Overlooked in much of the post-speech, “You Lie!” chatter last night was the fact that President Obama also used the word “lie” in his address and not just to describe (smackdown!) Sarah Palin and her death-panel assertions. He also, rather boldly, called out the “bogus claims” of “radio and cable talk show hosts.”
Some of people’s concerns have grown out of bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost. The best example is the claim made not just by radio and cable talk show hosts, but by prominent politicians, that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens. Now, such a charge would be laughable if it weren’t so cynical and irresponsible. It is a lie, plain and simple.
Had Rep. Joe Wilson not grabbed the “lie” meme so forcefully (he’s now the top trending topic on Twitter) one imagines we’d be hearing a lot more this morning about whether the President of the United States was accusing the media of being liars in front of a joint session of Congress. Or whether his promise (threat?) that “I will not waste time with those who have made the calculation that it’s better politics to kill this plan than to improve it” was a shot across the bows to a certain Glenn Beck, among others.
After the speech George Stephanopolous noted that, in addition to Wilson’s hecking, “I also can’t ever remember a President using the word ‘lie’ in a Joint Session or State of the Union speech.” It is strong language indeed — it is one thing for the President to complain about the press, it is another indeed for him to accuse them of reporting lies, in such a formal setting, no less. Considering the beating the Obama administration took this summer courtesy of much of the Town Hall coverage, and again this past week with the resignation of Van Jones at the hands of Beck, one wonders whether President Obama was also signaling to the cable newsers that he will no longer take this lying down.