That's the advice PBS host Bill Moyers had for President Barack Obama in an appearance on HBO's August 28 "Real Time with Bill Maher." According to the former press secretary for President Lyndon B. Johnson, a defeat on health care/health insurance reform would do the left more good than crafting some sort of compromise.
"I mean, I would rather see Barack Obama go down fighting for vigorous, strong principled public insurance, than to lose with a bill - look, BusinessWeek had a cover story last week, ‘The Insurers are Winning,'" Moyers said.
Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the results of a study entitled "2009 Pandemic Influenza A (H1N1) Virus Infections: Chicago, Illinois, April-July 2009."
In a report Rush Limbaugh criticized on the air, Mike Stobbe of the Associated Press ("Swine flu sends more blacks, Hispanics to hospital") irresponsibly framed CDC's results in racial terms, and then used them as evidence of health care system "inequities."
By contrast, Julie Steenhuysen of Reuters ("In Chicago, swine flu hit children hardest") went right to the study's key finding, namely that H1N1 appears to be more likely to affect children compared to other flu viruses, which have tended to hit the elderly harder.
The opening paragraphs of Steenhuysen's work makes you wonder how the AP and Stobbe could have looked at the same CDC study and not have done anything with its critical age-based finding:
ABC displayed “Battle Cry” on screen, beneath HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, as anchor Charles Gibson teased Thursday's World News: “Health care reformers hope to win one for Teddy, but the opposition is largely unmoved.” Gibson introduced the story by asserting “some of his allies in Congress harbor hopes that his death might generate a change of heart among opponents,” but it may not come to be: “If that is to be the case, there are few signs of it yet.”
Reporter Jonathan Karl noted continued opposition amongst those at town hall meetings, yet ran soundbites from three Democrats who demonstrated how “many prominent Democrats are hoping to turn an outpouring of goodwill into political magic.” For instance, “the most senior Senator, Robert Byrd, said yesterday, 'my heart and soul weeps' at the loss of the Senator Kennedy and called for naming the health care bill after him, a view wildly held b by Democrats.”
Karl recalled “the tactic has worked before. After the assassination of John Kennedy, President Johnson invoked his memory to revive the long-stalled civil rights bill.” This year, however, while “win one for Teddy” is “already becoming a rallying cry here on Capitol Hill, Karl concluded, “the divisions run deep and will not be easily overcome, even with all that obvious good will for Senator Ted Kennedy.”
At the top of the 8AM ET hour of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Russ Mitchell wondered if Ted Kennedy’s death could "spur Congress to pass a health care reform bill?" Correspondent Nancy Cordes answered that question: "Kennedy’s death, in a way, gives new life to health care legislation, which has really taken a beating the past few weeks at town halls across the country."
Cordes went on to declare: "Supporters of health care reform say they’re going to fight even harder to achieve Kennedy’s dying wish, universal healthcare. With Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia even suggesting that the legislation be named after the late great lawmaker."
Earlier on the show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed Utah Senator and Kennedy friend Orrin Hatch, and asked about the "dying wish" of the Massachusetts Senator: "I’d be willing to bet that he would be smiling down on the capital if Republicans and Democrats could finally compromise to fulfill his dream of health care reform. Do you think that Senator Kennedy’s passing could be the impetus that could finally make that happen, or do you think that the only bridge builder who could have done that is gone now?"
The announcement of Sen. Ted Kennedy's death came at 2 a.m. Eastern on Aug. 26 and a little over 15 hours later, two prominent liberal voices were scheming as to how the president and other Democratic leaders could use his passing to advance a political agenda.
Huffington Post editor Arianna Huffington appeared on MSNBC host Ed Schultz's Aug. 26 program and was asked by Schultz if it somehow could be used to push "real reform" for health care.
"The passing of Ted Kennedy - could this be a rallying cry for progressives to carry this fight through and to see real reform and health care in this country?" Schultz said. "Because, of course, I think everybody on the left knows that this was his passion, this was his cause."
Proffering how “national sorrow has created political momentum before,” Wednesday's NBC Nightly News devoted a story to the hope of Democrats that Senator Ted Kennedy's passing will propel ObamaCare to victory. Noting how Kennedy was “passionate” about more government in health care, from Hyannis anchor Brian Williams proposed “ironically, the fact that he did not live long enough to see a possible overhaul of the system” raises the question: “Will this be the very thing that might break the log jam over getting it done? Or not?”
