The following correction was printed in the March 23 edition of The New York Times:
Several articles since September about the troubles of the community organizing group Acorn referred incorrectly or imprecisely to one aspect of videotaped encounters between Acorn workers and two conservative activists that contributed to the group's problems.
In the encounters, the activists posed as a prostitute and a pimp and discussed prostitution with the workers. But while footage shot away from the offices shows one activist, James O'Keefe, in a flamboyant pimp costume, there is no indication that he was wearing the costume while talking to the Acorn workers.
The errors occurred in articles on Sept. 16 and Sept. 19, 2009, and on Jan. 31 of this year. Because of an editing error, the mistake was repeated in an article in some copies on Saturday. (Go to Article)
I'm not going to pretend that Fox News has any interest in giving their viewers a fair -- or even accurate -- picture of health care reform. They've been talking "socialized medicine" and "death panels" for months and aren't showing any sign of stopping now that the health care reform bill is poised to become law.
But it takes a special kind of chutzpah to offer up Rudy Giuliani as some sort of authority on health care reform, which is what Fox & Friends did this morning.
Just as a quick reminder, the last time Giuliani was spotted delving into health care was in the middle of his catastrophic failure of a presidential campaign. In August 2007 he offered up a health care reform proposal that -- well, perhaps "proposal" is too strong a word. Let's say that he gave a speech in which he said the words "health care" more times than usual, but spent the majority of it attacking the Democratic plot to enact "socialist" health policies.
What policy prescriptions he did offer were laughably vague and essentially ripped off a health care plan President Bush put forward and ultimately abandoned. Giuliani said at the time that he didn't know how much his "plan" would cost, nor could he say how many uninsured Americans it would cover. But health care policy wonk Ezra Klein deconstructed Giuliani's plan, such as it was, and reached this conclusion: "So Giuliani's proposal -- if it were more generous than it actually is, and would really cut premiums in half -- might reduce the ranks of the uninsured by three percent." Moreover, Giuliani himself acknowledged that his plan was reliant on the magic of the free market, and might have taken several years to lower costs to the point that the lucky three percent could actually afford health insurance.
In his appearance on Fox & Friends, Giuliani several times described the soon-to-be-signed bill as a "disaster" for New York, and rehashed the same garbage he spewed on the campaign trail: "The reality is this is not health care reform. This is a Democratic ideological commitment to moving towards socialized medicine. It has nothing to do with reforming health care. ... This is really ideology trumping good sense, and it's a left wing ideology. Most Democrats would have loved to have seen socialized medicine. They would have loved to have seen single-payer system, they acknowledged that. This was a big step in that direction."
In short, Rudy Giuliani is not someone who takes seriously or even understands health care policy. And on Fox News that makes him an expert.
UPDATE: Turns out America's Mayor was also on MSNBC's Morning Joe earlier today to talk health care, though, to their credit, the MSNBC hosts actually challenged Giuliani on whether his uninformed rhetoric is "constructive" and openly mocked his claim that Obama pushed health care reform and the auto company bailouts solely for the benefit of the unions. Still, no one seems able to explain why Giuliani is a sought-after voice on health care policy.
Leave it to Foxbusiness.com to provide the, um, clarity:
Like the bill or not, Wall Street closed at its highest level since Oct. 2008 on Monday as the House's historic health-care vote removed a huge cloud of uncertainty that had been hanging over the markets.
And this money quote:
"Everyone is just happy we got the vote, it got through and now we're going to move forward -- whether you agree with the vote or not. Clarity and transparency are what investors like," Jonathan Corpina, senior managing partner at Merdian Equity Partners, told FOX Business.
This doesn't pass the smell test. Because is Fox Business, along with its Wall St. sources, really claiming that stocks rose on Monday regardless of what investors thought about the historic passage of health care reform? Are they really suggesting that if investors, as well as big business and corporate America, hated health care reform that stocks still would have gone up simply because everyone was happy with "clarity"; with closure?
I don't buy it. If big business actually thought reform was going to cripple the economy and was the first step towards socialism, which is what some Fox News pundits have been claiming, then the market would have cratered 300 or 400 points. Easy.
If the bill was really a "disaster" for business, as CNBC's Jim Cramer claimed last week, the markets would have responded an in obvious manner. Instead, the Dow went up.
Question: Could yesterday's Wall Street performance be the first of many right-wing health care bugaboos (Glenn Beck: reform will "drive out of business every single health care insurance company") that will quickly be proven to be phony?
(h/t Bill Scher)
From a March 22 Atlas Shrugs post:
From the March 23 broadcast of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
Fox News figures have distorted comments Al Sharpton made during an appearance on the network to claim he was acknowledging that health care reform is part of, as Sarah Palin put it, "the socializing of America that Obama had promised." Sharpton's comments actually came in direct response to Geraldo Rivera's characterization of health care reform as what "some people" have called "socialism," and in no way endorsed Rivera's characterization.
