Two days after her magazine published Evan Thomas's "Case for Killing Granny" -- see related NewsBusters post here -- Newsweek staffer Jesse Ellison lamented that her "grandmother lived a full life and sought a quiet death" but "America's health-care system had a different idea of what was best."
In a September 14 Newsweek Web exclusive, Ellison laid out a story of zealous coverage aimed at prolonging her late grandmother's life, complaining that her grandmother's wish to die peacefully was disregarded as she was "treated like a problem to be solved, not as an elderly woman who had had enough."
Although Ellis's grandmother "had great insurance" plus "enough savings to pay for anything that Medicare and her insurance company would not," the writer found cause for complaint in the health care system having a bias to save and extend life, as well as the high costs that that approach incurred:
There's no doubt the so-called mainstream media turned their collective noses up at the Sept. 12 march on Washington, D.C. to protest the policies of Democratic-controlled federal government - whether in the form of denigration, downplay or outright ignoring the event.
However, conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh has suggested a different tactic. On his Sept. 14 show, Limbaugh proposed a future round of these grassroots protests not take place at the seats of power in government, but instead the headquarters and outposts of the local and national media.
"There have been hundreds and thousands of protests by conservative groups that haven't been covered, and tiny turnouts by the left that are covered," Limbaugh said. "You know all this as well as I do. What about this? We're looking for a force multiplier. Yeah, the protest in Washington on Saturday was great, two million people, but imagine what a force multiplier would be if the next one were held outside of local and national television networks and their headquarters where they can't miss it?"
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) appeared on MSNBC around 3:40 p.m. EDT today to defend Rep. Joe Wilson's (R-S.C.) claim that President Obama was lying about Democratic health care reforms not ensuring "public option" coverage of illegal immigrants. [MP3 audio available here]
King explained at length about Democrats voted down Republican amendments to put in place an enforcement mechanism to check the legal status of public option applicants.
Of course at the end of his interview, Shuster was unmoved, sticking to his guns that Joe Wilson "was lying" and insisting that Republicans were more interested in making political hay out of the illegal immigration question than safeguarding taxpayers from subsidizing illegal immigration:
On Sunday, CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer praised President Obama’s recent media blitz for health care reform: "There’s no question he is the best salesman on the staff," but wondered: "Does he run the risk of overexposing himself?" Politco.com’s Roger Simon dispelled that fear: "It is a risk, but he keeps topping himself."
Simon elaborated on Obama’s oratory skill: "Every time you think this guy can’t give another speech that’s better than the last one, he gives another speech that’s better than the last one. And he’s achieving his purpose." He added that the President’s address to Congress last Wednesday: "was to unite Democrats around him. As a man who can get this job done."
In the same segment, Schieffer also spoke with syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker, who gushed: "There is always that risk of overexposure. And yet, if you watched his speech yesterday in Minneapolis, he sort of redeems himself every time he goes out there in front of the public, because he is so good."
The "Killing Granny" link takes readers to a September 21 print edition article by Evan Thomas which is more measured in tone than the sensational headline suggests, but one that nonetheless laments how Medicare, presently structured, has a built-in bias towards heavy per-patient spending with too little government bureaucrat oversight (emphasis mine):
At the end of Sunday’s Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer denounced South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson: "The irony of a congressman trying to heckle a President in the midst of a speech that was, among other things, about the need for civility, is just one ugly sign of the mindless meanness that has settled over our politics."
Apparently Schieffer forgot this passage of President Obama’s speech last Wednesday: "Some of people’s concerns have grown out of bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost. The best example is the claim...that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens. Such a charge would be laughable if it weren’t so cynical and irresponsible. It is a lie, plain and simple." Calling your critics liars hardly sounds like a call for "civility."
About a year ago, then-Senator and Democratic nominee Barack Obama managed to seize control of the issue of taxes from the Republican Party by promising lower taxes for "95 percent of Americans."
