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Hullabaloo


Thursday, July 28, 2011

 
Pay no attention to what they're actually saying

by digby

CNN's been doing segments all morning at a senior citizen's center in Pasadena and they keep ignoring what these people are actually saying in order to create a narrative that these people are upset by the "sausage making," when what they are actually upset by is the fact that the safety net programs are on the chopping block. They jsut refuse to acknowledge the substance of their complaints.

MALVEAUX: Well, now seniors are worried about cuts to those programs because of the debt crisis. We've got a live report up ahead...

Debt limit and the standoff has a lot of us worried about what is going to happen to mortgage rates, car loans, even our 401(k)s. But many seniors are worried about cuts to programs they depend on every day. We're talking about Medicare, Social Security, many other things.

CNN's Sandra Endo, she joins us at a senior center in Pasadena, California. Sandra, I can only imagine what people are saying about this standoff that is taking place in Washington.

SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Suzanne, seniors here say they are scared, they're worried. If they don't get their Social Security checks or any cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, well, that would severely impact their livelihoods.

And we brought together some young, feisty seniors this morning to talk to us this morning about what's going on in Washington. And Anastasia here, you say you are watching the political debate play out, and you say you are angry. How angry does it make you?

ANASTASIA STEWART, SENIOR CITIZEN: Makes me want to hit the streets, because what they tell us is not the way it always is. And I am tired of the political games; I'm tired of them treating the American people like they don't have brains at all.

ENDO: And how would this impact you if those cuts are enacted?

STEWART: Well, we won't be paying our rent and you will have even more homeless people. We are becoming almost a third-world nation. It's of the corporations, by the corporations and for the corporations. People don't seem to matter anymore. But you can know that Washington's going to take care of Washington and the heck with the rest of us.

ENDO: And, Mildred, you feel the same way. How would these proposed cuts or if you don't get your Social Security, what would that mean for you?

MILDRED HAWKINS, SENIOR CITIZEN: I means that I'm suffering from the two h's, homeless and hungry. Please, play in the parks, not with my Social Security.

ENDO: You feel like you're a hostage in all this?

HAWKINS: Absolutely. I worked years and years to save money to live off when I become a senior. What do I have to look forward to now?

ENDO: Yes, it's a very troubling situation.

I'm joined also by an AARP representative.

Ernie, you've been campaigning for these seniors. What are you doing to fight?

ERNIE POWELL, AARP ADVOCACY DIRECTOR: Well, we have a national campaign called Protect Seniors. And our message is, don't cut Social Security, don't cut Medicare as any -- as part of any deal on the debt ceiling or for deficit reduction. AARP members and their families and people on Social Security have worked their entire lives. These are earned benefits. So we can't see this happen. And we're asking our members to -- and all the public to let their congressman know to not make deals that cut Social Security and Medicare.

ENDO: All right, thank you so much, everyone. And they have a petition. A lot of signatures. People are signing to make sure their representatives in Washington are listening. But that's the big question, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Sandra, that's just excellent when you hear just, you know, how this is going to impact folks and the kinds of feelings, emotions that they have about this. Clearly this is beyond Washington. There's a lot of, you know, as you say, the ugliness of the sausage is being made. But people outside of Washington wondering what is going to happen next. We're keeping a close eye on that as well, Sandra.


Here's the next segment, in which they twist the comments to reflect an concern about default, when it's obvious these people are talking about the "entitlement" cuts in the general:

Randi Kaye: Are they alarmed by what they see happening, or not happening, in Washington?

Sandra Endo: Absolutely Randi. A lot of emotion, strong opinions coming from a lot of the seniors we've spoken to. People are scared, they're worried, they're angry about what's going on in Washington. A lot of people are just frightened because they rely on their social security and of course Medicare and Medicaid for their livelihood. Let's talk to Bobbie right now.

You were talking to me earlier about what's going on in Washington right now. Tell me how angry are you?

Bobbie: very, very angry. It's because I wouldn't be able to live the lifestyle I live if I did not have my social security, even though I work part time, 36 hours a week. I could not live on either one of them alone.

Sandra Endo: So you would be out on the street?

Bobbie: probably worse than that because I don't think, the way I see some people on the street, I don't think I would be able to live that kind of life. I wouldn't be able to function. So I hate that that might be staring us in the face.

Anastasia, what do you think of all the back and forth bickering?

Anastasia: I think I would like to see all of them have to trade places with us and let them try to live on what we don't have and what they're trying to cut even more of. Social Security has not even contributed to the deficit and yet they're more than happy to take it and use it wherever they'd like.

And all the back and forth, the fighting?

Anastasia: The political games that they play. It's a bad role model for our kids I must say. Truth has become obsolete. And that's very sad. And yet we claim to be a country that tells the truth and that's democratic and yet we're not doing a very good job of that ourselves.

Sandra Endo: Alright. Thank you so much for sharing your opinions. Obviously a very emotional time for seniors and they wait, as the whole country waits Randi for some kind of deal, some kind of compromise, something, answers to come out of in Washington.

Randi Kaye: It sounds like some folks are worried about the long term and any changes that might happen to entitlements, social security, medicare, medicaid?

Sandra Endo: Oh absolutely, they are relying on these checks to come. And even president Obama when he spoke saying we will be in limbo that if the country is broke and they won't have enough money to send out these checks...

It's a buzz here, people grabbing me wanting to say what they think is going on in Washington, they're angry feeling like they're being held hostage.

Randi Kaye:Sandra Endo in Pasadena, interesting to hear some fresh voices, it sounds like they really have a fight under way there.


That woman Anastasia is better informed and smarter about what's really going on than any of the journalists involved in this piece.

These people are worried about themselves, to be sure. But they are worried about the programs' future because they know how meager they are and how difficult it is to live on them as it is. Randi Kaye had a brief moment of clarity there but quickly shook it off and went back to the storyline, which is that everyone's upset about the "foodfight" and the "sausage making" and the "bickering" not the substance of the proposed deals. But it's not true.

I don't know who will get the blame for all this, but I certainly know who's taking credit for it. And this large and growing segment of the population does not like what's being proposed.


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