CNN's Jim Acosta devoted a three-minute segment to the Scheiner's left-wing criticism of the president's health care plan, but excluded any other voices, even after the doctor took a shot at the insurance industry.
"Chicago doctor David Scheiner has taken a hard look at Obama's prescription for health care reform and sees bad medicine," Acosta said before explaining why the doctor is "so special."
In fact, Scheiner was Obama's personal doctor for 22 years, but he blasted the president's plan for not going "far enough." Scheiner advocated a single-payer system like in Canada and Europe.
"If I had to say the single one thing that's the worst part of it is that private insurance companies continue to be a part of the health scheme. Everybody keeps saying we don't want the government getting involved in health care - the government is involved in health care and Medicare and it works!" Scheiner said.
In a balanced report, Scheiner's attack on private insurers would have been a followed by a statement or representative from the insurance industry. Acosta didn't produce one. Nor did he point out that since 1970, the cost of Medicare has risen 34 percent more per patient "than the combined costs of all health care in America apart from Medicare and Medicaid." He also didn't question Scheiner about the problems Medicare has created for patients when doctors decide to opt out of Medicare (because of lower reimbursements and "too much" hassle).
MRC's Vice President for Business and Culture, Dan Gainor, appeared on Fox News Channel today to discuss a GOP Congressional Report that accused ACORN of political corruption and fraud.
"Happening Now" host Jane Skinner asked: "Dan, boil it down into the simplest terms: what the main accusation is here."
"Well, the main accusation is that they're breaking both election laws and tax laws while using – they've got $53 million from the federal government over the last – since 1994. And they've also got $2 million from Bank of America so we've actually bailed out ACORN. You and me and everybody watching. And so what the House is charging them, you know, the House Republicans are saying that they're using this money to boost the campaigns of Democratic officials – whether it's Blagojevich or Obama or others," Gainor said.
ABC found itself in hot water this week after it announced on June 15 it would be airing a primetime special, "Questions for the President: Prescription for America," on June 24 from the White House. ABC also said "Good Morning America" and "World News" would also be broadcast from the White House that day.
ABC News' senior vice president Kerry Smith defended the network against critics saying in a letter the hour-long special from the White House will be "devoted to exploring and probing the President's position and the giving voice to questions and criticisms of that position."
Smith also claimed the network has "had many critics of the President's health care proposals on the air - and that's before a real plan has even been put before the country. In the end, no one watching, listening to, or reading ABC News will lack for an understanding of all sides of these important questions."
MRC's Business & Media Institute fact checked that claim and found that from January 20 to June 16 those quoted in health care stories on ABC's morning and evening news shows favored ObamaCare by a 3-to-1 margin (55 supporters to 18 critics).
Actor, director and screenwriter Liev Schreiber thinks America needs a replay of propagandist filmmaker Michael Moore's "Sicko."
According to Schreiber's June 5 remarks on The Daily Beast's Buzz Board, Moore's movie would be "worthwhile" as the health care debate begins.
"As the health-care debate gets under way, a replay of Sicko is worthwhile. It's preposterous that there still isn't affordable health care in this country," wrote Schreiber.
Schreiber admitted that "Moore's approach to filmmaking is the theatrical equivalent of Artaud; he just wants to shock people into action, and he does a damn good job of it. I don't have a problem with that style if the intention is good, and in this case, the intention is good."
Are you gonna eat that? According to CNN host Rick Sanchez and one of his May 7 guests, your answer is being decided for you by food industry "manipulation."
"Here's a question that you've probably never thought of when reaching for that next bag of chips or that can of soda. Is it you who's actually deciding what to eat or how much to eat? Or is someone really deciding for you?" Sanchez asked before introducing Dr. David Kessler, former chief of the Food and Drug Administration and author of The End of Overeating.
Sanchez summarized Kessler's argument saying "you and I are being programmed, kind of like manipulated like Pavlov's dog" for profit. No representative from the food industry was brought on to rebut Kessler's claims.
"You suggest the nation's food industry is intentionally creating adult baby food. What does that mean," Sanchez asked Kessler.
Kessler replied, "Much of our food that we are eating is predigested. It's pre-fried, it's bathed in sugar and fat ... Today the food goes down in one or two chews. It's a woosh, you get that a sensory hit and you just reach for more."
Neil Cavuto had some harsh criticism of President Obama during his end-of-show monologue on May 5.
The Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network anchor blasted Obama for creating villains of businesses and for presenting an inconsistent message that is keeping businesspeople "anxious."
