  Did that mother buy herself a pair of shoes rather than buy snacks for her children?) I’ll be very much surprised.

Still, every so often some reporter actually tries to be fair.  And in the aftermath of Barack Obama’s $3 million infomercial spectacular, in a campaign in which Obama is outspending McCain 4-1 after Obama broke his promise to accept public financing, a little bit of objectivity is better than nothing at all.  So it was refreshing that Associated Press writer Calvin Woodward finally took a critical look at claims that Obama has been making with virtually no media scrutiny for months:

WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was less than upfront in his half-hour commercial Wednesday night about the costs of his programs and the crushing budget pressures he would face in office.

Obama’s assertion that “I’ve offered spending cuts above and beyond” the expense of his promises is accepted only by his partisans. His vow to save money by “eliminating programs that don’t work” masks his failure throughout the campaign to specify what those programs are — beyond the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

A sampling of what voters heard in the ad, and what he didn’t tell them:

THE SPIN: “That’s why my health care plan includes improving information technology, requires coverage for preventive care and pre-existing conditions and lowers health care costs for the typical family by $2,500 a year.”

THE FACTS: His plan does not lower premiums by $2,500, or any set amount. Obama hopes that by spending $50 billion over five years on electronic medical records and by improving access to proven disease management programs, among other steps, consumers will end up saving money. He uses an optimistic analysis to suggest cost reductions in national health care spending could amount to the equivalent of $2,500 for a family of four. Many economists are skeptical those savings can be achieved, but even if they are, it’s not a certainty that every dollar would be passed on to consumers in the form of lower premiums.

THE SPIN: “I also believe every American has a right to affordable health care.”

THE FACTS: That belief should not be confused with a guarantee of health coverage for all. He makes no such promise. Obama hinted as much in the ad when he said about the problem of the uninsured: “I want to start doing something about it.” He would mandate coverage for children but not adults. His program is aimed at making insurance more affordable by offering the choice of government-subsidized coverage similar to that in a plan for federal employees and other steps, including requiring larger employers to share costs of insuring workers.

THE SPIN: “I’ve offered spending cuts above and beyond their cost.”

THE FACTS: Independent analysts say both Obama and Republican John McCain would deepen the deficit. The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates Obama’s policy proposals would add a net $428 billion to the deficit over four years — and that analysis accepts the savings he claims from spending cuts. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, whose other findings have been quoted approvingly by the Obama campaign, says: “Both John McCain and Barack Obama have proposed tax plans that would substantially increase the national debt over the next 10 years.” The analysis goes on to say: “Neither candidate’s plan would significantly increase economic growth unless offset by spending cuts or tax increases that the campaigns have not specified.”

THE SPIN: “Here’s what I’ll do. Cut taxes for every working family making less than $200,000 a year. Give businesses a tax credit for every new employee that they hire right here in the U.S. over the next two years and eliminate tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. Help homeowners who are making a good faith effort to pay their mortgages, by freezing foreclosures for 90 days. And just like after 9-11, we’ll provide low-cost loans to help small businesses pay their workers and keep their doors open. ”

THE FACTS: His proposals — the tax cuts, the low-cost loans, the $15 billion a year he promises for alternative energy, and more — cost money, and the country could be facing a record $1 trillion deficit next year. Indeed, Obama recently acknowledged — although not in his commercial — that: “The next president will have to scale back his agenda and some of his proposals.”

There are some facts to consider about Barack Obama’s health care plan that he failed to tell you last night:

One thing is extremely important to understand: Obama’s health care plan is modeled on the Massachusetts plan.  How are things going there?  Well, in the three years of the program’s existence, the tiny state is now already facing cost overruns of over $400 million.  Does that sound like a rousing success?  Massachusetts is facing a projected 85% increase in its costs by 2009 – which should set up a serious red flag that such programs are MASSIVELY underfunded.

