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Okay, it's a start.

It looks like the folks CNN have heard about and don't much like their network's reputation for the notorious false equivalency. Last night, of all things, Wolf Blitzer did a little fact checking of President Obama and presumed Republican nominee Mitt Romney and, for once, President Obama came out on top. At least, it looked that way to me. See what you think. The video is here, following a brief commercial, of course. (Dissecting Romney, Obama promises on the playlist.) And, below the orange squiggly, a few snips from the transcript and a comment or two.

Sure, it's just a little over 4 minutes and a full treatment of Romney lies could be an 8-hour mini-series, but some of the more insidious right-wing mythology and Romney lies were actually debunked. Here are a few examples from the transcript.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: [video clip] I have said many times before, the president didn't cause the economic crisis. But he did make it worse.

BLITZER: "Keeping Them Honest," when President Obama took office, the economy was in freefall, 4.5 million jobs lost in President Bush's last year and another 4.3 million jobs lost in the early Obama administration.

But as you can see, job losses slowed. Then gains started to appear and grew. For March, for example, the economy is expected to add about 200,000 jobs on top of the 230,000 jobs in February. That means as of February, the economy under President Obama had gained back about 3.2 million of those 4.3 million jobs lost during his administration.

According to a CNN Money survey of economists, all 4.3 million jobs lost on his watch could potentially come back by year's end. Also on the economy, there's this claim about the administration's economic recovery act.

Then:
ROMNEY: [video clip] The $787 billion stimulus included a grab bag of pet projects that languished in Congress for good reason for years. It was less a jobs plan and more the mother of all earmarks. The administration pledged that their stimulus would keep the unemployment rate below 8 percent. It has been above 8 percent every month since.

 BLITZER: Governor Romney is certainly right about the last part. Unemployment is now at 8.3 percent, up from 8.2 percent when President Obama took office, but down sharply from its peak of 10.1 percent in October of 2009.

As for the stimulus, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says it increased employment, created jobs by anywhere from about a million to maybe as many as three million jobs. As for the claim that the administration pledged to keep the jobs number under 8 percent, it comes from an estimate, not a pledge, in a report written by two top Obama economic advisers during the transition back in January 2009 shortly before the president took office.

So, it looks to me like President Obama won round one. Furthermore, when Blitzer moved to fact checking the AP speech yesterday, he began
Moving on to the president's speech, no outright falsehoods, but not always the whole truth. Take this on government regulation
And. Blitzer's example is comparatively mild:
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES [video clip]: You would think they'd say, you know what, maybe some rules and regulations are necessary to protect the economy and prevent people from being taken advantage of by insurance companies or credit card companies or mortgage lenders.

BLITZER: It is true Governor Romney does want to repeal the law tightening regulations on the financial industry. However, he's also said as recently as last night, and I'm quoting him now, "We, of course, understand in a free market that regulations are necessary and critical."


And finally, on the individual mandate:
OBAMA: [video clip] There's a reason why there's a little bit of confusion in the Republican primary about health care and the individual mandate since it originated as a conservative idea to preserve the private marketplace and health care, while still assuring that everybody got coverage, in contrast to a single payer plan. Now, suddenly, this is some socialist overreach.

BLITZER: On this, the president is right. The individual mandate was originally a conservative idea, even had some conservative support, by the way, while the Obama health bill was being drafted.

[...]

BLITZER: However, "Keeping Them Honest," it's a mandate that President Obama opposed when running for office. Here is his drawing a contrast back in the 2008 debate with then presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who unlike President Obama, supported the mandate.

I'd call round two a draw. Any requirement that President Obama should have added that he initially opposed the individual mandate and supported single payer which he compromised away in an effort to get SOMETHING passed in the face of Republican opposition to any assistance to the uninsured and uninsurable clearly pales in comparison to Romney's lies above.

Blitzer finished the segment by welcoming his invited guests "Republican strategist and former George W. Bush Press Secretary Ari Fleischer and Democratic pollster Cornell Belcher who currently works for President Obama's reelection campaign." I'm not quoting any part of their discussion here because it's so predictable you could probably recite it from memory. If you don't think so, you can read it at the transcript link above. Suffice it to say, Fleische is an ass.