With “final Fight” as the on-screen heading, reporter Kelly O'Donnell asserted that “looking forward, the emotional impact of Kennedy's passing could become a factor now” as “Democrats are saying respect for Kennedy could change minds now.” Leading into a clip of President Lyndon Johnson using President John Kennedy's assassination to push for civil rights legislation, O'Donnell delivered the “national sorrow has created political momentum before” formulation, recalling:
Within months the Civil Rights Act passed with young Senator Kennedy's help. Today, a similar suggestion from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “Ted Kennedy's dream of quality health care for all Americans will be made real this year because of his leadership and his inspiration.” And outside groups were even more direct. The seniors lobby, AARP, wrote: “As Congress seems poised to act this fall, Senator Kennedy will no doubt be watching.” And the service workers union said: “Let us continue his cause. Let us take action this year to pass health care reform.”
Don't like ObamaCare? Well, more than likely - you're suffering from some sort of psychological delusion according to Newsweek Senior Editor and self-declared psychiatrist Sharon Begley.
Begley, in a piece posted on Newsweek's Web site on Aug. 25, theorized that the widespread opposition to President Barack Obama's health care reform is from any legitimate reason, but instead it exists mostly because people are not willing to go against their own beliefs, but have a desire to satisfy their need to think they're beliefs are right.
Begley used the analogy that some people refused to dismiss a connection between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 terrorist as why people won't dismiss some of the "myths" about ObamaCare.
"Some people form and cling to false beliefs about health-care reform (or Obama's citizenship) despite overwhelming evidence thanks to a mental phenomenon called motivated reasoning, says sociologist says sociologist Steven Hoffman, visiting assistant professor at the University at Buffalo," Begley wrote.
Using a "clever" headline, LiveScience.com, in a report carried at Yahoo News, tries to give those who will only see the headline the impression that Americans are a bunch of dummies who don't understand what's good for them:
Majority of Americans Believe Health Care Reform 'Myths'
Yes, the word "myths" is in quotes, but the reader is left to assume that a credible outfit must be asserting what those "myths" are. But it's actually that less than credible outfit known as "the Obama White House," which claims that those who don't swallow their assertions are subscribing to "myths." The reality is that President Barack Obama and his apparatchiks continue to peddle a set of long-disproved assertions about the kind of health care plan he and the Democratic Congress intend to make law.
The good news is that the American people aren't buying most of what Obama et al are selling:
"I think right now for example, this health care debate looks like it's - we could lose it because I don't think [Obama] he has been tough enough," Maher said. "You know, he used to say in the campaign, ‘It's your time.' This is his time. He should get mad, stop [expletive] around."
One of the hurdles Obama is facing to get his brand of health care made law is some of the more moderate Democrats in the Senate aren't willing to agree to the far-reaching plan Obama and the Democratic congressional leadership want. Maher said it really didn't matter what they thought.
I don't anticipate that those in the UK who are rushing to the defense of their precious National Health Service (NHS) will be bringing up the item that follows any time soon, nor do I expect the U.S. statist heath care cheerleaders to take note of it.
The UK Daily Mail tells us that NHS is importing general practitioners who commute from foreign countries. Wait until you see the reason why, and the effect it has had on patient care.
Here are key paragraphs from the report by Rebecca Cambers:
A well-known newspaper had this to say about writer Nat Hentoff upon his departure from the Villiage Voice at the end of 2008 after a 50-year run:
Across his 83 years, his three dozen books and his countless newspaper columns and magazine articles, Mr. Hentoff has championed free speech and opposed censorship of any kind, whether by liberals or conservatives. Few have more assiduously and consistently defended the right of people to express their views, no matter how objectionable.
The thing is that, agree with him or not, Nat Hentoff offers no opinion that isn’t supported by facts, diligently gathered.
Mr. Hentoff may not hear as well as he once did, or stand quite as straight. But he will not fade to silence.
In a Friday story headlined "Britons Fault Health Service, Until Someone Else Does," Times London correspondent Sarah Lyall singled out Republican criticism of British health care, citing tiny protests, larger Twitter campaigns, and exercised editorials in The Economist magazine about "irresponsible distortions" by conservatives in America.
While Britons love to complain about waiting lists, disparities in treatment, "infection-breeding hospitals" and "top-heavy bureaucracy," they are seemingly unanimous in opposition to Obama critics:
They are furious, for example, that the health service is being held up as an example of the failures of socialized medicine by Americans opposed to President Obama’s health care proposals. On Wednesday, several dozen people rallied in front of the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square, holding up pro-N.H.S. signs.
