Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Conservative Obamacare Foe Eats Chris Hayes' Face

Jennifer Stefano of Americans for Prosperity has been a guest on Chris Hayes' show before, but never like this. Just... wow. This is the sort of cheap cable news theatrics that All In was supposed to eschew, which is why Hayes looks like a deer caught in an ambush of headlights when his guest, with whom he's had many a cordial chat, suddenly concocts a misogynist personal attack out of thin air.

This segment is a ridiculous shitshow, and something of a culmination of Chris Hayes slowly getting used to the fact that this is not his weekend show, and conservatives who come on it aren't always there for earnest discussion and tasty danish. Some of them are there to earn high-fives from Twitchy, et al. These are not good people, and they will trade any and all goodwill and good faith they have developed with you in exchange for a few dirty points.

The bad news is that it took Chris so long to realize what was being done to him, because he's so fatally sincere, he just can't believe the bad faith when he sees it. The good news is that, despite the fact that this was great TV, there's zero chance Hayes will try to duplicate this, because it was great TV that served no useful purpose. Instead, I will serve one. Jennifer, you were wrong, $94,000 per year is not the Federal Poverty Level for expanded Medicaid, it's the 400% level at which a family of four can no longer receive a subsidy for Obamacare. The FPL for expanded Medicaid, the 133%, is $15,521.10 for an individual, or $31,720.50 for a family of four. Even for a family of eight, the expansion only goes to those making $53,319.70 or less. You, Jennifer, are a liar. How DARE you!

Also, the study Jennifer cited actually shows 27% of respondents were previously uninsured, as of February, but also explains why their numbers can't be compared with Obamacare enrollment figures. Even more recent data, however, shows that the drop in uninsured people since the ACA took effect is pretty close to the number of enrollments reported by HHS. So, liar.

PS: I'd rather have this Chris Hayes than one with a killer instinct, because his pathological good faith usually works out.

PPS: In case I didn't make it clear enough, this was obviously a premeditated attack, the plan beig to go on the air and shout as long a stream of talking points as possible. in a manner sufficiently deliberate to be lipread from space, and when the host tries to inject some form of reason, absurdly paint him as a woman-beater. It's a perfect plan to get media attention, but only if the media plays along. Unfortunately, they are. Mediaite (which linked this post with a hat-tip), Huffington Post, and TPM have all picked up the shitshow angle on this clip, and none of them have bothered to serve the public by explaining what Stefano was lying about. If they did, then the plan would backfire, because Jennifer Stefano and Americans For Prosperity would be getting attention for being horrible liars, and not just "awesome" cable news guests.

PPPS: TPM added a fact.

PPPPS: According to Wonkette, the guest who followed Stefano, White House adviser Phil Schiliro, "refuted" what she said. To be honest, I only half-watched his part of the segment the first time around, so maybe I missed something?

Nope. Phil Schiliro refuted shit. He's right, there's no way to know exactly how many ACA enrollees were uninsured, but Stefano lied about the exact study she was refuting, by half, and the Federal Poverty Level is a real, checkable thing. That's a big problem, but even if he had, who would have noticed? Obamacare advocates in the media need to lose their "Ha, ha, you got me, Biff!" gentility. These lies are vicious, they shouldn't be met with knowing eyerolls and head-shakes.


  1. I've been on the receiving end of that routine before from people just like her. So much garbage is blasted out that you're left speechless. You don't know where to begin to refute it and by the time you've started they are on a roll again. If you aren't dominating them then their intensity just grows because they think they got you.

  2. If Chris Hayes had been a Fox News anchor, that batshit-crazy run-on-sentences shouter Jennifer Stefano -- who used to call herself a "community organizer", isn't that ironic? -- would have had her mic cut off the first time the anchor couldn't get a word in edgewise. She didn't deserve Chris Hayes' continued attempts at a sane discussion.

    Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews have had a few right-wing Tea Party guests with that same modus operandi: nonstop spouting non sequiturs and fact-free talking points in a loud screechy or booming voice, talking over anything they, the hosts, are trying to interject.

    If the only reason these Tea Party types agree to appear on MSNBC is to high-five Twitchy, perhaps they should be subjected to a preliminary lecture about on-air decorum and what will happen if they are as obnoxious as Jennifer Stefano was.

  3. This was the funniest tv ever. Also, the saddest.