The New York Times is catching flak for a blatant example of liberal media bias: pretending that President Obama simply “misspoke” when he told Americans at least 36 times they could keep their current health insurance.
Sunday’s editorial drew fire from readers, according to Times ombudsman Margaret Sullivan. But it was the backlash from Fox News host Greta Van Susteren that put the spotlight on one of America’s largest newspapers.
On her blog, Van Susteren wrote:
The President said this not once, not twice, but multiple times and it was part of the Obamacare supporter talking points. You say it one time and it could be misspeaking — but when it is part of your mantra, and your talking points … repeated over and over and over again … well, the rest of us just are not that stupid.
That drew a response from Sullivan, who took the matter to editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal.
But rather than admit a sloppy choice of words, Rosenthal defended the editorial, telling Sullivan the language was fine. He did this despite the government’s own admission that it knew three years ago that millions of Americans would lose their insurance.
Here is Rosenthal’s exchange with Sullivan:
“We have a high threshold for whether someone lied,” he told me. The phrase that The Times used “means that he said something that wasn’t true.” Saying the president lied would have meant something different, Mr. Rosenthal said — that he knew it was false and intended to express the falsehood. “We don’t know that,” he said.
That would put the New York Times at odds even with President’s former spokesman, Robert Gibbs, who said it was “certainly” wrong for Obama to make the promise.
At this point, an Associated Press tally estimates more than 3.5 million Americans have already lost their insurance thanks to Obamacare. That number is expected to rise to 16 million.
So, who’s to blame? According to the New York Times, congressional Republicans, of course. Here’s another line from the same editorial:
Congressional Republicans have stoked consumer fears and confusion with charges that the health care reform law is causing insurers to cancel existing policies and will force many people to pay substantially higher premiums next year for coverage they don’t want.
That just doesn’t make any sense. The cancellations and excessive premiums aren’t partisan “charges.” They are cold hard facts. And they are being clearly reported by the media and have led both congressional Democrats as well as Republicans to express dismay.
How facts can stoke “confusion,” is unclear, unless the Times editorial board is easily confused by facts.