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PolitiFact’s Parent Paper Endorses Obama

2:50 PM, Oct 23, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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The Tampa Bay Times, the paper that puts out (and funds) the supposedly unbiased PolitiFact, has just enthusiastically endorsed President Obama for a second term.  The Times writes that “[w]ithout hesitation” it “recommends Barack Obama for re-election as president.” The paper cites Obama’s “steady leadership.” It’s no wonder the Times is backing Obama. As its endorsement makes clear, the Times supports Obamacare, the “stimulus,” Dodd-Frank, Obama’s proposed tax hikes, his handling of foreign policy, his handling of immigration, his efforts to redefine marriage, his not being pro-life, and his economic stewardship.  

PolitiFact

Photo Credit: PolitiFact

In other words, the Times is a full-spectrum Obama supporter.  And we’re supposed to believe that those who write — and rule — for PolitiFact, described in its own words as “a project of the Tampa Bay Times,” are not?

The Times’s gushing endorsement reads like an official publication of the Obama campaign, complete with shameless parroting of a myriad of Obama’s favorite talking points.  The Times writes that recovering from “the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression” has “proven more difficult than anyone imagined.”  However, “conditions would be far worse without the president’s steady leadership,” and this “is not the time to reverse course and return to the failed policies of the past.”  Moreover, there have been “31 straight months of job growth, and more than 5 million private sector jobs have been created.” 

(Never mind that, according to tallies released by the Obama administration’s own Bureau of Labor Statistics, the portion of Americans over the age of 16 who are employed was 60.6 percent when Obama took office, deteriorated to 59.4 percent by the last month of the recession—in June 2009—and, more than three years into the Obama “recovery,” has now dropped to 58.7 percent—lower than under any other president in the past quarter of a century.)

Of Obama’s $831,000,000,000 debt-financed stimulus (which has been so embarrassingly ineffective that the Obama administration, despite its legal obligation, no longer releases quarterly reports describing its effects), the Times writes that it “stopped the collapse.”  The Times adds that repealing Dodd-Frank “would be a mistake and invite the abuses that contributed to the economic crisis.”

As for Obamacare, the Times declares that “Obama’s signature legislative achievement” offers “sweeping health care reform that presidents from both political parties unsuccessfully pursued for decades.”  It tellingly adds that Obamacare “is a historic step toward universal health care.”

Moving on to foreign policy, the Times writes that “it took courage to order the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.”  On immigration, it states that Obama “took the initiative” (read: exceeded his legal and constitutional authority) “to let young undocumented immigrants of promise stay in this country legally if they are in school, high school graduates or serve in the military.”  (Being a high school graduate now qualifies one as a person “of promise”?)  The Times adds, “Any hope for broad immigration reform to keep and attract the best and the brightest regardless of their birthplace lies with the incumbent Democrat.”

Its next line is, “So do prospects for continued progress on civil rights,” including the “right” to have marriage redefined.  Still on “civil rights,” the Times praises Obama for “steadfastly support[ing] abortion rights,” while Romney’s election could threaten “a woman’s right to control her own body.”

In terms of fiscal policy, Obama “would end the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.”  Moreover, he would “reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years.”  (Does anyone, aside from the Times and its creation PolitiFact — whose needle is once again is off on this one (as usual, by two spots) — believe this deficit-cutting whopper about a president under whom we’ve spent nearly $11 for every $7 we’ve had?) 

The Times also praises Obamacare's “$716 billion in Medicare savings,” which “extends Medicare’s life by eight years, to 2024.”  (The Times never stops to ask how this $716 billion can be used both to extend the life of Medicare and to fund Obamacare — or to ask how this $716 billion in Obamacare funding, which the Congressional Budget Office says would come from Medicare, would otherwise materialize.)  Heck, the Times even praises Obamacare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), lauding “the creation of an independent panel” to recommend “more efficiencies” in Medicare.  (This phrase should send a shudder down seniors’ spines.)

In stark contrast, “Romney would transform Medicare into a voucher program.”  (Never mind that seniors wouldn’t get a voucher under Romney’s proposal but would simply have a choice of plans and would communicate their choice directly to the government.  And never mind that, by the Times’s definition, this would mean that the popular Medicare Part D prescription drug program is also “a voucher program.”)  The Times predictably writes that Romney also “promises to cut taxes by $5 trillion but won’t say which loopholes or tax breaks he would end to cover the cost.”  What’s more, Romney “wants to reduce the federal deficit while increasing spending on defense beyond what even the Pentagon requests,” an approach that “could only add up” to “tax increases on the middle class.”  (One wonders:  Did Team Obama actually write this endorsement?) 

The Times concludes, “Obama has capably steered the nation through an incredibly difficult period at home and abroad, often with little help from Congress,” and has thereby “proven himself worthy of a second term.”

In short, the Times is the ideal Obama supporter — equal parts committed and credulous.  Surely its progeny, PolitiFact, can be trusted as an impartial, unbiased arbiter of all that is uttered in the realm of political speech, right?

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