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What can one say about the Associated Press these days?  Rather than realize the error of their ways in becoming a conservative mouthpiece out of their D.C. office instead of an objective news source, they've apparently doubled down their bets on McCain's dying presidential campaign.

Just moments after Obama's detailed, inspirational video tonight, the AP's McCain-loving Washington Bureau came out with their latest hit-piece masquerading as journalism:

Obama's prime-time ad skips over budget realities

WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was less than upfront in his half-hour commercial Wednesday night about the costs of his programs and the crushing budget pressures he would face in office.

Obama's assertion that "I've offered spending cuts above and beyond" the expense of his promises is accepted only by his partisans. His vow to save money by "eliminating programs that don't work" masks his failure throughout the campaign to specify what those programs are — beyond the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

What follows is a detailed hit-piece on multiple fronts that reads as if it were taken straight from the RNC.  The whole thing would be hilarious in is disingenuity, were it not such a sad piece of hackery, and were the stakes not so incredibly high.

First, on Obama's statement that his programs would be offset by cuts in other costs:

His proposals — the tax cuts, the low-cost loans, the $15 billion a year he promises for alternative energy, and more — cost money, and the country could be facing a record $1 trillion deficit next year. Indeed, Obama recently acknowledged — although not in his commercial — that: "The next president will have to scale back his agenda and some of his proposals."

Yes, AP.  Because 8 years and more of absolutely reckless fiscal mismanagement by Republicans and their allies has bankrupted the American treasury and the global economy, some of Obama's promises to help the middle class may have to be delayed or scaled back in part in order not to balloon the federal deficit.  I'm glad the AP is being the deficit hawk here--if only we had had a media organization this concerned about government spending in the lead-up to Iraq or the Bush tax cuts!  It's so heartening to see the AP find its inner fiscal conservative holding Democrats accountable just a week before the election.  After all, late is better than never.

THE SPIN: "I also believe every American has a right to affordable health care."

THE FACTS: That belief should not be confused with a guarantee of health coverage for all. He makes no such promise. Obama hinted as much in the ad when he said about the problem of the uninsured: "I want to start doing something about it." He would mandate coverage for children but not adults. His program is aimed at making insurance more affordable by offering the choice of government-subsidized coverage similar to that in a plan for federal employees and other steps, including requiring larger employers to share costs of insuring workers.

I didn't hear Obama guarantee health coverage for all.  Did anyone else hear that?  If the McCain campaign is already calling Obama a socialist, just imagine what they would be saying if Obama actually promised every American health coverage regardless of cost?  I guess that would make him to the left of the Communists.  I'll check my political science texts to see just what that might look like.

Thanks for keeping us honest, AP.  Putting words in Obama's mouth and then attacking him for lying about the words you just made up--now that's journalism.


THE SPIN: "We are currently spending $10 billion a month in Iraq, when they have a $79 billion surplus. It seems to me that if we're going to be strong at home as well as strong abroad that we've got to look at bringing that war to a close." These lines in the ad were taken from a debate with McCain.

THE FACTS: Obama was once and very often definitive about getting combat troops out in 16 months (At times during the primaries, he promised to do so within a year). More recently, without backing away explicitly from the 16-month withdrawal pledge, he has talked of the need for flexibility. In the primaries, it would have been a jarring departure for him to have said merely that "we've got to look at" ending the war. As for Iraq's surplus, it's true that Iraq could end up with a surplus that large, but that hasn't happened yet.

OK, let me get this straight.  Obama says we've got to "look at bringing that war to a close."  Because he may or may not do it within 16 months, that means he's obviously lying.  Because "look at bringing that war to a close" is such a precise statement that he's just begging to be held to account for it.

And besides, who knows if Iraq will actually have a surplus that big?  We may have to keep troops there indefinitely, lest Iraq actually end up in national debt.  A 100 year occupation just might do the trick to keep Iraq in the black.  Because as much as the AP is a newfound strict deficit hawk here at home, you should just see how tough they are on government debt in Iraq.


Contact the AP.  Let them know that you won't stand for this kind of drivel.  Let them know that as long as Ron Fournier maintains his post as their Washington Bureau Chief, you consider them to be no better than nor different from Fox News.


Most importantly, contact your local paper.  Since the AP considers itself unaccountable to its end readers, apply pressure to the newspapers who do hold the AP's financial future in their hands.  Encourage them to follow the lead of the Tribune Company: push them to form partnerships with other papers to develop an alternative news source.  If the AP refuses to adhere to basic journalistic standards, see to it that they are starved of the money needed to operate their propaganda campaign.

Hasten the AP's demise.  It cannot come soon enough.

Originally posted to thereisnospoon (David Atkins) on Wed Oct 29, 2008 at 08:36 PM PDT.

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