Did Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, actually just say that President Obama is the laziest president since Grover Cleveland?
Here's the pertinent quote, as covered by Fox writer Chuck Ross under the headline "DNC chair makes painful admission about Obama's work ethic":
"I'm going to go to the House floor and actually debate why we shouldn't be voting for the first time in American history to sue the president of the United States for doing his job, and doing his job actually less often and at a rate that is lower than any other president since Grover Cleveland."
According to the Fox article, this amounts to calling the president lazy. Ross wrote that the DNC Chair "inadvertently agreed with a complaint levied most often by Republicans that Obama has not put much effort into his job."
Anyone outside of Fox Nation would know that Wasserman Schultz didn't "inadvertently" agree to anything. She certainly did not agree with any statement about the President not doing his job. The DNC Chair was referring to the fact that President Obama has issued fewer executive orders than any president since Grover Cleveland. This is an empirical historic reality that can be found easily with a simple Google search, another example of the carefully edited, "You didn't build that" sound bite that Fox and its ilk will spin to fit their needs. Yet Fox News knows that most Fox readers won't bother to look it up.
It also reinforces the racist image of The Lazy Black President, a familiar character in the Right Wing Universe.
Of course, Obama would be facing other criticism if he had issued more executive orders. Instead of being lazy, he would be "an activist." Or defiant. Or "uppity." Or something else that fits the Fox News narrative. It doesn't really matter what happens because it all spins out the same on Fox and the Right Wing.
After this setup, the article talks about Obama's golf game and fundraising activities, because Republican presidents don't take vacations or do fundraising. In fact, Obama has taken fewer vacation days than George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan did, but don't take my word for it. Look it up.
Fox isn't the only spinner in the War On Facts. National Review writer Jim Geraghty seems generous when he writes, "The (most recent) 6.2 percent unemployment rate is good by the standards of the Obama era, but it remains higher than it was for the entire George W. Bush administration." Geraghty must have forgotten about the last three months of 2008 and the George W. Bush unemployment numbers of 6.5%, 6.8%, and 7.3%. Again, empirical, verifiable information that anyone can find with a simple search. Unlike National Review, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is generally considered a trustworthy source of statistics and information.
Sadly, these are not rare cases. They are exceptional in their brazen disregard for easily verifiable truth, but this type of thing happens all the time. Left and Right are no longer divided by simple political philosophies. We are working with two entirely different sets of facts. I realize that not everyone is a news geek. Most people don't obsess over facts quite like l do. But can we at least agree on verifiable evidence?
And can we please start holding news organizations and politicians responsible for what they say?
Bob Seay is the Editor in Chief of NewsPrism.com