Obama sequester lies reported by Washington Post, Obama false claim of Capitol janitors receiving pay cut, Obama gets 4 Pinocchios, Post receives 4 Murrows
“Starting tomorrow everybody here, all the folks who are cleaning the floors at the Capitol. Now that Congress has left, somebody’s going to be vacuuming and cleaning those floors and throwing out the garbage. They’re going to have less pay. The janitors, the security guards, they just got a pay cut, and they’ve got to figure out how to manage that. That’s real.”… Obama news conference, March 1, 2013
“dedicated his life as a newsman and as a public official to the unrelenting search for truth.”…Lyndon B. Johnson
“The function of the press is very high. It is almost Holy.
It ought to serve as a forum for the people, through which
the people may know freely what is going on. To misstate or
suppress the news is a breach of trust.”…. Louis D. Brandeis
Hats off to the Washington Post for reporting the truth about Obama sequester lies.
From the Washington Post March 1, 2013.
“Sequester spin: Obama’s false claim of Capitol janitors receiving ‘a pay cut’”
“This column has been updated with a new Pinocchio rating
This was a pretty evocative image the president offered at his news conference Friday on the sequester — janitors sweeping the empty halls of the Capitol, laboring at less pay.
When we first heard his remarks, we thought he was perhaps overstating matters. Even at federal agencies that have planned furloughs, none are expected to begin on Saturday; such actions are weeks away at many federal agencies. But that’s perhaps a minor rhetorical overreach.
But then our colleague Ed O’Keefe obtained the sequester plan released by the Architect for the Capitol, which employs Capitol Hill janitors on the House side. (The Sergeant at Arms employs the janitorial staff on the Senate side.) UPDATE: Obama’s remarks also prompted a warning from AOC officials that his comments were “not true.”
We have embedded an image of the first AOC document below. Stephen T. Ayers, the architect of the Capitol, listed a number of steps being taken to reduce expenses, including limiting new hiring and postponing repairs. This line jumped out at us: “We do not anticipate furloughs for AOC employees as a result of Sequestration.””
“(The White House officials’ aggressive pushback of this column ended after we sent a copy of this email to them.)
On the Senate side of the building, Sergeant at Arms Terry Gainer said the cleaning technicians are his employees–not contract employees, except for setting up rooms for meetings and events.
“None of my employees will have their pay cut nor will they face furloughs assuming the cost saving strategies initiated months ago (hiring freeze, overtime reduction and delayed in equipment replacement etc.), in conjunction with a very aggressive early retirement program we began two weeks ago, reap the savings anticipated,” he said in an e-mail.
As for security guards at the Capitol, Gainer, who is chairman of the Capitol Hill Police Board, added:
“Our Centurions will face neither pay cuts nor furloughs; they are standing tall through sequestration and all. (We are saving $ by reducing overtime which is accomplished by closing doors of convenience, safety will not be compromised but health improved for visitors and staff by longer treks. )”
The Pinocchio Test
Obama’s remarks continue the administration’s pattern of overstating the potential impact of the sequester, which we have explored this week. But this error is particularly bad–and nerve-wracking to the janitors and security guards who were misled by the president’s comments.
We originally thought this was maybe a Two Pinocchio rating, but in light of the AOC memo and the confirmation that security guards will not face a pay cut, nothing in Obama’s statement came close to being correct.
In the spirit of Edward R. Murrow and his never ending search for the truth, I award the Washington Post 4 Murrows.