Despite the complete and thorough debunking of the media’s attempt to link common political discourse with the actions of a deranged lunatic in Tucson, one Congresswoman is taking politically correct rhetoric to ridiculous lows (h/t Michelle Malkin).
Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) took to the Huffington Post to voice her opinion on the Gabrielle Giffords assassination attempt. She starts harmlessly enough admitting that, “We don’t know what prompted the shooter … to kill innocent people.” Even though we don’t know the motivation, Pingree says, it’s important “that we do everything we can to prevent it from happening again.”
Then, echoing the prevailing liberal sentiment, she offers the preventative solution – cranking down the rhetoric. The first step?
Talk about incendiary and toxic talk. In Friday’s Washington Post, business section columnist Steven Pearlstein proclaimed that “what's particularly noteworthy about” congressional Republican “fixation with ‘job killing’” Democratic policies, such as Obamacare, “is that it stands in such contrast to the complete lack of concern about policies that kill people rather than jobs.”
Pearlstein, a former reporter who won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, charged: “Repealing health-care reform, for instance, would inevitably lead to thousands of unnecessary deaths each year because of an inability to get medical care.”
"Never let the facts get in the way of a good story" must be the motto at Reuters, or at least of the wire service's Richard Cowan, three other contributors, and Editor Jackie Frank.
Cowan's late Sunday afternoon dispatch (HT to an e-mailer) is caricature-driven collection of cliches, half-truth, outright myths, and totally predictable oversights. There's the racial slurs before the heath care vote fabrication. There's an attempt to declare Sarah Palin unfit for the presidency.
And of course, there's the deliberately avoided recall of rhetoric from President Obama (here and here, for warm-ups) that could certainly be interpreted by unstable people as a call to violence, as well as total omission of the left's anger just days ago over Gabrielle Giffords's refusal to back Nancy Pelosi as Minority Leader and the leftist inclinations of deeply troubled accused murderer Jared Lee Loughner.
But that stuff's not important when there are disliked right-wingers to pile onto while the piling-on opportunity is there:
Okay, who slipped truth serum into Evan Thomas's coffee?
On Friday, Newsweek's "Editor at Large" (according to his bio here) appeared on "Inside Washington" (link to entire show is here; transcript not yet available). After being cued up with a softball from host Gordon Peterson about how supposedly great Friday's news about the drop in the national unemployment rate was (uh, not exactly, Gordon), Thomas segued into a somewhat surprising comment about how ObamaCare's implementation is going as it meets the real world. In a word (Thomas's), it's a disaster (HT Daily Caller via Instapundit):
With Republicans taking control of Congress, those in the media suddenly feel that proposing legislation, such as repealing ObamaCare, is a waste of time. From CBS's Harry Smith referring to it as "a fool's errand" to MSNBC's Chuck Todd fretting over the GOP "relitigating health care," here is a video compilation of the slanted coverage this proposal has received.
Appearing as a guest on Friday’s Countdown show on MSNBC, Washington Post staff writer and Newsweek columnist Ezra Klein defended Obamacare and warned Republicans against attempting to repeal the law as he contended that some provisions are popular with the public. After host Keith Olbermann asked if Democrats should "relish rejoining the fight over health care reform" because it could hurt Republicans, Klein urged Democrats to fight. Klein:
They should be going to war over it. It's an incredibly important achievement for them, and if Democrats cannot defend a deficit-reducing bill that brings health care insurance to 32 million people and allows folks with pre-existing conditions to get any insurance they want, if they can't defend that, frankly, they, on some level, don't really deserve to be a party. If you can't defend the best thing you've done in a generation, then you've got some political problems that are bigger than anything the Republicans are doing to you.
The Washington Post writer eventually predicted that Republicans would be embracing and defending Obamacare by the year 2050. Klein: "In 2050 Republicans will be saying, ‘How dare you cut Obamacare?’"
When will the government stop wasting taxpayer dollars? In a new public service announcement, Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative twists Disney’s classic "Beauty and the Beast" into an animated production telling parents how to have healthy children.
Perhaps the choice of a Disney cartoon is appropriate, since the liberal nanny-state insists on treating Americans as children. The United States Department of Agriculture, along with the Ad Council and the “Let’s Move” initiative managed to waste money telling parents that children should eat vegetables and play outside.
AP reporters Calvin Woodward and Andrew Taylor answered the bell and came out swinging at the Republican House within hours after John Boehner was sworn in as Speaker, accusing the GOP of supposedly breaking a number of core promises.
