Caught in a lie.
But a quick Google search revealed that MediaMatters is being dishonest in its portrayal of Conservatives and Republicans as trying to “falsely accuse Dems of hypocrisy.” In fact, MediaMatters actually expose their own complicity in the promotion of this red herring.
The accusation is that the Right is conflating the terms “reconciliation” and “nuclear option” intentionally in an effort to discredit Democrats for wanting to use the reconciliation process to pass health care reform, which would bypass the regular Conference Committee process. However, MediaMatters shows that Conservatives and Republicans are not alone in making that connection.
Here is video that shows CNN anchor Anderson Cooper describing the Democrat maneuver as “the Nuclear Option.”
“Tonight: Breaking news that could change everything in the White House battle for health care reform. Call it the nuclear option.”
And CNN’s Kiran Chetry, on American Morning, said,
“We’ve heard about the nuclear option before, right? I mean, that was when there was talk about maybe bypassing Democratic concerns when it came to judicial nominees. Well, now, the nuclear option is something that we’re talking about yet again. This time it has to do with Democrats considering going it alone when it comes to health care. We’re live from the White House next hour.”
Let’s take a stroll backward through time.
Sean Hannity was condemned by MediaMatters on Feb. 10, 2010:
“Sean Hannity aired clips of Democratic leaders he falsely claimed were criticizing GOP use of the reconciliation process, and accused them of “hypocrisy” for currently supporting the use of reconciliation to pass healthcare reform. In fact, those Democrats were criticizing a 2005 Republican proposal to change Senate rules that was unrelated to reconciliation, which is a procedure that is part of the Senate rules.”
Then, on August 20, 2009, MediaMatters attacks RNC Chairman Michael Steele:
“Nuclear option” term for reconciliation makes jump from media to RNC chairman Steele”
But, the CNN story appeared on MediaMatters.org the day before, on August 19, 2009:
“Echoing Fox News’ Bill Sammon and Sean Hannity, CNN hosts Anderson Cooper and Kiran Chetry both falsely compared Senate Democrats’ potential use of the reconciliation process to pass health reform legislation to the “nuclear option.” In fact, the term “nuclear option” was coined by then-Republican Sen. Trent Lott in 2005 to refer to a possible Republican attempt to change Senate filibuster rules, while reconciliation is already part of Senate procedure and Republicans have used it repeatedly in the past.”
Finally, MediaMatters blasted Bill Sammon in a story that appeared on June 23, 2009:
“Echoing a reported Republican talking point, on Fox News’ Happening Now, Fox News vice president of news and Washington managing editor Bill Sammon falsely compared the budget reconciliation process some progressives have suggested be used to advance health-care reform legislation to the “nuclear option,” a term referring to the Senate rule change Republicans proposed in 2005 that would have prohibited filibusters of judicial nominations. In fact, there is no comparison between progressives’ proposed use of the budget reconciliation process, which already exists under congressional rules and has been used by Republicans in the past to pass legislation with only a majority of votes in the Senate, and the Republicans’ prior proposal to change Senate rules to require a majority of votes to confirm judicial nominees.”
Now, no-one can claim that Anderson Cooper is sympathetic to Republicans or Conservatives. He was, after all, 0ne of the first to use the term “teabagging” when talking about the Tea Party movement. The point is that CNN’s use of the term “nuclear option” to describe reconciliation renders the accusations of MediaMatters and others against Republicans and Conservatives meaningless.