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!"
A frequent BizzyBlog commenter tweeted about an online article he saw at CNNMoney.com entitled "Doctors going broke" about how many doctors are struggling in the current economy. His tweet: "Welcome to Obamacare."
A frequent BizzyBlog commenter tweeted about am online article he saw at CNNMoney.com entitled "Doctors going broke" about how many doctors are struggling in the current economy. His tweet: "Welcome to Obamacare."
What's interesting is that my tweeting commenter is right that Obamacare is definitely already influencing the viability of medical practices. But Ms. Parija Kavilanz's Friday report acts as if the mind-numbingly lengthy legislation and the torrent of regulations which appear destined to end up being huge multiples of that outrageous length don't exist, and actually blames many docs for their predicaments:
In an item which still has a breaking news tag, Josh Funk at the Associated Press (saved here for future reference, fair use, and discussion purposes) call retiring Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson a "centrist," and almost seemed to mourn over "an increasingly polarizing climate" which made it clear that Nelson's reelection would have been a steep uphill fight. Of course, there was no mention of the infamous Cornhusker kickback which was offered and then withdrawn in a firestorm of controversy in an Obama administration attempt to win Nelson's support for the passage of ObamaCare -- which they got anyway.
Here are several paragraphs from Funk's report and the immediately following breaking news item:
Tuesday's Early Show on CBS brought on PolitiFact's Bill Adair to reveal what he labeled as the "biggest lie of the year" inside politics, which was "the claim by many Democrats that the Republicans voted to end Medicare." But CBS let Democratic operatives spout that falsehood several times without scrutiny earlier in 2011.
The network did stand out in bringing on the PolitiFact editor, something ABC and NBC didn't do on Tuesday. Adair stated that Democrats "say that the House voted to end Medicare. That's not what they did. What the House did was vote to protect Medicare on people who are 55 and older, but to privatize it and restructure it...for people who are younger...it's wrong to say 'end Medicare,' and it's a...classic scare tactic that we've seen targeting the elderly for many years."
Imagine that -- A massive government bureaucracy given almost a head start of more than three years to get up and running appears to be well on its way to not being ready.
Julie Appleby covered the situation at the Washington Post yesterday. Steven Hayward at Powerline accurately called it an item which "ought to be on the front page above the fold," and wasn't. It also "just so happens" to be an early vindicator of free-market capitalism as better able than the government to set up and manage complex systems. Here are several paragraphs from Appleby's report, which will be followed by key points from Hayward (bolds are mine throughout this post):
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."
Awwww. Don Berwick is unhappy. In a speech at the annual conference of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement excerpted at the Boston Globe's White Coat Notes blog, the man whom Congress would not confirm as Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) administrator seventeen months after President Obama gave him a recess appointment lashed out at his critics, especially their use of the terms "rationing" and "death panels," describing the employment of the latter term as "beyond cruelty."
Neither Chelsea Conaboy's introduction at the Globe excerpt nor Sam Baker's coverage at the Hill's Healthwatch blog brought up why the two terms Berwick despises so accurately describe his health care views, which include his belief that the Affordable Care Act passed by Congress and signed by President Obama last year -- the one where, as Nancy Pelosi warned, we're still figuring out what's really in it -- is, as he told Boston station WBUR, "majestic." What follows is most of Conaboy's intro, which almost completely ignored the overheated rhetoric in the speech excerpts which followed:
MSNBC's faux conservative Joe Scarborough dismissed the conservative credentials of Republican front-runners Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney while promoting Jon Huntsman – the GOP darling of liberals like Jimmy Carter.
Scarborough's Politico op-ed ripped Gingrich and Romney for flip-flopping on issues like abortion and global warming. He strangely ignored the time where Huntsman, MSNBC's favorite Republican, called his fellow party members "anti-science" for disbelieving global warming – or when he supported civil unions for same sex couples.
While NBC, ABC, and CBS all reported on the Supreme Court's decision Monday to rule on the constitutionality of ObamaCare, none of the coverage made any mention of calls for liberal Justice Elena Kagan to recuse herself from the case due to her advocacy for the legislation as Obama's solicitor general.
Of the three networks, only ABC's World News even noted public opposition to the legislation, as White House correspondent Jake Tapper explained: "The health care law is tremendously unpopular with a new high of 51 percent of Americans viewing it unfavorably and new low of 34 percent approving of it."
