Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"The President is Lying"

Congratulations are due to the White House for keeping its health care disinformation "snitch line" -- which some critics assert is blatantly illegal -- going for an entire week.

"The White House is in bit of a conundrum because of this privacy statute that prohibits the White House from collecting data and storing it on people who disagree with it... [t]here's also a statute that requires the White House to retain all communications that it receives. It can't try to rewrite history by pretending it didn't receive anything... If the White House deletes anything, it violates one statute. If the White House collects data on the free speech, it violates another statute."

[Judge] Napolitano [is] referring to the Privacy Act of 1974, which was passed after the Nixon administration used federal agencies to illegally investigate individuals for political purposes.

Perhaps some enterprising blogger could file a Freedom of Information Act request to ensure that all such reports are made public (as an aside, since more than a dozen administration officials are former members of the mainstream media, it's pointless to assume that professional "journalists" will do so).

Linda Douglass, White House Communications Director, is playing the role of Josef Goebbels (or, in more politically correct terms, the Minister of Propaganda), repeating the "Big Lie" over and over again, to anyone who will listen.

KURTZ: Naked Emperor News is not exactly a well-known Web site, but when posted a video featuring some of Barack Obama's past comments on health care, it was trumpeted by "The Drudge Report," which, in classic faction, boosted it into the mainstream media. But the administration, rather than ignoring the thing, decided to take on Drudge. Linda Douglass, the former journalist who now works for the White House, weighed into this YouTube war with her own video.

We're going to show you part of the attack video and then the White House response.


OBAMA: And my commitment is to make sure that we've got universal health care. I would hope that we set up a system that allows those who can't go through their employer to access a federal system or a state pool of some sort.

There's going to be potentially some transition process. I can envision a decade out or 15 years out or 20 years out.



DOUGLASS: Hi, I'm Linda Douglass. I'm the communications director for the White House Office of Health Reform. And one of my jobs is to keep track of all the disinformation that's out there about health insurance reform. And there are a lot of very deceiving headlines out there right now such as this one. Take a look at this one.

This one says, " Uncovered Video: Obama Explains How His Health Care Plan Will Eliminate Private Insurance."


KURTZ: And joining us now to talk about the White House media strategy is Linda Douglass.


Why did you decide to take on Matt Drudge and put up that video, which, of course, calls more attention to the original attack video?

DOUGLASS: Well, you know, one of the things we learned during the campaign was that if you give people all the facts, they become better informed. You know, there were all kinds of myths and smears that were used against then-Senator Obama during the campaign.

And what we discovered is, if we encountered them with the real facts, people really paid attention. They understand what the truth is when they seek it. And in this case, this was a bunch of clips that were taken out of context with a headline that said the president wants to eliminate private insurance. Well, that is the absolute opposite of what he's talking about doing.

KURTZ: Well, hold on. When you say taken out of context, that video featured clips of Barack Obama before he was president. The dates were given. He was talking about health care. It's his own words.

How is that illegitimate?

DOUGLASS: Well, as you know, you can take a sound bite here and a sound bite there. They took pieces of sound bites from different periods of time, they put a chyron -- that's the words on a screen -- that says "wants to eliminate private insurance" to go along with these sound bites that they cobbled together.

And our point is that he is saying exactly the opposite. The health insurance reform that we're talking about is built upon the current private insurance system. That's what it is.


KURTZ: Right. That is not his current plan. So, you can say well, it misrepresented or perhaps suggested that this is his position now.

DOUGLASS: His current plan...

KURTZ: But apparently he did have a different position when he was senator, and that's legitimate to throw out there.

DOUGLASS: He didn't have a different position when he was a senator. But the point is...

KURTZ: What do you mean he didn't have a different position? He talked about -- first he talked about single payers, supporting that. It was years ago. And then he talked about making a transition over 10 or 15 years to fully government insurance.

DOUGLASS: What he talked about early on was, look, if we could start over all again, maybe it would be fine to have a single payer system. But we're not going to start all over again.

