Media Reality Check: A Year of Spin for Liberal ObamaCare
The end of Congress’s long debate over ObamaCare could be near, as the President pushes for a final vote this week before his Asia trip, and House Democrats want a resolution before next week’s Easter break.
Yet whether or not liberals’ dreams are ultimately realized, they have had a huge advantage throughout the process. Over the past twelve months, journalists have continually stacked the deck in favor of a big government takeover of health care.
A review of the worst spin:
■ As opposition to ObamaCare began to take hold, journalists led a counterattack. On the July 22 Good Morning America, ABC’s Chris Cuomo indignantly asked California Govenor Arnold Schwarzenegger: “Do you believe that the Republicans are playing politics here, at the risk of people’s health care?...Is this getting to be a little bit of a reckless situation?” On NBC’s Today, Matt Lauer accused Senator Jim DeMint: “Are you rallying conservatives to the cause of health care reform? Or are you rallying conservatives to the cause of breaking a President?”
■ As citizens voiced opposition in town hall meetings over the summer, journalists disparaged the dissenters. Writing on AOL’s “Politics Daily” site, ex-CNN reporter Bob Franken blasted anti-ObamaCare protesters as “a crazed group” engaged in “organized intimidation.” Hardball host Chris Matthews blamed it all on racism: “I think some of the people are upset because we have a black president.” And Good Morning America’s Bill Weir warned “the rising anger is now ramping up concerns over the President’s personal safety.”
■ Even as anti-Obama protesters were being vilified, the lobbying favor of ObamaCare continued. On August 6, Time senior political analyst Mark Halperin, previously political director at ABC News, declared on CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight: “We’re the only industrialized democracy that doesn’t cover every citizen. That is immoral.”
■ After Ted Kennedy passed away in August, journalists tried to use his death to boost ObamaCare. “Even though he’s gone, his energy may help push this Obama plan through,” CBS News presidential historian Douglas Brinkley hoped during live overnight coverage just hours after Kennedy’s death was announced. “There is already an e-mail circulating that I’ve received today that reads simply, ‘In lieu of flowers, pass health care reform,’” NBC’s Brian Williams promoted early the next morning on Today.
■ By late September, however, MSNBC’s Ed Schultz was frothing at ObamaCare’s opponents, accusing them of wanting Americans to die: “The Republicans lie! They want to see you dead! They’d rather make money off your dead corpse!” Two weeks later, MSNBC host Dylan Ratigan seconded the inflammatory charge: “There are people that are actually trying to derail health care in order to take down Obama, even if it means half the country dies.”
■ Anti-ObamaCare candidate Scott Brown’s victory was treated as dour news by the media. NBC’s Meredith Vieira asked Brown about his post-election phone call to Ted Kennedy’s widow: “How comfortable was that for both of you, knowing that you plan to do whatever you can to derail what Ted Kennedy called, called ‘the cause of his lifetime,’ which is health care reform?”
No conservative quest has ever been treated to the helpful press coverage ObamaCare has received. If it fails, liberals can’t blame a hostile media.