The New York Times came under fire last week when its editorial board wrote President Obama “clearly misspoke” when he continuously promised Americans: If you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan. Just a week later, the Times is once again forced to defend its word choice, this time because a news report referred to the President’s lie about Americans being able to keep their insurance as an “incorrect promise.”
So what is an “incorrect promise” anyway? In an article published Tuesday, “Obama in Bind Trying to Keep Health Law Vow,” Michael D. Shear and Robert Pear write:
The split between lawmakers and the White House reflects the dilemma the president finds himself in as he seeks to follow through on last week’s acknowledgment about his incorrect promise on health care coverage. Hundreds of thousands of people have received cancellation notices from health insurance companies because their plans do not conform with minimum standards set by the new law.
The New York Times public editor, Margaret Sullivan, has denounced the use of the phrase in her daily blog post saying:
It is an awkward phrase and, as Dylan Byers at Politico wrote, linguistically dubious. What, exactly, is an incorrect promise, anyway? Something more direct like "false promise" would have been both clearer and more accurate.” But does that really get to the root of the problem?
“Go back to what I said yesterday: Let's just start using the same language that we use with our kids. Whatever the language is that you use with your kids when you discipline or you want to get to the bottom of things, let's use exactly the same language. Because that's who we really are,” Glenn said. “I've never said, ‘Did you make an incorrect promise?’ I've never said that. Nobody says that. Only progressives would say that… Start talking about things in the real world, using the real language that you use with your children because that's the only way you can check yourself back into common sense.”
Front page image courtesy of the AP