CNN's King falsely equates Obama calling "death panel" claims a "lie" with Wilson's outburst

››› ››› TOM ALLISON

CNN State of the Union host John King falsely equated President Obama's statement during his September 9 speech before a joint session of Congress that it's "a lie" that health reform proposals would "set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens" with Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) yelling "you lie" after Obama stated that reform "would not apply" to undocumented immigrants. But King ignored a crucial difference between Obama's statement about "death panels" and Wilson's interjection -- their accuracy: CNN reporters repeatedly debunked former Gov. Sarah Palin's "death panel" claim but concluded that Obama was "basically correct" in his statement regarding health care reform's coverage of undocumented immigrants.

From the September 13 edition of CNN's State of the Union:

KING: As you know, some conservatives say there's a double standard. They say in his speech the president didn't name anybody, but he mentioned the so-called death panels and the controversy about that. And he said prominent politicians -- and we all know Governor Palin has been the leader in this effort -- have talked about these so-called death panels, and the president said that's a lie. He didn't name anybody, but he said that's a lie. I tried to ask the White House press secretary Robert Gibbs this morning, if that's a lie, and Governor Palin said it, does that make her a liar?

[begin video clip]

GIBBS: I think that for whatever reason, despite many media outlets saying that what Governor -- former Governor Palin was saying wasn't true, she continued to say it. I'll let Webster define how one -- what one calls her. I think in the absence of fact what happens --

KING: If it's not the truth, is she lying?

GIBBS: Well, in the absence of noble fact, sometimes what happens is we fill the void with stuff that quite frankly isn't true.

[end video clip]

KING: So if it's a lie from the floor is out of -- "you lie" from the floor is out of bounds, what about what the president said?

King: "So if ... 'you lie' from the floor is out of bounds, what about what the president said?"

King advances conservative claims of "double standard." Following a discussion of Wilson's interjection, King asserted that "some conservatives say there's a double standard" because Obama "mentioned the so-called death panels and the controversy about that. And he said prominent politicians -- and we all know Governor Palin has been the leader in this effort -- have talked about these so-called death panels, and the president said that's a lie." King later asked, "So if it's a lie from the floor is out of -- 'you lie' from the floor is out of bounds, what about what the president said?"

But according to CNN reporters, "death panel" claims are "not true," while Obama's statement on undocumented immigrants is "basically correct"

CNN's Levs reported Obama "basically correct" on undocumented immigrants claim. During a CNN "Truth Squad" segment, correspondent Josh Levs cited a PolitiFact.com article that called Wilson's claim "[f]alse." Levs reported: "This is PolitiFact.com right here, a reality-checking website. They take a look at it. They say that Joe Wilson was flat-out wrong. They give him a false on their ruling." Levs also reported, "You do have President Obama basically correct when he says the package of reforms that he is putting out there are not designed to apply to illegal immigrants." [CNN Newsroom, 9/10/09]

CNN reporters repeatedly debunked death panel falsehood. Numerous CNN figures debunked Palin's claim -- forwarded by the conservative media -- that the House health reform bill would create a "death panel." Correspondent Jessica Yellin said Palin's claim was "not true"; correspondent Jim Acosta referred to it as a "false claim"; and host Rick Sanchez said the assertion was "obviously not true."

Transcripts

From the September 13 edition of CNN's State of the Union:

KING: As you know, some conservatives say there's a double standard. They say in his speech the president didn't name anybody, but he mentioned the so-called death panels and the controversy about that. And he said prominent politicians -- and we all know Governor Palin has been the leader in this effort -- have talked about these so-called death panels, and the president said that's a lie. He didn't name anybody, but he said that's a lie. I tried to ask the White House press secretary Robert Gibbs this morning, if that's a lie, and Governor Palin said it, does that make her a liar?

[begin video clip]

GIBBS: I think that for whatever reason, despite many media outlets saying that what Governor -- former Governor Palin was saying wasn't true, she continued to say it. I'll let Webster define how one -- what one calls her. I think in the absence of fact what happens --

KING: If it's not the truth, is she lying?

GIBBS: Well, in the absence of noble fact, sometimes what happens is we fill the void with stuff that quite frankly isn't true.

[end video clip]

KING: So if it's a lie from the floor is out of -- "you lie" from the floor is out of bounds, what about what the president said?

From the September 10 edition of CNN Newsroom:

HEIDI COLLINS (host): It's the outburst that has people talking today. A Republican congressman calls the president a liar. The reason: President Obama in his speech last night said health care reforms would not cover illegal immigrants.

We've talked about the issue on our show here. So who's right?

Let's call in the "Truth Squad," and CNN's Josh Levs.

Good morning, Josh.

LEVS: Good morning to you, Heidi.

Yes, it was interesting to see that happen last night. And what I want to do now is talk to you through some of the basics of what everyone is taking a look at today.

This is PolitiFact.com right here, a reality-checking website. They take a look at it. They say that Joe Wilson was flat-out wrong. They give him a false on their ruling.

Now at the "Truth Squad," we have looked at this issue in the past as well. And what I need to do here is kind of dig in to the weeds with you. Keep in mind there is no final bill. I can't say that enough. But a lot of people concerned about this issue are pointing to this bill here in the House.

Now I want everyone to see something it says right here. It talks about subsidies to help people buy health insurance, and it specifically says nothing here shall allow federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.

So when it comes to those subsidies, it specifically says, you know what? No, illegal immigrants cannot get that. But here's something on the other side. Check this out.

The Congressional Research Service, which is nonpartisan, they did their own study, and they said, wait a second, this bill does not contain any restrictions on noncitizens participating in the exchange, whether they're here legally or illegally.

Now, I want everyone to understand what I'm talking about here. So we have a pretty simple graphic. Let's go to it.

The health insurance exchange is part of what President Obama is suggesting. It would be there for consumers to look at different plans and choose one. Illegal immigrants, the Congressional Research Service is saying, would be able to buy a plan under that exchange. However, millions already do. Millions of illegal immigrants are already buying plans out there, Heidi.

So what we're not talking about it is the government coming along and insuring them. So put all that together. You do have President Obama basically correct when he says the package of reforms that he is putting out there are not designed to apply to illegal immigrants -- Heidi.

Posted In
Health Care, Health Care Reform
Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
John King
Show/Publication
State Of The Union
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