Nets Plug Kennedy's 'Dramatic' and 'Emotional Pitch for Health Care Reform'

Newsweek engaged itself deeper in the battle for nationalized health care by turning over its cover story -- “We're Almost There” -- to Senator Ted Kennedy for his lengthy personal recitation of “the cause of my life.” ABC and NBC on Sunday night dutifully championed his cause as World News anchor Dan Harris highlighted how “Kennedy is using his own battle against brain cancer to make an emotional pitch for health care reform” and NBC reporter Mike Viqueira touted:
Today, another dramatic push, this time from an ailing Ted Kennedy, absent from Washington but appearing on the cover of Newsweek and writing: “This is the cause of my life. We will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not just a privilege.”

This wasn't the first time NBC has enlisted Kennedy to trumpet Obama's quest. Back in early March when the White House held a summit on health care, reporter Chuck Todd appropriated the coach who inspired “win one for the Gipper” by touting on NBC Nightly News how “the President's drive to pass health care got a Knute Rockne-like boost with a surprise appearance” by Kennedy.

Though this weekend was the 40th anniversary of Chappaquiddick, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts haven't uttered a syllable about it.

The short item from Harris on Sunday's World News:

Senator Ted Kennedy is using his own battle against brain cancer to make an emotional pitch for health care reform. Writing in Newsweek, Kennedy called it “the cause of my life.” He said “every American should be able to get the same treatment that U.S. Senators are entitled to.”
The July 19 NBC Nightly News showcased Kennedy in a larger story from Viqueira on the challenges ahead for Obama on health care. Picking up mid-way:
It's clear the votes aren't yet there for the President, so over the last week he's used his bully pulpit day after day to tell his plan, waging an all-out campaign to gain support, huddling with Democratic leaders and undecided Senators. And, after vulnerable Democrats raised red flags over the new tax and its impact on small business, warning it could “kill the goose that will lay the golden eggs of our recovery,” the very next day found them all marching into the West Wing – invited to come vent their concerns to top staff.

And today, another dramatic push, this time from an ailing Ted Kennedy, absent from Washington but appearing on the cover of Newsweek and writing: “This is the cause of my life. We will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not just a privilege.” And, [anchor] Carl [Quintanilla] , in another indication of the high stakes here, the President plans to have a formal prime time news conference in the White House's East Room on Wednesday evening.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center