Barack Obama’s health care plan is estimated to cost $1.6 trillion in 10 years.  But that doesn’t take into account the very sort of cost overruns and cost increases that are even now plaguing the very state that Obama is basing his own plan upon.  What is going to happen to our economy given the extremely real likelihood that Obama’s massive national plan runs into similar issues?  Do you believe our economy is strong enough to bear the brunt of these massive cost increases in this current climate?

In the aftermath of the unpopular $850 billion bailout of the economy, it is extremely relevant to question what Obama would do in light of a $1 trillion annual federal budget deficit and an over $10 trillion national debt.  That said, you’d probably want to hear about Obama’s sponsering of an $845 billion Global Poverty Act:

Sen. Barack Obama, perhaps giving America a preview of priorities he would pursue if elected president, is rejoicing over the Senate committee passage of a plan that could end up costing taxpayers billions of dollars in an attempt to reduce poverty in other nations.

The bill, called the Global Poverty Act, is the type of legislation, “We can – and must – make … a priority,” said Obama, a co-sponsor.

And it is also critical to realize that while Obama promises to provide alternative energy which will free us from dependence on foreign oil, his plan will produce nowhere near enough energy to even begin to end our dependence on foreign oil.  Obama has been part of the Democratic trifecta with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, and you simply cannot trust them to dramatically increase our production of domestic oil, which we desperately need.  Gasoline and heating oil have dropped recently, but it is only a matter of time before OPEC cuts its production in order to drive the prices back up, and the very real possibility of a crisis in the Middle East could cripple us at any moment.

It’s too bad that Woodward didn’t more critically examine Obama’s tax plan, and questioned whether it was a good idea to dramatically increase taxes on capital gains, and on corporations and businesses during a time when we need more jobs and a stronger economy.

All that said, it’s good that at least one journalist from one publication took a stab at taking a critical examination of Obama’s infomercial promises and claims.

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Finally, SOMEONE In Media Takes A Democrat To Task For Finance Meltdown

October 3, 2008

I couldn’t agree more with the words of Noel Sheppard:

Finally, someone in the media accurately accused and challenged a member of Congress over his involvement and complicity in the current financial crisis.

As press member after press member has allowed Democrats to shamefully and erroneously blame the current crisis on George W. Bush, virtually nobody other than folks at Fox News has been willing to examine the role elected officials on the left side of the aisle have been playing for more than a decade in blocking tighter regulation on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

There is an unprecedented and frankly astonishing degree of spin and outright deception going on in the mainstream media today.  And in this climate we are about to hold the most important election most of us have faced in our lifetimes.

A blatantly biased media routinely allow their air time to be taken up by Democrat after Democrat blaming the disaster on “the failed policies of this [Bush] administration,” and “8 years of deregulation by Republicans”, without presenting any analysis questioning whether those claims are true.  The reality is that Democrats’ fingerprints are all over the financial meltdown.  And I have written a bunch of articles trying to put the truth to light:

How ‘Failed Policies’ Of Democrats Were Responsible For Financial Crisis

Why Barney Frank Can Stick His ‘Republicans With Hurt Feelings’ Remark

Supreme Court LIBERALS Blocked States From Regulating Financial System

Democrats Refused To Regulate GSEs, Created Financial Tsunami

Democrats’ Idea Of Bipartisanship Is HARD CORE Partisanship

Dems Blame Bush For Deregulation: Just Another Day Of Astounding Liberal Hypocrisy

Financial Crisis: Obama Democrats Have Red Ink All Over Them

Obama V.P. Pick Joe Biden Shares Direct Blame For Foreclosure Disaster

Obama’s National Finance Chair Pritzker At Epicenter of Sub Prime Crisis

Democrats, The Countrywide Scandal, and Self-Righteous Hypocrisy

Even when Bill Clinton blames Democrats for their refusal to regulate the finance industry against Republican attempts to do so, the media refuses to look at the role of Democrats:

Bill Clinton on Thursday told ABC’s Chris Cuomo that Democrats for years have been “resisting any efforts by Republicans in the Congress or by me when I was President to put some standards and tighten up a little on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”

So when a Bill O’Reilly has a Barney Frank on his program, and even raises the questions about the Democrats’ role in the crisis, it deserves attention.

