On Monday, NBC’s Today and CBS This Morning deceptively edited comments from Republican Congressman Raul Labrador to constituents at a recent town hall meeting while discussing the GOP health care plan. While the Idaho representative was actually dispelling an outlandish false claim from a left-wing protester at the event, the two network morning shows ignored that context in an effort to make Labrador look out of touch on the issue.
During his report on the health care bill on Today, correspondent Peter Alexander declared: “House Republicans are getting an earful from constituents at town halls nationwide. Idaho’s Raul Labrador under fire for this claim.” A soundbite followed of the Congressman stating that “Nobody dies because they don't have access to health care,” with the crowd jeering in response.
On This Morning, correspondent Major Garrett similarly touted the moment: “White House budget director Mick Mulvaney...said House Republicans should sell the bill back home....Idaho Republican Raul Labrador did as much and got a town hall earful.” Again a clip played of Labrador explaining: “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care.”
Garrett came closer to providing context for the isolated remark: “The Congressman later wrote on Facebook, quote, ‘That response wasn’t very eloquent.’ Congressman Labrador went on to explain that under the GOP bill, people who need emergency care will still be able to receive it, Charlie and, therefore, in his words, are unlikely to die.”
However, like his NBC colleague, he completely skipped the fact that Labrador was responding to an incendiary liberal attack line hurled by a protester.
Only ABC’s Good Morning America provided footage of the full exchange:
CECILIA VEGA: Republicans who backed the House health care bill facing fierce backlash.
PROTESTER: You are mandating people on Medicaid accept dying. You are making –
REP. RAUL LABRADOR [R-ID]: No one wants anybody to die. That line is so indefensible. Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care.
In the Facebook statement Garrett referenced, Labrador called out the slanted media coverage of his comments:
During ten hours of town halls, one of my answers about health care wasn’t very elegant. I was responding to a false notion that the Republican health care plan will cause people to die in the streets, which I completely reject.
In a lengthy exchange with a constituent, I explained to her that ObamaCare has failed the vast majority of Americans. In the five-second clip that the media is focusing on, I was trying to explain that all hospitals are required by law to treat patients in need of emergency care regardless of their ability to pay and that the Republican plan does not change that.
The left engages in bogus fearmongering to scare people, yet the press go after a Republican for trying to provide facts. What happened to journalists supposedly caring about fact-checking?