Cancer patients complaining about lost coverage under Obamacare are liars and reporters who tell their stories are partisan hacks uninterested in truth.
This is the new standard offered by progressives who have, incidentally, made a living playing the heartstrings of Americans in order to expand the role of the state.
The Democratic Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, is the latest leftist to give voice to this sentiment (from the floor of the Senate, no less):
“Despite all that good news, there’s plenty of horror stories being told. All are untrue, but they’re being told all over America.”
His comments prompted a social media poo squall.
So, he trotted back out to the floor and said:
“I can’t say that every one of the Koch brothers’ ads are a lie, but I’ll say this: Mr. President, the vast, vast majority of them are.”
Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post gave this second statement two (out of four) "Pinnochios."
In this case, even Reid’s revised rhetoric went too far. He would have been on safer ground if he dropped the harsh rhetoric and had simply said that many of the ads have serious problems and even rely on actors, not real people.
Using people as props is wrong - unless we do it
The best example of this double standard is this column from Jonathan Chait at the New York Magazine.
The tales all fall into the same predictable rut. First, the poor victim steps forward to share his (or, more frequently, her) tale of deprivation. Then reporters discover the putative victim is either a non-victim, or possibly a beneficiary, of Obamacare. Then conservatives get angry.
So the new rule in conservative media is that, if you have a terrible enough disease, your claims can be used in attack ads and any reporter who tries to verify them is insensitive to their illness. Too bad conservatives hadn't discovered this principle in 2012, because it would have been fun to watch them defending that ad featuring a man blaming Mitt Romney for his wife's death.
It seems our friends on the left don't much like being accused of killing people with their policies. The irony here is that the left has waged this very campaign against the right for years.
Want secure borders? You're a racist.
Want fiscal responsibility? You hate the poor.
Want to guard against voting fraud? You're racist.
You get the idea.
The left specializes in using emotion as innoculation against criticism. So, forgive folks on the right for not jumping on the Crocodile Tears Bandwagon with you.
Fact checking is for them - not us
Recall the meeting between congressional leaders and the President at Blair House in 2010, where Democrats read letter after letter after letter from various afflicted authors demanding more government intervention in the health care insurance market.
Nancy Pelosi talked about seeing grown men cry.
Harry Reid talked about Jesus Gutierrez from Reno.
One told a story of people sharing a single set of dentures.
No fact checks were done. It wasn't necessary, you see. The stories were merely illustrative of the larger point. It didn't matter if they were fabrications as long as they advance the narrative. As long as they strengthen the cause.
Here's the video. (Pelosi and Reid begin about 35 minutes into it.)
This continued for the entirity of the meeting.
There was no outrage from the media. The use of peoples' stories was seen as very relevant to the discussion. Their tales (as uttered by politicians) were taken at face value.
The ends justified the means, in that case.
Fact check this
Look, of course, reporters can and should fact check political ads. But let's not pretend the right's ads are the only ones worth checking.
But, in the spirit of reconciliation and bipartisanship, I have an offering.
As long as some folks are so interested in debunking claims of the people experiencing negative effects from the Affordable Care Act, maybe they could take a look at this one:
This Wednesday, my little sister, Julie, will be buried. She died because she delayed seeking health care for what turned out to be a catastrophic condition after her private health insurance policy was cancelled because of Obamacare. As she waited for a new Obamacare-approved policy to kick in, her condition deteriorated to the point that it was too late.
Julie, her husband, and four children were covered by a medical plan they liked, and had been promised they could keep by President Obama. But like so many others in this country, her family’s private health care policy was cancelled because of the Affordable Care Act. So my sister and her family struggled through the expensive and incompetently designed Obamacare website to find a new policy. Unfortunately, while they waited for their new Obama-approved healthcare plan to finally kick in, my little sister fell ill. She couldn’t keep down solid food. She should have gone to a doctor. But she toughed it out, as many people do, until her new coverage would kick in on February 2. She and her husband didn’t have a lot of money, so she didn’t want to incur what she thought were avoidable medical expenses.
But she didn’t make it. It turns out that, unbeknownst to her, she wasn’t suffering from an upset stomach or food poisoning, but a badly blocked gall bladder that had become highly infected. Her body went into septic shock just two days before her Obamacare policy would have kicked in. Her kidneys shut down. She went to the emergency room where, after heroic efforts, a marvelous medical team managed to stabilize her condition. I saw Julie that day for several hours. She could not move, or speak, but a tear trickled down her check when she saw the eldest daughter of her four children. After I left, hoping for the best, I learned the next day that her gentle heart stopped beating around 4:00 a.m.
Let me know what you come up with.