Last night if you went to this link, you would have seen this Wall Street Journal story headlined "GOP Health Bill Gives Insurers More Leeway":
This morning, however, if you attempted using the very same link, you'd find an entirely different story, by an entirely different reporter, under an entirely different headline.
Why did the Journal replace an article that simply pointed out that the yet to be released House GOP health care plan would benefit insurers with a piece about how House Democrats were working to deal with the issues of "abortion" and "illegal immigrants" in their reform plan?
If you run a search for the headline of the original Journal article, you'll get a bunch of links directing you to it, though none of them actually send you to the original story. The links are either broken, to different stories or direct you to the new Journal piece focusing on House Democrats.
In the third sentence of his 1,220-word innuendo-filled column warning of voter fraud in the New Jersey gubernatorial election, The Wall Street Journal's John Fund writes that "if serious allegations of fraud emerge, you can also expect less-than-vigorous investigation by the Obama Justice Department."
The key word there is "if." Fund was obviously unable to come up with any actual "serious allegations" of voter fraud, so Fund -- as he does almost every cycle -- makes a series unserious fraud insinuations that are unconstrained by actual facts. In one passage, Fund writes:
Authorities in nearby Philadelphia know about such scams. In one infamous case, a key 1993 race that determined which party would control the Pennsylvania state senate was thrown out by a federal judge after massive evidence that hundreds of voters had been pressured into casting improper absentee ballots. Voters were told by "bearers" that it was all part of "la nueva forma de votar" -- the new way to vote. Local politicos tell me Philly operatives associated in the past with Acorn may now be advising their Jersey cousins on how to perform such vote harvesting.
That last sentence is a bit hard to follow. Let's break it down into more manageable pieces to fully appreciate what Fund is doing here.
"Local politicos tell me": Fund claims to have spoken to anonymous people who live in New Jersey and who apparently have some involvement in politics.
"Philly operatives associated in the past with Acorn": Fund's anonymous sources are purportedly telling him that unnamed people from Philadelphia who are apparently also involved in politics have -- at some point in the past -- had some undefined connection to ACORN, which by implication makes them inherently corrupt.
"may now be advising their Jersey cousins": Fund's anonymous sources purportedly tell him that the unnamed, allegedly once-ACORN-associated "operatives" from Philadelphia might be advising people apparently involved in New Jersey politics, but really, who can say for sure?
"on how to perform such vote harvesting": The advice that the unnamed allegedly once-ACORN-associated "operatives" from Philadelphia might be giving to the politically involved New Jerseyans centers around encouraging voters to vote by mail -- an activity that appears to be perfectly legal in New Jersey.
So just to recap: In a single sentence, Fund claims to have spoken to anonymous New Jerseyans somehow involved in politics who purportedly told him that unnamed Philadelphians, who are also involved in politics and who once had unspecified ties to ACORN, "may" (or may not) be giving New Jersey political operatives advice on how to do something that is apparently legal in New Jersey.
No wonder Fund apparently was so unconvinced by his own column that he felt the need to lie to Glenn Beck about is contents.
Conservative media outlets including The Washington Times and Fox News have pushed the claim that health care reform proposals under consideration by Congress are unconstitutional. However, legal scholars -- including one who recently served as a special counsel to Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) during Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation proceedings -- have pointed out the flaws in conservatives' arguments, including the facts that regulation of the health care sector falls under Congress' broad power to regulate interstate commerce and that Congress has repeatedly passed laws regulating health care and health insurance.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Betsy McCaughey misrepresented remarks by Dr. Jeffrey Borer to suggest that he is opposed to treatment guidelines when, in fact, he stated that guidelines are "needed" and "very valuable" while noting that "they have important limitations." McCaughey further advanced the claim that White House health care adviser Ezekiel Emanuel supports rationing of health care and attributed the claim to a doctor who belongs to a conservative-leaning group that holds several controversial views and has promoted the right-wing conspiracy theory that Vince Foster didn't commit suicide.
Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens advanced the claim made by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner in SuperFreakonomics -- which has recently come under criticism by economists and climate scientists for what they say are distortions in the book's climate change chapter -- that, in Stephens' words, "sea levels will probably not rise much more than 18 inches by 2100." However, this claim is apparently based on projections made in 2007 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that did not include future changes in ice flow and therefore do not represent recent developments in climate science observations indicating that increased and accelerated ice sheet loss will cause sea levels to rise by more than previously projected.
From Rush Limbaugh's October 16 Wall Street Journal op-ed, headlined "The Race Card, Football and Me: My critics would have you believe no conservative meets NFL 'standards.' ":
The sports media elicited comments from a handful of players, none of whom I can recall ever meeting. Among other things, at least one said he would never play for a team I was involved in given my racial views. My racial views? You mean, my belief in a colorblind society where every individual is treated as a precious human being without regard to his race? Where football players should earn as much as they can and keep as much as they can, regardless of race? Those controversial racial views?
The NFL players union boss, DeMaurice Smith, jumped in. A Washington criminal defense lawyer, Democratic Party supporter and Barack Obama donor, he sent a much publicized email to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell saying that it was important for the league to reject discrimination and hatred.
