“Congress's chief budget analyst delivered a devastating assessment yesterday of the health care proposals drafted by congressional Democrats,” the Washington Post reported Friday, but of the broadcast network evening newscasts on Thursday only ABC's World News related how, as Jake Tapper put it, “the President's case was dealt a blow today” when CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf warned the health plans will require massive additional spending.
Noting “House Democrats would impose a surtax of up to 5.4 percent on top wage earners,” Tapper relayed how the Tax Foundation determined it “would push top tax rates to over 50 percent in most of the country. That has moderate House Democrats concerned.” Tapper pointed out that “if the President signed the House bill into law, which he has not ruled out, he would be breaking this campaign promise.” Viewers then saw a clip of Obama from last September: “Everyone in America, everyone, will pay lower taxes than they paid in the 1990s under Bill Clinton.”
Setting up Tapper's piece, ABC anchor Charles Gibson had led with good news for President Obama: “President Obama is a man on a mission. Everywhere he goes these days, he's pushing health care reform. He got a boost today. The American Medical Association said it supports it -- supports the House Democratic bill, that is. The AMA says that version of health care reform expands coverage but still gives patients a choice of plans.”
BMI's Julia A. Seymour discussed the media's sparse reporting on health care reform's impact on small businesses July 16 on the Fox Business Network. Anchor Stuart Varney asked, "Is Washington waging war on small business? And is the news media ignoring it?" Seymour told him:
Yes, I think in - in many cases they are. If you look at last night's evening news coverage of this health care reform bill, or as you, you called it, uh, wealth reform bill, two networks out of three ignored the plight of small businesses altogether. Only CBS' Chip Reid did a story talking about the impact of sma- on small business of this bill.
NBC, ABC and CBS all aired exclusive interviews with President Barack Obama last night discussing his sweeping plans to assume government control over the nation's health care industry. But none of the networks seemed aware of the bombshell easily discovered by Investor's Business Daily and confirmed by the House Ways and Means Committee: a provision in the bill that severely limits private health insurance choice.
Page 16 of the House bill, IBD reported, appears to make it illegal to "enroll any individual in such [private health insurance] coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day" of the year the legislation becomes law.
Media Research Center President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell called on anyone reporting on the bill read it before making the same mistake:
This post proves the point, as if it even needs to be proven, that you have to go to the editorial pages of publications like the Wall Street Journal and Investors Business Daily to get your news when leftists are in control of the government.
When the topic is statist health care, that's doubly true.
IBDeditorials.com got to Page 16 of the House's health care bill, did the investigative work the establishment media was either too lazy to do -- or worse, other outlets did the work and didn't think readers should know what IBD found.
Yesterday afternoon, IBD laid the following bombshell on its readers (HT to dscott; I also heard Rush mention this a short time ago; bolds after title are mine):
It's Not An Option
Congress: It didn't take long to run into an "uh-oh" moment when reading the House's "health care for all Americans" bill. Right there on Page 16 is a provision making individual private medical insurance illegal.
The White House's decision to offer interviews with the President to the medical doctors who are correspondents for ABC, CBS and NBC paid off Wednesday night with stories that embraced the assumption health care must be reformed; and interviews on CBS and NBC which put Obama's efforts in the best light. Ironically, ABC's Dr. Tim Johnson, a long-time advocate for government-directed universal coverage, didn't presume Obama's prescription is benign.
Anchor Katie Couric led the CBS Evening News by making the underlining case for Obama's view that government intervention is needed:
They've been talking about it for decades. President Obama says he wants it done now, as in this summer -- universal health care. As he put it today, it's time for us to buck up. And there are a lot of bucks at stake. Since 1999, health insurance premiums have increased 120 percent -- four times as much as wages. And about one and a half million American families lose their homes to foreclosure every year because of sky high medical bills. A number of proposals are making their way through the House and Senate this week.
In the subsequent story, Chip Reid did spend some time on the burden the new health care requirements would place on small businesses, before CBS played an excerpt from Dr. Jon LaPook's Obama interview in which LaPook empathized: “Mr. President, when people hear you talk about a national insurance plan, there are fears of socialized medicine, rationed care, limited choice. How do you handle this?”
An editorial in yesterday's Wall Street Journal bemoaned the fact that the state-run health system in Massachusetts is failing, and that its implosion isn't common knowledge.
Formally known as CommonwealthCare, the Massachusetts scheme has the political name of "RomneyCare," in "honor" of the Bay State governor and former presidential candidate who championed its passage in 2006.
The Journal understands that the Bay State Blowup is one of the media's least-covered stories because exposure of CommonwealthCare's true results would make all too clear the awaiting disasters found in the various versions of ObamaCare Congress is considering for the entire country.
The Journal editorial yesterday primarily addressed what I'll call the "free rider" problem (link to outside blog post added by me; bolds are mine):
In a July 7 New York Times Magazine article ("The Place of Women on the Court"; HT to an e-mailer) apparently scheduled to appear in its July 12 print edition (based on its URL), Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told the Times's Emily Bazelon that "at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don't want to have too many of."
Who is this "we" Ginsburg refers to?
Alleged reporter Bazelon did not follow up on this astounding admission.
Here, in full context of the Q&A discussion about women's reproductive rights, is Justice Ginsburg's statement:
In a wildly meandering report on the status of the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Alliance's attempt to enact statist health care this year, Associated Press writers David Espo and Erica Werner:
Told us that the House wants to slap a surtax on "highly paid" Americans without disclosing the percentage of the proposed surtax or how much it might raise.
Forgot to tell us that wealthy wage earners already pay a "surtax" designed to fund others' health care that has failed to solve any long-term financial issues (maybe you've forgotten too, so I'll remind you).
Acted as if the legislation under consideration will instantly zero out the number of uninsured Americans, which they falsely claimed is currently 50 million.
Here are the relevant paragraphs from the AP report:
Network reporters swooned over President Barack Obama hugging a woman, who has cancer and lacks insurance, at his Wednesday “town hall” on health care, as both CNN -- where Suzanne Malveaux heralded the hug as “a bold display of presidential concern” -- and NBC failed to point out how all the questions (just seven in total) were pre-selected or from members of pro-Obama groups. Instead, NBC's Savannah Guthrie showed a kid in a video (“My mommy and daddy have small businesses, and we need health care”) before she touted how Obama “solicited questions on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and in person, with a hug for a woman who says she cannot pay her medical bills,” while CNN's Ed Henry related “he fielded questions from YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and a live audience.”
CBS's Katie Couric showcased “an emotional moment” when “a 53-year-old cancer patient described her battle to get treatment she can afford.” Couric relayed how Obama “called her exhibit A in a system that's too expensive and too complicated,” but at least, unlike NBC and CNN, Couric noted the woman “is a volunteer for Mr. Obama's political operation Organizing for America” and “the White House invited her to attend.”
Filling-in as anchor on CNN's The Situation Room, Suzanne Malveaux painted Obama as a combination of General Patton and Oprah as she set up Henry in the 6 PM EDT hour:
President Obama has a message for some critics. He will get his way. Today he made a bold promise regarding health care reform. And, in a bold display of presidential concern, the President comforted a sick and emotional woman.
For the Matador Media, One Side Fits All As the media walk hand-in-hand with the Left towards their fantasy-addled government medicine Utopia, they routinely forget that there is another perspective out there as to whether or not the government should commandeer the nation's private health care system. A perspective on which they, had they not already chosen sides on the issue, would (and should) be reporting.
The most recent high-water mark in media health care bias was last Wednesday, when ABC broadcast on four separate occasions from the White House during what they said was a day of their "moderating" a health care "conversation" with President Barack Obama. Good Morning America, World News and Nightline all satellite-beamed their video images from within the confines of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
And all of that was in addition to a one hour prime time special entitled Questions for the President: Prescription for America. During which the queries posed to Obama were for the most part fairly difficult, but given the home-field advantage format he was able to deviate from the intent of each question as much as he wanted, filibuster as long as he wished and in every instance had the last word on each issue.