"I think every administration has its villains. Remember Ronald Reagan had the evil Soviet Empire. President Bush his own axis of evil. That was three countries there. This president - in a word: business. Alright, not all businesses but it seems most businesses, big business at least."
Pointing to Obama's May 4 call to change corporate taxation rules to prevent the use of tax havens, as well as the recent government involvement in Chrysler, Cavuto said: "Huge multinationals that hire workers abroad and get tax breaks here - they're villains. Sick companies like Chrysler being pushed into a foreign automakers hands on taxpayers' dime no less - they're not villains."
After days of media alarm regarding the H1N1 virus, or "swine flu," ABC "World News with Charles Gibson" provided a calmer analysis on April 30.
Medical editor Dr. Timothy Johnson told anchor Charles Gibson the "good news" about this flu virus and admitted that "sometimes we as the media" "do overreact."
"In an amazing feat of modern science Charlie, they've been able to send out this sequence for scientists to study and they've found a couple of interesting things. One - there's an amino acid that's missing in this virus that is found in more lethal viruses suggesting that this may not be, at least in its current form, as lethal as some had feared," Johnson told ABC viewers.
"There's also a suggestion that its enough like past flu viruses, particularly the 1957 virus, that is may have produced immunity over the years especially in older people. Which may, and I stress the word may explain why older people do not seem to be getting it yet," Johnson continued.
CNN amped up the alarmism about swine flu April 30 when co-host John Roberts interviewed Dr. Martin Blaser of NYU without rounding out the segment with other opinions.
Roberts asked Blaser to put the virus, which had already sickened 109 people in ten states, "in perspective."
Blaser responded, "This is a pandemic. It's all over the world. Right now it's early and it's mild so everybody's at risk. But right now the risk is low."
On April 29, the World Health Organization raised its alert level to stage 5, which "is characterized by human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries," according to WHO Web site. Phase 6 is "the pandemic phase."
Roberts also asked Blaser to respond to a prediction by John Barry, author of a book about the worst flu epidemic in history, that this virus would act in the same manner.
"John Barry, who wrote a fabulous book on the 1918 flu pandemic called ‘The Great Influenza', thinks this is just the opening act of a very long play. That this virus is probably going to go away for a little while and then maybe next winter or early next year come back with a vengeance. What do you think?" Roberts asked.
CNN is finally covering the tea parties - by attacking the participants. After anchor Anderson Cooper made an obscene sexual joke about attendees, CNN correspondent Susan Roesgen rudely interrupted one of the protestors and slammed the event for being "anti-government," "anti-CNN," and "not really family viewing."
Roesgen asked a man holding his toddler, "Why are you here today?" The man started to respond saying, "Because I hear a president say that he believed in what Lincoln stood for. Lincoln's primary thing was he believed people had the right to liberty and they had the right..."
But Roesgen cut him off, saying, "But sir, what does that have to do with taxes? What does this have to do with your taxes?" She continued asking questions over him as he asked her to "let me finish my point." One crowd member was heard to yell "shut up" to Roesgen.
When the man finished his statement about people having the "right to the fruits of their own labor" and "government should not take it," Roesgen began arguing with him again and other protesters began to get upset.
Maybe he just doesn't know that there are people who disagree with his massive tax and spend agenda. That would explain a lot. Perhaps the network media's near silence on the "tea party" phenomenon has kept President Obama from realizing that hundreds of tax day protests will happen today?
"The White House says the president is unaware of the tea parties and will hold his own event today," ABC's Dan Harris said on "Good Morning America" on April 15.
NBC - one of the networks that has virtually ignored the Tax Day Tea Party protests against taxation and government spending - finally mentioned it on "Today" April 15.
The network's chief White House correspondent, Chuck Todd tacked his criticism on to the end of a glowing report about President Obama's economic speech from April 14. He cited "White House aides" who called Obama's speech "a modern-day fireside chat," but Todd said "it also had the feel of an economics class."
After such positive remarks about Obama, Todd dismissed the grassroots movement as "so-called tea parties."
Is pessimism about the economy really the new porn?
ABC's Dan Harris inquired about that possibility in an April 9 "Quick Fix" video for ABCNews.com. But he didn't examine ABC's role in promoting pessimistic or apocalyptic news which has been happening for years.
"Here's something I'm fixated on this week," Harris teased. "A little something called pessimism porn. That is a term coined by the good folks over at New York Magazine and it refers to the fact that there are a lot of people who've become addicted to reading apocalyptic news about the economy online."
According to Harris, "People are logging on to read all sorts of dire predictions about a new Great Depression, bread lines, riots. You name it."
Socialist International President George Papandreou has a lot in common with President Barack Obama.