As usual when the wire service covers Republicans, there's no shortage of inconsistency bordering on hypocrisy coming from AP's alleged journalists.
Here are selected paragraphs from this morning's report ("PROMISES, PROMISES: GOP drops some out of the gate"):
In an “exclusive” interview with new House Speaker John Boehner for Thursday’s NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams told Boehner the promised vote to repeal ObamaCare has “been called a stunt,” pressed him to justify repealing it given many would not call it “the best health care delivery system in the world because they, by the millions, weren't getting it” and demanded to know “where are you getting the notion...the American people want it repealed” given polling was “very evenly split on that?”
Then he held Boehner responsible for a “birther” woman in the gallery who shouted out “except Obama” as a Congressman on the floor was reading aloud the part of the Constitution requiring the President to be a “natural born citizen”:
I'm curious as to how much responsibility you feel -- specifically, because of something that happened this morning. During the reading of the Constitution, Congressman Frank Pallone of New Jersey was reading a portion of the document interrupted by someone who heckled from within the chamber. It was to express doubt over the President's American citizenship.
Reporting that House Republicans will soon be voting to repeal President Obama's "job-killing" health care law, MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer wondered if the GOP should take a different route to save jobs. During her Thursday 12 p.m. EST news hour, she revealed a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report estimating that a repeal of the health care law will cost $230 billion over the next ten years.
Disregarding the GOP arguments for repealing ObamaCare, Brewer wondered aloud about the merits of the $230 billion being invested in re-education of unemployed persons.
"What would happen," Brewer asked Prof. Robert Reich of the University of California at Berkeley, "if you took $230 billion and instead put that toward re-education of the nation's unemployed?"
On Thursday's CBS Early Show, congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes derided Republican efforts to repeal ObamaCare: "On Friday, they begin their assault on health care reform, with a vote to repeal the law scheduled for next week."
Cordes noted how repeal "will hit a wall in the Senate," observing: "That legislative reality will force both sides to work together on some issues, something Speaker Boehner promised to Democrats." However, moments later she touted Democratic accusations of GOP partisanship: "Democrats are already crying foul, saying that that vote to repeal health care is being held without holding hearings first, without allowing amendments, a move that they argue flies in the face of all those promises of openness."
Former Democratic aide turned journalist George Stephanopoulos on Thursday parroted Nancy Pelosi and warned the Republican Majority Leader about taking away health care benefits from Americans. The Good Morning America anchor also repeatedly needled Eric Cantor on the details of the GOP plan to cut spending.
On the subject of health care, Stephanopoulos recited, "And yesterday, the outgoing House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, really threw down the gauntlet in her speech, laying out the benefits Americans will get, she says Americans will get, thanks to the passage of health reform." After playing a clip of the ex-Speaker, he chided, "Do you think Americans really want to lose the benefits outlined by Nancy Pelosi?"
At no time did Stephanopoulos wonder about the cost of the "benefits" or where they came from. Instead, he pressed Cantor on the difficulty of cutting spending, asking five times for a specific number: "What is the target House Republicans are trying to meet this year in spending cuts? And can you lay out, specifically, how you're going to get there?...What's the number?"
The 112th Congress took office Jan. 5 and the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives planned to immediately tackle the unpopular health care legislation signed into law in 2010.
The Washington Post reported that House Republicans intend to vote on a repeal of ObamaCare Jan. 12, just one week into the new congressional session.
"ObamaCare is a job-killer for businesses small and large, and the top priority for House Republicans is going to be to cut spending and grow the economy and jobs," Brad Dayspring, spokesman for incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., was quoted by the Post.
That attempt to repeal has been mentioned in many network reports lately, but the public's dislike of the legislation has been missing from most ABC, CBS and NBC news stories between Dec. 5 and Jan. 4.
According to Rasmussen Reports, 60 percent of likely voters favor repeal of the health care law - for the second week in a row. Since the first week of December the percentage favoring repeal has not dropped below 55 percent, and has been between 50 and 63 percent since March of 2010. Those polls were not mentioned in any of the network stories referencing the "controversial" health care legislation.
Only four, out of 63 network stories mentioning ObamaCare legislation in the past month said anything about public opinion of the bill. Only two of those stories, both by ABC, cited any polling data on the issue. In both of those mentions, reporters for ABC admitted that the bill is at "its lowest level of popularity ever" and cited an ABC News/Washington Post poll that found 52 percent of people oppose the bill.
