The press can't even get the "You Lie!" story right

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

Of course, the rude heckling by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) is being reported everywhere. And yes, his apology for the extraordinary outburst has been noted. But have you noticed what's been mostly left out from the dispatches? It's the fact that when Wilson called Obama a liar for claiming illegal immigrants would not be covered by proposed health care reforms, Wilson himself was lying.

What's been completely glossed over by the press is the fact that the "You Lie!" was itself built upon a lie. That the rude outburst was yet more GOP misinformation. Instead, too many in the press treat the exchange as a he said/he said. i.e. Obama claimed illegal immigrants won't be covered, and Wilson called him a liar. What are the facts? Which man was telling the truth? The press won't say.

From ABC News:

A Republican member of Congress interrupted President Obama's speech tonight on the floor of the House of Representatives to yell "You lie!" at the president, in reference to the president's assertion that his proposals wouldn't provide health insurance to illegal immigrants.

That's it. ABC never even tries to inform online readers which side was telling the truth.

I guess we shouldn't be surprised, since the press has spent the whole summer timidly looking away from the orchestrated, right-wing misinformation. What does a Republican have to do these days to get fact-checked by the press?

UPDATED: Politico's Glenn Thrush hailed Wilson's heckling as the night's "defining moment" in a piece headlined, "Wilson's rallying cry." But was Wilson's boorish accusation true? Did Obama "lie" when he claimed Democratic health care reforms would no offer up free care to illegal immigrants? On that count Politico remains politely silent.

As we've seen this summer, right-wing theatrics are far more important than facts.

UPDATED: Credit goes to Time's Michael Scherer, who included this in his "You Lie!" report:

The President's seemingly simple statement, that "the reforms I am proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally," is not hard to check. In the Senate Finance Committee working framework for a health plan, which Obama's speech seemed most to mimic, there is the line: "No illegal immigrants will benefit from the health care tax credits."

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.