The Supreme Court has agreed to determine the constitutionality of ObamaCare after 26 states have appealed for it to do so. As explicitly stated in the 10th Amendment, the powers not specifically vested in the federal government by the Constitution are reserved to the states and the people, which ObamaCare supersedes by requiring nearly every American to purchase health insurance.
As Yuval Levin explains at National Review, though, opponents should not be so quick to lose focus of the future of our healthcare system. Do you think ObamaCare will be struck down? Read Levin's views after the break, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Having followed Democratic former Ohio governor Ted "Holier Than Thou" Strickland lo these many painful years, including the memorable episode when as a Congressman he called out 355 of his colleagues as liars for unanimously supporting an anti-pedophilia resolution (seriously), it's remarkable (actually, it's clear evidence of Ohio media bias) that it's current Republican governor John Kasich who has the reputation for arrogance. During the administration of "Turnaround Ted," who Kasich defeated in 2010, Ohio lost over 400,000 jobs. It should be self-evident to any Ohioan who endured his four long years in office that Strickland's authority to opine on anything relating to the welfare of the Buckeye State is non-existent.
Yet there Strickland was Tuesday night, being interviewed by Fox News's Greta Van Susteren about the meaning of Ohio voters' 66%-34% landslide approval of Issue 3, which put prohibitions of Obamacare’s mandates to buy health insurance and participate in a health care plan into Ohio’s constitution (y'know, the document Ted swore to uphold when he was the state's chief executive). Watch the exchange, as Van Susteren calls out Ted's contempt for the expressed will of Ohio's voters:
Conservatives had some significant victories in Tuesday’s scattered elections across the country, but the broadcast network evening newscasts on Wednesday night – with the exception of one topic on NBC – decided to only highlight, as did the morning shows earlier in the day, setbacks for conservatives.
“Ohio voters rejected a Republican-backed measure that limited the collective bargaining rights of public workers,” CBS anchor Scott Pelley noted of the measure which won by 61 to 39 percent, but neither he nor ABC’s Diane Sawyer informed viewers a ballot measure which will bar ObamaCare’s mandate won by an even more overwhelming 66 to 34 percent.
Perhaps partially explaining the treatment of Ohio's ballot issues on shows like MSNBC's "Morning Joe" as noted by Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters earlier today, I have found that the Associated Press predictably trumpeted the 61%-39% rejection of Issue 2, which would have required cost-sharing for public-sector employee health and pension benefits while curbing the scope of collective bargaining, as a big national story. Meanwhile, as far as I can tell, the AP only devoted six snarky paragraphs in a regionally carried story to Issue 3, which won by a 66%-34% margin and passed by comfortable majorities in all 88 Buckeye State counties. Also known as the Ohio Healthcare Freedom Amendment, Issue 3 put prohibitions of Obamacare's mandates to buy health insurance and participate in a health care plan into Ohio's constitution.
First, excerpts from the Issue 2 story by the wire service's Sam Hananel out of, ahem, Washington:
On Saturday, Barbara Hollingsworth at the Washington Examiner (HT Peter Roff at US News) reported on the latest development in lawsuit filed by former congressman Steve "Sore Loser" Driehaus against Susan B. Anthony's List (SBA).
Democrat Driehaus, who served one term in Congress before losing to Republican Steve Chabot, is suing SBA under a Ohio’s False Statement Law for "loss of livelihood." Seriously. Driehaus says that his vote for ObamaCare, which has no prolife protections hard-wired into the law, was not a betrayal of his prolife beliefs. SBA says it was a betrayal, and is correct. Driehaus's excuse was that President Obama wrote up an Executive Order with supposed prolife protections, which of course can be revoked at any whimsical presidential moment -- like, say, January 21, 2013 if he's reelected (or January 19, 2013 if he's not).
On his Thursday program, MSNBC's Martin Bashir collaborated with pro-abortion Rep. Diana DeGette to bash pro-life conservatives as "misogynists" during a seven-and-a-half minute long segment. Bashir claimed that it's "hardly surprising" that the proposed Protect Life Act, which would protect the conscience rights of health care workers, "has earned the moniker the 'let women die act.'"
During the segment, the host repeatedly railed against Republicans for putting the bill up for a vote while "fourteen million Americans out of work." Bashir also adopted the pro-abortion lobby's own talking points from the very start [video clips from the segment below the jump]: