The potential for over-the-top advertising from Democrats to defend Medicare is definitely there, Rachel Maddow told her MSNBC audience Monday.
She should know, since her show of late is little more than a Medicare commercial for Democrats.
As she talked about the next day's special election in New York's 26th House district, Maddow described Jim Martin, chairman of the 60 Plus advocacy group, stumping for Republican candidate Jane Corwin (video after page break) --
All three network morning shows on Wednesday cheered Democrat Kathy Hochul winning the special election in New York's 26th congressional district and framed the outcome as a rejection of Republican plans to reform Medicare. On NBC's Today, news reporter Ann Curry proclaimed: "The race hinged on Hochul's opposition to a Republican-led plan to make deep cuts in Medicare." [Audio available here]
On ABC's Good Morning America, news reporter Josh Elliot declared Hochul's win to be "a seismic event in the political world" and a "shocking upset." Like Curry, he declared: "The GOP candidate lost after backing that Republican plan to cut billions from Medicare." In reality, the Republican budget plan increases Medicare spending from $563 billion to $953 billion ten years from now. That’s an increase of nearly 70%.
Many in the press are gearing up to present today's special election in New York's 26th Congressional District as a referendum on Republican budget proposals and plans to reform entitlement programs.
MSNBC's website collected examples of such claims from numerous news outlets, including the Associated Press, Roll Call, the Hill, and a pair of local newspapers. Left-wing news outfits such as the Huffington Post and Talking Points Memo have also tried to play this card.
The facts belie these claims. A conservative third party candidate seems to have siphoned significant support from the Republican candidate, and polling data suggests district residents support Republican Medicare reform proposals. But don't expect that to stop reporters from making their referendum claims, just as they did after the 2009 special election in upstate New York.