BILL O’REILLY, HOST: “Personal story” segment tonight, the financial chaos in this country is largely the fault of the citizens who cannot pay their obligations, banks who lent money to unqualified people, and the federal government which failed to provide oversight. Both political parties are to blame as I’ve stated.

Now “The Factor” has called on SEC Chairman Christopher Cox to resign, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd to quit, and House Finance Chief Barney Frank to step down from his position. That’s because for the past two years, Frank and his committee oversaw Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — two government sponsored lending agencies which pretty much are bankrupt.

Congressman Frank was asked about Freddie and Fannie on July 14, 2008:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BARNEY FRANK, D-MASS.: I think this is a case where Fannie and Freddie are fundamentally sound, that they are not in danger of going under. They’re not the best investments these days from the long-term standpoint going back. I think they are in good shape going forward.

They’re in a housing market. I do think their prospects going forward are very solid. And in fact, we’re going to do some things that are going to improve them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)

O’REILLY: Well, obviously, that statement turned out not to be true.

O’Reilly pointed out that – during the last two years of Barney Franks chairmanship over the House Financial Services Committee and Democratic control, “Look, bottom line is you’re there two years. Bottom line is stock drops 90 percent.”

Now, if you’ve heard a single Democrat blame bush and the Republicans for the finance meltdown, but you don’t know that Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s stock crashed 90% during the Democrats’ tenure, and that even three months ago the Democratic leadership was assuring us that everything was fine, you’ve been cheated by the media.  You have literally been lied to.

People were saying, ‘How far down can the stock go?  Are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac solvent?’  And Barney Frank said, “Fannie and Freddie are fundamentally sound, that they are not in danger of going under. They’re not the best investments these days from the long-term standpoint going back. I think they are in good shape going forward.”  And so people kept buying stock, and kept business as usual, and the whole thing came crashing down.

People at Enron went to prison for doing precisely the same thing that Barney Frank did.

Barney Frank, in his feeble defense that initiated a shouting match, said:

FRANK: No. You’ve misrepresented this consistently. I became chairman of the committee on January 31st, 2007. Less than two months later, I did what the Republicans hadn’t been able to do in 12 years — get through the committee a very tough regulatory bill. And it passed the House in May.

I’ve always felt two things about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, that they had an important role to play, but that the regulations should be improved.

Now from 1995 to 2006, when the Republicans controlled Congress and we were in the minority, we couldn’t get that done. Although in 2005, Mike Oxley, of Sarbanes-Oxley fame, a pretty tough guy on regulation, did try to put a bill through to regulate Fannie Mae. I worked with him on it. As he told The Financial Times, he thought ideological rigidity in the Bush administration stopped that.

But the basic point is that the first time I had any real authority over this was January of 2007. And within two months, we had passed the bill that regulated.

Well, the facts are that Democrats DID succeed in passing a regulatory bill where the Republicans had failed.  But why did the Republicans fail?  They had failed in 2003, and then again in 2005, because Democrats were in lock step against it in the committees, and because the Democrats in the Senate threatened a filibuster that the Republicans wouldn’t be able to overcome.

It’s like children who refused to play with the other children until they got to make all the rules taking credit for the game, and conveniently forgetting that they hadn’t been willing to play before.

Barney Frank has been claiming that there was nothing wrong with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac going back at least five years, as a September 11, 2003 New York Times article proves:

”These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis,” said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ”The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.”

So whey do the Democrats who utterly failed to see the disaster coming and who prevented the Republicans from regulating at least twice when such regulation would have prevented this crisis get to blame the Republicans for failing to realize that the disaster was coming and for refusing to regulate?  Because, by and large, the media won’t tell you the truth and consistenly lets Democrats get away with murder.