Home > media, politics > Let Us In! When Fox News and Mother Jones Agree

Let Us In! When Fox News and Mother Jones Agree

Tuesday, January 5, 2010, 22:01 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

When candidate Barack Obama pledged to unite the country, I don’t think he intended to get the conservative Fox News Channel and the liberal Mother Jones magazine on the same side against him.

From Fox:

The head of C-SPAN has implored Congress to open up the last leg of health care reform negotiations to the public, as top Democrats lay plans to hash out the final product among themselves.

[ . . . ]

In a Tuesday afternoon press conference on health legislation negotiations, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appeared to object to the premise behind the request.

“There has never been a more open process for any legislation in anyone who’s served here’s experience,” she said.

[ . . . ]

Democratic leaders could bypass the traditional conference committee process, in which lawmakers from both parties and chambers meet to reconcile differences between the House and Senate versions of a bill. Top Democrats in the House, Senate and White House were meeting Tuesday evening to figure out the final product in three-way talks before sending it back to both chambers for a final vote.

[ . . . ]

This format would seem ideal for closed-door meetings, which congressional Democrats have used many times to figure out sensitive provisions in the health care bill — though President Obama pledged during the campaign to open up health care talks to C-SPAN’s cameras.

Meanwhile, from Mother Jones (via Glenn Reynolds):

When President Barack Obama was campaigning for the job in 2008, he vowed that he would bring greater transparency to government—especially when it comes to health care reform legislation[…]

Last July, Obama was asked about his campaign pledge:

    Q: You promised that health care negotiations would take place on C-SPAN and that hasn’t happened….Are you fulfilling your promise of transparency in the White House?

He replied:

    With respect to all the negotiations not being on C-SPAN, you will recall in this very room that our kick-off event was here on C-SPAN. And at a certain point, you know, you start getting into all kinds of different meetings. The Senate Finance Committee is having a meeting. The House is having a meeting. If they want those to be on C-SPAN, then I would welcome it. I don’t think there are a lot of secrets going on in there.

That was a dodgy answer. Obama’s “kick-off event” was not part of the negotiations. And there are always “secrets” when legislators come together in private to slice and dice the sausage.

In fairness to Obama, he has no control over how Congress conducts its business. But it’s funny how, while the Fox article doesn’t editorialize, the Mother Jones blogger appears to shift some blame to Obama with his “dodgy answer” remark.

Hey, Mr. President, guess what? The honeymoon is over.

Categories: media, politics
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