There's legislation that is being written in Congress that will become the law that he signs. That is legislation that is built upon the private insurance system. If you like the coverage you have at work, you can absolutely keep it. It doesn't change except you're protected from onerous insurance regulations. So, that's the legislation that's going through Congress, and that's what he's promoting as president.

KURTZ: The woman behind this Naked Emperor Web site is Pam Kish. She's a 42-year-old California mother and a children's book illustrator who has this very anti-Obama side. She's not affiliated with any large or political group.

Doesn't she have the right to speak out?

DOUGLASS: Of course she does. And we have the right to correct the information.

You know, one of the things we're going to be doing this week is making available a Web site where people can go to get the facts about health insurance reform. There's a lot of misinformation, and there is, as I said in the video, a lot of disinformation. That's information that's meant to mislead you.

So, we're going to have a new site where people can go, they can get the facts, they can share it with family and friends. They can look at some videos. We're going to have some fact sheets and we're going to make it possible for people to get the answers to the questions that they're seeking.

KURTZ: OK. Well, I'm still skeptical on whether using someone's actual words is disinformation, but another thing that the White House did in recent days that has drawn some flak, particularly on the right, is to ask people in this effort by you to collect what you had called disinformation to send in e-mails of those who perhaps are not representing adequately the president's health care plan. That was talked about on a number of programs, including "The O'Reilly Factor."

Here is Bernie Goldberg and Bill O'Reilly talking about this effort.


BERNARD GOLDBERG, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I'm really glad you used the word "hypocrisy," because that what runs through all of this.

Yesterday, somebody in the Obama administration, Linda Douglass, who I know and I think you know, said that if you have any fishy -- her word, fishy information, misleading information about Obama's health care plan, send it to us at the White House.


KURTZ: He went on to say that if the Bush administration had tried this, it would be a page one scandal story in "The New York Times."

DOUGLASS: Well, as I said before, there's a tremendous amount of misinformation, disinformation, myths, rumors that are being circulated all over the place for people who are trying to scare -- this happens every time you try to do something with the health care system. There's tons of special interests who have a vested interest in keeping things the way they are. So, there's a lot of effort to scare people, and what we've asked people do is, if they're worried about something they've heard, send in the information.

We don't have a list. We're not keeping any of the sources of information. I mean, those are all crazy charges.

KURTZ: Well, you're not keeping it, so why is it crazy? Republican Senator John Cornyn has asked the White House to stop this, and he says this could raise the specter of a data collection program.

DOUGLASS: Well, we're not -- there's no list being compiled. The information is not being retained. The sources are not being tracked.

But if there's a rumor going around, as there have been many rumors going around, we say let's take a look at the rumor and see what the truth is. And so, the information is all around and examined and looked at. And we provide the truth for people on a Web site that I think they're going to find very helpful as they try to get the truth about health insurance reform.

In today's town hall meeting, President Obama flatly stated that, "I have not said that I am a supporter of a single-payer system."

CNN omitted a far more damaging video clip from 2003, in which Obama states, "I happen to be a proponent of single-payer universal healthcare plan... A single-payer universal healthcare plan - that's what I'd like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we got to take back the White House, and we got to take back the Senate, and we got to take back the House."

Everyone knows the truth and Douglass is lying. Democrats have been pushing for single-payer for decades as part of their effort to expand the scope and control of government over the people. To continue to build the welfare state and to make voters even more dependent on their largesse.

Barack Obama's said as much. Barney Frank's said it. Jan Schakowsky's said it. Union bosses have said it. Democrat health care experts have said it.

A "public option" is a thinly-disguised mechanism to destroy private insurers. After all, if the government writes the rule book for the insurers -- and competes with them -- it's pretty clear how that competition will turn out.

As Mark Levin said last week, "The President is lying".

And everyone knows it.

Linda Douglass is truly the Minister of Propaganda.

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