The latest Democrat talking point is that opposition to ObamaCare is fueled by angry mobs of right-wing extremists. On Tuesday Allahpundit quoted the DNC’s latest missive on the subject. Today, the L.A. Times does its best to peddle that set of talking points, albeit with a shrugging acknowledgement that there might be some actual opposition out there:
The headline: Healthcare debate gets uglier, with a deck headline reading: “Special interests are accused of organizing disruptive outbursts as Democrats try to answer voter concerns.” See where we’re headed with this?
Here is a quote from the DNC talking points:
The right wing extremists’ use of things like devil horns on pictures of our elected officials, hanging members of Congress in effigy, breathlessly questioning the President’s citizenship and the use of Nazi SS symbols and the like just shows how outside of the mainstream the Republican Party and their allies are.
Note how the opening paragraph of Janet Hook’s piece echoes the concern about effigies:
An effigy of Rep. Frank Kratovil Jr. was hung outside his office on the eastern shore of Maryland. Rep. Steve Kagen of Wisconsin was shouted down by angry constituents. Rep. Timothy H. Bishop of New York had such a raucous experience with critics on Long Island that he avoids town hall meetings for more manageable settings.
Further down, we’re told about the devil’s horns:
Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) ran into a group opposed to the Democrats’ healthcare proposals Saturday when he tried to hold a constituent meeting in an Austin grocery store. Protesters surrounded him and followed him into the parking lot, chanting, “Just say no!”
Their signs included one with a picture of Doggett sporting devil’s horns.
“Many of these people were summoned in by the local Republican and Libertarian parties,” Doggett said on MSNBC’s “Hardball With Chris Matthews.” “They didn’t even live in the neighborhood. They were there not just to be heard but to ensure other people weren’t heard on this.”
How does Doggett know this? Did he have staffers interview the people, who all admitted to taking large checks from insurers and hopping on buses from Washington D.C. to Austin? We’re not told. You might think that Hook would, in an aside, remind readers that Doggett provided no evidence for his assertion. Yes, you might think that — if you’re stupid. But if you’re sentient and have read this paper for any period of time, you know that repeating talking points uncritically is Job Number One — and the “busing in protestors” point, along with the effigies and devil’s horns, showed up in that DNC set of talking points:
These mobs are bussed in by well funded, highly organized groups run by Republican operatives and funded by the special interests who are desperately trying to stop the agenda for change the President was elected to bring to Washington.
Reporter Hook oddly echoes this contrast between “change” and “special interests” in her story, telling us Democrats are “trying to show the need for change” but are being opposed by “powerful special interests.” In other quotes I am not making up, Hook says that the debate “has gotten especially ugly,” with the fiercest opposition having been “fanned by talk radio and conservative advocacy groups.” She laments that “critics have been able to demonize provisions that may not be in the final bill.”
You might think that a newspaper article trying to decide whether there is genuine opposition to Obama’s health care proposals might look at objective evidence of public opinion on the matter. But has mankind devised any way to measure such a thing as public opinion?? [Bespectacled man leans over and hands Patterico a torn scrap of paper, which Patterico briefly looks at before resuming.] I’m told there do exist such measures, and they are called “polls.” Does the article tells us what the polling says? Why, yes it does — in paragraph 25 of a 27-paragraph story:
A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll in late July found that support for Obama’s healthcare plan had dropped: 42% called it a bad idea and 36% said it was a good idea. In mid-June, opinions were about evenly divided.
Ah. So a plurality thinks the health care plan is a bad idea! (And this is consistent (as Karl noted yesterday) with other recent polling data on key elements of the debate.) Yes indeed, let’s bury that as deeply as possible!
The fact is that many Americans want something done. But they are also wary of a government takeover of health care, which is what this is, as you can tell by the fact that Obama repeatedly tells us that it’s not so.