White House Propagandists Slam Obamacare ‘Misinformation’ While Gleefully Spreading Their Own

By the time we're done with this post, you're going to the think whitehouse.gov is the HAL 9000 of political propaganda. ||| whitehouse.govwhitehouse.govWanna get the ol' blood pressure rising? Go to whitehouse.gov and do a search on "misinformation" and "health care." There you will find a sneering, self-satisfied series of claims that supporters of the Affordable Care Act are fighting with the truth on their side, unlike those lying liars of the Grand Old (Lying) Party.

For instance here's a post on The White House Blog by Macon Phillips, entitled "Facts Are Stubborn Things." Opening line:

Opponents of health insurance reform may find the truth a little inconvenient, but as our second president famously said, "facts are stubborn things."

So smack us with the truth, Macon Phillips!

For the record, the President has consistently said that if you like your insurance plan, your doctor, or both, you will be able to keep them.

Whoops.

Thanks for the update, HAL! ||| whitehouse.govwhitehouse.govOr here's President Barack Obama in May:

The same folks who fought tooth and nail four years ago and tried to make political hay out of Obamacare, they’re still telling tall tales about its impact....[W]henever insurance premiums go up, you’re being told it’s because of Obamacare -- even though there’s no evidence that that’s the case.  So right now there are a whole bunch of folks out there, their insurance company decided to jack up rates, and they’re automatically assuming, well, somehow the law had something to do with it.  No, that had to do with a decision the insurance company made.  In some cases, employers may be shifting more costs onto employees because they think that will help their bottom line.  It’s convenient to somehow say, well, it must be the new law.  It’s not the case

Learn how! ||| whitehouse.govwhitehouse.govBolding mine, to indicate the president’s stubborn absolutism. So let’s pick a non-right-wing newspaper at random...how about the L.A. Times:

[M]iddle-class consumers are staring at hefty increases on their insurance bills as the overhaul remakes the healthcare market. Their rates are rising in large part to help offset the higher costs of covering sicker, poorer people who have been shut out of the system for years. [...]

[E]xperts say sharp price increases for individual policies have the greatest potential to erode public support for President Obama's signature legislation.

"This is when the actual sticker shock comes into play for people," said Gerald Kominski, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. "There are winners and losers under the Affordable Care Act." 

Hey, they said it, I didn't. ||| whitehouse.govwhitehouse.govGee, that certainly sounds like "evidence" that insurance premiums are going up because of Obamacare, and yet the president of the United States has not only been insisting the opposite, he's done it while cloaking himself in the holy mantle of Truth, wearily countering a deluge of politically opportunistic nonfactuals. Here he is again in that May 10 speech: 

[P]recisely because there’re been so much misinformation, sometimes people may not have a sense of what the law actually does.  [...]

And we’re going to need everybody out there to make sure -- get the right information. Don’t just read a blog -- or some commentary from some pundit that has a political agenda. Make sure you know what the actual facts are, because you stand to benefit if you’re not already benefiting from this thing.  Don’t let people confuse you. Don’t let them run the okiedoke on you. Don’t be bamboozled. 

Do you know who else has "political agendas," at least sometimes? Politicians! And the people who work for them....

For example, here's Obama BFF Valerie Jarrett just this week, attempting to simultaneously move the goalposts and seize the higher factual ground:

FACT: Nothing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans. No change is required unless insurance companies change existing plans.

— Valerie Jarrett (@vj44) October 29, 2013

Each one better than the last! ||| whitehouse.govwhitehouse.govOnce you recognize the tic, you can't stop seeing it. Since the president began selling the Affordable Care Act, he has brazenly coupled his lies and false predictions with the repeated notion that it's the other side who is congenitally dishonest in this debate. And for most of his tenure, the press has eaten it up. It got to the point during 2012 that many journalists claimed the presidential election was a referendum on truth itself, which is why that liar-face Mitt Romney must be defeated.