With “Losing Support” as the on-screen heading, ABC's World News on Friday night certainly made clear how President Obama is losing favor with the American people as his approval level and attitudes toward his health care efforts continue steadily downward so now more are opposed (50 percent) than in favor (45 percent) and he's suffered a 29-point drop in agreement with enacting a “public option.” But ABC's Kate Snow still saw a “glass half full” view as she managed to end with a positive spin for Obama:
It's not all bad news for the President. We didn't find an overwhelming majority against health care reform. Instead, if you look at the glass half full point of view, the country is basically split. About half of Americans still favor reform, and about half still favor a public option.
Also skipped by World News: How, despite the loaded wording in the question referring to those “angrily protesting at town meetings,” a majority (51 percent) considered the protests “appropriate” versus 45 percent who called them “inappropriate.” (Question 16 in the PDF.)
If you've been keeping up with the health care debate, opponents of President Barack Obama's health care plan have been accused of spreading misinformation to thwart the administration's efforts. Even Obama himself said recently that those who raised the abortion concern were "bearing false witness." But the same sorts of claims have come up in the media.
"[F]ifty-four percent believe that abortion is going to be funded," Schultz to Douglass on "The Ed Show." "Fifty-four percent believe that there's going to be a government takeover. And 45 percent believe that death panels are going to be there for the elderly. I should point out, none of those are true. So, obviously, the White House is not connecting with the American people."
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed commentator Dick Morris about his latest book critical of the Obama administration, Catastrophe. After reading the book’s full title, Rodriguez observed: "This title, though, Mr. Morris, can’t you see a lot of people dismissing it right off the bat as alarmist? It screams at you."
In response, Morris pointed out the dire state of the economy: "9.5% unemployment, four quarters of negative growth, our car companies in receivership, our health care program about to be taken over, and banks being nationalized, and I’m alarmist?"
Rodriguez replied by citing recent media spin that the recession is over: "Well what about the positive indicators? Because not so long ago, it was on the cover of every magazine, the topic of every cable show and Sunday morning show, that we were kind of digging out of the recession. We saw three straight months of rising home sales, the stock market up more than 40% since March. Ford beat expectations. Doesn’t that count?"
On Sunday evening, NewsBusters colleague Noel Sheppard highlighted a health care-related story from the Canadian Press (CP), which is that country's rough equivalent to the USA's Associated Press.
It appears that the CP is more open to reporting inconvenient news than is "our" AP, judging from a report earlier that day by the CP's Jennifer Graham. In an interview with Graham, the incoming president of the Canadian Medical Association said that the supposedly idyllic wonderland known as Canadian medical care is in deep trouble. Lo and behold, Graham actually reported it:
The incoming president of the Canadian Medical Association says this country's health-care system is sick and doctors need to develop a plan to cure it.
Dr. Anne Doig says patients are getting less than optimal care and she adds that physicians from across the country - who will gather in Saskatoon on Sunday for their annual meeting - recognize that changes must be made.
“We're the only industrialized democracy that doesn't cover every citizen” and “that is immoral,”Mark Halperin, editor-at-large and senior political analyst for Time magazine where he oversees “The Page” blog, declared on CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight in illustrating the prism through which journalists view the debate over the proper role of government in health care.
Halperin's contention occurred back on Thursday, August 6, but I'm just now catching up, following a vacation, thanks to a tip from Steve Allen of the Gentleman from Lickskillet comic strip, which had a liberal media bias theme a couple of weeks ago involving “Group Think” magazine.
When Dobbs challenged Halperin's premise -- “That's immoral?” -- the political director at ABC News for ten years until jumping to Time in 2007, affirmed: “Yes, to be a country this wealthy and be the only industrialized democracy that hasn't figured out how to cover everyone.”
Following MSNBC coverage of ObamaCare protesters legally carrying guns, on Thursday, the Second Amendment Foundation condemned the liberal network for "using deceptively-edited video from a Phoenix, Arizona anti-tax rally on Monday to invent a racial stereotype in its on-going effort to demonize and marginalize American firearms owners as ‘racists.’"
As NewsBusters reported on Tuesday, MSNBC correspondent Contessa Brewer, along with Morning Meeting host Dylan Ratigan and pop culture analyst Toure, depicted all gun-carrying protesters as being "white," "racist," and even a threat to President Obama’s life. Brewer cited one such gun-toting protester, but used highly edited video footage that did not reveal the man was actually African-American.
If you were a reporter trying to gauge the credibility of Obama administration protests that it is really serious when it says that it will honor patient, doctor, and family treatment wishes in serious illness situations if the government takes an exponentially greater role in health care, you might look into how areas of health care already controlled by the government are dealing with these sensitive matters.
Apparently either no journalist has cared to look, or if anyone has looked, they haven't found anything they believe is worth reporting.
