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Soledad O’Brien on a Roll

Last week I posted a video with Soledad O’Brien interviewing John Sununu, and challenging him when he repeated lies Republican talking points.

Well, it looks like CNN acting like a source of real journalism wasn’t a fluke. This week, O’Brien challenged Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) to explain his claim that Paul Ryan’s plan for Medicare wouldn’t turn it into a voucher system:

It is hilarious when Chaffetz tries to change the subject, saying “Let’s keep to the facts that President Obama did take $700 billion out of Medicare.” But O’Brien doesn’t let him get away with that talking point either, pointing out that the same $700 billion saving is in Ryan’s budget, which Chaffetz himself voted for, twice.

The same week, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty also tried to claim that Obama had cut $700 billion from Medicare. When O’Brien objected, pointing out that the Congressional Budget Office would disagree with Pawlenty, he accused the CBO of “mumbo jumbo in the bureaucracy” and suggested that O’Brien didn’t understand English (she is of Latino/Irish/African descent, but speaks only English fluently).

Strike three.



  1. Richard wrote:

    Great. Keep it up Soledad. Keep it up IK.

    Sunday, August 19, 2012 at 10:54 am | Permalink
  2. jonah wrote:

    Credit Soledad for focusing on the important issues. I wish they would also focus more on voter suppression since that could affect the outcome of the election.

    Sunday, August 19, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Permalink
  3. Unfortunately, pointing out the flaws in Republican politics will only drive them to call CNN “liberally biased.”

    Sunday, August 19, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink
  4. Hassan wrote:

    Did she ever ask such tough questions to democrats? Or democrats are never wrong?

    Sunday, August 19, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Permalink
  5. Arthanyel wrote:

    Hassan: Democrats are frequently wrong. But they are not as guilty of coordinated, flat out lies as the Republicans.

    All politicians take things out of context, imply motivations that don’t exist, and mischaracterize people’s opinions. I hate it – but that’s normal. There is a big difference, however, between something like and deliberate lies intended to disenfranchise or deceive.

    Democrats say that Republicans only want to cut taxes on the rich. That’s not completely true – they want to cut a lot of taxes, and not JUST on the rich. So the Democrats are being political to claim that the Republicans “only care about tax cuts for the rich.” It’s not a bald faced lie – it IS misleading.

    Compare this to Republicans that have been repeating non-stop that Obama “cut 700B in benefits to seniors from Medicare” or that “Obama has been expanding the size of government faster and larger than any President in history”, or even “Obamacare is a government takeover of health care.” These aren’t exaggerations – they ARE bald faced lies.

    And compare Democratic actions and Republican actions in disenfranchising voters – Democrats aren’t the ones illegally acting to suppress voters in order to allow a minority to steal an election. That would be Republicans.

    I hope Soledad and CNN (and any other real journalist) ask as many hard questions of Democrats and of Republicans. But make no mistake – if you want to target the primary source of hatred, division, and bald faced lies in this election, then the Republicans are by far the bigger target.

    Monday, August 20, 2012 at 1:04 am | Permalink
  6. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    It is a sad day when “please explain precisely what you mean without running off on a tangent to avoid explaining what you mean” is considered a ‘tough question.’

    Monday, August 20, 2012 at 5:07 am | Permalink
  7. ebdoug wrote:

    Arthanyel, I always enjoy your posts and interesting that Hassan is posting under two names.

    “Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” is a detailed description of what you describe above about lying in concert. Until Hitler got to England, all the countries he subjugated, believed his lies. I’ve gotten from 1933 to fall of 1940 now. Very scary about concerted lying.

    And with the Republican lies, will they do what Hitler did, wipe out anyone who isn’t white? (of German origin in his case, but just white I think here)

    Monday, August 20, 2012 at 5:22 am | Permalink
  8. Michael wrote:

    I *love* his uncomfortable smile regarding the voucher vs. premium support discussion. He’s spewing empty rhetoric, he knows it, and he knows he’s not getting away with it. Beautiful work!

    Monday, August 20, 2012 at 9:09 am | Permalink
  9. Hassan wrote:

    EBDOUG, what do you mean I am posting under two names? I never used two names here or anywhere else.

    Monday, August 20, 2012 at 9:34 am | Permalink
  10. Hassan wrote:

    TENTHIRTYTWO, without running off a tangent, let me rephrase the question into two parts:

    1. Did she ever grill any democrat or liberal on any matter of policy which she disagreed? If not, that means she is in line with them policy wise in all aspects or she just restricted herself to asking tough questions to republicans only.

    2. Did she ever grill any democrat or liberal on any matter where they were just factually wrong? If not, that means either democrats are never factually wrong or she gave them pass being biased.

    Monday, August 20, 2012 at 9:42 am | Permalink
  11. jonah wrote:


    You can view clips from her show at this link

    I don’t watch her show so I have no idea regarding both your questions. I presume you are asking those questions because you think she should also be highlighting the shortcomings of Obama and the democrats instead of just the shortcomings of Obama? Or are you saying that you disagree with the particular point about medicare that soledad was referring to?