During a March 21 appearance to discuss passage of the health care reform bill, Sharpton stated, "I think that this began the transforming of the country the way the president had promised. This is what he ran on." After Rivera interjected, "Some would argue to socialism," Sharpton responded:
SHARPTON: Well, first of all, then we'd have to say that the American public overwhelmingly voted for socialism when they elected President Obama. Let's not act as though the president didn't tell the American people -- the president promised the American people health reform when he ran. He was overwhelmingly elected running on that, and he has delivered what he promised. I don't understand Republicans saying this is against the will of the American people. They voted for President Obama, who said this was going to be one of the first things he would do, and he's done the first hurdle of that tonight. So I think the American people was heard loud and clear. This was not some concept the president introduced after he won. He ran on this, and the American people won tonight. Because they got finally something from a president they voted for who said he was going to do exactly this.
Sharpton's point, quite clearly, was that Obama campaigned to enact comprehensive health care reform, was elected by a majority of the American people, and enacted comprehensive health care reform. And that if Geraldo Rivera, or "some people" wanted to call that socialism, they would need to account for the fact that a majority of the American people voted to support that plan all the same.
Over at Fox News, what Sharpton said was interpreted as an admission that Obama has begun the process of turning America socialist.
Glenn Beck kicked off his show by showing the portion of Sharpton's comments where he responded to Rivera by stating, "Well, first of all, then we'd have to say that the American public overwhelmingly voted for socialism when they elected President Obama." Beck claimed that this proved that "the mask is coming off."
Palin claimed, "Al Sharpton nailed it. He's the one who said today or yesterday is it -- he said, you know, this is socialis -- this is part of the socializing of America that Obama had promised. He hit the nail on the head."
Sean Hannity claimed that Sharpton was "setting the record straight." Hannity went on to say, "I don't think socialism is what most Americans were expecting when they elected President Obama, but from the looks of things, that's exactly what we are getting."
From The Fox Nation, accessed March 22:
Purporting to show how passage of the health care bill pales in comparison to other major events from our nation's history, Beck showed how his foaming-at-the-mouth hatred of all things "progressive" can lead him to make a fool of himself:
BECK: You know what this is? They locked arms, because they wanted to compare themselves to the civil rights activists. How dare you!
Look at these people [civil rights activists]. They refused to get up! But Nancy Pelosi. I don't know how you could be offended by that.
It's unclear if Beck's last line was a slip of the tongue or sarcasm, but let me take a quick moment to explain how "people could be offended" by what Beck is yelling about. Unfortunately for Beck, it's likely not what he had in mind.
That man to the left of Pelosi in the image that set Beck off? Civil rights hero John Lewis, who you may remember from recent news reports that a tea party protester called him the n-word this weekend. Quick primer on just some of Lewis' bio:
He was born the son of sharecroppers on February 21, 1940, outside of Troy, Alabama. He grew up on his family's farm and attended segregated public schools in Pike County, Alabama. As a young boy, he was inspired by the activism surrounding the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., which he heard on radio broadcasts. In those pivotal moments, he made a decision to become a part of the Civil Rights Movement. Ever since then, he has remained at the vanguard of progressive social movements and the human rights struggle in the United States.
As a student at Fisk University, John Lewis organized sit-in demonstrations at segregated lunch counters in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1961, he volunteered to participate in the Freedom Rides, which challenged segregation at interstate bus terminals across the South. Lewis risked his life on those Rides many times by simply sitting in seats reserved for white patrons. He was also beaten severely by angry mobs and arrested by police for challenging the injustice of Jim Crow segregation in the South.
During the height of the Movement, from 1963 to 1966, Lewis was named Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which he helped form. SNCC was largely responsible for organizing student activism in the Movement, including sit-ins and other activities.
While still a young man, John Lewis became a nationally recognized leader. By 1963, he was dubbed one of the Big Six leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. (The others were Whitney Young, A. Phillip Randolph, Martin Luther King Jr., James Farmer and Roy Wilkins). At the age of 23, he was an architect of and a keynote speaker at the historic March on Washington in August 1963.
In 1964, John Lewis coordinated SNCC efforts to organize voter registration drives and community action programs during the Mississippi Freedom Summer. The following year, Lewis helped spearhead one of the most seminal moments of the Civil Rights Movement. Hosea Williams, another notable Civil Rights leader, and John Lewis led over 600 peaceful, orderly protestors across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965. They intended to march from Selma to Montgomery to demonstrate the need for voting rights in the state. The marchers were attacked by Alabama state troopers in a brutal confrontation that became known as "Bloody Sunday." News broadcasts and photographs revealing the senseless cruelty of the segregated South helped hasten the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Despite more than 40 arrests, physical attacks and serious injuries, John Lewis remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence. After leaving SNCC in 1966, he continued his commitment to the Civil Rights Movement as Associate Director of the Field Foundation and his participation in the Southern Regional Council's voter registration programs. Lewis went on to become the Director of the Voter Education Project (VEP). Under his leadership, the VEP transformed the nation's political climate by adding nearly four million minorities to the voter rolls.
I don't think John Lewis needed Beck's little history lesson about how civil rights activists "refused to get up."
From the Department of Religion at Dartmouth, here's an iconic image of civil rights activists locking arms at the Selma Civil Rights March. You may recognize the man on the left:
At least 80 advertisers have reportedly dropped their ads from Glenn Beck's Fox News program since he called President Obama a "racist" who has a "deep-seated hatred for white people." Here are his March 22 sponsors, in the order they appeared: