On Thursday's All Things Considered, Julie Rovner, NPR's resident ObamaCare flack, claimed that the U.S. Senate rejecting an amendment protecting religious liberty was "closer than the 63 percent majority that supports the contraceptive coverage requirement" from the federal government, according to the poll from the liberal Kaiser Family Foundation. The organization is an oft-used source for Rovner.
The group obtained the 63 percent figure by asking a question that omits the religious liberty component to the firestorm: "In general, do you support or oppose the new federal requirement that private health insurance plans cover the cost of birth control?" A Pew Research Poll from mid-February included that issue, and found that 48 percent supported an exemption for religious groups, versus 44 percent in support of the mandate.
When ABC, CBS, and NBC finally got around to covering -- after two weeks of silence -- the controversy over the Obama administration's mandate that religious institutions provide health insurance for abortifacients, sterilization, and birth control, the networks downplayed the religious freedom component to the story, casting it instead as a political dogfight between liberals and conservatives.
MRC analysts studied all 36 stories, interview segments and mentions of the HHS mandate story on the Big Three broadcast networks from January 30 through February 15. Out of the 91 talking heads who appeared as soundbites on their morning or evening programs (or a small number of guests on the morning shows), politicians far outnumbered Church officials, by a margin of 60 to 9.
On its Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning newscasts, CBS played up its most recent poll with the New York Times, which found that 61% of Catholics approve "President Obama's contraception policy," as a graphic on the CBS Evening News spun the recent federal government mandate that forces religious institutions to cover sterilization and birth control without a co-pay.
The left-leaning outlets' poll question, however, completely glossed over the religious liberty component to the controversy over the policy, asking only, "What about for religiously-affiliated employers, such as a hospital or university? Do you support or oppose a recent federal requirement that their health insurance plans cover the full cost of birth control for their female employees?"
Appearing as a guest on Saturday's Fox and Friends, actor and conservative talk radio host Stephen Baldwin criticized President Obama for daring to second guess Catholic Church doctrine in trying to force Catholic employers to provide contraceptive coverage for their employees. As he was preparing to speak at the CPAC convention in Washington, D.C., he also talked up GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum who has enjoyed a recent string of electoral victories. (Video below)
After being asked about the contraception mandate, Baldwin went after Obama:
On Saturday's Fox News Watch, during a discussion of the media double standard between hitting Komen for planning to defund Planned Parenthood, while delaying attention to Catholic leaders criticizing the Obama contraception mandate, liberal FNC analyst Kirsten Powers debated fellow panel member and FNC analyst Judy Miller from the right as Powers noted the media's bias toward Planned Parenthood, while Miller defended President Obama. (Video below)
In a statement that would have been worthy of a right-leaning analyst, Powers exposed the media:
Saturday's CBS Evening News ran a piece highlighting the complaints of a Catholic Democrat - Michael Sean Winters of the National Catholic Reporter, recounting his opposition to President Obama's attempt to force Catholic employers to provide contraception coverage to their employees. Winters asserted that he is "very angry about this," and substitute anchor Elaine Quijano noted that, although he voted for President Obama in 2008, he plans not to vote this year. (Video below)
Quijano used a soundbite of Winters giving a warning to Obama during the show's opening teaser:
On Saturday's Fox News Watch, FNC contributor and conservative talk radio host Monica Crowley cited a letter released last Monday by NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center president Brent Bozell which called on the media to give more attention to President Obama's attempt to force religious institutions to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees, even if these institutions object on religious grounds. (Video below)
Crowley cited numbers on how little attention had been given by the broadcast networks and CNN as of Monday, and credited the MRC with affecting a greater focus on the issue from the media:
The press was eager to jump on initial remarks by U.S. bishops that President Obama's announcement yesterday of what the Wall Street Journal aptly described in an editorial this morning as the "Immaculate Contraception" -- namely, the idea that insurance companies would somehow pay out of their own pockets for costs relating to "contraceptive services" to which the bishops objected to having Catholic institutions pay for directly was "a good first step." I heard this description several times in brief radio news summaries yesterday. Later yesterday afternoon, the bishops' position was reported as "reserving judgment."
In an official statement carried at Vatican Radio's web site ("The Voice of the Pope and the Church in dialogue with the world") this morning, the bishops have rejected Obama's self-described "sensible approach." Especially pertinent, in light of my post earlier this morning, is the fact that the mandate and its revision appear to apply to employers who self-insure -- an option religious institutions have been forced to use to avoid attempts by several U.S. states to mandate what ObamaCare wants to impose on the entire nation (in full; bolds are mine):
Yesterday's announcement by President Obama (headlined at the White House's website as "Remarks by the President on Preventive Care") of planned revisions to an ObamaCare-driven rule which, in the President's words, "if a woman’s employer is a charity or a hospital that has a religious objection to providing contraceptive services as part of their health plan, the insurance company -– not the hospital, not the charity -– will be required to reach out and offer the woman contraceptive care free of charge, without co-pays and without hassles."
Showing just how out of touch the establishment press is with reality, an editorial this morning in the Wall Street Journal cutely titled "Immaculate Contraception" points out something most, including the Associated Press, have missed -- that in a large number of cases involving many thousands of employees, there is no "insurance company" there to directly pay for these services:
Suffer me to begin with a suggestion: if you ever have the chance to hear the Rev. William Dailey of Notre Dame law school speak, jump on it. Dailey is a stunningly brilliant advocate, among the best I have ever encountered on any issue.
Dailey appeared on today's Up With Chris Hayes on MSNBC, where he masterfully made the case against the Obama administration's order forcing Catholic institutions to provide services that violate their moral principles. Predictably, the panel resorted to an ad hominem argument against him. Panelist Michaela Angela David implicitly, and Hayes himself explicitly, argued that celibate Catholic priests lack the moral authority to make arguments on the issues at hand. Dailey deftly turned the tables. Video after the jump.
Julie Rovner, NPR's on-staff shill for ObamaCare, filed an unashamedly one-sided report on Friday's Morning Edition about the controversial Obama administration mandate that forces religious institutions to include coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, sterilizations, and birth control.
Rovner turned to only two individuals for her pro-mandate report: Peggy Mastroianni, general counsel at the federal government's own EEOC, an organization which recently got slapped down in a unanimous Supreme Court decision concerning the rights of houses of worship in hiring and personnel matters; and Sarah Lipton-Lubet, a lawyer for the notoriously far-left American Civil Liberties Union, who until May 2011, worked for the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights.
A "breaking" email I received from USA Today this morning is a definite sign of establishment press scrambling to give deceptive cover to an Obama administration mandate whose unpopularity continues to grow as more people become aware of it. It also shows the lengths to which the press will go to keep the relatively disengaged, which would include those who only primarily informed via email and other brief alerts without digging further, from encountering basic facts.
The email pretends that the president is about to announce a "decision" (as opposed to changing one), and refers to a "rule" without saying where the rule came from, or why:
On Thursday's The Last Word, MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell disproved claims by liberals that eight states already have regulations that require Catholic employers to provide health insurance coverage of contraceptives for their employees, as the liberal host informed viewers that his staff had looked into the laws of these states and found the assertions to be untrue. (Video below)
After almost three weeks, CBS finally brought on a member of the Catholic hierarchy on Thursday's CBS This Morning to discuss the Obama administration health care mandate that forces Catholic institutions, like hospitals and colleges, to violate their consciences and pay for abortion-inducing drugs and contraception [audio clips available here; video clips below the jump]. On Good Morning America, ABC ignored the controversy for the second straight day.
It was also the second straight day that the CBS morning newscast brought on a Catholic cleric for his take about the prominent issue. By contrast, on Tuesday, NBC 's Today turned to their in-house radical feminist, Rachel Maddow, who blasted the completely warranted opposition to the new policy as a "pretty far-right perspective" and "an extension of anti-abortion politics."
Filed from CPAC 2012 in Washington, D.C. -- Shortly before noon Eastern today, Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) walked through the bloggers lounge here at CPAC, answering a few questions from reporters and bloggers.
I asked Gov. Perry if, in light of the Obama administration's move to force Catholic institutions to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees, he felt vindicated about his claims of an Obama administration war on religion. His response:
After 19 days of controversy, CBS Evening News on Tuesday finally got around to covering the growing dispute between the Obama administration, who wants to impose a mandate for sterilizations and birth control on religious institutions, and the Catholic Church and its allies, who see it as a violation of religious liberty. All of the Big Three networks' evening newscasts on Tuesday covered the issue.
On Wednesday morning, CBS This Morning was actually the only network morning show that devoted a segment to the "hot-button issue," as anchor Gayle King labeled it. NBC's Today show gave a mere news brief on the "uproar" over the new federal policy, while ABC's Good Morning America ignored it.
On Tuesday, NPR somehow thought a poll commissioned by abortion behemoth Planned Parenthood on the controversy over an ObamaCare birth control mandate was newsworthy enough to play up on its website. But later in the day, on All Things Considered, a show that reaches millions in the U.S., the media outlet spotlighted how the "new polling...suggests most voters, including Catholics, support the measure."
Correspondent Scott Horsley noted the "survey released today by Public Policy Polling," but completely failed to mention Planned Parenthood's name during his report. Horsley also highlighted a disturbing strategy from the pro-mandate camp without: "Supporters of the new policy are belatedly trying to refocus attention in a more popular direction, away from religious freedom and towards women's health care."
Is a Planned Parenthood poll really newsworthy? On Tuesday, NPR spotlighted a PPP poll commissioned by the abortion giant which found that a majority apparently supports a federal government mandate on birth control that violates the religious liberty of Catholic institutions. The network also trumpeted how "the poll...suggested that Mitt Romney...could pay a price at the polls" for opposing the mandate.
Writer Frank James began his article for NPR.org, "Poll: Majority Of Voters Support Birth-Control Mandate," by pointing out that the ObamaCare regulation was "controversial." But he didn't acknowledge that the poll was "done on behalf of Planned Parenthood" until the second paragraph, and left out any kind of ideological label for the left-wing organization.
NBC Nightly News on Monday lifted its two-plus week blackout of the Obama administration’s decision to force religious institutions, such as Catholic hospitals and charities, to provide birth control coverage in health insurance provided to employees, but ABC’s World News and the CBS Evening News have still yet to utter a syllable about what has enraged people across the political spectrum while having plenty of time to champion Planned Parenthood’s attacks on the Komen foundation.
NBC’s Chuck Todd on Monday evening found a few seconds in a larger story to relay how the Republican presidential candidates “are hitting the Obama administration’s decision to require all health insurance plans to cover birth control. Many Catholic organizations had hoped for an exemption since the rule runs counter to the church’s doctrine. Today Mitt Romney’s campaign launched a petition drive to repeal the decision, and Newt Gingrich also sounded off.”
ABC, CBS, and NBC spotlighted the Komen foundation's about-face on funding Planned Parenthood on their Friday evening newscasts, and played up the apparent role of social media in getting the charity to reverse its earlier decision. On World News, ABC's Diane Sawyer trumpeted the "dramatic day for people power," while on Nightly News, NBC's Lester Holt concluded, "score one for the power of social media."
The Big Three outlets also covered the 180 by the breast cancer organization on their Saturday morning shows. Altogether, the networks added seven more reports to the 13 from the first 60 hours or so of the controversy, bringing the total to 20 since February 1, versus only three on the face-off between the Catholic Church and the Obama administration since January 20 (the MRC documented and highlighted this imbalance in a report on Friday; ABC and NBC added mentions on their Sunday morning political shows).
When the Susan G. Komen Foundation announced on February 1 that it would no longer be donating to Planned Parenthood, the Big Three networks -- ABC, CBS, NBC -- rushed to the defense of the left-wing organization, which is the largest abortion conglomerate in the United States. Over the course of about 60 hours, ABC, CBS, and NBC emphasized the controversy with a whopping 13 morning and evening news stories.A Media Research Center study found that the soundbite count was loaded: 76 percent of the quotes came from supporters of Planned Parenthood (35 in total). Only 11 clips or statements came from Komen representatives or new allies.
On Saturday's Fox News Watch, regular panel member Jim Pinkerton of The American Conservative magazine cited an article by MRC analyst and NewsBuster Matthew Balan, who recounted the media obsession with the Komen foundation's decision to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, while the same media have completely ignored the brewing conflict between President Obama and the Catholic Church as the Obama administration tries to force Catholic employers to go against their religious beliefs and provide coverage for contraception in its health insurance plans. Pinkerton:
On Friday's Inside Washington on PBS, as the panel discussed the new Obama administration rule that requires even Catholic employers to provide health insurance coverage for contraception to their employees, both liberal columnist Mark Shields and conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer hit Obama for the decision, while NPR's Nina Totenberg claimed that there were valid arguments in both directions as she made a flawed analogy between contraception and immunization as a defense of the Obama position.