Take Washington Post "Plum Line" blogger Greg Sargent. On Nov. 5, 2012, Sargent opined that "we may find out whether a 'post truth' candidate can be elected president." He was not talking about Barack Obama:

If there is one constant to this campaign, it's that Romney has startled many observers by operating from the basic premise that there is literally no set of boundaries he needs to follow when it comes to the veracity of his assertions[.]

We know that Greg Sargent is not a sad panda. ||| The Official White House TumblrThe Official White House TumblrSounds like Greg Sargent holds truth-telling to be at or near the highest political value. A totally defensible stance, IMO. So let's see how Sargent is dealing with an Obamacare rollout that has proven so many of Obama's promises to be fantasy:

Critics of the law are right to ask whether it is having an adverse impact on these millions of Americans. And the White House could have been clearer in laying the groundwork for this political argument: It wasn't sufficient to say people who like their plans will be able to keep it, which is narrowly untrue.

"Narrowly"?

Then Sargent changes the subject to the real culprits here, who are not the people who passed the law using (at the least) "narrowly untrue" arguments, it's those who opposed it:

But the GOP outrage about Americans supposedly "losing" coverage is largely just more of the same old misdirection. It's a subset of a larger Republican refusal to have an actual debate about the law's tradeoffs — one in which the law's benefits for millions of Americans are also reckoned with in a serious way.

This is a gut-check moment for the mostly left-of-center journalists who have made such a show these past few years of dropping false equivalence and calling out political bullshit at the source. You can subject the policy and politics of Obamacare to truth-scans, or you can carry water for the president. You cannot do both, at least without a laugh track.

Over at The Weekly Standard, Mark Hemingway has a useful rundown of the lopsided role that PolitiFact and other fact-checking organizations have played in arbitrating Obamacare-related factual disputes. And at the beginning of this year I wrote "The 'Truth' Hurts: How the fact-checking press gives the president a pass." Meanwhile, Peter Suderman, who has forgotten more about Obamacare than I will ever know, has two great posts up on the topic just below.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Attack Watch! can't fact check everything.

  • Almanian!||

    God, I'd forgotten about them. Good times....

  • Almanian!||

    because you stand to benefit if you’re not already benefiting from this thing

    So that 50% increase in my 2014 premiums - I'm assuming that's not what you're talking about, Mister President?

  • John||

    That 50% increase is just a rightwing meme Almanian

  • The Other Kevin||

    You were misinformed by a blog or a pundit. You will understand once you get the facts from the right people.

  • PapayaSF||

    You previous plan was substandard and you were just too stupid to know it.

  • Rich||

    *** clears throat ***

    Did you actually *stand*, Almanian!?

  • General Butt Naked||

    Personally, I sit for my benefit. I mean, if it's about me, why the hell should I stand? Especially when there's this comfy couch right here.

  • CE||

    Sure, your post-"Affordable" Care Act premiums will be higher, but you'll finally be getting the insurance coverage you needed all along. According to them.

  • JohnD||

    Don't forget the draconian increase in deductibles.

  • ||

    But, Almanian, now you are entitled to a FREE ANNUAL COLONOSCOPY.

    Just relax and enjoy it. We won.

  • Invisible Finger||

    But the waiting list is two years long.

  • John||

    This is a gut-check moment for the mostly left-of-center journalists who have made such a show these past few years of dropping false equivalence and calling out political bullshit at the source.

    So the choice is turn on Obama or go down with the ship as you tell people to not believe their lying eyes. I thin gut check is a polite way to put that.

  • Brett L||

    Wait 'til Comrade Obama finds out they've been printing lies about him saying premiums wouldn't go up!

  • ||

    Fact-checking is for Republicans only.

  • Jordan||

    Don’t let them run the okiedoke on you.

    Haha, what the hell? This is the guy that is supposed to like totes cool and stuff, right? Did he have an onion on his belt when he gave this speech?

  • radar||

    Well, it WAS the style of the day.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Unfortunately the only ones you could get were the big yellow ones, on account of the war. Soon, with the glorious onset of the socialist utopia, white onions will once again be as scarce as toilet paper. Just think of the nostalgia!

  • ||

    Reality is whatever the Party says it is, Winston.

