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Washington Post Downplayed Obama's Big Embellishment about Mother's Health Insurer

2:38 PM, Oct 21, 2011 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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The Washington Post has taken a beating for publishing a report claiming that Florida senator Marco Rubio "embellished" the story of how his parents left Cuba. The story is ridiculously hyped and based on the false premise that Rubio's parents don't count as "exiles" because they first came to the United States in 1956, prior to Castro's 1959 takeover. They tried to return in 1961 but could not stay because it was "clear that Cuba was headed full speed toward Communism," as Rubio's office told the Post.  "[I]f my grandparents left Germany in 1930 or 1931 and wanted to go back but couldn't in '33. Wouldn't they be exiles?" Jonah Goldberg writes on Twitter.

The Post was much easier on Barack Obama when a biography by reporter Janny Scott revealed that Obama falsely claimed his mother's insurer tried to deny health care coverage because of a "pre-existing condition."

The 1,610-word Rubio story was on the front page, and the headline clearly implies Rubio is guilty of wrongdoing: "Marco Rubio’s compelling family story embellishes facts, documents show." The Post's 486-word report on Obama's mother's health insurance was on page A-06 on July 15, with the headline:  "Obama’s mother had health insurance, according to biography."

Why is it news that Obama's mom had health insurance? Oh, right: To help win a presidential election and pass his health care overhaul, Obama claimed that his mother's insurer tried to not pay for her cancer treatments by claiming her cancer was a "pre-existing condition." In fact, her insurer covered all medical treatments but denied her coverage for a "disability insurance policy" because that policy was picked up after she was diagnosed with cancer. (But no need to indicate in the headline that Obama fibbed.)

The Post paraphrased Obama's inaccurate tale but failed to provide a single quotation from Barack Obama actually saying his mother's insurer tried to deny coverage of her "medical bills." At the top of his July 11 Washington Examiner column, Byron York cited three instances in which Obama specifically claimed his mother's insurer tried to deny coverage of her "medical bills."

As York pointed out, the biography revealed that Barack Obama served as his mother's attorney when dealing with her insurer. That detail--which the Post didn't include in its report--shows that Obama clearly knew the story he told was embellished for political gain. There is no indication that Rubio has embellished his parents' story.

So which of these stories deserved to be on the front page of the Washington Post?

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