Correcting Fox “Facts” Re Obama or; Remember When Bernard Goldberg Was an Actual Reporter?

I know it’s hard to remember a time when Bernard Goldberg was simply a credible reporter. These days, except for his occasional sports stories on HBO’s “Real Sports,” he shows himself to be little more than a partisan hack, with little regard for fact, if he thinks it gets some sort of point across. That he now simply repeats untrue Republican Talking Points™ that we’ve all heard over the last week or so, without even qualifying them or checking them, verifies his hack status. 

Last night, he was on The O’Reilly Factor, claiming that the media was remiss because it wasn’t paying enough attention to five of President Obama’s “broken promises.”  Here’s the crucial portion of the transcript, which can be found here:

GOLDBERG: Yes. That's pretty close to my position, except I don't know if you're suggesting that (“liberal” media reporters) consciously wake up in the morning and say, "I'm going to try to help Barack Obama."

O'REILLY: No, they don't do that. But they consciously wake up in the morning and they say, "I'm not going to report things that make my ideology look bad."

GOLDBERG: I don't know if they consciously say it.

O'REILLY: Oh, I do. I think.

GOLDBERG: But they do it. They do it.

Look, can I give you another — you like facts. Let me give you another example. There's a piece in the current edition of The Weekly Standard by a very smart fellow named Pete Wehner, who's on FOX from time to time. I'm going to just give you five facts. Just five.

Fact No. 1, as a candidate, Barack Obama promised to create five million new energy jobs alone. Just 5 million energy jobs.

Fact No. 2, he claimed that, by the end of the first term, his healthcare plan, would quote, "bring down premiums by $2,500 for the typical family."

Fact No. 3, he guaranteed that his financial rescue plan would help stop foreclosures.

Fact No. 4, in the first year of his presidency, he pledged, quote, "to cut the deficit we inherited in the half by the end of my first term in office."

Fact No. 5, he said he would, quote, "lift two million Americans from poverty" and, quote, "jolt our economy back to life."

Have you seen that any place in the mainstream media? That Barack Obama has failed to deliver on his promises?

As you know, this blog features a list of 182 accomplishments President Obama has made since coming into office, so even on its face, these would seem to be petty complaints, no matter what. But Goldberg really should check some of his “facts” before he repeats them as such, because four of the five "facts" actually aren't.


Take “Fact No. 1.” for example. It would have been difficult to promise such a large number of jobs after the economy collapsed, no matter who was president. And sure enough, this “promise” was made before anyone knew the extent to which Bush had broken the economy. Here’s the official campaign statement, entitled “Barack Obama’s Plan to Create 5 Million New Green Jobs.” You‘ll notice that he doesn’t mention a timeframe for completion of the promise. I would also note that none other than Politifact – not exactly a left wing blog, has suggested that, while President Obama has a long way to go, it is “in process,” which means it’s not a failed promise at all.

Do you think that might be the reason the “liberal media” isn’t covering it, Bernie?  

“Fact No. 2,” is a little more than an exaggeration. It's an outright lie. While Obama did claim his healthcare plan would "bring down premiums by $2,500 for the typical family." there was no timeframe mentioned, let alone a claim that it would happen “by the end of the first term.” In fact, this is from The New York Times:

In speech after speech, Senator Barack Obama has vowed that he will lower the country’s health care costs enough to “bring down premiums by $2,500 for the typical family.” Moreover, Mr. Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has promised that his health plan will be in place “by the end of my first term as president of the United States.”

In other words, President Obama said his healthcare reform would pass during his first term, a promise he kept. As for the savings, well, we know they’ll probably happen, but not until the entire Act is phased in. But I'll say this. Health care inflation since the ACA was passed has averaged 4%, as opposed to the average 12% increase seen over the previous 40 years. Likewise, premiums are seeing their lowest rate of incresein 20 years. With average premiums for a family being more than $12,000 per year before the ACA, a reduction in increases from 10% to 5% would mean a family would be saving at least $2500 per year within a few years. 

But the bottom line is, President Obama didn't say what Goldberg (via the Right Wing Spin Machine) claims he said. It's a lie. 

“Fact No. 3,” is also an obvious lie, as this president has never “guaranteed” anything, let alone to “stop foreclosures.” Was the outlook for this plan a little too “rosy?” Sure. I would also note that the program’s implementation was something of a failure. But here’s the plan itself; you will find nothing in there guaranteeing anything. The plan ended up being a bust, mostly because banks refused to cooperate, and rather than tweak it and make it better, Republicans killed the program in 2011. That the program was a relative failure, since Obama didn’t make the claim Goldberg attributes to him, it can’t be called a "promise.” Which means, it's a lie. 

I will grant Goldberg “Fact No. 4” Frankly, President Obama shouldn’t have made that promise. He inherited a $1.4 trillion deficit, but he should have known that everything he would try to reduce that deficit would be blocked by the Republicans in Congress. Thus far, since they've been in office, Republicans have outright rejected at least three plans that would have reduced the deficit by $4 trillion over ten years, so it would seem that it could be said that Republicans are responsible for keeping that promise from being fulfilled. But he shouldn't have made that promise. This term alone, Republicans have caused more than 2 million public employees to lose their jobs, which is having a major effect on revenues. Also, interest on the portion of the debt created by Republicans alone is costing us a whopping $400 billion per year, and the unfunded wars have added another $150 billion per year. Then there are the Bush tax cuts, which add another $100 billion per year or more. It was a dumb promise to make.

With “Fact No. 5,” Bernie reverts to lying. Those out-of-context quotes were lifted from the president’s remarks about the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009,” otherwise known as “the stimulus package.” And the REAL FACT is, it worked better than he claimed. It did “jolt our economy back to life.” Immediately after it was implemented, we stopped losing 750,000 jobs per month and within two quarters, we were gaining jobs. Now, you may think a turnaround of more than 800,000 jobs per month isn’t a “jolt,” but those who got to keep their jobs will disagree with you. As for the claim that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act would pull “two million out of poverty,” it turns out he was being modest. The real number was SIX MILLION.

If only we had followed up with a couple more of them, huh?

Hey Bernie! Try telling the truth sometime. You used to be a reporter! I would consider four out of five "facts" being easily proven wrong to be a failure. Why don't you? 

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