MSNBC Goes Into Astroturf Mode: Organizes Grassroots Effort of Free Clinics as Gesture to 'Shame' Senators

Remember back just a few short months ago - when thousands, if not millions, of Americans were protesting out-of-control government spending and other policies favored by President Barack Obama's administration? 

Surprised by the resounding turnout, the usual lefty talking heads on MSNBC, specifically on "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" and "The Rachel Maddow Show," explained the protests away as being fake grassroots aka AstroTurf.

Fast forward to Oct. 7, when both Olbermann and Maddow started laying down AstroTurf of their own. They encouraged free health care clinics to be held in the states of six Democratic senators that are not in lockstep with the left-wing agenda on health care reform.

The clinics themselves are a worthy endeavor. However, Olbermann, used a long-winded hour-long Oct. 7 "Special Comment" to set this up and encouraged the clinics as a tactic to circumvent "a filibuster against health care reform in the Senate."

"So I propose tonight one act with two purposes," Olbermann said. "I propose we, all of us, embrace the selfless individuals at the National Association of Free Clinics. You know them. They conducted the mass health care free clinic in Houston that served 1,500 people. I want a health care free clinic every week in principle cities of the states of the six senators key to defeating a filibuster against health care reform in the Senate."

Olbermann is an employee of NBC Universal, which is a subsidiary of General Electric (NYSE:GE). And GE is the world's largest company, according to Forbes magazine. Olbermann and his MSNBC colleague Rachel Maddow, using their television megaphones, paid for by GE, are engaging in their own style of AstroTurfing.

The specific tactic, as Olbermann explained, is to target six Democratic senators -Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor, D-Ark., Max Baucus, D-Mont., Ben Nelson, D-Neb., Mary Landrieu, D-La. and Harry Reid, D-Nev., by shaming them with these free clinics.

"I want Sens. Lincoln and Pryor to see what health care poverty is really like in Little Rock," Olbermann said. "I want Sen. Baucus to see it in Butte. I want Sen. Ben Nelson to see it in Lincoln. I want Sen. Landrieu to see it in Baton Rouge. I want Sen. Reid to see it in Las Vegas."

And Olbermann admitted he would participate in this endeavor, all in the name of battling big insurance.

"I'll donate," he said. "How much will you donate? We enable thousands of our neighbors to have just a portion of the bounty of good health and we make a statement to the politician, forgive me William Jennings Brian, ‘You shall not press down upon the brow of America this crown of insurance. You shall not crucify man kind upon a cross of blue.'"

Olbermann said the MSNBC-orchestrated efforts would even include Web sites and reminders on his nightly show.

"We think these events will be firmed up presently," Olbermann said. "You will be able to link from our website. Trust me. I will remind you."

Maddow reiterated Olbermann's plea on her Oct. 7 show. (She said they would be held in the capital cities of these senators, which is a little different than what Olbermann had proposed on his show. That might be something they'd want to work out beforehand given MSNBC's difficulties with geography not once, but twice.)

"He's specifically talking about a technique that would increase political pressure on six senate Democrats who are key to allowing a vote on health reform," Maddow said. "The proposal, as Keith said, is to hold massive free health clinics weekly in the capital cities of the states represented by these key six Democratic senators. Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada."

This according to Maddow would show once and for all what an abysmal failure the American health care system is, despite a recent Gallup poll showing that "80 percent are satisfied with the quality of medical care available to them, including 39 percent who are very satisfied."

"As has occurred in other states, doctors and nurses would donate their time to provide free care to thousands of constituents of these senators to regular Americans in these states who can not afford health care as it is provided by the health care non-system that we've got now," Maddow said.

Maddow alluded to a similar clinic held in Houston last month that drew 1,500 looking for treatment. This blatant exploitation of the poor, she said, would be an opportunity not only to give away health care, but to "shame" politicians into agreeing with her left-of-center ideology.

"The strategy at work here is that if funds can be raised to hold clinics like these in Arkansas and Montana and Nebraska and Louisiana and Nevada, it will be a way of doing well by doing good. Americans who are un-served by the current system will get some health care and this dramatic heart-wrenching means of providing it to them could shame their senators into getting out of the way of reform."