But today it's a drastically different situation. Obama's $787-billion stimulus has been passed into law and the administration is taking on higher deficits, which will only increase if a Democrat health care reform bill passes. It looks as though the president's hand will be forced and he will have to raise taxes. That's begs question - where were the media on this a year ago?
CNBC's Erin Burnett asked Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at a CNBC made-for-television town hall on Sept. 10 if taxes would be raised. Geithner dodged the question, but Burnett interpreted the dodge to mean yes, as she explained on NBC's Sept. 13 "Meet the Press."
In a Sunday "uh-oh" review of 2010's electoral landscape as it applies to nationwide congressional races, the Associated Press's Beth Fouhy insulted GOP voters while effectively implying that they are the only ones who oppose ObamaCare, "reckless spending, and high debt."
The foundation of Fouhy's piece is a fear that Democrats may be in peril of losing their House majority in 2010. Funny, when they were in the minority and gaining ground in national sentiment, I recall that the press meme was "Democrats Gaining!" Now that they're in control and faltering, it's "Democrats in Danger of Losing (Somebody Do Something)!" The perspective always seems to be about the rising or falling fortunes of Democrats, which of course serves to validate the contention of those who say that the establishment press is the mouthpiece of the Left and the Democratic Party.
Now let's look at Fouhy's infuriating fulminations (red underline is mine):
60 Minutes on Sunday night gave President Barack Obama at least his fourth interview platform since his election (not counting re-runs), and while Steve Kroft framed the segment around how Obama “seemed confident that he had succeeded” in his Wednesday night speech and asked him, in the context of how the health care debate “has brought out the worst in us,” how “you were heckled. Not at a town meeting. Not on the campaign trail, but in a joint session of Congress,” whether “Congressman Wilson should be rebuked?,” he also gently challenged Obama from the right. Unfortunately, Kroft did not follow up when Obama delivered his usual liberal platitudes.
After Obama touted how he had reached out to Republicans on tort reform, Kroft pressed: “Would you be willing to do more in the area of tort reform and malpractice insurance? Would you be willing to agree to caps, for example, on malpractice judgments?” Kroft raised how to pay for it all: “There is still a great deal of skepticism about how this plan is going to be paid for. What you promised is essentially you promised not to affect anybody who has coverage now at all. You have promised to add another 30 million people into the system and you're saying that you can do all of this or want to do all this without impacting or increasing the deficit by a dime. How do you do that?”
President Obama's address before a joint session of Congress “to rescue health care reform” caused “a 12-point improvement from last week” so “52 percent now approve of the way he's handling health care,” Katie Couric announced at the top of Friday's CBS Evening News in touting how a new CBS News poll discovered that “among those who say they watched the speech” -- a group she failed to point out was predisposed to Obama's policies -- “support is even greater, 58 percent.”
On NBC, anchor Brian Williams introduced a story on fallout from “Congressman Joe Wilson, the South Carolina Republican whose heckling of the President from the House floor continues to reverberate.” Reporter Kelly O'Donnell, who noted support for him in his district, observed what neither ABC nor CBS reported Friday night, that he made Democrats uncomfortable enough to acknowledge the current bills would let illegal immigrants get benefits: “As a result of this controversy, Senate Democrats said today they discussed options, like requiring Social Security numbers to make clear illegal immigrants will not get coverage.”
According to MSNBC’s David Shuster on Friday, South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson shouting ‘you lie’ to President Obama was racism on display: “The fact that Joe Wilson is from South Carolina...it strikes a lot of people as awfully close to the idea that maybe there was some sort of racist or bigoted element there.”
Shuster went on to add: “And especially then when you look up at the picture and you see older white men, all Republicans, sitting there. Just it gives off a strange vibe.” On Thursday, Shuster claimed that Republicans were: “...all white males with short haircuts. They look sort of angry. No women, no minorities, and it looks like they’ve sort of become unhinged.”
