Maine Public Broadcasting Network* has been stung by James O'Keefe's fraud.
O'Keefe this week launched his latest dishonest claims of Medicaid fraud, with a truncated and heavily edited video shown at a press conference and accusations that public employees in Maine were helping a criminal hide his income and assets in order to qualify for Medicaid.
The claims cannot withstand the slightest scrutiny. But from the outset, it is clear that MPBN's AJ Higgins is running with O'Keefe's story without having done his homework:
By now the state Health and Human Services worker known only as "Diane" is probably wishing she had taken February 18 as paid time off. That was the day that James O'Keefe, with an undercover camera, walked into her office to apply for welfare benefits.
It is clear Higgins has not done his homework because the video does not show James O'Keefe walking into anyone's office. The video very clearly identifies the undercover reporter who enters a Maine Medicaid office as Sean Murphy. It took three minutes of reviewing the evidence to learn that:
A thorough review of the full video could have fully laid bare O'Keefe's hoax and avoided the kind of he-said/she-said journalism that gives him unwarranted credibility.
James O'Keefe is once again making completely false claims about undercover videos of Medicaid employees, saying that he has uncovered evidence of Medicaid fraud. But yet again, he has simply demonstrated that his tactics are fundamentally dishonest.
The latest video shows two women, identified as Medicaid workers in Maine, counseling a man who calls himself "Ted Ceanneidigh" (get it?), who claims to be an Irish fisherman, and who says he imports pharmaceuticals on a boat called The Bob Marley. O'Keefe claims that a Medicaid worker "coaches [Ted] by saying, 'If you can't prove income, you don't have income,'" which O'Keefe claims is evidence of Medicaid fraud and "government workers willing to aid people with criminal backgrounds."
In fact, the woman O'Keefe has accused of helping hide income and assets simply advised an applicant that he doesn't have to declare income if he doesn't earn any income, and she recruited a more senior colleague to answer more complex questions about income eligibility. That counselor, who identifies herself as Diane, aggressively questioned "Ted" about his sources of income and told him that he will be required to report that he has access to an account that is in his parents' name.
It's an astonishing display of hubris that O'Keefe is promoting this video as proof of Medicaid fraud.
James O'Keefe's latest "evidence" of "Medicaid fraud" not only fails to show any such fraud, it fully exposes O'Keefe as a dissembler who should not be treated as a legitimate news source.
According to O'Keefe, his latest video shows officials in Indiana "caught in [a] Medicaid fraud sting" involving a "wealthy Russian drug smuggler."
But at no point in either of two visits documented by O'Keefe does the so-called undercover reporter identifying himself as "Sergei" claim to be a drug smuggler. Not once.
During the first visit, a man identifying himself as Sergei claims that he employs his father, who needs to apply for Medicaid benefits. "Sergei" claims to pay his father $200 per month and insinuates that his father might be a babysitter. He also claims to have "people who work for us," "girls that work for us," and "shipment under floorboard."
"Sergei" never claims to be a drug smuggler.
During the second visit, the man who identifies himself as Sergei again claims to be inquiring about Medicaid benefits for his father. "Sergei" says that he and his brother give his father $200 each month "because he's our father," that his father "works for me and my brother," that his father is "not really" working anymore, and that his father might "sometime deliver."
Again, the man calling himself Sergei never claims to be a drug smuggler.
Yet here is how O'Keefe presented his latest sting video:
The reporter indicates that he is a drug dealer who receives "shipment in floorboard."
That's not true. It's demonstrably false simply by watching the video. And it's perfectly consistent with O'Keefe history of dishonesty.
Moreover, O'Keefe once again has failed to show any Medicaid fraud in his Medicaid fraud sting.
From the July 26 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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In a Washington Times column, Dr. Milton Wolf, a blogger who purports to be a distant cousin of the president, accused President Obama of lying about aspects of health care reform in claiming that health care reform would lower the deficit and that "there are no death panels," among other things. In fact, most of Wolf's accusations are based on persistent, long-debunked right-wing myths about health care reform.
Lila Rose is back, accusing Planned Parenthood of lying about the effects a recent Indiana law would have on health-care access, without actually demonstrating anything of the sort.
Instead, Rose has demonstrated that Planned Parenthood's concerns - that women on Medicaid who rely on Planned Parenthood for preventive health care would lose that access under the Indiana law denying funds to Planned Parenthood - were accurate.