On Tuesday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Michelle Miller lectured Americans on their diet: "According to Consumer Reports Health, many Americans are simply deluding themselves, most say they eat well but don't....85% of Americans rarely, if ever, count calories. Another 79% never set foot on a scale."
At one point, Miller stopped by a New York City restaurant and warned: "...people have good intentions...but often sabotage themselves." She then harassed one patron eating a salad: "Take a look at this green salad with all that caesar dressing. Don't you think the dressing sort of ruins it for you?" The unidentified man replied: "Well, otherwise I'm not going to be able to eat it."
Talking to Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer on Wednesday's Early Show, co-host Chris Wragge saw efforts to repeal ObamaCare as a political liability: "How risky a proposition is this for Republicans incoming now?" Schieffer dismissed it as, "a lot of shouting, hollering, and symbolic votes," adding, "we've got a couple of months before anything really serious is going to happen."
Wragge went on to cite liberal New York Times writer Matt Bai, who claimed Republicans had no real political mandate despite extensive victories in November: "Once you win, the human tendency is to credit the gravitational force of your own ideas, to assume that you made a more compelling and more substantive case than you actually did." Wragge asked Schieffer: "Is that what we may see in the early days from the Republican leadership here, do you think?"
NBC's Meredith Vieira wasted no time in jumping down Paul Ryan's throat, on Wednesday's Today show, as she said it appeared the Republican Party did not care as much about creating jobs, since they seemed to be more focused on repealing Obamacare, which the Today co-anchor characterized as "an act of revenge." For his part the Wisconsin Republican Congressman responded that repealing Obamacare law had everything to do with creating jobs since, as he educated Vieira, "The health care bill has massive tax increases on individuals and employers that will cost us jobs," as seen in the following exchange:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: As of today Republicans control the House, and as Matt just brought up, one of the key points on your agenda will be attempting to repeal the health care plan. But given the fact you do not have the votes in the Senate, as Senator McCain just pointed out, and the President has veto power. And also given the fact that the American voters, in the midterm elections, made it clear that what they care about most right now are jobs and the economy, why go down this path at all? It almost feels like an act of revenge on the part of the Republican Party?
REP. PAUL RYAN: Well, first of all, this is related to jobs and the economy. The health care bill has massive tax increases on individuals and employers that will cost us jobs. So this, don't think that this isn't related to jobs.
(video after the jump)
Vieira went on to belittle House Republicans' move to cut their own budgets but then cited the New York Times to claim they were "backtracking" on their promises to cut spending, which was yet another error Ryan was forced to correct as seen in this back and forth:
CNN's Eliot Spitzer on Monday's Parker-Spitzer bizarrely labeled former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney "very conservative" on Monday's Parker-Spitzer as he cited the prominent Republican's support for legislation similar to ObamaCare: "I think it was interesting...that Governor Romney, a very conservative Republican, embraced the notion of the individual mandate as a governor" (audio available here).
Spitzer and co-host Kathleen Parker brought on Congressman-Elect David Schweikert just before the bottom of the 8 pm Eastern hour to discuss congressional Republicans' aim to pass a repeal of ObamaCare during the upcoming session. During most of the interview, the former Democratic governor of New York pressed the Arizona Republican about the individual mandate. Midway through the segment, the CNN host asked, "But wasn't the idea behind the individual mandate basically saying to people who do not buy insurance, since you're going to get the care, we're going to charge you something so that when you get it...you've paid for it. Isn't- is that a notion you think is fair at its root?"
On Tuesday's CBS Early Show, senior White House correspondent Bill Plante warned that as President Obama returns from vacation, " the new Republican majority in the House is ready to pounce." Plante went on to declare that the House GOP "slammed" Obama by scheduling a vote to repeal "his signature health care bill" on January 12.
Plante parroted Democratic talking points denouncing the repeal effort: "Senate Democrats fired back in a letter, warning that to do so would be 'irresponsible and reckless at a time when it is becoming harder and harder for seniors to afford a healthy retirement.'" He then concluded: "Both sides know that the House vote is purely symbolic. With no chance that the Senate Democrats will agree to kill health care."
Monday's "Morning Joe" panel on MSNBC mocked the House Republicans' plan to vote to repeal President Obama's health care legislation in full. "Waste of time" and "meaningless legislative exercise" were some of the phrases used to describe the first announced GOP priority.
"It's going to take them fifteen minutes, they're going to vote to repeal it, and the Senate's not going to do it," explained co-host Joe Scarborough. "It is a meaningless legislative exercise, but you know what? The base will like it."