Both the world leaders have called for nations to come together to solve the global recession and both claim it is necessary to focus on a green economy. Papandreou, who is likely to become Greece's next Prime Minister, was encouraged by Obama's "very new signal" about global goals for economic recovery.
"The United States under Barack Obama is giving out a very new signal which is, ‘We need to collaborate.' And I think that is very important for our planet today. We need to collaborate," Papandreou told Nicole Petallides of the Fox Business Network April 1. "The issues are global and if we do collaborate we can actually say that we can change the economy. We can change some of the structures that created this crisis and we can make sure that we uh, that we create the jobs for people - and jobs for workers in the United States."
Just a few short months ago, New York Times' liberal economics columnist Paul Krugman had high hopes for new President Obama and urged him to act like "Franklin Delano" Roosevelt.
But even the billions of dollars in government spending to fix the financial crisis, efforts to limit executive compensation and the recent ouster of General Motors CEO haven't pacified Krugman.
According to Newsweek's cover story for April 6, "Paul Krugman has emerged as Obama's toughest liberal critic." Evan Thomas' story glorified Krugman and asked "why the establishment worries that he may be right."
Thomas kindly described Krugman as "an unusual mix, at once nervous, shy, sweet and fiercely sure of himself." He also pinpointed Krugman's ideology as that of a "European Social Democrat."
This week I took on Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner for capitalizing on the A.I.G. crisis he helped foment by trying to seize even more regulatory authority. Stephen Moore described the plan as handing Geithner "judge, jury and execution" authority.
One Fox News Channel anchor said Vladimir Putin is probably "smiling," at the thought of Geithner's new plan. But since the networks have had Geithner's back for some time they are unlike to challenge him the way one Congressman did this week.
Culture and Media Institute staff writer Colleen Raezler was in studio with Cam Edwards of NRA News on March 26 to discuss media coverage of the Mexican drug wars.
Responding to Paul Helmke's, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, claim that the U.S. should adopt Mexican gun laws Raezler told Edwards: "The really funny thing is that Mexico has very strict gun laws but that's not apparently stopping these, these drug runners and drug dealers from obtaining these weapons."
Edwards said he was "stunned" that the media barely reported Helmke's remark and specifically criticized one Associated Press reporter for not mentioning it in her story. "There weren't a ton of media in attendance there [at the Brady press conference], but The Associated Press was there."
The U.S. is at war with the failing economy, according to Warren Buffett, who told CNBC viewers that it had "fallen off a cliff."
In September 2008, Buffett compared the market turmoil to "an economic Pearl Harbor," and on March 9 he returned to that metaphor in a "Squawk Box" interview that began at 6 a.m. and continued through the 7 and 8 a.m. program hours. Buffett also criticized the Democratic majority for losing focus and trying to move on "pet projects."
"If you're in a war, and we really are in an economic war, there's a obligation to the majority to behave in ways to not go around inflaming the minority. If on Dec. 8, or maybe it was Dec. 7, when Roosevelt convened Congress to vote on the war. He didn't say, ‘I'm throwing in about ten of my pet projects,'" Buffett said.
Taking aim at one such issue, interviewer Joe Kernen replied: "You might not have fixed global warming the day after - the day after D-Day, Warren."
One of the issues Obama was taking action on was health care, according to Chip Reid's "Evening News" report.
Chip Reid told viewers: "Hoping to take advantage of any momentum from last night's speech to Congress, the president, today, forged ahead with a flurry of activity on his economic plan. On health care, the White House said the president's budget, to be released Thursday, will include $634 billion to expand health coverage. To be paid for by taxing the wealthy and trimming payments to insurance companies, hospitals and doctors."
Later in the segment, Reid misled viewers as to the number of uninsured. He said the White House was calling that enormous package "a big first step in getting health insurance to America's 48 million uninsured."
The problem is, "America's 48 million uninsured" is an overstatement. The Census Bureau puts the figure at 45.6 million, but that statistic includes non-citizens and people who choose not to have insurance because of age or income.
With so much populist outrage at bankers and other corporate types these days, Hollywood is predictably trying to capitalize on it (TNT's "Leverage" is just one example.) "The International," from Relativity Media was just the latest to hit theaters with its Feb. 13 opening.
In the slow-moving thriller "The International," the executives of the fictional International Bank of Business and Credit (IBBC) aren't just crooked, they willingly hire assassins - the executives call them "consultants" - to get rid of anyone about to expose their crimes. The protagonists are Louis Salinger, an Interpol agent played by Clive Owen, and Eleanor Whitman, a Manhattan District Attorney played by Naomi Watts.
