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Van Susteren Repeats Earmark Falsehood About Obama

Reported by Ellen - March 7, 2009 -

As Media Matters posted earlier yesterday, a number of media figures, including "liberal" Greta Van Susteren, have advanced the falsehood that President Barack Obama has broken his campaign promise of "no earmarks." But in reality, Obama made no such promise. Media Matters further noted that on her March 5, 2009 show, On The Record, Van Susteren cropped one of Obama's quote in a misleading way so as to make it seem as if he had promised to end earmarks. Van Susteren repeated her false accusation last night, March 6, during a discussion with Dick Morris.

The segment began with Van Susteren announcing a jump in the unemployment rate, "the worst numbers since 1983." A photo of President Obama appeared on the screen. Funny, I don't remember a photo of then-President Bush on the screen during the TARP crisis.

Morris, hardly an economic expert, was the only guest. He was once again disingenuously introduced as "former advisor to President Clinton."

"The problem is that Obama, while the stimulus package is well-intended, he then comes in with a tax increase proposal that says, 'Hey, I'm going to take this away from you. You know, go ahead and spend but, you know, in two years, you're gonna - I'm gonna be serving YOU for dinner."

No objection from "liberal" Van Susteren.

At approximately the 2:28 mark in the video (which means it's about 2:28 from the end), Van Susteren said, "In the campaign, President Obama, then-Senator Obama - at least the quotes I read last night on the air - he said that we're just not gonna have (earmarks) in his administration. Now with this omnibus bill... there are over 8,000 earmarks in it. Is he breaking his promise?"

"Oh, absolutely," Morris said. He went on to say, "There's nothing particularly awful about an earmark."

"I'll tell you what's bad about it. It's a violation of your campaign promise," Van Susteren said.

I'll tell you what I think is bad: a national news network host repeatedly getting her facts wrong and having them "verified" by one of the guests.

Van Susteren's quote of the night before that she referred to in this segment was of Obama saying, "'As President, I will make it impossible for congressmen or lobbyists to slip pork-barrel projects.'

What Obama really said was: "As President, I will make it impossible for Congressmen or lobbyists to slip pork-barrel projects or corporate welfare into laws when no one is looking because when I am president, meetings where laws are written will be more open to the public. No more secrecy." In other words, as Media Matters noted, he promised to increase transparency.

Furthermore, neither Van Susteren nor Morris mentioned that the spending bill is left over from before Obama took office. Nor did anyone on the show point out that Obama plans to set new rules for earmarks in future bills no later than when he signs the current bill.