In an August 12 Politico article, Andy Barr again falsely reported that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer "called the [town hall] protesters 'un-American' in an op-ed Monday in USA Today." In fact, referring to efforts to "disrupt public meetings and prevent members of Congress and constituents from conducting a civil dialogue," Pelosi and Hoyer wrote, "Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American."
Politico advanced media falsehood that Pelosi, Hoyer called "protesters" un-American
From the August 12 Politico article:
[RNC chairman Michael] Steele also blasted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) who called the protesters "un-American" in an op-ed Monday in USA Today.
"They're being distinctly American," Steele said of the rough town hall audiences. "They're being uniquely American, in expressing openly their frustration with what they hear their political leadership saying."
Pelosi, Hoyer actually wrote: "Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American." From Pelosi and Hoyer's August 10 USA Today op-ed:
[A]s members of Congress spend time at home during August, they are talking with their constituents about reform. The dialogue between elected representatives and constituents is at the heart of our democracy and plays an integral role in assuring that the legislation we write reflects the genuine needs and concerns of the people we represent.
However, it is now evident that an ugly campaign is underway not merely to misrepresent the health insurance reform legislation, but to disrupt public meetings and prevent members of Congress and constituents from conducting a civil dialogue. These tactics have included hanging in effigy one Democratic member of Congress in Maryland and protesters holding a sign displaying a tombstone with the name of another congressman in Texas, where protesters also shouted "Just say no!" drowning out those who wanted to hold a substantive discussion.
Let the facts be heard
These disruptions are occurring because opponents are afraid not just of differing views -- but of the facts themselves. Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American. Drowning out the facts is how we failed at this task for decades.
Health care is complex. It touches every American life. It drives our economy. People must be allowed to learn the facts. [USA Today, 8/10/09]
Politico's Barr previously reported Pelosi, Hoyer "called the protesters 'un-American.' " On August 10, Barr reported: " 'For some Democratic legislators to call it anti-democratic is just ludicrous,' said [Gov. Sonny] Perdue, seeming to allude to a column by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) published Monday in USA Today that called the protesters 'un-American.'" [Politico, 8/10/09]
Numerous media figures falsely claimed Pelosi and Hoyer called the protesters "un-American." Media figures who have done so include NBC's Chuck Todd, CNN's Lou Dobbs, and Fox News personalities Greta Van Susteren, Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson, Gregg Jarrett, and Sean Hannity.
CNN contributor Louis debunked media falsehood, saying, "to stop the conversation is un-American." After Dobbs claimed that "we also have now the leadership of the House saying you're un-American to oppose" health care reform, CNN contributor Errol Louis corrected him, stating that "the un-American part was, you know, to shout people down, to stop the conversation is un-American, which I would agree with." Louis continued: "[T]he words in the article were to shut down debate, to use those kind of disruptive tactics to try and stop the debate from going forward, is wrong. It's just wrong. You call it un-American; you call it whatever you want. I mean, it needs to be denounced. You can't have people tarred and feathered in effigy outside of their congressional office or hung in effigy outside of their office. That's not the way to conduct this debate." [CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, 8/10/09]