TPM sends lie about McConnell halfway ’round the world, truth still on first pants leg

posted at 9:31 pm on April 9, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham

Here is what Sen. Mitch McConnell said in a floor speech yesterday during Equal Pay Day festivities, which he rightly pegged as a politically motivated stunt in the same speech. But this is the passage that took off in the mainstream media:

“Yesterday, here in the Senate, Republicans were hoping the Democrat Majority Leader would finally work with us to pass a job creation package that contains ideas from many of our members — legislation with provisions several key Democrats support too,” McConnell said. “But that’s not what the Majority Leader chose to do. Instead of focusing on jobs, he launched into another confusing attack on the Left’s latest bizarre obsession. Democrats chose to ignore serious job-creation ideas so they could blow a few kisses to their powerful pals on the left.”

“[Reid] launched into another confusing attack on the Left’s latest bizarre obsession.” Can any of you guess what McConnell was referring to? Hm, something Sen. Harry Reid attacked on the floor of the Senate and seems to be a “bizarre obsession?”

But Talking Points Memo‘s Sahil Kapur threw out Occam’s Razor like a dull Gilette and instead wrote that McConnell was attacking the idea of the “gender wage disparity” as a “bizarre obsession,” thereby making the remarks more damaging to the Republican brand and giving the “blowing kisses” bit a problematic whiff of sexism.

Kapur’s report was repeated by the New York Times, the National Journal, The Daily Beast, the Chicago Sun-Times, The Hill, and even Real Clear Politics.

Erik Wemple of the Washington Post gamely chased down all the mentions and corrections, even pushing the National Journal to make note of its change in copy, which it had not done. His whole piece is illuminating.

McConnell’s staff points out, perhaps not in so many words, that the target of the “bizarre obsession” comment could only be the pay gap if you’re illiterate and have been in a medically induced coma since 2012, when Reid started obsessing about the Kochs.

“As is crystal clear to anyone who actually read or heard his remarks, Senator McConnell was referring to an ‘attack’ that Senator Reid had made the previous day on two private citizens who disagree with him,” McConnell spokesman Brian McGuire said in a statement. “Only someone who believes that Senator Reid was ‘attacking’ pay equity could conclude that Senator McConnell was doing so himself.”

Hey, a narrative’s a narrative, guys.

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Hmm, medically induced coma sounds like a good idea for Dingy Harry.

rbj on April 9, 2014 at 9:39 PM

Am I the only one that thinks McConnell should have been clearer. He is supposed to know how they play this game.

KCB on April 9, 2014 at 9:39 PM

OOPS. (?)

KCB on April 9, 2014 at 9:40 PM

Equal Pay Day festivities,
===========================

Houston, TX, US
54m
At Democratic fundraiser in Houston, President Obama vents frustration with gridlock and slams ‘the least productive Congress in modern history, recent memory’ – @markknoller

Mark Knoller ‏@markknoller Apr 8

GOP: Paycheck Fairness Act will make it “nearly impossible for employers to tie compensation to work quality, productivity & experience.”
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Mark Knoller ‏@markknoller Apr 8

Joint Republican statement calls Paycheck Fairness Act “a desperate political ploy” that would end merit pay that rewards good work.
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canopfor on April 9, 2014 at 9:40 PM

The truth was heard muttering as it put on it’s pants “My legs are grey. My ears are gnarled. My eyes are old and bent.”

Flange on April 9, 2014 at 9:42 PM

Mark Knoller ‏@markknoller 56m

Pres Obama bashed Republicans for blocking Paycheck Fairness bill. He says Republicans think “the gender pay gap is a fantasy.”

canopfor on April 9, 2014 at 9:43 PM

It’s as though no one even cares anymore.

John the Libertarian on April 9, 2014 at 9:44 PM

Mark Knoller ‏@markknoller Apr 8

Carney said he doesn’t dispute that “there are a lot of factors” that go into the aggregate pay gap but “the discrepancy is real.”
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Mark Knoller ‏@markknoller Apr 8

Carney says the 77₵ reference made by Pres Obama is based on US Census data.
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Mark Knoller ‏@markknoller Apr 8

Yet @presssec emphatic “the discrepancy is real” even at the WH between aggregate median pay for women and men.
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Mark Knoller ‏@markknoller Apr 8

Despite the aggregate pay gap, Carney adamant that there is equal pay for equal work among WH staffers.
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Mark Knoller ‏@markknoller Apr 8

It’s estimated that at the WH the aggregate pay gap 88₵ for women against each dollar earned by a man.
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Mark Knoller ‏@markknoller Apr 8

Carney faced repeated questioning about Pres Obama’s citation again today that the avg working woman earns just 77₵ for every $ a man earns.
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Mark Knoller ‏@markknoller Apr 8

Press gender count. @JPalm44 notes today that “6 of 7 news orgs in front row sent men to ask @pressec abt problem of gender pay inequity.”
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canopfor on April 9, 2014 at 9:45 PM

Am I the only one that thinks McConnell should have been clearer. He is supposed to know how they play this game.