This all-day Obama domination of the "conversation" ABC was claiming to "moderate" inspired in us a notion. After all, one doesn't "moderate" a "conversation." What IS moderated - and what is certainly called for on something as important as the decision whether to allow the government to shanghai nearly 20% of the private sector (and arguably it's most important portion) - is a DEBATE. And ABC wasn't having one.
So we decided to offer up the other side of the deliberation in which ABC - and the media as a whole - aren't engaging. Working with Americans for Tax Reform and the Health Care Freedom Coalition, we put together a rock star panel of legislators and health care experts to put forward free market-based health care reforms. And to identify the myriad problems with and debunk the many myths and canards about government medicine - which the Left repeatedly offer up and the Matador Media let go by them with barely a wave of the cape.
Clearly, the most important takeaway from ABC's low-rated White House forum on health care was President Barack Obama's admission that he would go outside the constraints of a nationalized system to get the "very best care" if necessary for his own family.
Call this a teachable moment, but even with ABC's best-laid plans to kickstart the debate about health care reform and not allow the "Prescription for America" special to become an "infomercial," as many have complained - the president spent more than twice as much time as his questioners vaguely answering or not answering the questions asked of him. But the network consistently presented the event as part of the need to fix a "broken system." When asked, every one of the 164 hand-picked audience members said they felt that health care needed to be changed.
President Barack Obama appeared on the ABC network in a town hall format broadcasted from the White House on two separate programs on June 24 - an hour-long primetime special during the 10 p.m. Eastern Time hour and later on the "Nightline" program that aired during the 11:30 p.m. Eastern Time hour.
Hours before ABC's Wednesday prime time special with President Obama from the White House, Questions for the President: Prescription for America, a World News piece conveyed the public's doubts that Obama will achieve his goals, but also endorsed Obama's premise that something must be done as reporter David Wright focused on concern over rising costs and a family without insurance before concluding: “Expectations are low, but the need is obvious.”
From Lynchburg, Virginia, Wright reported how “some folks here clearly have their doubts President Obama is going to be able to fix the health care system” as “some worry about big government programs, others that they'll pay higher taxes in the end.” But, he stressed, “Democrats and Republicans alike here told us they hope he can fix it because something needs to be done. Kimberly Gambiladi (sp?) is a stay at home mom. Her husband got laid off two months ago. Now the whole family has no insurance.”
Wright moved on to “a civil engineering firm with 85 employees” where “business has dropped off during the recession. But health premiums haven't.” After the stay at home mom with no insurance admitted “I don't have the answer. Hopefully, somebody will,” Wright delivered his closing line: “Expectations are low, but the need is obvious.”
There may be no limit to how far establishment media reporters will go in their attempt to prop up the public perception of failing state-run health care programs.
The latest example comes from Massachusetts. The Bay State's CommonwealthCare (aka RomneyCare, so nicknamed because Governor Mitt Romney, rumored to be a Republican and pictured at right, championed the legislation's passage and signed the bill in 2006) continues to implode -- as anyone with a brain could have predicted, and as many, including yours truly (fourth item at link), did predict.
Despite deep cuts, which essentially amount to large-scale rationing of care and cash-starving of providers, the Boston Globe's Kay Lazar, in an allegedly straight news story, felt compelled to describe the state's health care arrangement as "trailblazing," and to characterize a 12% budget cut as "trimming."
Here are key paragraphs from what amounts to Lazar's lament, with "rationing" tags added by yours truly for emphasis:
CBS, of all news outlets, is setting a high standard for ABC to meet Wednesday in its broadcasts from the White House. On Tuesday night, just a week after a “Reality Check” on how President Obama's claim that his government-expansion health care plan won't hike the deficit doesn't match reality, the CBS Evening News aired a story on how his plan would likely force many to lose their current health insurance and/or doctor.