I found the whole thing to be an unexpected improvement by CNN. What do you think?

Originally posted to RJDixon74135 on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 04:33 AM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's a good start... (15+ / 0-)

    I love how they always try to make things even -- for every outright lie that Rmoney tells, let's mention a little fudging that Pres Obama said and treat it as though it's the same.

    It's like the way I parent. If I yell at kgirl1 for disappearing for four hours and we have zero idea of where she is and she returns home just before we alert the police, well then I must yell at kgirl2 for something, anything, like she forgot to bring her plate to the sink when she finished her snack. It keeps things even -- that way I'm not showing favorites. Yeesh.

    It's a good start and I hope more MSM does it. Maybe if Rmoney knows he's being tracked, he won't tell such huge lies. Hahahahahaha -- I crack myself up. Nothing is going to stop him...

    The search for truth and knowledge is one of the finest attributes of a man, though often it is most loudly voiced by those who strive for it the least -- Albert Einstein

    by theKgirls on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 04:57:45 AM PDT

    •  Worry about truthfulness is a liberal value. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MKSinSA

      A Republican candidate worrying about truthfulness would activate a liberal frame, so he won't do it.

      "It's called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it." George Carlin

      by psnyder on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 07:24:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think it's a start. (9+ / 0-)

    We'll have to wait and see how it develops.

    As to this:

    ...requirement that President Obama should have added that he initially opposed the individual mandate and supported single payer which he compromised away in an effort to get SOMETHING passed in the face of Republican opposition....
    I wish to high heaven he would say that at every opportunity.

    Being the single intellectual in a village of 1,100 souls ain't much fun, especially when 1,099 of those don't think you're all that smart.--Lucy Marsden

    by Miniaussiefan on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 04:59:35 AM PDT

    •  Me, too, Miniaussiefan (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sylv, Miniaussiefan, marina, MKSinSA, Roger Fox

      There's been quite a bit of discussion recently on CNN pressuring some Democratic spokesman or another to explain President Obama's "plan B"in the event the Supreme Court strikes down the individuall mandate or the entire ACA. So far, the uniform response has been "we expect the Supreme Court to approve the individual mandate, but I have a fantasy of someone saying, "Single Payer."

      Eliminate tax breaks that stimulate the offshoring of jobs.

      by RJDixon74135 on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 05:25:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  dust motes (7+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina, RF, dsb, MKinTN, Satya1, aznavy, Roger Fox

    yeah, credit where credit is due, but these examples are dust motes.
    Let's talk about socialism, and whether the repeated accusations of socialist takeovers we hear daily from R-Money and every liar on the right have any semblance of truth.
    Let's go into the explicit accusations of cronyism (kind of the antithesis of socialism, but I digress) and illegality we hear from the Robot.

    Dear CNN, and especially you, Wolfie;
    NOT good enough. Through no accident, this little "expose" did nothing to rip the mask off the lying that is central to the platform of a major political party, during a very important, critical presidential election. The weak examples of Obama being somehow obfuscatory are clearly a desperate attempt to show "both sides doing it". That failed.
    If your aim is truly to shrug off the well-deserved derision of false equivalence, then change your paradigm from inoffensive to accurate and thorough. That is all you need to do.

    Class war has consequences, and we are living them.

    by kamarvt on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 05:56:48 AM PDT

  •  CNN may be afraid the Dems will win (6+ / 0-)

    In which case they will not be in a very good position unless they start sucking up now

    www.tapestryofbronze.com

    by chloris creator on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 06:25:02 AM PDT

  •  CNN has no credibility whatsoever- n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kerplunk, Roger Fox, sebastianguy99

    Evidence that contradicts the ruling belief system is held to extraordinary standards, while evidence that entrenches it is uncritically accepted. -Carl Sagan

    by RF on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 06:30:06 AM PDT

  •  Obama polls pretty well (8+ / 0-)

    in the likeability factor, folks may not want to vote for him but they like him. Seeing him perpetually attacked gets tiresome.
    Mitt Romney is not a likable person, he seems cold.
    Oh, and Obama/Biden 2012!!

    •  I saw Romney in New Hampshire 2008 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RJDixon74135

      primaries, great trip if you've never done it. He is totally like Ted the Anchorman from Mary Tyler Moore, an empty suit.

      You might remember this song

       

      I saw a werewolf drinking a pina colada at Trader Vic's / His hair was perfect / Werewolves of London
      Romneys hair is perfect, his suit is perfect, his diction is perfect, as is his smile.
      Mitt Romney is not a likable person, he seems cold.
      uh huh, after seeing hiom in person, I can confirm this.

      FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 10:46:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I hope comparisons keep coming (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mdmslle, RJDixon74135, TofG, Roger Fox

    I think there is another dynamic going on here and that is that there are all kinds of ways to "lie".  And so there are all kinds of ways to structure a "fact checking" exercise.  Some ways to lie:

    *  Exaggerate something you intend to do knowing that it is unlikely to make it through the system politically.

    *  Build a conclusion citing various other facts to bolster your argument but ignore any key facts that may be relatively well know but contradict your conclusion.  (see lying by omission.)

    *  Obfuscation of big lies with a flurry of factual details.

    *  Outright contradiction of something that is a know fact.

    What I think is going on is that Obama is certainly a politician and is no stranger to the exaggeration and distortion in politics.  I give him credit because I think some of his assertions are based on fairly sincere vision he would choose if the other political powers would align with it.

    But Mitt is just so completely contradictory.  Obama could give 3 speeches one day talking about how nice the blue sky looks and Mitt would say Obama thinks the sky is red.

    So there is a question of the degree of lying and the bald face quality of it.

    I don't happen to remember all the famous mandate related discussion from 2008, but if Obama's position was against the mandate then but ACA includes the mandate, how is that relevant to fact checking?  Legislation changes in the negotiation process of politics.  Is Wolf saying Obama lied by omission by not explaining why he signed the bill with the mandate when he campaigned against it?  That seems like a lot more of a reach than Romney's bald faced lies.  (Maybe that is covered in the full transcript...)

    I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

    by Satya1 on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 07:09:18 AM PDT

    •  I, too, would have liked to see a better (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roger Fox

      explanation how Obama was forced to accept the individual mandate in order to take a relatively small step forward with insurance for millions of formerly uninsured and uninsurable Americans, young Americans on their parents policies until age 26, better drug coverage for seniors, etc., especially now that Republicans seem to be so certain THEIR individual mandate is unconstitutional.

      Eliminate tax breaks that stimulate the offshoring of jobs.

      by RJDixon74135 on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 10:00:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Look for Obama to challenge news orgs (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MKSinSA, RJDixon74135, Roger Fox

    To prove him wrong.

    I picture Obama saying something like this during a debate after listening to about 20 minute of mitt Romney lies:

    "you know, here's what I'm going to do because the former governor may be entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts. here's what I want news agencies and every American to do: check everything I say to see if it's true or not. Then check the claims of my opponent. Just do that. Because at the very least americans deserve to know the truth."

    I imagine him dropping down this gauntlet at the first debate. And it will drive activity from then on as well as reinforcing the liar people already believe mitt to be.

    Mitt's only strategy to date involves money and lies. The most vulnerable point for him, his Achilles heel, is the lies and the fact that people already don't trust what he says. All the money in the world cannot fix that if you are proven to be a liar. So if I'm running obamas campaign I force the fact checking. I think people will be more receptive to it given the shitload of ads they'll be seeing. All Romney has is lies about Obama. Without that, he's toast.

  •  What else do you expect from the "liberal media"? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RJDixon74135, Roger Fox

    ;)

    You had to see that coming, right?

    Stop the party of Gut & Spend policies that gut our Earned Benefits programs like Social Security and Medicare and spends on deeper and deeper tax breaks for the wealthy elite.

    by jillwklausen on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 07:34:32 AM PDT

  •  You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roger Fox

    Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzer.

    But do you recall?

    The most famous idiot of all?

    Blitzer the idiot anchor

    A Good Peasant Is A Silent Peasant - Jesse LaGreca

    by kerplunk on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 08:37:06 AM PDT

  •  Well, I'm sure Politico will find Willard's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roger Fox

    comments to be "mostly true."