Owen made the morning talk show rounds hitting CBS "Early Show" Feb. 11 and ABC's "The View" on Feb. 13. In both cases, the hosts sought to find out if this story was grounded in reality.
"This is based roughly on a true story," CBS's Harry Smith queried. Owen replied that the script was "well-researched" and "well-informed." Owen's comments on "The View" were similar, but at least on ABC the actor admitted that the script was in fact "fictional."
"Now this movie, it really shows you that banks are terrorists in many ways, you know. I mean they do the same things to people in this movie that real terrorists groups like al-Qaida would do. Is this based on fact?" Joy Behar asked Owen.
Just one night after CEO Donald Trump told "Larry King Live" viewers that the U.S. is in a "Depression," Suze Orman, personal finance expert and host of her own show, started talking about people in bread lines - but she wasn't making a historical reference.
According to Orman there are people in bread lines right now, some of them white collar workers:
"There are some people who can't find a job, they're trying to do anything and everything in their power to get by. They've lost their home, lost their car. They don't have any money in retirement, they don't have a penny - and what are they doing?" Orman said on the Feb. 5 CNN broadcast.
Conservatives, including the Business & Media Institute, have criticized President Barack Obama's mathematics and language regarding job creation. CNN's Ed Henry brought up that same criticism on Feb. 2 during "Anderson Cooper 360°."
"[T]here are now questions about how many jobs Mr. Obama is promising to create," Ed Henry told viewers of the broadcast. Henry used three separate video clips of Obama talking about jobs to illustrate the way the President "seemed to move the goal post" for job creation.
Henry began with a clip of Obama's remarks on Nov. 22, 2008 when he said his team would be working on a plan to create 2.5 million more jobs in two years (by January 2011).
ABC's "World News Sunday" found a new twist on the obesity crisis Feb. 1. Apparently, recession can "lead to a spike in obesity."
Anchor Dan Harris introduced the "counterintuitive" report saying, "Americans are cutting back on food spending which could actually lead to a spike in obesity." Why? Because "eating healthy can cost more," ABC's Stephanie Sy reported.
Sy worried about "cheap treats" "that many public health experts fear may cause obesity rates to rise in the recession."
Interviewing shoppers in Aldi, a discount food chain, Sy said "most folks are stocking up on processed foods high in fat and sugar." Acting as the food police, Sy teased one customer about cinnamon Danishes in his cart saying, "What are these about? Very high in fat, very high in sugar."
But like many other media reports about obesity, Sy did not present the argument that ultimately every person is responsible for his or her own food choices.
Allison cited a "religious belief in affordable housing" that led the government to institute the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 (CRA) and later, during the Clinton years, to a huge expansion of Fannie and Freddie.
"In my opinion, I'm certain without Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae we could not have had the magnitude of misinvestment - we'd a had misinvestment but nothing like what we've had today," Allison said.
Is America in need of a little Mary-J? Not Blige … marijuana.
Mad Money's senior writer Cliff Mason (Jim Cramer's nephew) thinks so. Here's what he wrote on Jan. 15, 2009:
"This may be apocryphal, but when FDR was running for President for the first time in 1932, he said something along the lines of "What America needs now is a good, stiff drink.
Then he won and went on to help end prohibition.
Well, now we've got a new Democratic President coming into office, we're in similarly dire economic straits, and maybe what America needs is a nice toke?"
There was no maybe about it, according to Mason who declared that "It's time to legalize, or at least decriminalize, drugs."
Mason used the familiar argument that decriminalization of drugs would be profitable - read: taxable - and would "keep people from shooting each other." He omitted any reference to the morality of legalization or societal harm that could result.
Weighing the pros and cons of a plan, particularly one that could cost $1 trillion taxpayer dollars, should mean all perspectives were considered. But that wasn't what it meant to CNN in one Jan. 9 segment in the 8 a.m. hour.
Viewers were right to expect balance as "Pros and Cons of Obama's Stimulus" flashed on the screen and John Roberts said, "President-elect Barack Obama is warning of a dire economic situation and how much worse it could get if there is not bipartisan support for, and quickly for his stimulus plan. But will his proposals work?"
Instead, "American Morning" viewers didn't even hear an economist's perspective. They were fed a left-wing nationally syndicated columnist's perspective. That columnist was David Sirota, who was once called a "new-generation populist" by columnist Molly Ivins. Sirota has worked for Democrats on Capitol Hill and for the Center for American Progress, a "progressive" think tank.
Sirota's criticism of Obama's plan came entirely from the left arguing that "the bad" thing about his stimulus proposal are the tax cuts.