It all started early in this week. On the front page of Drudge was a big story saying that President Obama’s India trip would cost $200 million per day. By the next day it was being pushed by the GOP:
However, instead of answering that question, Bachmann wanted to talk about President Obama's upcoming trip to India -- and the insane amount of money he's spending each day.
"Well I think we know that just within a day or so the President of the United States will be taking a trip over to India that is expected to cost the taxpayers $200 million a day," Bachmann said. "He's taking two thousand people with him. He'll be renting out over 870 rooms in India. And these are 5-star hotel rooms at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel. This is the kind of over-the-top spending, it's a very small example, Anderson."
What Drudge did was post a link to some obscure India news outlet. Without fact checking it, Michele Bachmann takes the false story and runs with it. Here’s what a little fact checking would have shown:
Snopes.com, a website devoted to myth busting, noted that even if the Indian press has correctly reported the size of the president’s entourage – 3,000 – the cost would work out to $66,000 per person per day, “a figure that stretches credulity to the breaking point.” Factcheck.org noted that the entire war in Afghanistan costs $190 million a day.
But the report is demonstrably incorrect. It says the White House had blocked off the entire Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai – it hasn’t – and that the press traveling with Mr. Obama will be staying there. We won’t. Besides, the press pays its own way at considerable cost to the media outlets, not the U.S. taxpayer.
It is worth nothing that that excerpt is from the Murdoch owned Wall Street Journal. Bachmann crazy speak is even to much for the far right news orgs.
But this tale doesn’t end here. Appearing on Drudge this morning is this:
The Pentagon did not mince words in dismissing as “absolutely absurd” and “comical” media reports from Indian news outlets that the US Navy was sending 34 warships off the coast of Mumbai as part of the security preparations for President Obama’s upcoming trip to India.
Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell did not shy away from dismissing reports that appeared in Indian media outlets, such as the Press Trust of India and the television network NDTV. The Press Trust of India is that country’s largest news agency.
Morrell told reporters he was making an exception to the practice of not discussing Presidential security details to shoot down the reports.
“I will take the liberty this time of dismissing as absolutely absurd this notion that somehow we were deploying 10 percent of the Navy -- some 34 ships and an aircraft carrier -- in support of the president's trip to Asia,” said Morrell at today’s Pentagon briefing. “That's just comical. Nothing close to that is being done."
So where does Drudge go from here in manufacturing outrage? How about this one:
OMG! Obama will use Air Force One, yet the Prime Minister of the UK just flies commercially. Here’s another flashback for Drudge. Tony Blair also flew commercially when he came here to visit. Did Bush fly commercially when making his trips?
Of course this isn’t the first time this has happened. Remember when Obama was first inaugurated? The big outrage on the right was that Obama had a motorcade and that the White House paid for bullet proof vehicles. I totally forgot that Bush and Reagan rode horses around without anyone else. Silly me.
But the most frustrating part of this is what it does to America. You have a known manufacturer of outrage, Matt Drudge, pushing some BS story. You then have a moronic congressperson, Michele Bachmann, echoing that story. Finally you get a bunch of Americans that become extra stupid simply because they drink that Kool-Aid and have an inability to check the facts themselves. This is the “dumbing down of America” in action and it isn’t pretty.