When Mr. Goodell was asked about me, he suggested that my 2003 comment criticizing the media's coverage of Donovan McNabb -- in which I said the media was cheerleading Mr. McNabb because they wanted a successful black quarterback -- fell short of the NFL's "high standard." High standard? Half a decade later, the media would behave the same way about the presidential candidacy of Mr. Obama.
It's nice to see that some media outlets are starting to pay attention to deliberation in the Senate over the reauthorization of expiring PATRIOT Act provisions. It's less nice when, as in this FOX News report, "paying attention" means "peddling outrageous falsehoods." To be sure, the issue can be dauntingly complicated, but these are enormous howlers that the most elementary fact checking ought to catch. Many of the false claims appear to echo this Wall Street Journal op-ed by former attorney general Michael Mukasey, which is similarly misleading. Let's review.
I think it's telling that opponents of common-sense civil liberties safeguards don't seem to think they can make their case without wildly misrepresenting the facts about both investigations and the changes legislators have actually proposed. They have to make it sound as though people are trying to eliminate important investigatory powers altogether—which nobody is arguing for—because it's awfully hard to argue against reasonable and carefully crafted privacy protections if you're honest about what they actually entail. And isn't it a little rich that a network that is forever warning us that we're on the verge of descending into fascism should be so hostile to any suggestion that there ought to be some moderate limits on government surveillance? I'd have thought having a Democrat in the White House might make it acceptable to care about the scope of executive power to spy on Americans again.
After the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) instructed Humana and other Medicare Advantage (MA) organizations to cease sending health care reform mailings to Medicare beneficiaries, numerous conservative media figures -- including several Fox News hosts -- have advanced the talking point that the Obama administration is "threatening" or "suppress[ing] free speech" rights of reform opponents, in a manner Glenn Beck said "sounds like Joe McCarthy," often failing to note CMS' rationale. In fact, CMS expressed concern that the mailings -- which directed beneficiaries to contact Congress in opposition to Medicare Advantage payment cuts -- is "misleading and confusing to beneficiaries, represents information to beneficiaries as official communications about the Medicare Advantage program, and is potentially contrary to federal regulations and guidance."
University of Chicago political science professor Charles Lipson and The Wall Street Journal's James Taranto, each of whom has previously pushed conservative talking points, have recently suggested that Attorney General Eric Holder should appoint an independent special prosecutor to investigate ACORN in the wake of the recently released videos exposing improper behavior at several ACORN offices. Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, meanwhile, have suggested that an investigation of ACORN by the Justice Department will not be valid because of the group's ties to Democrats and the Obama administration.
During the health care debate, The Wall Street Journal's op-ed pages have provided a forum for serial misinformers Betsy McCaughey, Jim Towey, and Sarah Palin to spread false claims of mandatory end-of-life counseling, a "Death Book for Veterans," and "death panels," respectively. Most recently, the Journal published an op-ed by Palin, in which she backtracked from her initial claim that a provision in a House reform bill would create death panels, but maintained that reform opponents are justifiably concerned that "Democrats' proposals will ultimately lead" to death panels.
In his Wall Street Journal column, Karl Rove attacked the idea of using the budget reconciliation process to pass health care reform with a simple majority of Senate votes, referring to the procedure as a "parliamentary trick." But as a senior adviser in the Bush White House, Rove supported the use of reconciliation to pass major Bush administration initiatives.
The Wall Street Journal uncritically quoted Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) saying "there'll be a minor revolution in this country" if Democrats use the budget reconciliation process to pass health care reform. The Journal did not note that, during the Bush administration, Alexander voted to use the reconciliation process to pass tax cuts and voted against amendments that would have stripped reconciliation language from budget resolutions.
Serial health care misinformer Betsy McCaughey, who The New York Times reported has "largely quot[ed]" White House health care adviser Ezekiel Emanuel's "past writings out of context this summer," did so again -- and at length -- in an August 27 Wall Street Journal op-ed. Indeed, she distorted various passages of Emanuel's writings and interviews by cropping and misrepresenting his remarks -- some of which the Times had described in context only days earlier -- to smear him as "Obama's Health Rationer-in-Chief."
Arguing that President Obama "needs a believable business plan" for the deficit, Wall Street Journal economics editor David Wessel falsely claimed that the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB) "has been told to move the tax burden around, not to raise more money." In fact, in announcing the board's Task Force on Tax Reform, Peter Orszag emphasized that the task force would be charged with finding "ways of being even more aggressive on reducing the tax gap" -- the difference between the amount of taxes that are owed and the amount that are voluntarily paid on time -- which Orszag said could potentially increase revenue by $300 billion a year or more.
Serial misinformer Betsy McCaughey again backtracked on a false claim she made about health care reform, now writing in The Wall Street Journal that White House adviser Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel believes reform must include "redefining" the Hippocratic Oath; in May, Media Matters for America noted McCaughey had falsely claimed Emanuel wanted to "eliminate" the oath. McCaughey's claim is the latest in a series of instances in which she was caught making an outright false claim about health care reform and backtracked, but nonetheless continued to attack and distort progressives' policies without acknowledging her backtrack from her prior falsehood.