  • ||

    Do you know who else has "political agendas," at least sometimes?

    FTFY.

  • Matt Welch||

    Thanks. Could go either way, but yours is better.

  • ||

    Anyway, policy cancellations and rate increases are caused by website problems. Come the end of November when HealthCare.gov gets fixed, everyone will get their current insurance reinstated at the current price.

  • radar||

    Quick - someone call the Obama Truth Squad!!

    This shit is why my dislike for the GOP will never approach the Chernobyl-meltdown intensity of my hatred of Democrats. Perhaps in bizarro-world, where the press shills for Republicans constantly and dishonestly, I'd feel differently.

  • PapayaSF||

    That makes a big difference, doesn't it? And it continues to astound me to see sneering comments online about the "so-called liberal media." I guess that means that since they aren't Trotskyite, they are actually "right-wing."

  • pmains||

    It's a perpetual Three-card Monte. They're all level-headed pragmatic centrists, unlike that aberrant Alger Hiss, who certainly is not indicative of a general liberal tendency to mask radical views behind a benign facade. And, anyway, those who fear that the left-leaning media is engaging in endless Fabian attacks on our republic are paranoid loons.

  • ||

    They seem to have neglected to notice that the NUMBER of people who will benefit is - by definition - a relatively small fraction of the population.
    The fraction of the population that consumes the most healthcare dollars is a small percentage. Bringing this small fraction into the system will benefit them - but EVERYONE ELSE will see their premiums rise.

    There are a LOT MORE losers under ObamaCare than there are winners.

  • CE||

    For once, the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many, I guess.

  • Juice||

    The fraction of the population that consumes the most healthcare dollars is a small percentage.

    Small? Like 1%? Leaving the rest of us in the 99%?

  • radar||

    But they're better than you. You deserve to be brought down a peg or two, hater.

  • Invisible Finger||

    When you call in sick and require a note from your doctor to return, you can be out a whole month until the doctor can see you. So you can go on unemployment and still keep your job.

  • LynchPin1477||

    I really what goes on the heads of these people. Do they believe their own lies, think they are lying in the pursuit of some greater good, or just not care? Has this caused them to even entertain the idea that they could have been wrong?

  • PapayaSF||

    I think it's a combination of the first two. Will some realize they were wrong? Sure, but not many will question the Great Liberal/Socialist Future they think they are working toward. However, a great many blue-dog Democrats and independents will change the way they vote, and a lot of Republicans who stayed home in 2008 and 2012 will be ticked off in 2014 and 2016.

  • JohnD||

    The progressive scum knows exactly what they are doing. Don't fool yourself by thinking this is about affordable health care. It's all about control. This is a huge step towards a socialist state.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I'm confused. What does any of this have to do with "health insurance reform"?

  • CE||

    Did we say "Affordable"? We meant mandatory, but better.

  • LynchPin1477||

    And when we say better, we mean better for someone, somewhere, but not necessarily you.

  • entropy||

    And when he said you could keep your plan, he meant it. You can keep your plan... in your heart, by cherishing the fond memories of the time you spent together.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    sometimes people may not have a sense of what the law actually does.

    Well, that's true enough. Unfortunately, many of those people are members of TEAM JEFE.

  • Rich||

    Nothing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans. No change is required unless insurance companies change existing plans.

    It's time for Congress to grill Valerie Jarrett. Just who TF is this person?

  • radar||

    Martin Bormann in drag

  • Invisible Finger||

    She was in chanrge if the Illinois Lottery.

    So yeah, kinda the same thing as Obamacare.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Rick Ungar at Forbes is in overdrive. Any bad prediction or reality said about OC is a myth/smear/lie. The more liberals lie, the more they accuse their enemies of lying. They are children.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Don’t be bamboozled.

    Great. Now he tells us.

  • Cytotoxic||

    And the role of PolitiFact and other BS fact checkers cannot be overstated. Want to blunt a stinging point by a Republican or conservative? Whip out your Fact Checker and presto blamo he's 'discredited'. My only hope is that the power and influence of PF and others like it are declining.

