I have to give CNN's Ali Velshi kudos here, because he did something we don't see often enough on our corporate media. He fact checked someone right on the air and called them out for not telling the truth during an interview. Then he followed up during the same program so the viewers who watched the interview would see it. I was glad to see that happen during his New Year's Ever interview with Rep. Tim Huelskamp.
He actually went a long way in making up for the terrible interview with Huelskamp's fellow wingnut Rep. Marsha Blackburn the previous evening, where he allowed her to filibuster him and rattle off way too many of her talking points unchecked. I still don't think it makes up for him having the Wall Street Journal hack Stephen Moore just about every stinking week on his weekend show, Your Money, without some liberal economists for balance.
Velshi laid into Huelskamp for pretending that raising taxes on those making over $250,000 a year is going to harm a large number of the small businesses out there and those so-called "job creators," and gave him some grief for the stats he was quoting as well.
Huelskamp disputed Velshi’s claim and said that he had “seen research” that raising taxes would impact “41% of business income.” Velshi called him out on his language, saying “41% of business income is not 41% of business, that’s a very, very different and somewhat misleading statistic.” Again Velshi asked, “You understand the distinction, right?”
Velshi then proceeded to silence Huelskamp from speaking any further, saying, “Sir, you put out information to our viewers, you’re on CNN right now. I would like the information to be accurate.” Huelskamp fought to answer, and when he was asked by Velshi whether he wanted to stand by his information, he said, “That’s our best guess. We’re still working on that.”
“I think that’s a guess,” Velshi retorted.
According to Huelskamp, part of the difficulty in obtaining accurate information is that the Obama administration won’t tell his team anything. Velshi slammed him for this misstatement, saying, “We actually don’t have any difficulty getting that information, sir. We don’t need it from the administration, that information is public.”
The post at Mediaite did not take note of the fact that he followed up during the same hour and fact checked Huelskamp for the viewers who had just watched the interview. I say good for him for doing this. It's too bad that this is the exception and not the norm on every channel with any politician who comes on the air and lies to the viewers.
VELSHI: Wolf, I just want to... I've been doing some research as I promised I would do in the conversation that we had with Congressman Tim Huelskamp, quoting what he said was a study by Montana State University. We're working our way through that study, but I'll tell you the facts that we have right now.
If businesses... if everybody who earned more than $250 thousand saw an increase in the top tax rate from 36 percent to 39.6 percent, that would be 3.5 percent of all small businesses. That would be 940,000 businesses. That's I think a number that the Congressman was quoting. So at $450,000, it is nowhere near the number that the Congressman was quoting.
But let's just be generous and say that it was that. Of that number, only a very small proportion are not hedge funds, partnerships, law firms, companies that don't employ a whole lot of other people. So the Congressman's facts are just incorrect on this. There is nowhere near a million businesses that will be affected by this increase of taxing people above $450,000.