Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
Rep. David Obey, D-Wis.
U.S. Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., fielded a pair of questions he didn’t see coming – from someone who has actually read the federal health-care reform bill he approved last week.
But when the provisions Obey voted for were brought to light by the unexpected questions, his staffers got so upset, witnesses say, one aide actually assaulted the cameraman.
“Which provisions are going to lower cost?” the chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee was asked on camera. “Is it the provision that provides funding for Native American child molesters? Or the provision that provides funding for veterinarians?”
The shocking questions came right out of the pages of the health bill the House passed, which included rehabilitation of “perpetrators of child sex abuse who are Indian or members of an Indian household,” quoted from H.R. 3962, page 1950, line 22.
The questions were asked by Jason Mattera, hailed as one of the country’s top young conservative activists and already widely known for his videoed ambush interviews.
Obey answered Mattera’s questions with sarcasm of his own: “Why don’t you try to figure that out for yourself?”
His smiling aide’s reaction, however, was even more abrasive.
“When they realized it was not a friendly interview,” Mattera told WND, “a staff member came, slapped away the cameraman’s camera and pushed him against the wall. In the video you can see the wall; you see her hand in his face. What you don’t see is her actually hitting the cameraman.”
Video of the confrontation can be seen below:
Though the funding Mattera criticized was eventually dropped when the House, a week after the confrontation, passed H.R. 3590 as the final health-care package instead, Mattera told WND it’s obvious Obey and other congressmen he’s confronted don’t really know what the thousand-page bills they’ve been voting for contain.
“Even if it’s not in current bill, the dude still voted to rehabilitate Native American child molesters with our money!” Mattera said. “Obey’s comments, the arrogance of it, make it clear that even though he appropriated funds for it, he had no idea what was in there.”
Senator gets his chance to squirm, too
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa
When Mattera heard Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, publicly compare discrepancies in health-care coverage between healthy and unhealthy Americans to racial discrimination from years ago, the shock journalist knew he had his next target.
“Here’s another instance where the mainstream media just ignored an insane statement made by a Democrat on the health-care warpath,” Mattera told WND. “Harkin compared health-care pools to racial segregation. Not only is that insensitive, it’s outrageous. Blacks had to fight for their civil rights, were being savagely assaulted, and he’s going to compare health-care coverage to that?”
Mattera confronted Harkin on his comments:
“With the election of Barack Obama, we were supposed to enter this new, post-racial society,” Mattera said to Harkin, who agreed. “And yet, we have geniuses like you who compare current health-care laws and plans to Jim Crow!
“What gives, sir? Do you actually think that the awful discrimination blacks faced during segregation is comparable in any way to health-care pools?” Mattera asked. “Don’t you think that’s offensive to black Americans?”
Video of the exchange can be seen below:
Mattera told WND his unusual approach is a response to watching his own generation of younger Americans get duped, or to use his word, “lobotomized,” by biased coverage in the press.
“We have lapdogs in the mainstream media who have prostituted their objectivity to cozy up to Democrats,” Mattera said. “We know they won’t ask these questions, so it’s up to the alternative media to dig into bills, discover what’s really there and hold politicians accountable for voting for it.”
Mattera said he “got really fed up” with watching Americans swallow the standard news lines and sound bites hook, line and sinker.
“I see how people in my age bracket are lobotomized by fawning coverage in the mainstream media,” he said. “My generation has a target on our foreheads, because we don’t understand the activist nature of media.
“Hopefully, I can grill these politicians and expose the corruption,” he explained, “because the mainstream media is treating left-wingers [with sweet, gentle coverage] like prepubescent little girls at a Jonas Brothers concert.”