KCB on April 9, 2014 at 9:39 PM

No. Everyone on the right needs to carefully choose their words. The Lamestream Media is giving indications they have thrown every last shred of Journalism to the wind and will do twist everything Republicans say as much as possible. At this point, they probably don’t have any qualms about making up sound bites to get around the whole “everything is recorded” problem today.

UnstChem on April 9, 2014 at 9:47 PM

Democrats chose to ignore serious job-creation ideas so they could blow a few kisses to their powerful pals on the left.”
===============================================

Those kiss-winds,..have been blowing for over five years!!!!!!!!!!

canopfor on April 9, 2014 at 9:48 PM

This is dishonesty from TPM, et al. – as usual, but also I think McConnell could have been more direct and note Reid’s obsession with taking away private citizen’s right of free speech. If you want to make a point, be clear about it, don’t use vague language and hope people will connect up the right political inferences. Fill in the blanks next time, Mitch.

whatcat on April 9, 2014 at 9:48 PM

TPM – When you have nothing, throw bullshit. There are enough low-IQ, low-info voters who will actually believe it.

GarandFan on April 9, 2014 at 9:52 PM

Am I the only one that thinks McConnell should have been clearer. He is supposed to know how they play this game.

KCB on April 9, 2014 at 9:39 PM

No. Everyone on the right needs to carefully choose their words.

UnstChem on April 9, 2014 at 9:47 PM

IMHO, Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin (sadly no longer in office) are the best at this. Good models to follow.

LashRambo on April 9, 2014 at 9:53 PM

You know who this helps?

thebrokenrattle on April 9, 2014 at 9:57 PM

http://a.disquscdn.com/uploads/mediaembed/images/942/7297/original.jpg?w=600&h

davidk on April 9, 2014 at 9:35 PM

davidk:Lol:)

canopfor on April 9, 2014 at 10:01 PM

Press gender count. @JPalm44 notes today that “6 of 7 news orgs in front row sent men to ask @pressec abt problem of gender pay inequity.”

canopfor on April 9, 2014 at 9:45 PM

Ed Henry’s response was singularly awesome.

WH sent man to podium right? RT @JPalm44 Love these guys, but 6 of 7 news orgs in front row sent men to ask @pressec abt gender pay inequity

John Deaux on April 9, 2014 at 10:04 PM

McConnell is better than Reid and the far left media. So we have established that. Now what?

VorDaj on April 9, 2014 at 10:04 PM

This is dishonesty from TPM, et al. – as usual, but also I think McConnell could have been more direct and note Reid’s obsession with taking away private citizen’s right of free speech. If you want to make a point, be clear about it, don’t use vague language and hope people will connect up the right political inferences. Fill in the blanks next time, Mitch.

whatcat on April 9, 2014 at 9:48 PM

And it’s not like McConnell can’t be clear as he is quite clear when he attacks conservatives.

VorDaj on April 9, 2014 at 10:06 PM

All that comity in the senate has turned most of them into mush mouthed fools. Listen to McCain say “falsehood” when “lie” is needed to make the point clearly understood.

McConnell is no different.

Sting on April 9, 2014 at 10:10 PM

When will Repubs stop talking in parables and just say what stupid people can understand:
“Even democrats know Harry Reid is bizarre”.
“Democrats don’t care that you don’t have a job”.
“We support equal pay for equal work, education, experience and hours”.
“Reid will kiss anyone’s ass for a donation, including the Kochs”. “Dems think you’re stupid, we know differently”. (toss in a lie)

People..are..stupid. Stop talking to them as if they’re smart and you won’t get your ass kicked every time.

AppraisHer on April 9, 2014 at 10:11 PM

And it’s not like McConnell can’t be clear as he is quite clear when he attacks conservatives.

VorDaj on April 9, 2014 at 10:06 PM

Excellent point!