  •  "Wolf Blitzer" and "fact" in the same sentence? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sebastianguy99

    What were you thinking?

    We must drive the special interests out of politics.… There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will neither be a short not an easy task, but it can be done. -- Teddy Roosevelt

    by NoMoJoe on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 10:26:21 AM PDT

  •  In one regard its not OK (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RJDixon74135

    when it legitimizes extremist/destructive policy.

    not that this is an example, but we've all seen the so called fair and balanced routine used to control the conversation....

    I'd call round two a draw.
    Well fine. But in the larger picture this legitimizes Romney, and as much as I want Obama and the Dems to talk about a 70% top income rate, restoring the GLass Steagal II firewall, and spending 5% of GDP on infrastructure jobs and using tax policy to incentivize capital flow to domestic investment in emerging tech like Solar Wind and the HVDC supergrid.....

    AS much as we might critique Obama and the Dems... Romney cant hold a candle to Obama. Thats the reality, Romney as President would destroy the economy, wheres CNN on that?

    Who actually proposes practical solution for
    America, Obama not Romney... wheres CNN on that.

    Romney is batshit crazy, wheres CNN on that?

    Romney is an empty suit, wheres CNN on that?

    CNN actually exercising 4th estate due dilegence? For the good of the country?

    CNN gets a fail from me.

    Good diary for discussion- TnR

    FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 10:39:04 AM PDT

    •  For some time, I've felt that the people on CNN (0+ / 0-)

      are voicing their own opinions pretty strongly, more than I'd like to see as I consider most of them to be conservative Republicans, not necessarily the wingnut variety, although some ARE. It's really annoyed me to see Dana Loesch and Eric Erickson getting a platform there, as if what they have to say is needed for some kind of balance when I don't see any representatives from the far left.  My political views are  somewhat left of the far left which probably influences my ability to evaluate this and I try to take that into consideration, still it does aggravate the hell out of me to see wingnuts on my television at all outside of FOX which I NEVER watch.

      In the past, I've considered Blitzer to be a frank neocon, so I'm surprised to see him give any credit at all the President Obama for truthfulness and calling out Romney for lies. LOL, I've probably sent CNN 50, maybe 100, furious emails about this without ever getting any kind of reply. I must remember to give Wolfie a little pat on the head for this step in the right direction.

      Eliminate tax breaks that stimulate the offshoring of jobs.

      by RJDixon74135 on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 02:48:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good diary RJ... I don't always agree with (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RJDixon74135

    you (at least not on certain issues), but on this one... You are right on the mark. Tipped, Rec'd. and Shared.

    •  Thanks, volleyboy1 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      volleyboy1

      I know what certain issues you mean, so I was surprised to see your rec at all, and I appreciate it all the more for that reason. That said, I trust you won't expect me to change my views on that other thing, so if you would only agree with me there, we could expect world peace to follow.

      Grandma has spoken. ;-)

      Eliminate tax breaks that stimulate the offshoring of jobs.

      by RJDixon74135 on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 03:00:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Heh... no worries RJ.. We can't all be perfect ;-) (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RJDixon74135

        I actually don't let what happens in I.P. affect how I rate people generally. Even in I.P. I try to rate the comment and not the commentor.

        Right now, for me politically, the re-election of President Obama is the most important thing going. I think four or more years of President Romney and a Republican congress would wipe this country out. I just see nothing positive coming from it. I mean the Republicans will Gut the environment, gut the social safety net, gut education, destroy any last remaining vestiges of an American Manufacturing base and attempt to begin to impose a theocratic reign on us.

        So... anyway, I appreciate your comparison. In fact I shared it with my facebook friends. Should get some of them to STFU.

  •  CNN deserves it's low ratings, it has become... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RJDixon74135

    ...Fox-lite. There is overreprentation of Republican and extreme conservative views each and every night. I caught Outfront last week and the host all but called President Obama a liar after playing his explanation of his "hot mic gaffe".

    I have to wonder how long CNN stays with it's afternoon and primetime lineup that is regularly beat by MSNBC and, sometimes, Headlines News.

    "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

    by sebastianguy99 on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 11:09:12 AM PDT

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