The video features Cecile Richards, CEO of Planned Parenthood, discussing Indiana's controversial law to withhold Medicaid funding from Planned Parenthood during a June CNN interview. Richards explained that she has received letters from women saying, "I can't believe that the state legislature, or the U.S. Congress is going to tell me I can't get - where I've been going to Planned Parenthood for years for my preventive care, for my birth control - and they are telling me now that I can't go to the health provider that I trust for my health."
Immediately after airing those comments, Rose played what she says is a recorded phone call to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Terre Haute, Indiana, where a woman who claimed to be a Medicaid recipient tried to schedule a preventive health-care examination. A voice, identified as belonging to a Planned Parenthood clinic worker, responded:
Right now we can't see new Medicaid people, just with the new law that's going on right now.
She then directed the caller to contact a primary care physician.
To recap: Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards warned that women would not be able to go to Planned Parenthood for preventive care if they lost their funding. Rose claimed that she has "caught on tape" a Planned Parenthood worker in Indiana saying that because of the "new law," a Medicaid recipient cannot get preventive care at Planned Parenthood. She then presented this as evidence that Planned Parenthood has been lying.
This type of deception is par for the course with anti-abortion hoaxster Lila Rose. Of course, the usual cast of right-wing media characters are once again promoting Lila Rose's false smears of Planned Parenthood.
In a June 16 post to the conservative blog Red State, Daniel Horowitz wrote that "[t]he Social Security Ponzi scheme is perhaps the most consequential government infringement upon our lives." Horowitz later called for conservatives to "offer workers the option to opt out of the Madoff-style program." From the blog:
The Social Security Ponzi scheme is perhaps the most consequential government infringement upon our lives. Conservatives are justifiably outraged that Obama egregiously mandated that we purchase health insurance. However, the individual mandate is not nearly as meddlesome and tyrannical as the government's complete control over our retirement security. The only reason why these two programs are regarded differently by the public, is because Social Security has been around for 75 years. Consequently, most Americans are conditioned to believe that a person's retirement is indissolubly tied to government-run Social Security.
Now that Social Security is running a perennial deficit and is facing insolvency, conservatives have an opportunity to reverse one of the most flagrant violations of our property rights, by offering workers the option to opt out of the Madoff-style program.
So, young Obama zombies with skulls full of mush; with whom do you trust your retirement security: your bank account or Obama's defunct ATM? How about Bernie Madoff?
From the June 7 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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On the June 6 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund spread falsehoods to defend a recent Indiana law that bans state Medicaid money from going to non-abortion services provided by Planned Parenthood. Fund falsely claimed that Indiana "has the right to decide" whether to contract with Planned Parenthood for Medicaid services and that Planned Parenthood "counselors advis[ed] underage teenage girls who were supposedly sex workers on how to have an abortion."
Discussing recent legislation in Indiana to bar Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid funds, National Review editor Rich Lowry dismissed statistics about Planned Parenthood's services as "fake and bogus," baselessly asserting that abortion is "a huge part of its business." In fact, abortion accounts for only 3 percent of Planned Parenthood's total services and only 15 percent of total revenue.
From the May 26 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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To hear most people tell it, Rep. Paul Ryan had a rough night. The Wisconsin Republican's controversial budget plan -- in particular its plan to turn Medicare into a voucher-based system -- became the focal point of the special election in New York's traditionally Republican 26th congressional district, which flipped to Democratic hands last night with Kathleen Hochul's upset victory. As you'd expect, Ryan's budget and reputation have taken significant dings, and he really needed a friend this morning. Enter Fox & Friends.
Fox News' morning show can always be relied upon for some bubbly and poisonous right-wing propaganda, but their treatment of Ryan this morning was a special kind of disgrace, even for a news outlet that's largely given up on pretending to be "fair and balanced." Steve Doocy set the table by asking Ryan for his thoughts on how the Democrats have turned his plan "to fix Medicaid, Medicare" into a "bogeyman":
And then Gretchen Carlson came through with the topper, asking Ryan to comment on how courageous he is -- "isn't this all about the fact that ... no politician has ever gone where you have gone before?"
When you're down, that's the kind of affirmation you need. Good job, news network.
From the May 25 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Fox Business is running a week-long attack on the social safety net, including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, labeling beneficiaries of these programs "takers." This messaging comes on the heels of a National Bureau of Economic Research study that concluded that these programs are highly effective at keeping people out of poverty.
From the May 23 edition of Fox Business' Freedom Watch:
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