"Republicans in Washington are planning to waste some time. Is anyone surprised by that?" co-host Mika Brzezinski tersely introduced the segment in the 7 a.m. EDT news hour.
Both Scarborough and Brzezinski sarcastically mocked the plan. "Good for them. Thank you," Brzezinski spat. "You are big men," she derided the House Republicans. "You so tough," Scarborough chimed in, followed by Brzezinski making strange growling noises.
On Monday, TVNewser reported that John Roberts, who anchored CNN's American Morning from April 2007 until the end of 2010, will be joining Fox News as a national correspondent. Roberts, who joined CNN in 2006 after a 14-year career at CBS, had a reputation for liberal bias at both networks, particularly in his harsh labeling for Republicans/conservatives and his fawning over liberals.
Here are some examples of Roberts's most egregious bias compiled from the Media Research Center's archives, focusing primarily on his career on American Morning:
Cheerleading for Liberals
"Yeah, it is going to be a transformational primary here on the Democratic side of things. Do you get a sense that people are recognizing this idea of the grandeur of history involved here?"
-Roberts gushing over the "historic" nature of the race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination, February 1, 2008 edition of American Morning.
"I want to just stipulate at the beginning of this interview, we are declaring a Reverend Wright-free zone today. So, no questions about Reverend Wright. Our viewers want us to move on, so this morning we're going to move on. Is that okay with you?"
-Opening statement from May 5, 2008 interview of then-presidential candidate Barack Obama.
Reporting on Monday's CBS Early Show, congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes decried House Republicans attempting to repeal ObamaCare: "...they made it clear they'll try to use their 49-vote advantage to wipe out key Democratic legislation from 2010. Including the President's signature achievement, health care reform."
Following Cordes's report, co-host Erica Hill asked political analyst John Dickerson about the likelihood of repeal. After Dickerson explained that repeal could not pass, a relieved Hill declared: "So, folks who like it may not have to worry about it? Because there are certain provisions that have actually gone over well with a fair number of Americans. Things like keeping your adult children on you're insurance and of course those lifetime coverage limits." Dickerson agreed: "And new things that people will like are coming on line with the new year. Middle income seniors will see – get some relief in the prescription drug prices."
On Sunday's Face the Nation, substitute host Harry Smith dismissed GOP goals of "dismantling health care" as merely a "fool's errand."
Daily Rundown host Chuck Todd on Monday parroted Barack Obama's talking points and repeatedly wondered if the new GOP majority in the House will insist on 'relitigating health care." He began by lecturing, "Will the first month of a Republican-led House be known for relitigating the past, pushing for repeal of health care, focus on investigation?"
Compare that to President Obama during a November 3, post-midterm press conference: "We'd be misreading the election if we thought the American people want to see us for the next two years relitigate arguments that we had over the last two years." Todd on Monday mimicked, "Is that really the first impression the Republican Congress wants to leave with the American public or are they going to keep their focus on spending and the economy?"
During the piece, the MSNBC anchor talked to Republican strategist Kevin Madden and reiterated, "If you were still in your old job with John Boehner, do you want the headlines to be about investigations and relitigating health care or do you want them to be about spending and jobs and making government smaller?"
Filling in for Bob Schieffer on Sunday's Face the Nation, CBS's Harry Smith grilled Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann on Republican efforts to repeal ObamaCare: "One of the things the Tea Party has talked about is dismantling health care. And we're wondering if, in the end of the day, that ends up being a fool's errand...it will face a certain veto. Is it worth the effort to try to do?"
Bachmann defended the move and pointed out popular support for repeal: "ObamaCare will bankrupt the country. And so you've seen that the more the people learn about ObamaCare the less they like it. It's very costly, it's unwieldy. So we will put forth a clean repeal bill of ObamaCare. And you'll continue to see us make that fight because that's what the American people want us to do."
If Pres. Obama's signal fight in the coming year will be preserving ObamaCare, he can count on at least one ally in his struggle with Republicans: ABC News and in particular its Political Director, Amy Walter.
On GMA today, Walter issued a stern warning to Republicans who might have the audacity of hoping to repeal ObamaCare. The segment began with a montage of Republicans vowing to do so, including an oddly mocking replay of a Mitch McConnell moment.
Then Walter appeared and pronounced her admonition. View video after the jump.
On Friday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Sharyl Attkisson filed a report previewing how new health care reform provisions are expected to effect seniors. After beginning her piece by predicting that "a lot of them will probably like" the first changes that take effect, she recounted a number of benefits that will be offered to Medicare recipients at a substantially lower cost, and featured a soundbite of a reform advocate who claimed that the new benefits would actually lead to lower costs.
