Just another data point in the endless continuum of lies spread by the propaganda arm of the Republican Party.
Senator Amy Klobuchar and Minnesota Congressmen Tim Walz and Collin Peterson were responding to questions at Minnesota's Ag symposium in Mankato, Minnesota, this past Wednesday. While most of the questions dealt with agricultural issues, conservative media and the NRCC, evidently trolling local political appearances for campaign news fodder, seized upon one brief exchange between a questioner and the three Democrats concerning the Affordable Care Act. The questioner said it was his understanding that the ACA would save every American family $2500 (this was in fact a statement made by then-Candidate Obama during the 2008 campaign), and wanted to know "what happened." Fair enough.
Clearly taken aback by the question, the two Congressmen and the Senator appear to be nonplussed and the audience begins to laugh. Then Collin Peterson chimes in with a quip: "I voted no, so I'll let these guys.. [handle the question]" and the audience bursts out laughing. It's patently obvious that the legislators are smiling in spite of themselves along with the audience and not at the questioner. He then hands the microphone to Klobuchar who, along with Walz, proceeds to respond to the questioner. The full exchange is described here with video.
Fox News showed a segment of the clip (omitting Klobuchar's and Walz's response), above under the banner:
NO LAUGHING MATTER: DEMS CHUCKLE OVER OBAMACARE'S BROKEN PROMISESand
A JOKE TO DEMS: SEN/REPS LAUGH OVER UNSEEN OBAMACARE SAVINGS"Hilarious," sneers Steve Doocy at left in the above clip, while lapdog Brian Kilmeade at the far right then shakes his head in disgust. Elisabeth Hasselback in the center then goes on to mock the legislators' response (which is never shown to the viewer) and intoning that "this is no laughing matter."
The clip immediately appeared on conservative websites and was ultimately picked up by the National Republican Congressional Committee:
[S]tate Republican lawmakers and activists quickly seized on a video clip shot by television station KEYC to criticize the lawmakers. Republican activists characterized the lawmakers as laughing about the problems with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and at the question, instead of at Peterson's comments. The video quickly surged through state and national conservative websites. The criticism overlapped with the messages being pushed by national Republican organizations, such as the National Republic Congressional Committee.KEYC, the Mankato local affiliate which had originally aired the clip, then called bullshit on Fox News for mischaracterizing the Democratic legislators' response, going so far as to issue a statement:
National network Fox News eventually posted the video on its website and contacted The Free Press, which had a reporter at the symposium, for details about the audience reaction.
Thursday night, a national television news organization showed a clip from one of our stories that aired on KEYC News 12 Wednesday night. That story was mostly about Wednesday afternoon's Southern Minnesota Ag Symposium; but it was a question in the forum at the end that got the most attention....Which is exactly what Fox News did--working arm-in-arm with the NRCC to propagate another Republican lie.
Thursday evening, national media outlets began running the story. However, they showed only a short clip from that exchange. The story accused all three panel members of laughing at someone else's suffering. It also accused all three panel members of ducking the question. Anyone in attendance that day, or watching the story in its entirety that evening, knows that nothing could be further from the truth.
This is not a Democrat issue. This is not a Republican issue. This is a truth and fairness issue. We believe our story has been taken out of context to unfairly characterize that day's conversation; and unfairly characterize Sen. Klobuchar, Rep. Peterson, and Rep. Walz.
- Dan Ruiter, News Director