MSNBC analyst Joy Reid is one of those liberal media figures who still refuses to say that President Obama lied about Americans’ ability to keep their insurance plans under ObamaCare. On Tuesday night, Reid made a guest appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show to discuss the health care law. Hewitt confronted Reid with a clip of Obama’s recent whitewashing: “If you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law, and you really like that plan, what we said was you could keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law was passed.”
Rather than confess that Obama lied, Reid undertook a defense of the president using as an analogy DDT, a popular pesticide that was banned in 1972. She explained, “Now had the government in 1972 said, ‘Listen, if you love your pesticide, you can keep it,’ it would have been wrong because the truth is if your pesticide contained DDT, it was now illegal. But you’d have to buy a totally different pesticide and use that on your garden.”
Yes, exactly. This president was wrong to say, “If you like your plan, you can keep it,” because plans that do not contain certain coverage provisions are now unlawful. Anyone who has such a plan must buy a different, and likely more expensive, plan that meets ObamaCare’s minimum standards. I’m not sure how the DDT analogy made Reid’s point; it only seemed to confirm the view of the president’s critics.
Hewitt then played a clip of MSNBC contributor Clarence Page saying Obama “probably” knew he was lying about ObamaCare and asked Reid if she agreed. Reid only brushed the question aside, calling the whole thing an “absurd argument.” When Hewitt pressed the issue, Reid continued to evade: “I think that the issue here is that the president compressed something that is really complex into...”
At that point, Hewitt interrupted to deride Reid’s use of the word “compressed.” It was the latest example of a media figure finding a creative way to say the president lied. Obama left out key exceptions when he said that those who liked their plan could keep it. That is more than mere “compression” of a complex policy. That is deliberate misinformation.
Throughout the rest of the interview, Reid refused to address the president’s dishonesty. At one point she proclaimed, “I think that this is a clever sidebar, that it’s irrelevant to the rollout of health care reform.” She also accused Hewitt of making a “specious argument” that the president is undermining his own credibility by lying.
Some liberal talking heads will stick by their president no matter what.
Below is a transcript of the relevant portions of the interview: [Listen to the full interview here.]
HUGH HEWITT: Well, here’s what the president said today in his own defense. Cut number one.
BARACK OBAMA: If you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law, and you really like that plan, what we said was you could keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law was passed.
HEWITT: Now Joy, that’s not true, is it? He didn’t say “if” it hasn’t changed, he said you could keep it period.
JOY REID: Well, you know, this is one of those cases where compression is not always your friend, Hugh, okay? So here’s the deal. I was trying to think of an analogy for this. I was trying to come up with one that would sort of be simple and make sense, and the one I came up with was DDT. So maybe your audience – I don’t know if anybody is old enough to remember. DDT used to be the pesticide of choice, like right, in the ‘60s, the ‘50s and ‘60s. Everybody used DDT and people really liked it. It was like, this is really effective, it’s a wonderful pesticide. And then all of a sudden, this book came out in 1962 that raised alarms about how dangerous DDT was, and it got outright banned in 1972. Now had the government in 1972 said, ‘Listen, if you love your pesticide, you can keep it,’ it would have been wrong because the truth is if your pesticide contained DDT, it was now illegal. But you’d have to buy a totally different pesticide and use that on your garden. And what the White House really made a mistake in doing is trying to compress a really complex situation into one line.
HEWITT: Actually, Joy, I think DDT stands for ‘Don’t Deceive Truth-tellers’ because here’s Clarence Page from your network, this is Clarence Page talking about the president’s many-time promises.
HEWITT [on tape]: He knew he was lying?
CLARENCE PAGE [on tape]: Probably. Probably, but that’s one of those political lies.
HEWITT: So do you agree with Clarence that the president was lying when he made those DDT promises you’re referring to?
REID: I think that this is actually an absurd argument. We’re talking about 3 percent of people who get individual-purchased insurance. If your policy is now illegal under law, you’re gonna get a letter from your insurer saying, ‘this policy is no longer compliant, you can have that policy. If you don’t like that policy, you can shop on the exchange.’ That is not the same as saying that the president is now a complete liar and your insurance is being canceled. Insurance companies do this all the time, Hugh. You’ve had insurance, I’ve had insurance –
HEWITT: Joy, I understand all that, but that’s 15 million people. Does it count if the president only lied to 15 million people or are you saying he didn’t lie to those 15 million people?
REID: Random number, and I think that the issue here is that the president compressed something that is really complex into –
HEWITT: Compressed. I am – this is good. Oh, you’re good, Joy.
REID: – and it was a one-liner that didn’t work.
HEWITT: You’re very good.
REID: – have insurance that’s not legal anymore, you have to have new insurance.
HEWITT: But that – compressed.
REID: – not legal, it’s gotta go.
HEWITT: Okay, so instead of lying, he merely compressed the truth.
HEWITT: But Joy, this isn’t about – this is – you know, we can argue all day about whether or not ObamaCare’s a disaster, and I think it is and you don’t think it is. This is about credibility. Ron Fournier today, and you know Ron, he wrote, “The president is now misleading the public about his deception.” That’s in the National Journal. Everybody knows he’s lying. Shouldn’t you do and intervention and help him to get off of the lying?
REID: I think that this is a clever sidebar, that it’s irrelevant to the rollout of health care reform.
HEWITT: Does the president’s truth-telling matter?
REID: Well, Hugh, you’re making a specious argument. The argument is about whether 3 percent of people who have insurance that might be junk policies can hold onto those junk policies or have to trade them in for a new policy. No one [unintelligible] insurance cancelled. They’re having to [unintelligible] compliant policy.
HEWITT: But Joy, that’s the –
REID: – for it, it doesn’t change the facts.
HEWITT: That’s a different subject. I’m just asking whether or not the president’s credibility matters. Does it matter if little children can look at the president and say the president’s not a liar?
REID: You know, little children are not looking at the president and saying, ‘oh my God, my fourth-rate, horrible insurance is going away. The president’s a liar.’ That’s not what people are going to look at health care for. They’re looking at whether it works and whether they’re getting better coverage. That’s what people are going to remember. This is an entertaining sidebar, great for you, great for your show, not relevant.
HEWITT: No, but it is. It is – whether or not the president is telling the truth. Ron Fournier is not a conservative talk show host, right? He is – he is the center of the center. And when he writes in the National Journal the president is now misleading the public about his deception, don’t you have a crisis of credibility? Has Barack Obama gone LBJ?
REID: Has he gone LBJ? No. I don’t – well, only in the sense that LBJ passed two landmark – he signed two landmark pieces of legislation. Well, actually three if you count Medicare. Well, maybe in that sense he’s not LBJ. This is a complicated health care plan, it’s got to be rolled out properly. The White House has done a terrible job of messaging. Terrible! And I don’t think that that’s arguable, but I don’t think it changes the substance of the policy, which is overall good.