ABC, NBC and CBS Mostly Ignore Obama's Recess Appointment of Pro-Health Care Rationing Doctor to Head Medicare

Barack Obama's decision to make a recess appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick to run Medicare has been vastly ignored by the mainstream news media, despite the fact Berwick has made controversial statements favoring rationing of medical care. As CNSNews.com's Terry Jeffrey reported Dr. Berwick, at a talk celebrating the 60th birthday of Great Britain's National Health Service, told the audience to be wary of returning to a free enterprise based system as he warned: "Please, don't put your faith in market forces," and urged them "I hope you will never, ever give up on what you have begun" and rallied the crowd: "I hope you realize and affirm how badly you need–how badly the world needs–an example at scale of a health care system that is universal, accessible, excellent and free at the point of care–a health system that, at its core is like the world we wish we had: generous, hopeful, confident, joyous and just." Berwick even ominously told his audience at Biotechnology Healthcare, "The decision is not whether or not we will ration care, the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open."

So given Berwick's rather outspoken faith in socialized medicine the news that Obama is planning to circumvent Congress with a recess appointment, to have him head Medicare, had to be big news, right? Well not according to NBC, CBS and ABC news, as there was no mention of the President's decision to make the recess appointment on Tuesday night's NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News or ABC's World News. In fact the embargo on the information continued through Wednesday morning as there were zero mentions on ABC's Good Morning America and CBS's The Early Show. Only NBC's Today show mentioned the news as Lester Holt, in an 8am news brief on the July 7 show, told viewers the following:

President Obama is expected to appoint his choice to oversee Medicare and Medicaid today, while Congress is in recess. This means Dr. Donald Berwick won't have to undergo Senate confirmation hearings. Republicans had wanted to question the Harvard professor and healthcare policy expert about comments he made on rationing medical care.

While the Today show did offer that 20 seconds to the Dr. Berwick story, in contrast they were much more enthusiastic about the news that actress Lindsay Lohan was sentenced to 90 days in jail for her run-ins with the law as they devoted 21 minutes and 37 seconds to the starlet. Over on ABC's Good Morning America, where they ignored the Berwick appointment, they spent 7 minutes and 23 seconds dedicated to Lohan with CBS's Early Show logging in 5 minutes. Last night CBS's Evening News led the networks in amount of time spent on Lohan with 42 seconds, followed by NBC Nightly News and ABC's World News at 30 seconds a piece. So in total the three major broadcast networks, from last night through today's morning shows, have devoted 35 minutes and 42 seconds to Lohan and only a scant 20 seconds to Obama's recess appointment of Berwick.

To read more about Berwick please read CNSNews.com's coverage.

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.