But the blunt criticism directed at Obama by the liberal Shields, who is also a longtime regular on the PBS NewsHour, was the most surprising part of the show. After host Gordon Peterson noted that some Catholic leaders had supported Obamacare, and asked if they are "being hung out to dry," Shields responded:
The Big Three networks continued their blackout on covering the controversy involving the Obama administration trying to force Catholic institutions to include coverage of abortifacients and contraception in their health plans without a co-pay. Instead, Diane Sawyer on Wednesday's ABC World News highlighted Pfizer's recall of birth control pills that could "raise the risk of accidental pregnancy."
The same evening, both CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News aired reports on Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation discontinuing its funding of abortion perpetrator Planned Parenthood, with NBC's Brian Williams hyping how "thousands of women...[may] pay the biggest price" for the move.
If only the Democrats had decided to socialize the food industry or housing, Romneycare would probably still be viewed as a massive triumph for conservative free-market principles -- as it was at the time.
It's not as if we had a beautifully functioning free market in health care until Gov. Mitt Romney came along and wrecked it by requiring that Massachusetts residents purchase their own health insurance. In 2007, when Romneycare became law, the federal government alone was already picking up the tab for 45.4 percent of all health care expenditures in the country.
On their Wednesday morning shows, the Big Three networks continued their trend of all but ignoring the Obama administration trying to force religious institutions to include coverage of sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraceptives in their health care policies without a co-pay. The new mandate from the Department of Health and Human Services would force Catholic hospitals and schools to decide whether to submit to the new policy or follow the Church's teachings against birth control.
Instead of covering this growing dispute between the Catholic hierarchy of the United States and the federal government, CBS This Morning brought on Rev. Edward Beck, a Catholic priest, to respond to a story that might cast the Church in a bad light with regards to how it manages the donations it receives.
Fox News's Ed Henry challenged White House Press Secretary Jay Carney during a Tuesday briefing over the growing controversy surrounding the Obama administration's move on January 20 to force most employers to cover sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraceptives in their health care policies without co-pay. This new federal mandate would force Catholic institutions, like hospitals and schools, to decide whether to obey it or follow the Church's teachings against contraception.
Anchor Megyn Kelly trumpeted that "this is turning into a big deal, and the White House... [is] saying they believe they have struck the appropriate balance...the Catholic Church...saying, how is it the appropriate balance to delay...the time at which we'd have to violate our consciences?" [video clip below the jump] The Big Three networks, on the other hand, have all but ignored the issue during the past 11 days. Only CBS This Morning on Tuesday briefly mentioned the growing controversy.
Update: A former Santorum colleague at EPPC responds. [see bottom of post]
Yahoo! News contributor Andrew Riggio yesterday evening cynically used the occasion of Bella Santorum's hospitalization and her father's accompanying temporary suspension of his presidential campaign to attack the pro-life conservative who opposes taxpayer-financed embryonic stem-cell research:
One of the Media Research Center's dearest friends and supporters, Mark Levin, has a new book out called “Ameritopia” which as CNSNews reports will debut at number one on the New York Times best seller list in four different nonfiction categories.
On Tuesday, the esteemed author and radio host spoke to NewsBusters by phone about the book's contents and how the media are assisting powerful utopian forces in America to undermine our Constitutional republic (video follows with complete transcript, don't miss spectacular book signing video at article's conclusion):
Conservatives' calls for taking away taxpayer funding for abortion provider Planned Parenthood and ensuring that religious organizations are not forced to pay for abortions and birth control through their health insurance plans proves we are not a "sane society," complains Jezebel founding editor and Washington Post columnist Anna Holmes in a Style section column today, blandly titled "The politics of birth control."*
The feminist writer opened her column by grousing that "almost 39 years to the day that the right to abortion was decided" by the Supreme Court, "we're still having a conversation about the access to and legality of female reproductive health services." In other words, "dammit, pro-lifers, you just won't quit!"