During the segment late in the 3PM ET hour, Shuster spoke with Reverend Jesse Jackson, wondering: “What role, if any, do you believe that bigotry is playing in some of this venom toward President Obama?” Jackson seized on the opportunity to cry racism: “Well, substantial. There is a struggle between the hope of going forward and the fear of going backwards....the big C-word, conservative, for some that means fiscal, for some, it means religious ethics, for some it means a code word for race.”
"Most people in their right-thinking mind know that the Tenth Amendment is a bunch of baloney." [audio available here]
That according to brilliant constitutional scholar MSNBC's David "biased in favor of facts" Shuster, who matter-of-factly insists the "general welfare" clause in Article 1 of the Constitution "unambiguously authorizes" social welfare spending like "social security, Medicare, veterans' care, etc."
Shuster made his comments today shortly after 4:30 p.m. EDT in reaction to Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), who recently suggested that Tenth Amendment grounds could be a means of opposing as unconstitutional certain Democratic health care proposals.
Noting how the Palmetto State "has a history of rowdy politics" and that Rep. Joe Wilson (R) has made himself "the latest in a legendary line of South Carolina politicians who appeared to revel in renegade behavior," the Washington Post's Philip Rucker and Ann Gerhart turned to South Carolina Democratic operatives Don and Carol Fowler to smear Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) in their September 11 front-pager entitled "The Gentlemen From South Carolina."
Rucker and Gerhart turned to the husband-wife couple -- he was a Clinton era DNC chairman and she is the current South Carolina state Democratic chairwoman -- to practically tag-team in slamming Wilson. Rucker and Gerhart also acknowledged some Palmetto Democrats' brushes with political infamy before cuing up Don Fowler to quip that he thinks "it is something in the water."
Yet nowhere in their story did Rucker and Gerhart note Don Fowler's gaffe from August 2008, when, on a flight from the Democratic Convention, he made an inappropriate joke involving hurricane victims in New Orleans (video embedded above at right):
During the 4PM ET hour of live coverage on MSNBC Thursday, co-host David Shuster denounced the behavior of Republicans at President Obama’s address to Congress, declaring: “You look at the image of the Republican Party, all white males with short haircuts. They look sort of angry. No women, no minorities, and it looks like they’ve sort of become unhinged.”
Shuster and co-host Tamron Hall moderated a debate between Democratic strategist Patrick Murphy and Republican strategist Alex Conant, over the impact of Republican Congressman Joe Wilson shouting out ‘you lie!’ during the President’s speech. Shuster claimed: “The video of the Republican lawmakers was almost as striking as the speech itself....Did the Republican image change last night for the worse or was it something minor that may have only had an impact on the conservative base that was energized and wants to kill reform?”
Following the discussion, Hall observed: “...this pride in being an American and what it means to have class in this country and to see something like that. It is hurtful when you know that it is a prestigious place we have in this world and when we are reduced to behavior like that, it is very telling to all of us. We love this country and it is hurtful to see someone play out their – their emotions in such a loser way – I think I can say that.” Shuster replied: “Tamron you said it perfectly. I agree with you 100%.” Hall admitted: “I don’t think my mother would like I said loser, but oh well.”
After plugging his latest column in a September 10 post on the magazine's Swampland blog, Time's Joe Klein (shown in file photo at right) pegged Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) as "vile" before defending taxpayer-funded health care for illegal immigrants:
On this whole question of whether illegal immigrants will be included in the plan, which caused the vile Congressman from South Carolina to shout "You lie" when the President said they wouldn't be covered. Why shouldn't they be? After all, when an illegal immigrant cuts his hand while chopping cabbage and goes to the emergency room, the rest of us pay for it. Isn't the point to expand the risk pool as much as possible, to lure the insurance companies into concessions and lower prices?
I know it 's not going to happen. Congress will never vote to subsidize the health care of those who arrived here illegally. But, given the fact that we're already subsidizing them through the back door, it does make sense, doesn't it?