KCB on April 9, 2014 at 10:12 PM

“Reid will kiss anyone’s ass for a donation, including the Kochs”. “Dems think you’re stupid, we know differently”. (toss in a lie)

People..are..stupid. Stop talking to them as if they’re smart and you won’t get your ass kicked every time.

AppraisHer on April 9, 2014 at 10:11 PM

Chuckie Choomer as well: 2009: Chuck Schumer Thanks ‘Un-American’ Koch Brothers for Campaign Contribution

slickwillie2001 on April 9, 2014 at 10:37 PM

And it’s not like McConnell can’t be clear as he is quite clear when he attacks conservatives.

VorDaj on April 9, 2014 at 10:06 PM

You are on point

So the question is, why was McConnell intentionally vague? Ultimately he spent his minute complaining about Reid’s strategy, which can be staged by media to imply he was avoiding the issue

Reid, who is brain damaged, is just reading a script to bait the opposition into sound bites. So the question is, why did McConnell waste his minute helping Reid unless he didn’t want to be quoted on something else

I don’t discount the possibility that McConnell is also brain batty. In which case, he needs a script writer not playing to the Club

entagor on April 9, 2014 at 10:49 PM

Am I the only one that thinks McConnell should have been clearer. He is supposed to know how they play this game.

KCB on April 9, 2014 at 9:39 PM

No. Everyone on the right needs to carefully choose their words.

UnstChem on April 9, 2014 at 9:47 PM

IMHO, Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin (sadly no longer in office) are the best at this. Good models to follow.

LashRambo on April 9, 2014 at 9:53 PM

True, they don’t often need a spokesperson to come out and tell everyone what they “really meant to say”.

whatcat on April 9, 2014 at 10:50 PM

I’m surprised the boo-birds in our own party didn’t lynch McConnell themselves.

Adjoran on April 9, 2014 at 11:56 PM

Why are you spending precious copy space defending a dirt bag like Mitch McConnell, Mary Katharine?

It’s almost like you are a direct conduit of the establishment.

Observation Post on April 10, 2014 at 12:13 AM

Observation Post on April 10, 2014 at 12:13 AM

It’s much more a demolition of the liberal media than it is a defense of Mitch.

slickwillie2001 on April 10, 2014 at 12:49 AM

This is dishonesty from TPM, et al. – as usual, but also I think McConnell could have been more direct and note Reid’s obsession with taking away private citizen’s right of free speech. If you want to make a point, be clear about it, don’t use vague language and hope people will connect up the right political inferences. Fill in the blanks next time, Mitch.

whatcat on April 9, 2014 at 9:48 PM

maybe the problem is that the Dems obsess over too many things at once :) (most of them fabrications and crickets)…to the point that they can’t keep track anymore of which particular obsession du jour is being referenced :)…

jimver on April 10, 2014 at 1:00 AM

Anything to discredit any Republican.

Would be nice if our news media were sort of, minimally balanced! Nah, too many incompetent writers would lose their jobs if they had to THINK.

MN J on April 10, 2014 at 4:40 AM

canopfor on April 9, 2014 at 9:40 PM

There is a simple solution for this. Create a bill called the new and improved paycheck fairness act and have the text of the bill empty. None of these people read the bills, they only vote for the bill based on the title

Brock Robamney on April 10, 2014 at 5:59 AM

When was the last time TPM actually told the truth about anything? They are just a D spin machine and full of D talking points. That is all they do: create talking points for the D party.

Really, the FEC should look at pieces that back D positions as contributions in-kind to the party. Mind you, almost no one reads the stuff, so it isn’t a big contribution… still… its the principle that matters.

ajacksonian on April 10, 2014 at 6:35 AM

Further proof that McConnell hurts the party more than helps. If he and his staff don’t realize by now that the other side doesn’t play fair then he must go.

ctmom on April 10, 2014 at 7:08 AM

One more reason for Kentuckians to vote for Matt Bevin. Time to get rid of the dead wood, and McConnell couldn’t be more deader.

Myron Falwell on April 10, 2014 at 7:32 AM

Liberals no longer obfuscate, they outright lie. Their inability to articulately, factually and intellectually debate is growing as they move further from the truth and facts.

This is no longer an era where political ideas are exchange, debated tried and prolonged based on merits. It is a time of despotic, autocratic actions forced upon the populace, obscured or ignored by a collaborating media and reinforced with mendacity, personal attacks and unencumbered lawlessness.