Attkisson then gave attention to more pessimistic predictions that seniors will have to wait a longer time for medical care because some doctors will stop accepting Medicare patients, but, as she concluded her report, she dismissed critics by reiterating the claims of Obamacare supporters that the changes "are quite popular and will be hard for anyone to take away." Attkisson:
Republicans have promised to do what they can to stop or roll back health care reform, but advocates say most of these first provisions taking effect are quite popular and will be hard for anyone to take away.
For the last 17 years, ABC's medical editor, Dr. Tim Johnson, has hyped various forms of government-run health care. He continued that pattern on Tuesday's Good Morning America, promoting Barack Obama's 2010 law and ignoring the its unpopular aspects.
Talking to guest co-host Chris Cuomo, he enthused, "Many issues have already gone into effect and people like them." Johnson did allow that the bill was "controversial," However, he added, "But, there's many features in this bill, that if they go into effect, could help control costs and improve quality."
However, he didn't explain that the legislation as a whole remains unpopular. According to a new CNN poll, 54 percent oppose it. Also unmentioned was a Washington Post report that few Americans are signing up for a provision of the legislation allowing sick individuals to have their medical costs covered.
Appearing as a guest on Monday’s Parker-Spitzer on CNN, Chrystia Freeland of Reuters claimed that the European economy is at an advantage compared to the U.S. because of America’s lack of universal health care. But, when fellow guest Will Cain of the National Review pointed out that America’s economy outperforms Europe, Freeland was only able to name one nation in Europe - Germany - whose economy is performing impressively. Freeland: "I also think it’s a little bit of a mistake to be talking about how bad European economies have been doing recently. ... if you look at the industrialized nations, Germany is racing ahead. German economic growth is on a tear, so is Canadian-
Cain jumped in: "I commend you on your choice of Germany, but you picked the one out of about 12."
Freeland persisted in promoting Germany as co-host Eliot Spitzer jumped in to agree:
CHRYSTIA FREELAND: Yeah, but Germany is doing fantastically well.
ELIOT SPITZER: And Germany is the largest economy in Europe and the one that is driving the export-driven economy where their labor capital relationship is very much one that follows the blueprint of a global, of universal health care.
Cain quipped: "Good job, guys, on using Germany. I’ve got Greece, Spain, U.K., France, all with universal health care, expansive health care coverages, and their economies are literally imploding."
On Sunday’s syndicated Chris Matthews Show, panel member and MSNBC analyst Howard Fineman - also of the Huffington Post - made the over the top assertion that "10 to 20 percent" of Americans will "continue to hate and fear" President and Mrs. Obama, but that the rest have "accepted" President Obama "as a member of the family." And when host Matthews asked who was the biggest winner of the year, Fineman gushed over former President Bill Clinton’s recent return to the podium in the White House press room, with Matthews referring to Clinton’s visit as the "second coming":
HOWARD FINEMAN: Unfortunately, I wasn't there when he came in.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: For the moment, the second coming.
FINEMAN: He, Bill Clinton walks in, and easy as pie for the next half hour explains what real life in Washington, in politics is all about.
After agreeing with Time’s Joe Klein that health care reform was the "worst move of [President Obama’s] first two years," and that the unpopular reforms keep dragging down his popularity, Fineman contended that Obama had, by contrast, been successful in getting Americans to like him personally, describing the President as being like "a member of the family," and surprisingly characterized Obama’s "background" as "strange." Fineman:
For all of the bluster and glory, for all of the pomp and circumstance and yes, for all of the anticipated hope and the promised change, the whirlwind of hype and expectation surrounding the President a mere two years earlier has virtually dissolved, and Barack Obama has set a course that will leave his legacy as no more than a footnote in American Presidential history.
ABC's "Nightline" touted a PolitiFact story Thursday that rated the five biggest lies of 2010 in politics. The number one lie? Republicans calling the health care bill a "government takeover of health care."
When asked why the claim received the status of biggest lie of the year, PolitiFact.com editor Bill Adair answered that it was "so pervasive" and "just not true."
"It was so pervasive. It was said by the Republican leadership, by Republicans running for Congress, said by Republicans running for governor. And it's just not true. This is a plan that uses the private health insurance system to expand health care coverage."
While the bill does not constitute a single-payer health care system, the 2,200 pages of legislation nonetheless contain countless new rules and regulations enforced by the Department of Health and Human Services, among other federal institutions.