Have you noticed, the hot topic this election cycle is to dig into internet archives and find something someone said which appears to contradict what the person says now.  It’s not a new phenomenon, but it has taken on gargantuan proportions this cycle.

The latest is the ABC News headline that a memo was found on a Newt-affilitated website in which, according to the headline, Gingrich ’06 Memo:  “Agree Entirely With Gov. Romney” on Health Care.  The Wall Street Journal has a similar, but not as categorical, headline, Gingrich Applauded Romney’s Health Plan.

First, that Newt had some nice things to say about Romneycare is not breaking news.  In particular, Newt has been criticized for supporting some form of mandate for those who make over $50,000 a year, the issue being the form of mandate (not necessarily the type of penalties under Obamacare or Romneycare).  It was all over the news last May, but last May seems to be more forgotten than a 2006 memo.  Criticism of Newt’s position is fair, but don’t pretend that it is something newly discovered.

(added) Newt’s praise of portions of a mandate and Romneycare was widely discussed after this interview with David Gregory last May (video h/t HotAir):

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Second, the actual memo does not “entirely” support Romneycare, and is very critical in numerous critical aspects.  Fortunately for me, Noel Sheppard at Newsbusters already has done the work for me, ABC’s Misleading Headline:

ABC’s Jonathan Karl Tuesday published a piece  now prominently featured at the Drudge Report with a headline guaranteed to be  the Obama-loving media’s lead story concerning something Republican presidential  candidate Newt Gingrich wrote over five years ago: “Gingrich ’06 Memo: ‘Agree Entirely With Gov. Romney’ on Health Care.”

Inside the actual document  uncovered by BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski, the former Speaker didn’t “agree  entirely with Gov. Romney” at all (emphasis added):

While in theory the plan should be affordable if the whole  state contributes to the cost, the reality is that Massachusetts has an  exhaustive list of health coverage regulations prohibiting insurers from  offering more basic, pared-down policies with higher deductibles. (This  is yet another reminder that America must establish a cross-state insurance  market that gives individuals the freedom to shop for insurance plans in states  other than their own.)

In our estimation, Massachusetts residents earning little  more than $30,000 a year are in jeopardy of being priced out of the system. In  the event that this occurs, Governor Romney will be in grave danger of  repeating the mistakes of his predecessor, Mike Dukakis, whose 1988 health plan  was hailed as a save-all but eventually collapsed when poorly-devised  payment structures created a malaise of unfulfilled promises. We propose that a  more realistic approach might be to limit the mandate to those individuals  earning upwards of $54,000 per year.

… Far more importantly, don’t be surprised if the rest of the Obama-loving, Gingrich-hating press similarly gloss over the paragraphs in this memo where the former Speaker expressed serious concern about the plan he supposedly “loved” and “agree[d] entirely with.”

Again, I don’t criticize someone for disagreeing with Newt, but this “breaking news” and gotcha movement is out of control.

It seems that actually reading and analyzing documents is hopeless in the face of headlines and people who don’t care.


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