Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Distortions about Senator Whitehouse in the WSJ and Washington Times

                              --and slurs across the political spectrum.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. gave a tough thoughtful speech on the Senate floor Sunday, blasting Republican obstructionism over, not only the health care bill but even against the defense appropriation bill. He asked,
“Why all this discord and discourtesy, all this unprecedented destructive action? All to break the momentum of our new young president. They are desperate to break this president. They have ardent supporters who are nearly hysterical at the very election of President Barack Obama. The birthers, the fanatics, the people running around in right-wing militia and Aryan support groups, it is unbearable to them that President Barack Obama should exist.
“That is one powerful reason, it is not the only one. The insurance industry one of the most powerful bodies in politics, is another reason.”
It’s perfectly clear that Whitehouse was blasting the unanimous Republican senators. There is no way, however, to construe his remarks like this headline on the Washington Times website does:
Sen. Whitehouse: Foes of health care bill are birthers, right-wing militias, aryan groups
The headline was picked up verbatim by the Wall Street Journal’s website too, and the sense of it was repeated even on the middle-of-the-road Morning Joe show on MSNBC.
Whitehouse clearly did NOT say—or mean—what the headline said. He said that the Republicans had ardent supporters who…etc. But so few Republicans  distance themselves from the fanatics, and so many embrace their bile, that it’s almost tempting to accuse Whitehouse of understatement.
But the WSJ and the Washington Times got his remarks very wrong. Too bad for all of us if their slander goes uncorrected.
The video of the entire 12-1/2 min Whitehouse speech is at http://drblues.wordpress.com/2009/12/22/senator-whitehouse-calls-out-the-paranoid-republicans/. Worth watching and make up your own mind.

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