A recent newspaper editorial about House Republican attempts to shut down the government by defunding Obamacare impelled one reader to post a comment that is an absolute falsehood. The reader commented:
Warren Buffett says scrap it and start over. I agree. It's not working. But that was the plan: have it fail and go to single payer. The economy isn't recovering either unless you happen to live in Washington DC. I would say the demographic dead enders are the people who are not marrying, not having babies, and aborting their unborn babies.
Aside from any immediate doubts about the observational powers of a reader to claim a law isn't working when it hasn't even kicked in yet, his observation about Mr. Buffett is entirely wrong, but it either says something about the limited sources he relies on, or an inability or unwillingness to think critically, hence another example of the low information voter. Too often, the problem isn't a lack of intellect but an ideological perspective so politically driven as to eschew rational thinking.
This lie about comments made by Buffett started on September 13th with a website called Money Morning, which blogged a headline: "Buffett: Scrap Obamacare and Start All Over."
A lie. The lie was next picked up by the Weekly Standard," which never vetted blog site's story. It's post began: "You know things are bad for President Obama when even Warren Buffett has soured on Obamacare..." Has soured? You mean, as in, recently? Does the Standard believe their readers are stupid?
The lie was then sloppily picked up by bloggers like James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal and Newsbusters, which, ironically, is supposed to be a fact-checking website. Now here's the question that none of these liars, or readers of these liars bothered to ask: How could Buffett had said these things if he said them before the law was even passed?
What no one failed to report, let alone bother to investigate, was that the comments made Buffett as if they were made in the present day were actually made in an interview with CNBC, March 1, 2010, three and a half years ago, and three weeks before the bill became law. Money Morning lied. The Weekly Standard reported the lie without vetting the claim carefully. Taranto and Newsbusters did the same thing, as countless other bloggers (and likely lazy talk show hosts) also did, never bothering to double check their source. We can forgive readers for not knowing enough about journalistic research to fully vet such claims. Ideologues especially tend to be devoid of skepticism when a claim comes along that does more to provide affirmation than information. But it's unfortunately that resources have to be expended to contact Buffett so his office can explain that the investor "has never said or thought that Obamacare should be scrapped," or to contact Buffett himself so he could respond that the Money Morning's report is "100 percent wrong ... totally false."
It's also ironic that one reader to a FreeRepublic posting to the Weekly Standard story, commented: "Where was this idiot 2 years ago?"
At the time of his 2010 comments, Buffett was criticizing a still-pending bill in Congress that the Senate had passed but the House was still debating. And he also said that the bill he was criticizing was still worth passing despite its imperfections. When asked whether he would be in favor of scrapping the Senate’s version of the health care bill, he said he would be because he thought it flawed, however, he'd still have voted for it in preference to doing nothing. "If it was a choice today between plan A, which is what we've got, or plan B, … the Senate bill," he said, "I would vote for the Senate bill. But I would much rather see a plan C that really attacks costs."
Did any of the bloggers offer a retraction to the lie they propagated? Of course not. People like Taranto and Newsbusters don't have to retract their lies because they don't have to abide by any journalistic standard. Not even in the Journal offered a retraction.
Did the Weekly Standard offer a retraction? They added an "update" to their original blog post. It said, "It appears that Buffett made his anti-Obamacare comments in 2010, thereby showing that he, like most of the American people, has opposed Obamacare since even before it was passed." Another lie. A flat out lie. Buffett's 2010 remarks had nothing to do with the ACA, but were referring to the health care system without any kind of reform, a fact the Weekly Standard's updated post continued to ignore. And yet, the Standard loves to point out reporting errors elsewhere.
Indeed, when the Supreme Court upheld the health care law, Buffett said the court made the right decision. That was two years after his remarks in 2010, and a full year before the Weekly Standard lied to it's readers, too many of whom are dogmatically trying to blame the latest game of chicken in Washington on Democrats because they are so dogmatically hateful of the president, not unlike a significant number of people in Congress. If there's a government shutdown, it will be because of hatred like that, and just as it happened in 1995 and '96, those haters will suffer the well-deserved consequence voter wrath. Good riddance.