Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Media jumps on Clinton story without checking the facts

I know, I know. I said I wasn't going to let myself get pulled into the mud in the battle between these two. But this is typical of the differing treatment they get in the media, and I can't just sit and watch. First Clinton is dragged through the press for her exagerations about her trip to Bosnia. At least she admitted she was wrong and laughed at herself. By now you've probably read and heard that the sad story Hillary Clinton has been telling about a pregnant woman who died after being denied treatment because she couldn't pay the hospital was false. False! I tell you! (That's what all the papers said, so it must be true!)

Uh, not so much. Now from The Washington Post:
For weeks, Clinton repeated an anecdote she heard in Ohio on Feb. 28 involving a young woman who lost her baby and later died because she lacked health insurance and did not have $100 to gain access to a nearby hospital.

But over the weekend, Clinton came under fire when officials at O'Bleness Memorial Hospital, after reading about her remarks, demanded that she stop recounting it because the patient, Trina Bechtel, was admitted there and did have insurance.

That part, it turns out, is true. But so is Clinton's claim that Bechtel did not get care at another hospital that wanted a $100 pre-payment before seeing her, according to the young woman's aunt, Lisa Casto. "It's a true story," said Casto, 53.

Casto said her niece, who suffered from preeclampsia during her pregnancy, did not seek care at the first hospital she when she fell ill because she knew she did not have the $100 out-of-pocket she believed she would need to be seen. Instead, she went to O'Bleness Memorial Hospital, where her baby was stillborn. Bechtel was later flown to Columbus and died there. She was 35.
There was a time once when reporters checked the facts of their stories before they went to press. This is admittedly a somewhat complex story of our dysfunctional health care system, but one which could have been checked a little closer before publishing. Instead it was picked up by Hillary hatin' sites such as Huffington Post under the headline: Clinton Under Fire Over False Story Of Health Care Horror ... .

Which amazes me, given the number of times Obama has told much simpler tales full of errors, such as saying that his very existence was due to the marchers in Selma who changed society so that his parents could marry and have children. From his speech:
There was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Alabama, because some folks are willing to march across a bridge. So they got together and Barack Obama Jr. was born. So don't tell me I don't have a claim on Selma, Alabama. Don't tell me I'm not coming home to Selma, Alabama.
Except that he was born 4 years before the Selma march.

Or how about when he recently tried to establish family ties between the Obamas and the Kennedys by saying his father came to America on a flight payed for by John F. Kennedy. Obama went so far as to say he owed his "'very existence' to the generosity of the Kennedy family."

It's touching. It's profound. It's downright audacious! But it's wrong.
Contrary to Obama's claims in speeches in January at American University and in Selma last year, the Kennedy family did not provide the funding for a September 1959 airlift of 81 Kenyan students to the United States that included Obama's father. According to historical records and interviews with participants, the Kennedys were first approached for support for the program nearly a year later, in July 1960. The family responded with a $100,000 donation, most of which went to pay for a second airlift in September 1960.
No matter ow many times he tells these tall tales, America lets it go. Sure, these details don't change the world. But are they an indication of the man who speaks with a golden tongue? Cane we believe what he says when his stories are so often riddled with errors? I hope his supporters are right, because it certainly does look like he will get the Democratic nomination. But I have to tell you, I have that same feeling in the pit of my stomach when I watched the returns in 2000 and 2004. I hope you people know what you're doing.


Mary Ellen said...

Obama always gets the soft glove treatment from the media, and Hillary has been unfairly slammed throughout this campaign. It's enough to make you sick, isn't it? It's weird that people who say they are progressive are so afraid to hear the truth about Obama and close their eyes to his lies and distortions, and then they go nuts trying to find something on Hillary.

The latest...they were all screaming about Hillary handing over her tax returns, and when she did, the only thing they can find to pick at is Bill Clinton's fees for speaking. That's it. They never mention that the Clinton's gave up to 10% or more on Charity (much more than Obama's contribution to charity, which went mostly to his crazy hate filled Trinity church). Clinton's gave to wonderful causes, but they are railing about Bill's speaking fee's. If they bother to look, the rest of the past Presidential candidates charge high prices for speaking engagements, too. But if a Clinton does it...IT'S A CRIME!


Sue J said...

I guess a lot of people were pretty disappointed with the Clinton's tax returns. Nothing juicy there -- all ex-presidents make buckets of money as speakers after they leave the White House.

Obama and his wife aren't exactly in the poor house, either, thanks to his book sales. Where do I get a book deal like that?!

G said...

Okay - I wrote a comment earlier but it did not get posted for whatever reason. You would have loved it - I was proud. Let's see if I can capture the essence of it. How did the media become powerful enough to decide who gets a political nomination? Who, if anyone, can make that stop? What if the American people at large don't see through this and cry foul before the nomination is sewn up? I had no doubt in my mind about my vote in November when I thought Hillary would be the nominee. Now I have the same sick feeling of not being able to trust the nominee that I had when Nixon was nominated. Fortunately, he was not my party's nominee and so the situation caused me no qualms at the ballot box.

Sara said...

excellent point, G.

when did the media get so powerful?

and when did we get so... passive?

Mary Ellen said...

The media got so powerful when the GOP made sure their buddies were able to turn it into a mega corporation used for the soul purpose of pushing their agenda's.

It isn't just the cable news anymore, it's ALL news. The U.S. is now propaganda central.

Mary Ellen said...

I just heard the idiot Stephanie Miller on Air America today continuing with the falsities of this story. I was going to call in, but I didn't want to waste my time.

Sue J said...

G, I'm glad you persevered and left a second comment! I don't know what has happened to the American public. We've allowed our government to attack a country that was no threat to us, and kill over 4,000 Americans and tens if not hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens -- and no one really cares. If it doesn't affect us directly, we don't care about this war. We keep driving our Hummers, racking up our credit.

If we sit by and let the government do this, it's no surprise we let the media make our decisions for us.

Mauigirl said...

I agree, the media run this country and it is scary.

I also see your point about what Obama says about his family history. It obviously has big holes in it. I think his tendency is to speak in metaphors,in symbols. Like, he feels as if his family history is such a great metaphor for the whole race thing, that even though his birth isn't actually due to the march on Selma, it could have been, no maybe SHOULD have been, so it makes a much better story that way, doesn't it?

I can see your point and am concerned that the GOP may hammer him with these symbolic stories of his one day...

Sue J said...

Mauigirl, I think you're on to something there. When he wants to make a big statement, the details don't seem to matter. But that's a scary habit for someone who wants to be president ....

Mauigirl said...

Of course, one might say the same for some of Hillary's comments. I'm afraid both like to make their stories more dramatic than they are sometimes...