September 22, 2011

Prez In Cincy: ‘Help Us Rebuild This Bridge, Pass This Bill’; Did AP’s Kuhnhenn Fabricate a Qualifying Statement?

ObamaAtBrentSpence0911Earlier this evening (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I cited a few of very many examples where the press has not hesitated during the Obama years, and really since Barack Obama became the frontrunner for the Democratic Party’s nomination in 2008, to engage in uncalled-for creativity to avoid calling a statement made a lie or an unlawful action illegal. One of the lastest: A Raleigh New & Observer reporter concluded that in implying that North Carolina has bridges in imminent danger of falling — specifically, by asking his audience: “Why would we wait to act until another bridge falls?” — Obama “may have” merely “over-suggested the risk to public safety.”

Jim Kuhnhenn’s report at the Associated Press tonight on the President’s visit to the Brent Spence Bridge over the Ohio River connecting Cincinnati to Covington, Kentucky appears to have taken the cover-up of the president’s misleading statements to a new level, as seen in the following excerpted paragraphs (bolds are mine):

Obama challenges Boehner, McConnell on home turf

Needling his top Republican adversaries on their own turf, President Barack Obama stood in the shadow of an outdated and heavily used Ohio River bridge Thursday and called his rivals out by name to demand action on his $447 billion jobs bill.

Making a point to choose a bridge linking House Speaker John Boehner’s home state of Ohio with Kentucky, the home of Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, Obama struck a cheeky tone that underscored the politics of the moment.

“Mr. Boehner, Mr. McConnell, help us rebuild this bridge,” he declared. “Help us rebuild America. Help us put construction workers back to work. Pass this bill.”

Obama said his legislation would put construction workers back to work around the country on projects like the Brent Spence Bridge, but the White House readily conceded that the choice of the aging span south of Cincinnati was symbolic. The bridge is scheduled to be repaired anyway starting in 2015.

“We have never suggested that ground would be broken on this project immediately,” press secretary Jay Carney said on Air Force One en route to Ohio, though he said the president’s job bill could speed up that timeline.

… By selecting Ohio, Obama also raised his profile in politically important Ohio, a state that he won in 2008 but that George W. Bush also won twice. The Cincinnati Enquirer, however, greeted his visit with a downbeat banner front page headline: “Obama visit won’t build new bridge.”

Obama supposedly “symbolic” howler was obvious enough to wake up the people at the Cincinnati Enquirer says something about the degree of the deception. The Editorial Department, however, allowed itself to be impressed by a bunch of words, claiming this evening that Obama’s speech “helps bridge (the) action gap.” Zheesh.

But the main points here are directed at the AP’s Kuhnhenn, specifically these:

  • In the speech, as you quoted it and as it appears at the White House web site, the President implored John Boehner and Mitch McConnell to “Help us build this bridge. … Pass this bill.” As a result, anyone hearing only Obama’s speech who is otherwise unaware of the truth has every reason to believe that passing the American Jobs Act would ensure that the Brent Spence Bridge gets replaced. It wouldn’t. You said so yourself.
  • Later in your report, you tell readers that “Obama said his legislation would put construction workers back to work around the country on projects like the Brent Spence Bridge.” To whom did he say that? I read Obama’s entire speech (my pain and suffering compensation request is in the mail), and Obama said nothing of the kind. As stated, anyone there uninfluenced by other news sources would have left believing that the Jobs Act, if passed, will replace the bridge. It won’t. You said so yourself.
  • Did Mr. Obama tell you, Mr. Kuhnhenn, that only projects like Brent Spence are in the Jobs Act? If he did, where are the quotation marks? If you can make the “like” statement because of a separate private conversation with Obama, you needed to tell us that. Otherwise, readers have to assume that you believe it was in the speech. It wasn’t.

Absent evidence to the contrary, tonight Jim Kuhnhenn covered up a bold-faced falsehood stated by the President of the United States in a public speech to thousands by creating out of thin air a separate qualifying statement the President never made, for no apparent reason other than to make readers believe that Mr. Obama didn’t “symbolically” lie in the first place when he said: “Help us build this bridge. … Pass this bill.” Again, absent evidence to the contrary, he did.

Chalk up another probable entry into the Obama Administration Whitewash Hall of Shame.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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