Wash. Post ignores Grassley's "pull the plug on grandma" attack to portray him as a partner on health care reform


In an article discussing Republican opposition to Democrats' health care reform, The Washington Post portrayed Sen. Chuck Grassley as one of the "few GOP senators who sought consensus on health care," conjuring up images of Grassley walking hand-in-hand with the Democrats to pass health care reform (unlike, say, Sen. Jon Kyl, who in September 2009 reportedly called reform a "stunning assault on liberty").

To buttress this image, the Post ignored the not-so-small fact that Grassley helped forward the 2009 "Lie of the Year," the widely debunked falsehood that health reform legislation would establish "death panels." At a town hall meeting in August 2009, Grassley said that Americans "have every right to fear" the end-of-life counseling provision in the House bill. He went on to say, "You shouldn't have counseling at the end of life, you should have done that 20 years before. We should not have a government-run plan to decide when to pull the plug on grandma."

In addition to sidestepping Grassley's embrace of the death panel falsehood, the Post also reported that Grassley "worked for months on a bipartisan bill," but that he sees President Obama as "not committed to meaningful compromise." To make this narrative of Grassley the cooperator work, the Post failed to note that during an August 2009 interview on MSNBC's Morning Meeting, Grassley admitted he wouldn't vote for a bill if the GOP remained opposed -- even if Grassley got what he wanted during negotiations.

Moreover, before blithely repeating Grassley's claim that Obama is "not committed to meaningful compromise," the Post might have pointed out that the final Senate bill included "161 Republican amendments" from senators such as Mike Enzi, Tom Coburn, Pat Roberts, and others, and reflected the efforts of "six bipartisan working groups" that "met a combined 72 times" in 2009, as well as "30 bipartisan hearings on health care reform" since 2007, half of which were held in 2009. And according to a Senate Finance Committee document detailing the amendments to the Chairman's Mark considered, at least 13 amendments sponsored by one or more Republican senators were included in that bill.

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