The exchange I’m about to highlight is like a master class in hackery by blue-checked progressives. NYU Journalism professor Jay Rosen said asking Elizabeth Warren about raising middle-class taxes to fund Medicare for All should be disqualifying…for the journalists who ask:
The “make Elizabeth warren say she would raise taxes on the middle class” question should be a credibility killer. For the journalists who keep asking it.
— Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu) October 16, 2019
The Post’s Margaret Sullivan then chimed in with her own, similar take and Rosen praised it:
I like the way you put it.
“Of course, it’s legitimate to dig into the costs, but not in a way that creates a nice GOP campaign ad, and misses the larger lens of overall costs. (Warren, notably, refused to take the bait.)”
— Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu) October 16, 2019
Bottom line: Journalists shouldn’t ask questions that expose a Democrat’s political weakness because that might benefit Republicans. That’s literally the argument being made here without a hint of self-awareness or shame. I’m not sure if this response was in earnest but either way, it’s perfect:
Thank you guys for protecting warren. It’s a tough fight but she’s our best chance to beat trump!
— Ex Buzzfeed Reporter (@BuzzfeedEx) October 16, 2019
Here’s what set them off. During the debate last night, Elizabeth Warren once again refused to answer direct questions about whether taxes would go up to fund Medicare for All. She was pressed on her refusal to give a straight answer to that question during the debate itself by Pete Buttigieg. Notice that for Buttigieg this isn’t just a gotcha question. He’s trying to make the case that his plan, which doesn’t eliminate private insurance is better so the issue of raising taxes is a key way of differentiating his plan from hers:
After the debate, Warren was asked the same question several times by a CNN roundtable (video below). John King suggested Warren would be better off being direct with people. Referencing the passage of Obamacare, King said, “Things like ‘If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor’ the American people took as ‘You lied to us.’ And it made the politics harder.”
Warren still wouldn’t change her formulation but did explain herself a bit saying the insurance companies were out there “trying to sell the message that this is all about costs.”
Apparently, Warren’s plea to not to have to offer a straight question about taxes won over some folks at CNN. This morning Pete Buttigieg was pressed by Alisyn Camerota on why it matters so long as costs go down. “What does it matter to you what bucket it comes out of?” she asked.
I guess this is the kind of questioning Jay Rosen and Margaret Sullivan would approve.
Buttigieg offers a pretty good answer, saying it is, “important to have yes or no answers to yes or no questions at a time when people are so frustrated with Washington-speak.”
Pete keep up the health care attacks on Warren this morning.
“I have a lot of respect for Senator Warren but last night she was more specific about the number of selfies she’s taken than about how this plan is going to be funded.”
— Alex Thompson (@AlxThomp) October 16, 2019
We’ve seen this sort of thing before. We saw it when Democrats and the media refused to tell the truth about the public option, which was always intended to lead the country to single-payer. We saw it when Democrats and the media echoed Obama’s claims that people would be able to keep their plans and only later acknowledged this has been an intentional lie all along. Now here we go again with Democrats and the media openly suggesting a leading Democratic should be given a pass on a direct question about taxes because the truth might hurt her. Health care really seems to bring out the worst in progressive media hacks.
Here’s the CNN roundtable trying to get Warren to answer the taxes question. If you’ve had enough of Warren’s dodging of that particular question, skip forward to about 6:50 where Van Jones makes a really good point about the bad politics of Medicare for All. Jones compares it to public transportation saying Medicare for All is equivalent to telling people they have to take the subway whether they want to or not. As you’ll see, Warren’s answer is to filibuster with another town hall story rather than answer the direct question.
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