NYT Blog Asks Readers to Pressure Representatives to Override S-CHIP Veto

It certainly isn't shocking that the New York Times wants to expand government-sponsored health insurance.

However, is it appropriate for the Editorial Board of the Times Blog to ask readers to pressure House Representatives to override a presidential veto?

Or, does this fall into a similar level of advocacy as a newspaper endorsing a politician running for office?

While you ponder the ramifications, the New York Times published the following Tuesday in a post entitled "S-chip: Call Your Representative":

The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote Thursday on whether to override the President's veto of a bill that would expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program, or S-chip, to cover millions more uninsured children.

The bill passed easily the first time around, by 265 to 159, but as many as 24 more votes may be needed to override the veto.

Those added votes will have to come from the ranks of legislators - mostly Republicans - who voted against the bill the first time around, or didn't vote for one reason or another. Take a look at the list of nay-sayers and see if your representative is one who needs to be pressured to switch sides.

The post then listed by name and district all those who voted against the bill, as well as those who didn't vote.

Question: Is there anything wrong with this, or has the Times clearly crossed the line into advocacy?

Finally, a couple of comments caught my eye as rather surprising for Times readers:

See if my legislator "needs to be pressured to switch sides"? I should send him a thank-you note for voting against this bloated entitlement the first time around.

- Posted by MARYLAND

If the NYTs supports it, I know how to vote. Socialized medicine by salami tactics. Government intervention in the medical care system since 1944 has done nothing but result in a vast mis-allocation of resources and poor results.

- Posted by Not a Yank

On its face, it is difficult to understand why the political left would support this expansion of SCHIP. First, the expansion does not focus on low-income children, but rather extends benefits to those clearly in the middle class and a few in the upper class.

Second, the expansion is funded by imposing taxes on the lower class. In short, SCHIP expansion results in the lower class paying for benefits of the middle and upper class-something that the political left should adamantly oppose.

But fairness has never been the primary concern of the political left on health care. The primary concern has been achieving a universal, government-run system.

Providing near universal coverage for children, and funding it via cigarette taxes, is a big step toward achieving that goal. "Children" are an effective propaganda tool. Anyone who opposes providing coverage for children can be attacked as heartless and cruel. Cigarette taxes are one of the few types of taxes that the public will not oppose. Indeed, anyone who opposes cigarette taxes can be attacked as being "pro tobacco."

The thinking of the political left seems to be that if government covers enough children of enough people high up the income ladder, then eventually enough of the public will be supportive of extending such government insurance to everyone. Call it "socialized medicine on the installment plan."

- Posted by Scott

Damn that Bush. Doesn't he realize that we need the government to take care of our every need. Insure me. Feed me. House me. Make me leave a city below sea level when a Cat-4 Huricane is bearing down on me. I am totally helpless and need the government to run my life.

- Posted by Spider79

Fascinating. Four out of ten comments against expanding S-CHIP.

At the New York Times Blog?

Maybe there's hope for our country after all.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.