Although you can hardly turn on Fox News these days without hearing about the hosts’ oh-so-deep concern over “accountability” and honesty in the Affordable Care Act, that same concern vanishes now that the discredited slimebucket, James O’Keefe, has resurfaced with another selectively edited, gotcha video. This one’s about ObamaCare navigators. It’s proof, in case you needed any, that Fox News only cares about “accountability” from Democrats or liberals.
To refresh your memory, this is how I described O’Keefe in a previous post after he was accused of harassing a woman named Nadia Naffe:
He’s already been arrested when he was caught trying to improperly gain access to Senator Mary Landrieu’s telephones. He was caught trying to seduce and humiliate then-CNN reporter Abbie Boudreau. He was punked to accept crackpipe money and in an effort to uncover voter fraud, he likely committed it himself. Now Mediaite is reporting that a woman named Nadia Naffe has started a series of blog posts about O’Keefe called, “My Time as an Accomplice to Convicted Criminal James O’keefe.” Naffe previously filed a criminal harassment complaint against O’Keefe (dismissed on jurisdictional grounds). Her latest accusations echo the Boudreau incident.
Since then, O’Keefe has forked over $100,000 to a former ACORN worker illegally recorded and then falsely portrayed as an enabler of underage prostitution in one of O’Keefe’s previous “sting” videos.
Last night, Sean Hannity was a vision of sanctimony as he led off his show with two like-minded Republican lawmakers who accused President Obama of committing “massive political fraud” worthy of criminal charges. Why? Because he promised you can keep your health insurance plan and doctor under the Affordable Care Act.
But when it comes to O’Keefe, who has already pled guilty to real criminal charges, Hannity was silent. He introduced last night’s discussion of O’Keefe’s latest project by saying it was made by “the conservative group known as Project Veritas.” Hannity didn’t mention that Project Veritas is known as O’Keefe’s operation. Hannity gave no hint that there might be a question about the trustworthiness of the videos.
If there weren’t enough problems emerging about the president’s health care law, there is now undercover video of government employees actually encouraging people to lie on their health care applications. That’s right, the conservative group known as Project Veritas captured the following hidden-camera footage of the so-called ObamaCare navigators who were on duty at a national Urban League cite in Texas. Watch this:
Just as in the ACORN videos, O’Keefe presented two supposedly criminal customers with the suggestion that they were somehow typical or likely. And that the sting targets were somehow complicit in illegal activity instead of, say, not knowing how to deal with these anomalies.
Unfortunately, Democrat Ellen Qualls, who seemed so otherwise smart and well-informed, fell right into Hannity’s trap on the first question. He alleged that there is “no background check” on the navigators, then added, “Is that a wise thing to do?” Instead of pointing out that he was promoting the same conceit as O’Keefe (that there is rampant illegal activity going on based on two, questionable, cherry-picked incidents), Qualls answered, “I think there is a background check. They can’t police every one of them.” She went on to say that “as a Democrat, …these folks shouldn’t be doing this.”
Quall did have some great answers but she played along with Hannity’s agenda of questioning the navigators’ integrity and, therefore, the Affordable Care Act’s integrity. She could have and, in my opinion should have, reframed the argument by delegitimizing Fox News’ integrity with a suspect video from a criminal source. It wasn’t until about three minutes into the discussion that she pointed out that O’Keefe “is somebody who even Glenn Beck has discredited for editing videotape falsely.” It was a great line. If only she had come out of the starting gate with it and demanded Hannity defend his indefensible source.
Even worse, Hannity browbeat her with his “question,” “If people want their plan, who are you to tell them that they ought to go to a better plan that costs them more money? …Who are you? Why do you get to decide that? Why does the government get to decide that? Don’t you, aren’t you pro-choice?”
Qualls said sarcastically, “You got me there, Sean.” But she could have said something to the effect of, “Who I am is the person who honors the American public’s choice. The Affordable Care Act was democratically enacted legislation, upheld by the Supreme Court, affirmed by the voters when they decisively re-elected President Obama and which polls show Americans do not want overturned. Why do you hate democracy?"
Instead, Hannity triumphantly announced, “Checkmate” before ending the discussion.
By the way, it’s not just Hannity. Our friend at Debunker in Chief caught Bill O’Reilly promoting the same sting video with the same lack of skepticism. And, as Debunker pointed out, despite the wrongs of the ObamaCare navigators, it’s not at all clear that there would have been any material effect from them in the long run.
Clearly, when it comes to truth and accountability, Fox holds some people to higher standards than others. And that is by definition unfairness and imbalance.
BTW your idea that Walmart will have to sharply raise their prices if they pay their employees a decent wag, is not completely accurate. Walmart enjoys massive profits each year, while many of its employees earn so little that they need to make use of public assistance. You can’t possibly be defending that as a sustainable or defensible business practice. There are many ways Walmart could adjust to paying a proper wage to its employees. Walmart could accept a slightly smaller profit margin, something closer to the reality of the values they are providing. They could perhaps not reward their executives with quite as generous bonus packages. They could raise their prices, but at a much smaller amount than you’re insisting would be necessary, and people would accept that.
Your premise – that Walmart would have no choice but to skyrocket their prices and punish everyone – is simply not the case.
And none of this changes the fact that James O’Keefe’s videos are misleading and unreliable. And they’re just as mean-spirited as the nasty stunt Peter Schiff pulled here.