Medicare for All Fact Check From Hell Persists as Sanders Rebukes CNN for Putting 'Blind Faith' in Right-Wing Economist
"It is incredible how similar this is to the media's performance on Iraq. 1. Rely on charlatans and get everything wrong. 2. Justify your performance by pointing out that everyone else also relied on charlatans."
After CNN posted a slightly corrected version of its falsehood-riddled Medicare for All fact check on Monday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) thanked network anchor Jake Tapper for admitting that his earlier video "was not factual," but added that the updated version is still full of "errors peddled by the Koch-funded Mercatus Center."
"The question that must be asked is why would the corporate media would put their blind faith in a far right-wing economist whose past reports have been so thoroughly discredited by mainstream economists and experts?"
—Sen. Bernie Sanders
Pointing to the table in the Mercatus Center analysis that shows Medicare for All would save the American people $2 trillion over ten years—while also providing healthcare for everyone—Sanders accused CNN and other corporate media outlets of putting "blind faith" in Chuck Blahous, the right-wing author of the Mercatus study who deceptively insists that his numbers are being taken out of context.
"What Tapper and others have done is say we're wrong because Blahous didn't actually intend to find that Medicare for All would be a great deal for Americans," Sanders noted in a series of tweets. "The problem is: Blahous did find it would save $2 trillion—he just doesn't like that people are celebrating it."
"I guarantee you Mercatus approached each one of these outlets with the same pitch, then after a bunch of them bit on the pitch, they hold them up as proof they are right. This, by the way, is exactly how the NYT got snowed on WMD in Iraq."
—Matt Bruenig, People's Policy ProjectAmong the articles Tapper linked to was a "fact check" by the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler, which had to be corrected multiple times after People's Policy Project founder Matt Bruenig highlighted the number of blatant factual mistakes it contained.
"They are all wrong," Bruenig wrote of the self-proclaimed fact-checkers Tapper cited. "Jake, to talk about the fact-checkers as if they are separate evaluations is nonsense. Each one of them got the same spin from the same Mercatus author who has been doing intentional outreach to get people like you to say this stuff. It's the same poisoned source."
The Intercept's Jon Schwarz argued that Tapper's tactic of pointing to articles that all relied on the same ideologically motivated source—the Mercatus Center—to justify spreading a false narrative bears a striking resemblance "to the media's performance on Iraq" and alleged weapons of mass destruction.
Bruenig echoed Schwartz's Iraq comparison in a tweet of his own, writing: "I guarantee you Mercatus approached each one of these outlets with the same pitch, then after a bunch of them bit on the pitch, they hold them up as proof they are right. This, by the way, is exactly how the NYT got snowed on WMD in Iraq."
By continuing to push the narrative that Sanders is "misleading" the public by misinterpreting Blahous' numbers—which are available for all to see in the pages of the study—Tapper's critics say the high-profile anchor is playing right into the hands of the Mercatus Center, which has been waging an aggressive public relations campaign ever since its attempt to discredit Medicare for All backfired last month.
Warren Gunnels, Sanders' policy director, provided evidence of this coordinated disinformation effort by posting a mass email he received from the Mercatus Center Monday morning—one that likely went out to countless others on Capitol Hill and in the media.
The email highlights all of the same articles Tapper cited in his Twitter thread and proclaims that the media has effectively discredited Sanders' $2 trillion savings claim.