NPR health policy correspondent Julie Rovner has a bad habit of stacking the deck in her stories, frequently giving the liberal side several times as much time as conservatives. During NPR’s June 21 Morning Edition, Rovner appeared to be aiming for a personal record in tipping the scales for a piece about the group Enroll America. Rovner gave almost 15 times as much time for the group’s case than against it.
Enroll America is a liberal organization working to get as many people sign up for ObamaCare as possible. Its founding chairman is Ron Pollack, head of the liberal (even according to The New York Times) advocacy group Families USA. That group pushed hard for both major Democrat health care bills (Hillarycare & ObamaCare). Enroll America’s president is Anne Filipic, a former Democratic political operative. Rovner conveniently left out the ideological and party labels and the background for Ron Pollack, Families USA, Anne Filipic and Enroll America, instead portraying them as impartial experts: “of…Families USA,” “consumer group,” “president of Enroll America,” and “a private nonprofit group" respectively.
CBS Evening News on Wednesday hyped the "early success" of a provision of ObamaCare which allows young adults under the age of 26 to stay on their parents' health care. Correspondent Wyatt Andrews spotlighted a young woman afflicted with Crohn's disease as an example of this apparent success, all the while failing to mention the liberal agenda of a "patient rights advocate" featured in his report.
The first part of Andrews's report played as a human interest story, focusing on Caryn Powers, "one of those young adults who already benefits from the health care reform act." The journalist highlighted that "Caryn's medicine alone costs more than $3,000 a month. If she could not stay on her parents' health insurance, she says, she'd be bankrupt and unable to work as a nurse."
On Monday's Early Show, CBS's Susan Koeppen profiled a doctor who hyped that "people are dying because they don't have simple access" to health care and spotlighted two of his patients who chronicled their difficulties with the Medicaid and Medicare programs. Koeppen also failed to mention the liberal leanings of an organization she labeled as merely "an advocacy group for health care consumers."
Anchor Erica Hill introduced the consumer correspondent's report by noting that "a new proposal would cut reimbursement rates for doctors who accept Medicare by 30% in 2012...the potential cuts are raising concerns for the more than 100 million Americans who rely on the program, as well as the doctors who treat them." Koeppen then led her segment with Dr. David Ansell's "people are dying" clip and described how the Rush University Medical Center physician "has been treating patients who can't get help anywhere else."
[Update, 10:20 am Friday: The original version of this item stated that Brandon Smith worked for Indiana Public Radio. He is actually affiliated with Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations.]
NPR's Steve Inskeep, who used "deceitful sophistry" to contend that his network's audience leaned right in a Thursday WSJ column, also claimed in the same piece that "not much of the media pays attention to the middle of the country, but NPR and its local stations do." But an affiliate in his home state of Indiana touted the findings of a pro-ObamaCare organization on the first anniversary of its passage, while leaving out anything from opponents.
Brandon Smith of Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations led his Wednesday report on the one-year anniversary of the signing of the legislation by trumpeting how "Families USA, a non-partisan, national health care advocacy organization, released state-by-state data on the potential impact of the law." Despite running a sound bite from Ron Pollack, the executive director of the organization, and highlighting some of their data specific to Indiana, Smith didn't point out Families USA's liberal political leanings. NPR correspondent Julie Rovner also omitted the organization's ideological affiliation on Wednesday's Morning Edition, the very program which Inskeep hosts.
NPR's Julie Rovner put the best liberal spin on the one-year anniversary of ObamaCare becoming law on Wednesday's Morning Edition. When an opponent of the legislation stated that supporters would try to "create constituencies that will fight to preserve it...[by] spending hundreds of billions of dollars on health insurance subsidies," Rover added that "those are just a few of the law's benefits."
The correspondent led her report with sound bites from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who marveled over the "landmark law," and Senator Orrin Hatch, who labeled it "one of the worst pieces of legislation in the history of this country." She continued by focusing on the opponents of ObamaCare:
Hall failed to bring on a representative from the other side of the dispute, even though there are 26 state attorneys general to choose from for that purpose, not to mention any number of conservative legal scholars who could defend the conservative position on the matter.
What's more, Hall failed to challenge any of the complaints Pollack raised, such as his lament that although Judge Roger Vinson dwelt mostly on the "individual mandate" provision that forces Americans to buy health insurance under penalty of law, he ruled the entirety of the 906-page "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" unconstitutional.