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.
President Barack Obama created “a very tender moment,” as he addressed the American Medical Association in Chicago, and “was right on target at reaching out to the heart of most physicians” ABC's Dr. Tim Johnson beamed on Monday's World News in reaction to fill-in anchor George Stephanopoulos paraphrasing how Obama told the doctors “our health care system should let them be healers, again, instead of bean counters.”
Johnson is a long-time advocate for a major expansion of the government's role in health care. On the March 1 World News, Johnson complained: “We spend more than twice as much per person on health care in this country as the average of all other industrialized countries, yet we’re the only one that doesn’t have universal coverage. That’s a national shame.” A few days later, Johnson participated in Obama’s health care forum, then expressed awe: “I was blown away by President Obama’s grasp of the subject, how he connected the dots, how he answered the questions without any script.” More in the MRC BiasAlert by Rich Noyes, “ABC Picks Universal Health Care Fan for Obama Health Care Special.”
Back in 2005, the Old Media was all atwitter over a supposed "plant reporter" at a Bush press conference. The Old Media made a big deal out of this guy and used it to try and cast the Bush White House as employing some sort of underhanded control of information. Flash forward to today, President Obama held his Healthcare townhall in Green Bay, Wisconsin. It turns out that Obama's first "spontaneous question" from the audience sure seems like a "plant" in the same way as the previously mentioned situation in 2005. Will the media take notice?
Naturally, President Obama wants people to think his "townhall meetings" are legitimately open to just any American to attend to ask him the tough questions. The June 11 meeting on Healthcare, of course, was supposed to feature spontaneous questions for the president from the audience about a takeover of nearly 20% of the nation's economy with his healthcare plans. But a closer look at this townhall in Green Bay, Wisconsin, might disabuse anyone of the notion that spontaneous questions really were taken from the audience.
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith repeated liberal talking points while asking Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about President Obama’s plan to nationalize the health care system: "People get worried when the idea of somebody messing with their health care comes along, but the fact is, is we spend trillions of dollars on health care every year, and if anything is helping or contributing to killing the economy, it's that cost. Why is it so important that this be dealt with?"
Sebelius easily hit that softball: "It isn't about cutting services. It's about doing smarter, more efficient, better medicine for the American people. Too many Americans now come through the doors of an emergency room. Most expensive, least effective care...And frankly, there's a lot more efficiency we can gain in terms of lowering drug costs, lowering costs across the board without cutting services."
Smith concluded the interview by wishing Sebelius "good luck" on implementing the massive government expansion.
As the Colorado House of Representative took us further down the road to socialized health care earlier this week, Douglas County School are considering moving to a Health Savings Account plan for their employees. Needless to say, the Denver Post finds this objectionable:
Douglas County School District soon may join a growing number of employers pushing workers to manage their own medical spending with health savings accounts, eliminating copays for drugs and doctor visits.
The transition is frightening for many who see it as a reinvention of health insurance as they've always known it.
Since former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean stepped down as the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, he has ventured into other opportunities.
One of those opportunities was to be a business pundit for the financial news channel CNBC, even though Dean's background prior to politics was in medicine. But just over a week later, in an e-mail dated April 2 to MoveOn.org mailing list subscribers, Dean wrote he was leaving Washington to hit the campaign trail "to help President Obama win health care for all."
One of the issues Obama was taking action on was health care, according to Chip Reid's "Evening News" report.
Chip Reid told viewers: "Hoping to take advantage of any momentum from last night's speech to Congress, the president, today, forged ahead with a flurry of activity on his economic plan. On health care, the White House said the president's budget, to be released Thursday, will include $634 billion to expand health coverage. To be paid for by taxing the wealthy and trimming payments to insurance companies, hospitals and doctors."
Later in the segment, Reid misled viewers as to the number of uninsured. He said the White House was calling that enormous package "a big first step in getting health insurance to America's 48 million uninsured."
The problem is, "America's 48 million uninsured" is an overstatement. The Census Bureau puts the figure at 45.6 million, but that statistic includes non-citizens and people who choose not to have insurance because of age or income.
A health policy expert who Keith Olbermann eviscerated during Thursday's "Countdown" (video embedded below the fold) has officially challenged the disgraceful MSNBC personality to a debate concerning provisions in the soon to be enacted stimulus plan.
If Keith Olbermann of MSNBCcould defend the health provisions slipped into the stimulus bill on their merits, he wouldn't be resorting to personal attacks on me. Olbermann calls me a shill funded by the drug industry (2-12-2009). That's not true...If Keith Olbermann has the courage, I invite him to debate me on his program...Mr. Olbermann, do you have the backbone (and the facts) to debate me?
Our story began last Monday when McCaughey published the following at Bloomberg:
With a liberal Democrat coming to power, the New York Times has evidently gotten over the false fear of "big cuts" in Medicare it displayed when Republicans tried to trim the program back in 1995.
Thursday's lead story by Jeff Zeleny and John Harwood, "Obama Promises Bid To Overhaul Retiree Spending," characterized the president-elect's stated willingness to tackle huge entitlement programs Social Security and Medicare in mostly positive terms. The reporters described Obama's vague proposal as an "overhauling," an "approach to rein in Social Security and Medicare," and an "effort to cut back the rates of growth of the two programs."
President-elect Barack Obama said Wednesday that overhauling Social Security and Medicare would be "a central part" of his administration's efforts to contain federal spending, signaling for the first time that he would wade into the thorny politics of entitlement programs.
CJR's Trudy Lieberman announced it was "ominous news" that a government health insurance plan might be delayed:
"Ezra Klein over at The American Prospect’s blog was right on point last week when he sent along some ominous news. Klein, quoting a story in Congressional Quarterly, said that John McDonough, the former head of a Massachusetts advocacy group who now works for Ted Kennedy, seemed to be backpedaling on the public option..."
On the other side, Lieberman warned, "right-wing think tanks" are "on the march," illuminating problems with a government-controlled approach to medicine. She noted The Heritage Foundation's criticism of a federal health board, a top idea of Health and Human Services Secretary-designate Tom Daschle. Lieberman's warning:
Is the Massachusetts attempt at universal health insurance "centrist"? That's how the Boston Globe described it December 19. Citing its "national appeal," the article noted support from Sen. Ted Kennedy, who is expected to lead the Senate effort on health reform.
"To those who say these challenges can't be met, I say, 'Look at Massachusetts,'" he said in a statement.
The first term of President Barack Obama will bring nationalized health care, attacks on the coal industry, higher government spending and higher taxes, according to Business & Media Institute Vice President Dan Gainor.
On “Fox & Friends” Nov. 6, Gainor highlighted BMI’s most recent Special Report, America 2012, a look at what some of Obama’s major policies proposals will do to the American economy and to Americans’ wallets. The report also examines how the media promoted liberal, big-government proposals throughout the 2008 presidential campaign.
Gainor told viewers the commonly reported number of some 47 million uninsured Americans is “wildly wrong. They [both presidential candidates and the media] were claming 47 million people without insurance, the number probably closer to eight to 15. You don’t have as much of a problem if you’re pushing that.”
Obama will “try to put forth the plan for nationalized health care that the media have been supporting throughout the campaign,” Gainor said. But during the campaign, the media failed to examine the cost of Obama’s proposal, which some estimates put as high as $452 billion, Gainor added.
The Oct. 26 New York Times took on Sen. Barack Obama's elusive health insurance mandate for employers -- the "play-or-pay" rule that would force businesses to pay a new tax if they didn't contribute a "meaningful" amount toward their workers' insurance. In the debates, Sen. John McCain asked more than once how much businesses would be fined, and Obama declined to say.
Now we know why. Just 'cuz.
“We made a decision even before the plan was rolled out not to decide,” David M. Cutler, a Harvard economist who speaks for the campaign on health care, told the Times. “It’s not that there’s a decision out there that we’re not telling. It’s literally that we’ve decided not to decide.”
We've all heard of them -- the nameless "critics." Journalists often use "critics say" to make sure they're including whatever criticism they deem necessary for their stories, even if that criticism isn't attributed to anyone.
After listing some of the provisions of McCain's plan, Michael Hiltzik and Lisa Girion launched into what unnamed critics had to say about it. But when they listed tenets of Obama's plan, they didn't bother to question it.
They failed to tell readers what "critics say" about Obama's play-or-pay mandate for employers or his National Health Insurance Exchange that would regulate private insurance.
One statement left a door wide open for a critique: That in Obama's plan, "Private insurers would have to compete with a federally sponsored national health plan that would resemble coverage currently offered to federal employees."
A news brief on "CNN Newsroom" Oct. 17 said that Hawaii's universal health care program for children would be hit with the "budget ax."
The screen said "Hawaii's Budget Ax" and anchor Heidi Collins reported that, "For the past seven months it's been the only state in the nation to offer universal healthcare for children. Now that program is being dropped."
But the brief didn't go into detail about one of the main reasons why the program was being axed: abuse of the "free" system.
A Hawaii state official said that families were "dropping private coverage so their children would be eligible for the subsidized plan," according to the Associated Press.
Sen. Barack Obama's campaign has put out three new ads in the last few days attacking Sen. John McCain's health care plan, two of which focus on the proposal of a tax credit.
The Obama campaign is telling viewers McCain will tax their health benefits. Sen. Joe Biden, Obama's running mate, told viewers of the October 2 debate the same thing. The mainstream media aren't correcting them.
The accusations are wrong. McCain is replacing one tax break with another - one that is much more generous and will be especially helpful to people who are uninsured.
Here's how McCain's plan works:
If you're insured through your employer: You already are getting a tax break - worth about $4,200 to the average American family. You don't see it because your health insurance - which is part of your compensation package - is tax-free.
McCain's tax credit of $5,000 for a family would replace this $4,200 break you're currently getting - and then some.
One day its editorial page says Obama's health care plan is superior to McCain's; after all, it's sort of like the Massachusetts plan, and look at the state's high rate of insurance coverage now! Next day: Mass. residents waiting 100 days for primary care.
Unfortunately, coverage mandates don't solve the underlying problems in the health sector, whether we're talking about doctor shortages or costs.
ABC's "Good Morning America" exposed many problems with Medicare's hotline number 1-800-MEDICARE September 11, including telephone operators "who couldn't answer the [questions],""gave out the wrong information" or were completely unreachable.
The onscreen caption for the ABC report read "Investigation Exposes Health Care Mess." The morning broadcast didn't disappoint, pointing to a Senate committee investigation that had staffers call the Medicare hotline more than 500 times.
Co-host Chris Cuomo teased to introduce Yunji de Nies' report:
Many seniors looking for answers to their questions often turn to help lines that can be anything but helpful.
Even though "Good Morning America" seems to have taken a recent interest in the glaring problems at the government-backed program, experts have been making the point for years.
ABC's "Good Morning America" isn't afraid to call 'em like they see 'em.
On health care, Chris Cuomo set up his resident health expert to deliver an outright insult to the American people. Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) advocates more patient choice and flexibility in buying health insurance, but ABC’s medical editor, Dr. Tim Johnson, scoffed at that notion in a September 5 story.
“The idea that individuals are going to have enough knowledge and enough savvy and enough insight and, frankly, enough guts to make choices all by themselves is pretty much a pipe dream,” Johnson said.
ABC’s Web site touts Johnson as “one of the nation's leading medical communicators of health care information.”