"The media must expose Obama's calculated scare tactics and lying on 'reform.' Failing to do so gives him a green light to lie and cry wolf about whatever he wants, whenever he wants," Media Research Center President Brent Bozell asserted in a statement released today.
Last night Obama told a litany of lies. He said the total cost of his health reform would be $900 billion over ten years, but even the government-run Congressional Budget Office found it would cost $1.6 trillion. He claimed his reform would not cover illegal immigrants or abortions, but nothing in any of the Democrat bills requires citizen verification and several organizations including the National Right to Life Committee have shown exactly how federal funds would be used to pay for abortion-on-demand. He knows these are lies and he tells them because he is confident the left wing ‘news' media will let him get away with it.
What's 16-17 million uninsured among 300 million Americans?
Apparently not much to President Barack Obama, who slipped a not-so-subtle change to a statistic he had cited previously different during his Sept. 9 address to a joint session of Congress. The president pointed out there are "more than 30 million American citizens" who are having difficulty obtaining health insurance (emphasis added).
"We are the only advanced democracy on Earth - the only wealthy nation - that allows such hardships for millions of its people," Obama said. "There are now more than 30 million American citizens who cannot get coverage. In just a two year period, one in every three Americans goes without health care coverage at some point. And every day, 14,000 Americans lose their coverage. In other words, it can happen to anyone."
While none of the other cable networks experienced any technical delays leading into Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., CNBC - the business arm of NBC Universal's cable empire didn't quite get there on time.
Boustany was cheated out of a little over a minute and a half giving his response on CNBC. However, its sister network - MSNBC, and the major cable networks caught up with the Republican response to President Barack Obama's Sept. 9 speech to a joint session of Congress.
Instead, viewers were treated to "The Kudlow Report" host Larry Kudlow and CNBC Washington correspondent John Harwood, reflecting on the president's speech. It is worth noting that Harwood earlier this week called parents that were opponents of the president's Sept. 8 school address weren't "smart enough" to raise their kids.
Some very friendly assessments of President Barack Obama's health care address Wednesday night to a joint session of Congress, most gathered from the quick analysis in the short time between Obama and the Republican response:
♦ MSNBC's Keith Olbermann hailed it as “a broad and forward thinking speech” with “a touch of greatness.” (MP3 audio)
♦ On ABC, George Stephanopoulos saw “a pretty remarkable speech” and suggested “this might have been the most emotional speech I've seen President Obama give” as “there was even a catch in his voice” because “this is very close to President Obama's heart.” (MP3 audio)
♦ Chuck Todd, on NBC, recited how Obama endorsed an insurance mandate for all citizens, “came down pretty strongly for the so-called public option” and proposed paying for it all by “taxing benefits for the wealthiest.” Yet after that liberal litany, Todd insisted the address was “about re-branding the President himself as a centrist and a pragmatist.”
♦ CNN's Gloria Borger trumpeted how “there was something in there for everybody” before David Gergen lamented Obama's lost opportunity: “Had he given this speech three months ago, when there was a glow about his presidency, I think he could have swept the country...”
♦ [UPDATE] Newsweek's Jonathan Alter, during a 11:15 PM EDT edition of MSNBC's The Ed Show, celebrated: “The great news tonight is this bill is on track for passage. Historic change is coming to the United States.” (MP3 audio)
“The new President has been bruised along the way as poll numbers are falling and he has seen his message hijacked as town meetings have exploded with wild and false rumors of 'death panels' deciding when a human life should end,” Brian Williams declared at the top of Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, in adopting as fact the liberal presumption that conservatives, not liberals, are guilty of the misrepresentations.
In advance of President Obama's prime time speech before Congress to push his health care agenda, Williams began his September 9 newscast for the Eastern and Central time zones:
President Obama is asking Congress to reform health care -- and while we are just 233 days into the Obama presidency -- the new President has been bruised along the way as poll numbers are falling and he has seen his message hijacked as town meetings have exploded with wild and false rumors of 'death panels' deciding when a human life should end. So tonight, beneath the Capitol dome, the stakes are high...