People like Kapur and his vacuous, servile friends in the media represent the worst this society has to offer. They have lost the war of ideas and now seek open another front with maniacal, dictatorial fervor. They are determined to gain servitude to their destructive schemes no matter what the cost to our country and citizens.

As a country we are clearly worse of for this entire administration and anyone who has ever served it. It is about time we dumped these people into the dust bin of history.

Marcus Traianus on April 10, 2014 at 7:45 AM

Enh, I can’t get too worked up about this. Whether it’s talking about the Kochs or about a non-existent gender-wage gap, it’s still a bizarre obsession.

Stoic Patriot on April 10, 2014 at 7:50 AM

What’s there big deal?
According to lots of people, Harry Reid has always been obsessed with Cocks.

TexasJew on April 10, 2014 at 8:22 AM

Reid is a criminal, who stole money and gave it to his daughter and thus should be in jail, but is is also an evil, lying, senile, little man. He accused millions of Americans of being liars when they complained about Obamacare….only to declare he nas no memory of doing so. That being said, McConnell is an embarassing, self-serving, Washington Establishment loser that needs to be booted from office.

easyt65 on April 10, 2014 at 8:50 AM

Shocked, shocked that Jonathan Weisman taking a quote out of context could possibly have been at the root of this.

Chuckles3 on April 10, 2014 at 9:02 AM

Poor B*tch McConnell.

magicbeans on April 10, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Why is the turtle being attacked? He and President Palpatine are sympatico

Brock Robamney on April 10, 2014 at 10:26 AM

Am I the only one that thinks McConnell should have been clearer. He is supposed to know how they play this game.

KCB on April 9, 2014 at 9:39 PM

I don’t think that’s really practical. Unless you are never going to use pronouns, people will always be able to lift sentences and even paragraphs out of context.

Granted, if he knew ahead of time that this particular paragraph was the one that would be taken out of context, he could have clarified it by including a reference to the Koch brothers, but then they would just pick some other paragraph instead.

Yes, everyone should be careful to avoid saying things that will sound bad when given no context whatsoever. However, what McConnell said doesn’t sound bad on its own – it’s not bad unless you not only take it out of context, you also put it in a different context.

I don’t think anyone could write a speech that’s immune from this kind of deliberate distortion. The only solution is to repeatedly catch the liars in the act, and expose and humiliate them, until they are no longer taken seriously by anyone other than their own partisans. Breitbart seemed to understand this well.

RINO in Name Only on April 10, 2014 at 12:03 PM

“We support equal pay for equal work, education, experience and hours”.

AppraisHer on April 9, 2014 at 10:11 PM

We do? I don’t. There is no basis for ever thinking that the state could be an arbiter of what constitutes “equal pay”, nor, for that matter, “equal work, education, [and] experience”.

Even if it could, those are not the only relevant considerations. If two employees are equally experienced and knowledgeable in the job they’re doing for me, it may still be the case that one of them is more highly sought out by other employers to do a completely different job, or he may simply not need the job as much as the other guy. Either way, I may need to pay him more to entice him to work for me. That’s what salary negotiations are all about.

The government has no business presuming to tell me how much each employee is worth to me.

RINO in Name Only on April 10, 2014 at 12:20 PM

We do? I don’t. There is no basis for ever thinking that the state could be an arbiter of what constitutes “equal pay”, nor, for that matter, “equal work, education, [and] experience”.
Even if it could, those are not the only relevant considerations. If two employees are equally experienced and knowledgeable in the job they’re doing for me, it may still be the case that one of them is more highly sought out by other employers to do a completely different job, or he may simply not need the job as much as the other guy. Either way, I may need to pay him more to entice him to work for me. That’s what salary negotiations are all about.
The government has no business presuming to tell me how much each employee is worth to me.
RINO in Name Only on April 10, 2014 at 12:20 PM

My post was a suggestion for “sound bites” for stupid people, not a thesis on actuality. As we see, GOP droning gets them nowhere.

AppraisHer on April 10, 2014 at 2:39 PM

“TPM” – I understand the M is for Media, but does the “TP” stand for what it usually does? Comes on a roll, usually found in the bathroom…

And is it just me, but aren’t both Sen.s McConnell and Reid getting a little… long in the tooth? Maybe they should both settle in, to retirement homes? Preferably in the Antipodes – I hear they’re great, this time of year.

ReggieA on April 10, 2014 at 9:15 PM