In today's Wall Street Journal, Jim Towey, a former director of the Bush White House's Office of Faith-Based Initiatives and founder of the nonprofit Aging with Dignity, found a troubling, newsworthy, death-encouraging decision that has already been made during Barack Obama's short term in office.
CNN went searching for an example of health care reform without a public option on Aug. 20. Correspondent Jim Acosta found such a “model” in Massachusetts, but downplayed the state program’s flaws.
“What do you get when you take the public option out of health care reform? Well, according to some experts you get Romney Care,” Acosta said. “Three years after enacting its own version of reform, Massachusetts now has near universal coverage. Taxpayer watchdogs say it’s affordable … health care experts say it’s popular.”
Acosta included former Gov. Mitt Romney, Michael Widmer of the Massachusetts Taxpayer Foundation and Robert Blendon of the Harvard School of Public Health in his segment -- all supporting Romney Care.
As each day passes and President Barack Obama's health care proposal faces more and more opposition, some of the talking heads that appear on the cable news networks are looking for a "boogeyman" to blame for allegedly ginning up backlash. And that "boogeyman" has been conservative talk radio.
However, if recent history is any indication, there could be an effort to take silence conservative talk radio.
Some of the circumstances surrounding the current debate on "reforming" health care are eerily familiar to the 2007 bipartisan effort to "reform" immigration. In fact, the last big policy issue that was defeated when an upset constituency pushed back was the bipartisan 2007 effort to reform immigration.
ABC, CBS and NBC on Wednesday night all showcased liberal Democratic Congressman Barney Frank's rejoinder -- “On what planet do you spend most of your time?” -- to a woman's question: “Why do you continue to support a Nazi policy as Obama has expressly supported this policy?” As if the premise were coming from a typical anti-ObamaCare conservative, ABC's Charles Gibson set up the exchange by asserting “the contentious rhetoric over health care reform has gone up another notch. It happened in Massachusetts, after protesters brought pictures of President Obama with a Hitler-style mustache to a town hall meeting with Congressman Barney Frank.”
Though ABC showed a picture of the poster with “LaRouche PAC.com” visible at the bottom, neither Gibson nor CBS's Nancy Cordes (who did not show the LaRouche credit) noted the posters were created and distributed by the group affiliated with Lyndon LaRouche, a seven-time far-left Democratic presidential candidate who spent many years as a Trotsky-ite and is best-known as a propagator of wild conspiracy theories. The New Bedford Standard Times identified the woman as “with the LaRouche Political Action Committee.”
On the NBC Nightly News, fill-in anchor Lester Holt referred to “more rowdy town hall meetings” which led Frank to decide “he'd had enough and faced off against a woman holding a picture of President Obama that was doctored to make him look like Hitler.” After video of the exchange Tuesday night in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, Holt benignly described the source: “That anti-Obama image is being disseminated by supporters of perennial presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche who are campaigning against health care reform.”
NBC on Tuesday night tried to turn public opposition to ObamaCare into a “split” in public opinion discovered in a new NBC News poll as Chuck Todd assessed Obama's health effort is “still in serious condition politically, but it is stable,” and he listed four charges against the Democratic bills which he asserted have “been checked independently and proven to be false,” yet NBC didn't inquire about any claims from Obama and other liberals that those same groups have discredited. (Asked their TV source of health policy news, 64 percent listed ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN or MSNBC. Another 23 percent said Fox News, only 7 percent named MSNBC.)
Todd also tried to minimize the impact -- of what he derided as the “town hall madness” -- by attributing the view of them to partisan positions without mentioning how independents consider them beneficial: “And those town halls -- the country is evenly divided -- 43 percent say they've done more harm than good; 42 percent say they've done more good than harm. And by overwhelming majority, Democrats believe they're harmful. Republicans believe they're good.” On MSNBC.com, however, NBC News deputy political director Mark Murray pointed out: “Independents believe, by a 50-34 percent margin, that the protests have done more good.”
On Tuesday, MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer fretted over health care reform protesters legally carrying guns: "A man at a pro-health care reform rally...wore a semiautomatic assault rifle on his shoulder and a pistol on his hip....there are questions about whether this has racial overtones....white people showing up with guns."Brewer failed to mention the man she described was black.
Following Brewer’s report, which occurred on the Morning Meeting program, host Dylan Ratigan and MSNBC pop culture analyst Toure discussed the supposed racism involved in the protests. Toure argued: "...there is tremendous anger in this country about government, the way government seems to be taking over the country, anger about a black person being president....we see these hate groups rising up and this is definitely part of that." Ratigan agreed: "...then they get the variable of a black president on top of all these other things and that’s the move – the cherry on top, if you will, to the accumulated frustration for folks."
Not only did Brewer, Ratigan, and Toure fail to point out the fact that the gun-toting protester that sparked the discussion was black, but the video footage shown of that protester was so edited, that it was impossible to see that he was black. The man appeared at a health care rally outside of President Obama’s speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Phoenix, Arizona.
On Monday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Sharyl Attkisson filed a report highlighting the recent defections of thousands of AARP members to the more conservative American Seniors Association (ASA), because of the perceived support by the AARP for ObamaCare. The report recounted that Obama recently had to correct a claim that the AARP supports his plan, while some are suspicious that the group may support the President privately, but are unwilling to admit to doing so publicly.
Substitute anchor Maggie Rodriguez noted that Obama had to backtrack on claiming AARP support as she introduced the story: "President Obama once thought he had the AARP on board, as he put it, on his plan for health care reform, but he has since had to back off on that claim."
On CBS’s Sunday Morning correspondent Martha Teichner touted President Obama’s latest PR blitz to promote health care reform: "For the third time in five days, Barack Obama used the presidential bully pulpit on behalf of what he’s now calling health insurance reform. No more letting the angry opposition control the agenda."
Teichner dismissed that "angry opposition" by declaring: "Here’s a question. Do they even know what’s in the bills currently being considered by Congress? Do you?" Teichner and two liberal supporters of the Obama health care plan proceeded to educate viewers as to what was being proposed.
She spoke with former head of the left-wing group People for the American Way, Ralph Neas, now CEO of the supposedly "non-partisan" National Coalition on Health Care that is pushing for reform. In addition, Teichner spoke with University of North Carolina Professor Jonathan Oberlander, who in a July 22 article for the liberal British newspaper The Guardian wrote: "The Obama administration is pushing Congress to enact health reform legislation this year. And against all odds, Obama may pull it off....Obama’s election, after all, is a reminder that history is not always repeated. Sometimes it is made."
During Thursday's World News with Charles Gibson, ABC correspondent Kate Snow held open the possibility that some ObamaCare opponents are correct in their belief that universal health care will include taxpayer funding of abortion, although she characterized the truth as "unclear," during a "Reality Check" during which she brought up the likelihood that taxpayer funding would be used to purchase private health insurance plans that cover abortion. Snow:
Will health care reform lead to taxpayer-funded abortions? Unclear. Current law states federal funds cannot be used for abortions except in the cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother. But under health care reform, lower income Americans would have their health care subsidized by the government, and they will be allowed to pick a health plan that covers abortion.
She also informed viewers that at least one alternative plan would try to separate tax dollars from abortion funding -- she contended that "it might not be the easiest thing to regulate, keeping public and private money separate," but she also cited "experts" who say that such a plan "could work." Snow:
On Saturday, ABC’s World News Saturday and the NBC Nightly News each ran a story touting the high number of patients arriving at a free clinic in Los Angeles, operated by Remote Area Medical, as evidence of the need for health care reform. For the NBC Nightly News, it was the third such story on the facility of the week.
While ABC’s World News with Charles Gibson had run one story on Friday that focused on the generous work of the organization and its founder, Stan Brock, Saturday was the first time World News had touted the clinic as evidence of the need for reform, or compared America’s poor to the Third World, as stories on the CBS Evening News and the NBC Nightly News had already done previously. And on Saturday, ABC and NBC again failed to inform viewers that patients who arrived at the free clinic were not required to prove financial need to receive service, but were merely accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.
On World News Saturday, ABC anchor Dan Harris set up the piece:
In Inglewood, California, tonight, a vivid demonstration of the health care crisis: A clinic that provides free health care has been inundated with patients. Almost 46 million people in this country do not have health insurance, but the problem is a lot bigger than that. Many people who do have insurance still cannot afford the care that they need.
Nothing like a presidential assassination metaphor to spice up an otherwise insipid Sunday column . . .
Churning out yet another anti-Sarah screed, Dowd descended to this today [emphasis added]:
"At the moment, what she wants to do is tap into her visceral talent for aerial-shooting her favorite human prey: cerebral Ivy League Democrats.
Just as she was able to stir up the mob against Barack Obama on the trail, now she is fanning the flames against another Harvard smarty-pants — Dr. Zeke Emanuel, a White House health care adviser and the older brother of Rahmbo."
So Sarah wants to shoot the brother of Pres. Obama's chief of staff, along with the president himself. Per Dowd, they're nothing but "human prey" to Palin.