While arguing with Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele about health care reform on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "...if the public option is socialism, then what is Medicare?....That people overwhelmingly think works pretty well for them."
Steele pointed out Medicare’s obvious flaw: "Medicare’s a government-run program that is not – that is not doing that well....Harry, come on. How often do we have to do another reset on Medicare because it’s in default or running out of money?" Steele went on to challenge President Obama’s drastic approach to reform: "My only point is why do we have to up end 1/6 of our nation’s economy to fix what the President has now redefined-" Smith interrupted: "Because that 1/6 of our economy, left to go as it is, will bankrupt us." Apparently spending $1 trillion on a massive new government program will not.
Earlier in the interview, Steele reacted to Obama’s upcoming address to Congress: "And after 26 speeches and 12 resets on this health care plan, tonight, in my view, it’s just one more opportunity to tell us what we already know." Smith responded by claiming: "Okay. Except polls would say the opposite of that." Steele replied: "No, the polls don’t...Harry I don’t know what polls you’re looking at. The polls don’t say the opposite of that."
She's been ridiculed by the so-called masters of the universe in the mainstream media for warning President Barack Obama's health care proposals could result in one of one of her loved ones having to stand in front of one of "Obama's death panels" to determine their "level of productivity in society" to see if they are worthy of health care. But despite the criticism, she's not backing down from those statements.
She pointed out the president wanted to create a bureaucracy called the "Independent Medicare Advisory Council," which is as she says is "an unelected, largely unaccountable group of experts charged with containing Medicare costs." She wrote it is policy gestures as such as that and other cost-cutting suggestions that have her concerned.
He has been a voice in the wilderness for global warming realists, but now that he's taking on other issues put forth by President Barack Obama, some on the left's network, MSNBC, are suggesting Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., is putting the president's life at risk.
Throughout the day of Sept. 3 on MSNBC, the place for liberal politics, a report from the Sept. 2 Tulsa World by Randy Krehbiel was cited and it was suggested Inhofe had gone too far with his criticism of Obama. Both MSNBC hosts David Shuster and Ed Schultz condemned Inhofe's comments that were very unfavorable toward the president's policies.
"I have never seen so many things happening at one time so disheartening to America." Inhofe said, according to the World.
What would Jesus do? Well, Ed Schultz thinks he knows - that is on health care reform at least.
Schultz, on his Sept. 2 MSNBC program, "The ED Show" told viewers he believed Jesus would vote for a government public option. That, he said, was to the dismay of some on religious right, or what he used the pejorative "Bible thumpers" to describe.
"Now, I have been referring to the health care reform deal as the real moral issue of our time," Schultz said. "I believe Jesus would vote yes for a public option, but some Bible thumpers don't see me eye to eye on this one."
Schultz later elaborated on his statement, likening "fixing health care" to a moral obligation.
There's a reason Matt Drudge just got done celebrating an all-time record August traffic count. His visitors know that he constantly links to newsworthy stories they likely won't find reported prominently in establishment U.S. media outlets, if they're reported at all.
Such will likely be the case with a blockbuster story coming out of Great Britain tonight, courtesy of the U.K. Telegraph. It seems that there's this treatment protocol called the "Liverpool Care Pathway." Under the Pathway's guidelines, according to the Telegraph, "Under the guidelines the decision to diagnose that a patient is close to death is made by the entire medical team treating them, including a senior doctor."
Why, if I didn't know any better, that sounds like a d-d-d-d-death panel, complete with top-down ("senior doctor") supervision.
Here are just a few excerpts from Telegraph Medical Correspondent Kate Devlin's must-read report. Especially note the chilling statistic in the second-last paragraph of the excerpt:
Coming on the heels of Obama suggesting that doctors cut off people's feet because it makes them more money than a prescription, an article by the Huffington Post "News Team" suggests that doctors who warn patients about the perils of socialized medicine may physically hurt them if they don't agree.
