CNN Anchor Says Obamacare Defunders 'Lied,' Are 'Holding the American People Hostage'

In a long screed on Tuesday's Tom Joyner Morning Show, CNN's Don Lemon accused "some Republicans" of lying and "holding the American people hostage" over Obamacare. In focusing on Republicans, he glossed over any falsehoods or failed promises made by Democrats and President Obama about Obamacare.

"According to FactCheck.org, since 2009 there have been a lot of willing, willful misinformation given to the American people about Obamacare by both Democrats and Republicans. But really mostly by Republicans," Lemon stated.

Consider the following harsh accusations made by Lemon against "some Republicans":

"Some lawmakers are throwing temper tantrums, Tom, and yet again holding the American people hostage instead of telling them the truth."

"...the running of our government is in peril. The American people are in peril. Livelihoods are in peril. Because some Republicans – not all, but some – have lied themselves into a corner and threatened to shut down the government unless Obamacare is no longer funded. Talk about selfish. Talk about taking your marbles and going home."

So "people are in peril" and the Republicans are holding them "hostage." After firing these shots, Lemon cited FactCheck.org to debunk three "whoppers" on Obamacare told by Republicans. Yet he ignored failed promises on health care made by Democrats and President Obama.

Lemon also misquoted Republicans. Here's how he reported one GOP criticism of the law:

"8.2 million Americans can't find work because of Obamacare."

Yet here was the actual GOP statement that FactCheck.org critiqued:

"8.2 Million: Americans Unable To Find Full-Time Work Partly Due to ObamaCare."

What the RNC was referring to was the BLS number of Americans holding part-time jobs for "economic" or "involuntary" reasons. And according to reports like this one, it is credible to believe that the health care law plays a significant factor in involuntary part-time labor.

Yet Lemon assumed the RNC meant 8.2 million people looking for jobs. "The total number of part-time workers who want full-time jobs, and then there is no evidence from official jobs figures that the law has had any impact. That is the total number of part-time workers who want full-time jobs. It's just that simple. It's false."

Below is a transcript of Lemon's remarks on the Tom Joyner Morning Show:

DON LEMON: Here we go again. Every time I hear this, I say here we go again. Some lawmakers are throwing temper tantrums, Tom, and yet again holding the American people hostage instead of telling them the truth. It's hard for some politicians to tell their constituents the truth. Especially after not being completely above-board with them for years. They have been making up whoppers about this for years.

It's easier to give them talking points, often repeated on television, by radio and partisan TV hosts, pundits and of course the politicians themselves. And that's exactly what's been happening when it comes to the Affordable Care Act, what everybody calls Obamacare. But it matters more now this time since the running of our government is in peril. The American people are in peril. Livelihoods are in peril.

Because some Republicans – not all, but some – have lied themselves into a corner and threatened to shut down the government unless Obamacare is no longer funded. Talk about selfish. Talk about taking your marbles and going home. So let's talk about the facts here.

According to FactCheck.org, since 2009 there have been a lot of willing, willful misinformation given to the American people about Obamacare by both Democrats and Republicans. But really mostly by Republicans. Three biggest whoppers, know what they are? It's a jobs killer. The second one, it's going to raise insurance premiums. The third one, it's going to affect your medical care. So let's talk about the first one. It's a jobs killer. 8.2 million Americans can't find work because of Obamacare.

FactCheck.org says that is false. That is false. The total number of part-time workers who want full-time jobs, and then there is no evidence from official jobs figures that the law has had any impact. That is the total number of part-time workers who want full-time jobs. It's just that simple. It's false.

Now to number two, let's talk about premiums. They claim that premiums are going to go up because of that law. Premiums are going down because of the law. That's what Democrats say.
FactCheck.org says you know what? It depends. May go up, it may go down. If you're uninsured and you have a preexisting condition, you'll probably pay less. If you're uninsured and you're healthy, you'll likely pay more. If you're insured through your employer, like most people now who have a job, you're not going to see much change either way.  

And finally let's talk about affecting your medical care. The claim, you won't be able to choose your own doctor, the claim that the government will come between you and your doctor, that is flat-out false. The truth is that it helps you with your insurance company because the government – it doesn't come between you and your insurance system because the government is in the middle helping you with that. And I can go on. But the truth about the law doesn't sound nearly as interesting as a bunch of rhetoric that riles up people and pits them against each other.
And as FactCheck.org says the law is long, and it's complicated, and it's still being implemented.  But think about this, de-funding the law through that means will be detrimental on the lives of people, on the economy and that's not the way to go.  And even the Republicans know it.  And that's why they abandoned Senator Ted Cruz who is pushing this.

Now even they know that it's not worth it, and so do the American people, who the polls show, which is really interesting, they're going to blame almost equally Republicans and the Obama administration if there is a shutdown. Republicans and the Obama administration. It didn't say anything about Democrats. The bigger loser, if this does happen, will be you and it will be me, Tom.

TOM JOYNER: So do you think they're going to shut it down on October 1st?

DON LEMON:  They're not going to shut it down.  Even if they do shut it down things will still run, you'll get your check.  But if they want to save jobs, they shouldn't shut it down because workers who work in national parks, even the military, they may not get their checks for a while, they'll get it, but they're going to affect American workers and not themselves. Though they shouldn't shut it down, but I doubt that they will.

SYBIL WILKES:  And don't they have to look at jobs that they may lose in another year?

DON LEMON:  Well, if they were in jeopardy of losing their jobs they might think twice. If they were really – if they really wanted to do the right thing they would tell the American people the truth. They would tell the American people that it's not a job stealer, but it's easier for them to give rhetoric and try to save their own hide than to tell the American people the truth.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014