  • PapayaSF||

    As I've said elsewhere online: PolitiFact showed their true colors in the last election, when they gave Romney a "Pants on Fire" rating for a statement in which he quoted a federal agency as saying something would cost "up to $XX million." Turns out the agency had given a range of estimates, and that was indeed their highest estimate, but PolitiFact rated Romney's statement as a lie because, well, that was only the highest estimate, and lower estimates were more likely. Well, duh, that's why Romney said "up to."

    So in that case they rated as a lie something that anyone could tell was certainly not a lie, even based on PolitiFact's own account. But then, they rate "If you like your plan, you can keep it" as a half-truth, even though it's obviously mostly or entirely a lie. If a robber promises he won't kill your family if you cooperate, and you cooperate, and he kills your two kids anyway, but not you and your spouse, did he tell a "half-truth"?

  • Pulseguy||

    "if you like your plan, you can keep it" is a half-truth. You do like your plan, you just can't keep it. Your problem is you don't speak Eubamics.

  • radar||

    The fact that Glenn Kessler actually gave Chocolate Nixon a four-Pinocchio for the "if you like your plan, you can keep your plan" schtick was one legitimately shocking thing I noticed lately.

  • GILMORE||

    "Make sure you know what the actual facts are... because you stand to benefit if you’re not already benefiting from this thing.... Don’t let people confuse you. Don’t let them run the okiedoke on you. Don’t be bamboozled..."

    I've heard this style before somewhere....

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaWWTFwOpJU

  • Invisible Finger||

    Don’t let them run the okiedoke on you.

    Mencken was right. We really DID elect an outright moron.

  • Homple||

    The O administration's attitude toward its subjects, as summed up in Huckleberry Finn:

    "Hain’t we got all the fools in town on our side? And ain’t that a big enough majority in any town?"

  • RG||

    John, with this kind of shit, I'm pretty sure we'll be able to definitively settle our debate.

    Obama to Dropped Insurance Customers: 'Just Shop Around in the New Marketplace, That's What It's For'

    http://www.nationaljournal.com.....r-20131030

  • GILMORE||

    ""'Just Shop Around in the New Marketplace""

    The one that's not working right now? or the other one?

  • verlighsoncno1975||

    |When I desire to place gallery or LightBox or yet a slider on my website I every time try to use jQuery script for that.

    http://farrdesign.com/jerseys/?id=559

  • ||

    "FACT: Nothing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans. No change is required unless insurance companies change existing plans"

    Someone correct me if I am wrong, but aren't the majority of plans being cancelled deemed illegal under Obamacare?

  • montana mike||

    Bingo, if they don't pay for birth control...yada, yada

  • JohnD||

    I am consistently amazed by the Dems willingness to tell any lie to make them selves look good and with the corrupt press willingly covering up the lying Dems.

    Worse ... president....ever.

  • UCrawford||

    Personally, I'm not that worried or angry about the spin doctors, for one reason above all others...there is nothing they're going to be able to do to spin this. People going into an election are going to be losing their health care coverage and will either end up with the homeless folks on Medicaid or pay through the nose for coverage with a $4,000 deductible. Voters, regardless of their personal beliefs, still vote according to their wallets, and this hurts them badly there.

    There's no hiding it, no shifting blame to Republicans, no blaming the insurance companies. The unintended consequences of these policies are going to hit hard, they're hitting now, and there is no way to fix the damage other than repeal (there's certainly nothing else that would get the Republicans in the House on board). Like Jon Stewart said, "You can't spin this turd." So why get angry about it? Just sit back and enjoy the collapse of both Obamacare and the Democratic Party.

  • optimusratiostultum||

    Haven't yall got the message yet? Whatever Obama says instantly becomes truth, unless of course you aren't donating to the DNC.

  • Liberty Felix||

    (It) seems to have destroyed my access to a free market 'discounter' club alternative.

  • optimusratiostultum||

    this law did exactly what was needed. Finally no more guys out there without maternity coverage. Now the next step is to make sure women get testicular exams.

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