Occupy Democrats’ latest meme is pants on fire fiction
Occupy Democrats is a progressive group who claim they provide “a counterbalance to the Republican Tea Party.” They are best known for creating “click bait” memes on Facebook that the left eats up. Occupy Democrats keeps Snopes.com busy writing reports on their false, or “mixture” of fact and fiction, claims.
Their latest false claim is getting widespread attention; however, its premise is a complete, and easily-debunked, fantasy. They declare that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had polio as a child (true) and that all of his medical care was paid for by the government (false). McConnell’s care was paid for by the March of Dimes, a private, nonprofit charity.
The Occupy Democrats’ false McConnell Facebook meme (which we had to add ourselves since the meme appears to have been removed from their page):
That meme has been shared hundreds of thousands of times since Occupy Democrats posted it on its Facebook page on Thursday.
. . . . Similar stories have since been shared on Facebook, mostly by left-wing sites, and have been making the rounds on Twitter. A story about a man who relied on the government to help him recover from a debilitating disability, but is now pushing for a bill that would deeply cut government care for the poor seems to expose hypocrisy and sounds like an irresistible weapon for anyone who opposes the legislation.
But that story is false, historians told The Washington Post.
McConnell was struck with polio at the age of 2 in 1944, a decade before a vaccine was developed. He’d written in his memoir, “The Long Game,” that he received treatment at the polio treatment center that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had founded in Warm Springs, Ga.
The articles falsely claim that McConnell’s health care was paid for by the public, and therefore, by the government.
“The public” in this case, however, means the public’s donations to a private foundation, not taxpayer money funneled through the government.
Shortly after the [National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis] was created in 1937, comedian Eddie Cantor spearheaded a fundraising campaign that he called March of Dimes, a pun on the contemporary newsreel, “The March of Time.” Its goal was simple: Use radio and the president’s Birthday Ball to encourage people to donate at least one dime to the cause of fighting polio.
The result was an “avalanche of donations” in the form of 80,000 letters containing dimes and dollars that inundated the White House mail room, according to the March of Dimes website. By Jan. 29, 1938, the eve of Roosevelt’s birthday, Americans had donated a total of 2,680,000 dimes, or $268,000.
“This wasn’t like NPR or a taxpayer funded museum or library,” David Oshinsky, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning historical narrative “Polio: An American Story,” said in an email. “This was millions of Americans donating a dime or a quarter to a fully private charity.”
. . . . “Rather than relying on a few wealthy donors, it raised small donations from millions of people. No one was too poor to give a dime to help a kid try to walk again,” he said. “McConnell was one of thousands of children with polio who received help free of charge, thanks to the shrewd advertising of the March of Dimes and the goodness of the American people.”
Here are a couple of examples of the false stories Occupy Democrats spread . . . and that progressives believe.
— PunditFact (@PunditFact) August 26, 2015
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