Katie Couric noted “72 percent of Americans say they favor a government plan that would compete with private insurers,” but “at the same time, nearly two-thirds are concerned that would reduce the quality of their own health care. And some experts believe they're right to be worried.”
Sharyl Attkisson featured the Cato Institute's Michael Cannon, who explained: “Employer premiums will go up and employers might respond by dropping coverage entirely. So if you're one of those unfortunate workers, then it will be a government policy that ousted you from your health plan.” Attkisson added: “And if you do choose a public plan, you may want to keep your favorite doctors, but they may not want to keep you. Under government health care, they could be paid 20 to 30 percent less.” Attkisson pointed out how “Obama also scoffed at claims that a public plan would put private insurers out of business,” but she countered: “The answer, say critics, is that the government has many tools to get an unfair advantage and undercut private companies.”
Imagine, if you can, that George W. Bush made a clearly and deliberately false statement (by the way, what the left claims are his five major lies weren't, and still aren't).
Now further imagine if the Bush administration's response to criticism of the statement, if not true, had been, "Oh, the president's rhetoric shouldn't be taken literally." The press uproar over such a dismissive response would have been justifiably immediate and furious.
In his address to the American Medical Association this past Monday, President Barack Obama promised that:
.... no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.
Well, Richard Alonzo-Zaldivar at the Associated Press at least noticed that Dear Leader's promises can't possibly be kept. But wait until you see his nonchalant reaction to what a conscientious press would immediately decry as a series of obvious falsehoods.
Sticking up for European socialism, Friday night on HBO's Real Time, BBC America's Katty Kay contended the “idea of demonizing” a “public option” for U.S. health care “as some sort of step toward socialism -- it just seems to me so out of touch with reality.” That's because “in Britain we have a purely public plan and even the Conservative Party calls it one of our great national treasures,” while other European nations “that have some sort of a public plan actually, you know what, they seem to like it” since “it seems to actually work pretty well and no one wants to get rid of it.”
The fact Britain's Conservative Party doesn't oppose that nation's nationalized health system says more about how far the party is to the left than anything about the benefits of the system.
Earlier today, Julia A. Seymour of the Media Research Center's Business & Media Institute (BMI) pointed to a fact-check done by her group showing that "from January 20 to June 16 those quoted in health care stories on ABC's morning and evening news shows favored ObamaCare by a 3-to-1 margin (55 supporters to 18 critics)."
You think that margin is bad; wait until you see the ratio at ABC of Obama vs. McCain campaign contributions.
Centering its story around a man unable to get “affordable” health insurance after a battle with cancer, Thursday's NBC Nightly News devoted its “In-Depth” segment to the “public option,” what anchor Brian Williams innocuously described as “a government insurance program similar to Medicare, but available to those under 65.” NBC didn't mention conservative concern such a program would become a “slippery slope” toward a single-payer system since the government could under-price private insurers.
Reporter Robert Bazell focused on Chuck Bille, who “at 61 loves the outdoors and feels healthy, but Bille had leukemia that is now in remission. And recently, he was laid off from his job that had provided health insurance.” Bazell contended “covering people like Bille who can't get affordable insurance is one of the most contentious issues in health reform,” so “some want a new government program, similar to Medicare, as an option for those who can't get or don't want employer-based insurance.” A university professor then enthused: “It could offer much broader coverage, more benefits, more services, deeper coverage, thereby allowing people a choice of a product that actually is tailored to their needs.”
While President Barack Obama's health care plan is garnering plenty of media attention including two prominent spots on ABC, Fox News host Glenn Beck says the plan won't even help the poor get insurance.
"Look, it doesn't even make sense," Beck said. "When you start to look at it, they're talking about savings, but their savings come from moving people from Medicaid over to universal health. We're also leaving, I think it's 33 or 39 million people off the roles. They - we're not even talking about people who are making less than $33,000."
