President Barack Obama is a "flagrant liar," said Joe Scarborough, host of the "Morning Joe" program on MSNBC.
That's unquestionably true, as Mr. Obama is demonstrating yet again by lying about the big lie he told to get Obamacare passed. But it's startling to hear an MSNBC talk show host say it.
The president has been able to lie with impunity, confident that most of the "mainstream" media would never call him on his ever more frequent, ever more blatant departures from the truth. But the botched rollout of Obamacare is changing things.
"It might not seem possible that President Obama could do more harm to his credibility and the public's faith in government than misleading Americans about health insurance reform," wrote Ron Fournier of the National Journal. "But he can. The president is now misleading the public about his deception."
Mr. Fournier is referring to what Mr. Obama said in a speech to supporters Monday night: "Now, if you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law and you really liked that plan, what we said was you can keep it if it hasn't changed since the law passed."
If it were possible to scream in print, Mr. Fournier did. "No, no, no, no, no -- that's not what the Obama administration said," he wrote.
"What they said was: 'That means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.'"
There is video of the president himself making this promise on at least 29 separate occasions. His aides and Democrats on Capitol Hill made it dozens of times more.
It was a lie from the get-go. The Department of Health and Human Services estimated in June of 2010 that as a consequence of Obamacare, 66 percent of those covered by small-employer plans and 45 percent of those covered by large employer plans would have to get new policies. So would "40 to 67 percent" of those who had individual health insurance coverage. That could add up to 93 million Americans.
The latest assault on the truth is Health and Human Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' ruling that neither the federal insurance exchange established by the law nor the subsidies for low-income people paid to insurance companies will be classified as "federal health care programs."
Ms. Sebelius did not give a rationale for her decision. The effect of it is to exempt Obamacare from laws which forbid kickbacks and related types of fraud in other federal health care programs such as Medicare.
Just about everything we've been told about Obamacare -- beginning with its formal name, the "Affordable Care Act" -- has been untrue. Premiums will rise an average of 41 percent, excluding federal subsidies, according to a Manhattan Institute study released last week.
To avoid acknowledging this, many in the news media twist themselves into knots. The president "clearly misspoke" when he said "if you like your health plan, you can keep it," said the editors of The New York Times.
The dictionary defines "misspeaking" as a "slip of the tongue." Odd the president's tongue would slip every time he made a promise about Obamacare. Odder still that each of these "slips of the tongue" should produce not a slurred or mispronounced word, but full sentences containing the opposite of the truth.
The president's "misspeaking" is no big deal, said The Times. The policies being cancelled were "not worth keeping."
I doubt many of the 3.5 million Americans who have received cancellation notices so far share that view. One who doesn't is cancer survivor Edie Sundby, who wrote in the Wall Street Journal Tuesday she fears the loss of her health plan and perhaps some of her doctors amounts to a sentence of death.
Ms. Sunby's plight illustrates another thing about which the president "misspoke." The "Obamacare War Room" fears the "next shoe to drop" will be when millions of Americans discover they won't be able to keep their doctors, CNN reported Monday.
Mr. Obama will continue to lie brazenly, and many journalists will keep trying to cover for him. But too many Americans are suffering too much harm for most in the "mainstream" media to ignore.
On MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program Tuesday, historian Jon Meacham said the president needs to "understand that we're really not as slow as he thinks we are."
Jack Kelly is a columnist for the Post-Gazette (firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1476).