    Monday, August 20, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink
  12. Hassan wrote:

    JONAH, no I am just asking to point out that there is always some bias. I am sure she may have some disagreements with Obama or democrats in general but never talked about it (unless we find some video about it). I am sure Democrats have made few factual errors (if not as many as republicans) while she has been on cnn, but she did not grill them.

    The problem with this approach, it makes very easy for people like John Sununu to tell her to put Obama bumper sticker on her head. It is easy to target on shortcomings/mistakes/idiocy of “other party”, she would always be on roll doing this.

    Monday, August 20, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink
  13. ebdoug wrote:

    Hassan, sorry, 1032 sounded as though he was you.

    Monday, August 20, 2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink
  14. jonah wrote:

    Hassan, I am not sure whether soledad is biased or not. However, IMO, there are fewer outrageous factual errors made by Democrats that are central to the presidential election. I think on important topics like health care, climate control, taxes etc the democrats are closer to the truth than the republicans are. I however am biased:)

    Monday, August 20, 2012 at 11:30 am | Permalink
  15. ThatGuy wrote:

    Whether or not she grills liberals really makes no difference. To say that someone has to point out a lie or exaggeration from a Democrat in order to be able to highlight those of a Republican in order to be taken seriously on either count is silly. There are plenty of reasons to be upset with Obama, that many Republicans choose to spread disinformation in order to push Romney toward the White House is despicable. Not to mention just another symptom of how base our politics are becoming (or continuing to be, depending on your outlook).

    We shouldn’t need things like this and this to feel okay about O’Brien taking idiots and liars to task for, well, being idiots and lying. At the risk of going a little Aaron Sorkin on this discussion, the fact that those in news grossly contort themselves trying to bring us both sides of the story instead of the best version of the argument is a disservice to everyone. If there’s a wrong side (based on facts), they should be telling that one. In this case, I tend to agree with the following article (which I might have first seen here on Political Irony).

    Monday, August 20, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink
  16. Iron Knee wrote:

    ThatGuy — great comment.

    Monday, August 20, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink
  17. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:


    Hassan, the problem is that there is no bias in asking someone to explain their position, nor is there bias in pointing out that they are dodging the question. That is JOURNALISM. Can I start saying she is a racist because she is grilling a white guy? A sexist because she is questioning a man?

    If you want to see bias, take a look at your own posts where you decide prior to receiving information that she must be biased, and then demand proof to the contrary. THAT is bias.

    Monday, August 20, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Permalink
  18. ThatGuy wrote:

    Little edit to my last:

    If there’s a wrong side (based on facts), they shouldn’t be telling us that one.

    Or they should point out that it’s wrong.

    Monday, August 20, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Permalink
  19. Hassan wrote:

    So I guess only logical conclusion is that democrats are never wrong…??

    Tuesday, August 21, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink
  20. Iron Knee wrote:

    Sigh. Hassan, are you simply unwilling to have a rational argument? You asked for examples of Soledad O’Brien asking hard questions of Democrats, and we gave them to you. Now you make a very silly statement. At this point, I’m ready to write you off as a troll.

    Tuesday, August 21, 2012 at 10:37 am | Permalink
  21. Hassan wrote:

    Wow, that was harsh. I would stop.

    Tuesday, August 21, 2012 at 11:15 am | Permalink
  22. Iron Knee wrote:

    Hassan, I welcome your viewpoint and don’t mean to chase you away. But when you make statements that imply that we think Dems are never wrong, you sound like a troll.

    I will admit that my viewpoint is that politics in general, and especially how it is practiced in this country, means that politicians (all politicians) will do things that I don’t like in order to get elected. That definitely includes Obama. But Republicans seem to have taken this to new extremes.

    Am I more willing to forgive Obama for some of the things he does in order to get elected? Perhaps, since I am a pragmatist and a politician who agreed with me on everything probably could not get elected. Even Obama said that perfect should not be the enemy of the good.

    But I definitely do not agree with the idea that having liberal thoughts makes one biased — believing in evolution or global man-made climate change is not a bias, since it is strongly supported by scientific evidence. If that is a bias, then there is no such thing as an unbiased opinion.

    At the same time, I don’t think anyone contributing comments in here would automatically agree with everything Obama does (or think that Democrats are never wrong). We aren’t that stupid.

    So stop trying to create a false equivalence, and I’ll stop giving you shit!

    Tuesday, August 21, 2012 at 11:55 am | Permalink
  23. Michael wrote:

    I can’t find the quote, but I remember reading an article about Obama during the 2008 election. He was talking about what it takes to get elected. The story was about debating some point with Mike Gravel on a Sunday talk show that was just too early in the morning. He said that he was thinking, “Do I really have to say this stuff?” meaning that he had to make absurd exaggerations as part of the nature of political theater. It was the most honest thing I’ve ever heard from a politician, a confession that lying and exaggeration are a necessary part of their job.

    Tuesday, August 21, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Permalink