ABC found itself in hot water this week after it announced on June 15 it would be airing a primetime special, "Questions for the President: Prescription for America," on June 24 from the White House. ABC also said "Good Morning America" and "World News" would also be broadcast from the White House that day.
ABC News' senior vice president Kerry Smith defended the network against critics saying in a letter the hour-long special from the White House will be "devoted to exploring and probing the President's position and the giving voice to questions and criticisms of that position."
Smith also claimed the network has "had many critics of the President's health care proposals on the air - and that's before a real plan has even been put before the country. In the end, no one watching, listening to, or reading ABC News will lack for an understanding of all sides of these important questions."
MRC's Business & Media Institute fact checked that claim and found that from January 20 to June 16 those quoted in health care stories on ABC's morning and evening news shows favored ObamaCare by a 3-to-1 margin (55 supporters to 18 critics).
MRC President Brent Bozell sat down in the Fox News DC bureau yesterday morning to record his reaction to ABC News's planned special at the White House on health care. [audio available here]
Fox News Channel ran Mr. Bozell's comments in news updates throughout the day, including a full story by correspondent Mike Emanuel that aired during "Special Report with Bret Baier":
Just try to put into context how ridiculous this ABC quote-unquote discussion is. Just try to imagine a world wherein ABC would give George W. Bush a two-hour opportunity to have a quote-unquote "discussion with the American people" on the war on terror.
MRC President Brent Bozell sat down in the Fox News DC bureau on June 17 to record his reaction to ABC News's planned special at the White House on health care.
During the 1 p.m. EDT hour, correspondent Mike Emanuel aired one small portion of his comments [audio available here]:
Just try to imagine a world wherein ABC would give George W. Bush a two-hour opportunity to have a quote-unquote "discussion with the American people" on the war on terror. They didn't even cover some of his press conferences.
Calling it an "all-day home field advantage play for Obama and his position on health care," MRC's Seton Motley noted on the June 17 Fox News Channel program "America's Newsroom" that an upcoming ABC network special hosted at the White House will fail to include the other side of the complex policy argument. [audio available here]
Although there will also be a question and answer section with participants picked by ABC News, the planned special will not include a response from Republicans or government-run health care critics.
ABC "has a history of going as far left as possible with these specials and yielding time to Democrats when they won't yield to Republicans," Motley argued. The MRC Director of Communications pointed out that Linda Douglass, White House Director of Communications, served as an ABC News correspondent from 1998 to 2006.
ABC has made the unprecedented move of giving prime-time programing air time to President Barack Obama for a health care reform special to be aired next week. Perhaps it is not too surprising that Obama has landed himself some prime viewing time on ABC. After all, former ABC News correspondent Linda Douglass is now the Director of Communications for the Obama White House Office of Health Reform. Coincidence? One would be excused to suspect it.
Reality catches up with CBS News which on Tuesday night ran a “Reality Check” story on how a new CBO report shows President Obama's claim that his government-expansion health care plan won't hike the deficit doesn't match reality. So, will ABC News display similar skepticism when it broadcasts GMA and World News from the White House next Wednesday, culminating in a prime time hour, “Questions for the President: Prescription for America”? (ABC's Jake Tapper on Monday night briefly cited the CBO report, but ABC and NBC were silent on Tuesday evening.)
Fill-in CBS Evening News anchor Jeff Glor announced “there are growing concerns that President Obama lacks a realistic plan to pay for this sweeping reform.” Reporter Wyatt Andrews related “how the nation really pays for health reform just got a shocking wake-up call. The Congressional Budget Office, CBO, said Senator Ted Kennedy's health care proposal could cost one trillion dollars over ten years, and 36 million Americans would still be uninsured.” Andrews proceeded to note how Obama “claims he can achieve reform without raising the deficit,” but, he asserted, “the fact is, this means raising taxes.” Andrews also pointed out that Obama's “more than $600 billion worth of spending cuts” to Medicare and other programs don't comport with inevitable resistance from hospitals.