White House Blogs About Glenn Beck

October 1st, 2009 10:09 AM

Just how afraid of Glenn Beck are Barack Obama and Company?

So afraid they've actually started blogging about him to refute statements made on his program by either himself OR his guests.

Somewhat humorously, the offending guest on this occason was a senior advisor to former President Jimmy Carter.

Without further ado, the following was posted Wednesday by Jesse Lee, Obama's Online Programs Director:

Last night Fox News continued its disregard for the facts in an attempt to smear the Administration's efforts to win the Olympics for the United States. In the past, hosting the Olympics has been a source of pride and unity for the country, but once again Fox News' Glenn Beck program has shown that nothing is worthy of respect if it can be used as part of a partisan attack to boost ratings.

Isn't that nice? Unemployment is approaching double digits, the war in Afghanistan is going poorly, and our President is worried about what's being said about him on Fox News!

Regardless, let's look at some of the carping and whining:

RHETORIC:          BECK SAID VANCOUVER LOST $1 BILLION WHEN IT "HAD THE OLYMPICS."   Glenn Beck said, "Vancouver lost, how much was it? they lost a billion dollars when they had the Olympics."  [Transcript, Glenn Beck Show, 9/29/09]
REALITY:              VANCOUVER'S OLYMPICS WILL NOT TAKE PLACE UNTIL 2010.   Vancouver will host the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games from February 12 – 28, 2010 and March 12-21, 2010, respectively. [Vancouver2010.com, accessed 9/29/09]
Yes, Beck was clearly in error about when the Vancouver Olympics will be held. However, his point about that city's financial problems as a result was nevertheless valid and relevant as it pertains to the question about Chicago getting the Olympics in 2016.
As the Vancouver Sun reported in January:

The City of Vancouver's liabilities to construction of the 2010 Olympic Athletes Village may cost it its favourable credit rating with Standard & Poor's, the rating agency said today.

Standard & Poor's, in a statement, said it has placed Vancouver's AA+ rating on creditwatch in light of revelations that the city may need to step in and finance the Olympic village's remaining construction.

"Depending on the scope of the city's financial obligation, we believe Vancouver's potential debt burden might not be consistent with the AA+ rating," Steven Ogilvie, director of public-finance ratings for Standard & Poor's office in Toronto, said in the statement.

In the statement, Ogilvie said the agency's concern is that without financing from the Olympic village project's main lender, Fortress Investment Group, Vancouver could be on the hook for up to $850 million and may have to borrow a large part of that to shore up the project's finance.

Fortress stopped advancing funds to the project in September in part because of cost overruns.

Closer to home, the New York Times reported last November:

When Montreal announced that it would be the host of the 1976 Summer Olympics, Mayor Jean Drapeau promised that the Games could “no more have a deficit than a man can have a baby.” Ultimately the Games left behind about $1.5 billion in unexpected debt that was paid off only two years ago.

Now, Vancouver residents prepare to vote in a municipal election on Saturday, the freeze in credit markets and a collapse of the city’s real estate market have made the financing of the 2010 Winter Games a critical issue.

Looming over the debate are the fortunes of the Fortress Investment Group, the hedge fund and private equity firm that controls the main Olympic skiing site, Whistler Blackcomb, and is the primary source of financing for a $1 billion athletes’ village now under construction downtown. On Thursday, Fortress reported a third-quarter loss of $20 million, in contrast to earnings of $111 million in the period a year earlier.

As such, Vancouver is indeed having serious financial issues in preparation for its upcoming Olympics, a reality Lee chose not to check.

As for his other concerns, they were all dealing with what was said by Beck's guest Pat Caddell. Maybe the White House should address this matter directly with the former senior advisor to President Carter.

On the other hand, it would be more interesting to see Lee fact-check MSNBCers and their guests.

Now THAT would be entertainment!

Stay tuned.