MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell Bungles the Facts in 'Truth-squadding' Attempt

What good is the liberal media's "truth squadding" or "fact-checking" when it doesn't reveal any facts and is completely divorced from the truth?

MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell gave a stark answer to that question this morning, when she appeared on "Morning Joe" to discuss yesterday's health care summit. O'Donnell heaped praise on the President for being "in command of some of the facts", like the "fact" that premiums would decline 10-13 percent under his plan. If she had actually looked at the CBO report she was citing, however, she would know that the plan is expected to raise, not lower, premiums for individuals by 10-13 percent.

So for all her "truth-squadding" and "fact-checking", O'Donnell is still confused about the difference between up and down. Either that, or she didn't truth-squad or fact-check anything, but simply said what she wanted to believe. Maybe she should spend less time devising her awkward hyphenated verbs , and more actually examining the facts.

I must say I'm sort of struck by what his become this sort of narrative of criticism of the president who's too professorial, that he's been removed from the process. And then when he gets engaged in the process, then he's accused of being bullying of lowering himself to the level of other members, so he seems to be constantly criticized for a number of these things.

I think that one thing that everybody should respect is that the president was in command of a number of the facts. I'm doing some of the truth-squadding and the fact-checking today. when the president was whipping out that he'd studied the CBO numbers and in fact premiums would not rise under this bill for individuals who purchase health insurance, but that it would drop by 10-13 percent, and that he'd gone through all the CBO reports. That should be refreshing to people I think that the president was so heavily in the details about what it means for the average American. Is it going to cost you more, is it going to cost you less?

More, actually.

Granted, the reason premiums would go up under ObamaCare is that many people would be buying higher quality health care plans. That was the crux of the disagreement in the summit between the president, who stressed the quality aspect, and Sen. Lamar Alexander, who noted the higher premiums.

So each emphasized the element of the CBO report that underscored his respective argument. "O'Donnell's statement, on the other hand," notes David Freddoso, "is completely wrong."

Now before certain lefty watchdog wannabes get all wee weed up--as they have at some columnists who have simply noted the predicted rise in premiums under Obama's plan--let me note that the premiums in question are those associated with the individual insurance market, not the group market. These were also the premiums to which O'Donnell was referring ("…for individuals who purchase health insurance").

The angry left also likes to point out that many of the people in the individual market will receive subsidies to buy health insurance. But as Philip Klein notes,


subsidies do not change the underlying cost of the policies -- the only difference is that other taxpayers are picking up the rest of the higher tab. And  14 million Americans who earn too much to qualify for subsidies (the cutoff is $43,320 for individuals; $88,000 for a family of four) would see their premiums go up. The point is that when the health care push began, we were led to believe that legislation would reduce the economic burden of health care costs by lowering premiums and containing the growth of health care spending. But the current legislation does not accomplish that goal. If liberals still want to argue that helping more Americans obtain coverage is worth the costs, that's fine. But saying that government will subsidize the higher premium costs created by health care legislation is a far cry from boasting that reforming our health care system will lower the actual price of insurance.

The point is that O'Donnell was completely off base in her statistical analysis of ObamaCare this morning. Did she even read the CBO report she was discussing? Does she realize that she needs to actually read it to fact-check it?

Her claim that the bill would do the exact opposite of what it will actually do suggests that she has some preconceived notions about the legislation. What a surprise.