Eric Stein went to see his doctor in Los Angeles, Calif., for a routine ear-cleaning procedure last fall. He was alarmed to discover that his doctor was out of town, leaving him in the hands of the doctor's assistant, who, instead of using the usual vacuum device, was brandishing some kind of poker with "a protruding piece of metal like a wire" on one end...He mentioned that he didn't have insurance, and he made a negative remark about insurance companies. The assistant reacted strongly. "She said, 'Oh, well, you're lucky you don't live in Canada or Britain," and she mentioned the allegedly long wait times for treatment in those countries. Stein was taken aback but decided to keep his mouth shut. "I didn't want to have an argument with that needle next to my brain," he said.
"When you have a party that claims to speak for God or claims that God is on its side, the rhetoric heats up and the anger heats up because it's not just a battle about ideas and positions and what's good for the country or bad for the country," Savage said. "It's a battle about what God wants and what God doesn't want. It's easier to demagogue about your enemies and to despise them and to dehumanize them in this really personal and vicious way."
With “Filling the VOID” as the on-screen heading, Monday's NBC Nightly News, without any consideration for how Massachusetts Democrats blocked the Governor's interim appointment power, fretted over the loss to Democrats of Ted Kennedy's Senate seat as a health care vote approaches. “Less than 48 hours after Ted Kennedy was laid to rest at Arlington Cemetery, the political reality of his vacant Senate seat has set in,” Chuck Todd warned.
Though you could argue Kennedy's plight left the seat empty all year so far, Todd explained: “Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick set January 19th, 2010 for the special election, leaving the potential for the seat to be vacant for five months. To avoid a lengthy vacancy, next week the Massachusetts legislature begins debating a change in the law to give the Governor the power to appoint an interim Senator, a power most Governors in other states already have. It was a wish Senator Kennedy himself and his family made known directly to Massachusetts' lawmakers.” Todd, however, failed to point out that in a crass 2004 political maneuver urged by Kennedy, Bay State Democrats changed the law so then-Governor Mitt Romney, a Republican, could not replace John Kerry if he had won the presidency.
Remember when Michael Moore depicted the United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS) as a superior health care system in his 2007 documentary "Sicko"?
That romanticizing on the silver screen might have seemed like a good idea for the American society, but according to Lord Ara Darzi, it's not ideal for the United States. Darzi, a former British Health Minister, appeared on CNBC's Aug. 31 "Street Signs" to defend the NHS from attacks made in a TV spot, which had been rejected by ABC and NBC for airing because they were "too partisan."
"Street Signs' host Erin Burnett presented the hypothetical question to Darzi that if the U.S. would ever go to a single-payer system, would stifle innovation and would that mean rationing of care. According to Darzi - those decisions are made on a local level.
Some of us have been wondering how viable the Voluntary Employee Benefit Arrangements (VEBAs) set up by the United Auto Workers for its auto industry employees really are. This is of particular concern at the VEBAs tied in to General Motors and Chrysler. What happens to the employer stock these VEBAs own will heavily influence whether they have the money to pay promised benefits.
The answer to the viability question must be "not very," because the House version of health care that has made it out of committee has a $10 billion provision tucked into it that would largely work to back the VEBAs up in case GM and Chrysler are never able to stand on their own -- or in case other high-wage, high-benefit companies, many of which are unionized, follow them into serious financial difficulty.
Maybe it's because $10 billion doesn't mean much any more in an era of trillion-dollar deficits, but media coverage of this "little" provision has been very, very light. A Google News search on "retiree health care UAW" (not typed in quotes) came back with only about 25 relevant items of roughly 100 total results earlier this afternoon. Many of those results are outraged editorials and op-eds. There is precious little original news coverage of the topic.
One of the few examples of original coverage is an August 24 report by Justin Hyde and Todd Spangler of the Detroit Free Press that explains the provision and provides background: