A lefty columnist for the Huffington Post believes that the media's coverage of the health care debate was sorely lacking. NewsBusters wholeheartedly agrees. Yes, we agree with the Huffington Post.
You see, we were under the impression that columnist Allison Kilkenny was less than honest after she used the staged homicide of a census worker to claim that conservatives were fomenting violence. In fact, the death was ruled a suicide.
But today Kilkenny echoed NB's complaints when she wrote of the "shoddy journalism" and "low-quality gutter-dredging techniques" that "successfully brainwashed millions of readers and viewers." Yes, the public really was let down by those substandard journalists at…wait a minute. The Wall Street Journal? Fox News? She must have meant ABC, NBC, and CBS, right?
In a fawning interview with President Obama on Thursday, CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith spoke of the "enmity" of conservative talk radio and sympathetically wondered: "Does it bother you a little bit?" The President replied: "you end up getting a pretty thick skin in this job....I am concerned about a political climate in which the other side is demonized." [Audio available here]
As NewsBusters' Brent Baker previewed earlier, Smith portrayed talk radio critics of Obama as extreme: "I've been spending time out and about, listening to talk radio. The kindest of terms you're sometimes referred to, out in America, is a 'socialist.' The worst of which I've heard is called a 'Nazi.' Are you aware of the level of enmity that crosses the air waves and that people have made part of their conversation about you?"
In the interview, which aired on Friday's Early Show, the President began to reply: "Well, I mean, I think that when you listen to Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck it's-" Smith pressed further: "It's beyond that." Obama continued: "It's pretty apparent and it's troublesome. But, you know, keep in mind that there have been periods in American history where this kind of – this kind of vitriol comes out."
Green jobs to save the American economy? If you have listened to the various politicos on the left end of the spectrum, especially before and after the passage of the $787-billion stimulus package earlier, you would think that is the cure-all.
But so far it isn't working and there are other fundamental problems that lie ahead according to some energy market analysts, like much higher oil prices - despite the pledge by President Barack Obama to open up 160 million acres for future oil exploration and drilling. To avoid the price of $100-plus oil, CNBC's CME Group floor reporter suggested expediting the process, as was the case with ObamaCare and TARP.
"I think what you're hitting on is so important because the President of course talking about some of these jobs, but also talking about drilling," Santelli said on CNBC's April 1 broadcast of "Closing Bell." "You know, if the government was able to put forth health care and the government was able to do bailouts and TARP and stretch the rules, if they wanted to get jobs now and avoid the $100-plus oil you know that's coming they could drill quickly if they wanted to. And this is something that needs to be discussed, don't you think?"
Last year many Americans were convinced the H1N1 virus, commonly called the swine flu, would turn into a pandemic. That’s no surprise given the fear mongering media.
News media helped make the case for the government to rush a vaccine and the government spent over a billion dollars producing those vaccinations. But now, according to the April 1, 2010 Washington Post millions of vaccines are still unused – 71.5 million vaccinations will soon expire and may even have to be thrown away.
Washington Post writer Rob Stein reported that of the 229 million vaccinations created by the $1.6 billion “government-led program,” not even half have been administered, partially because of “production problems” which set back the delivery time.
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams appeared on the BBC podcast Americana on Sunday and asserted that "hatred" and "venom" were part of the health care debate. He then hyperbolically claimed, "I would sooner jab my hand into a food processor than take a side." [MP3 Audio available here.]
The NBC journalist seriously trumpeted, "In my line of work I never engage in opinions, anyway." BBC presenter Matt Frei interviewed Williams for the podcast. (H/T to DB from the Biased BBC website.)
After Frei asked if the health care battle was for the "soul of America," the news anchor oddly replied, "It might well be. We've had a lot of anger building in this country. A lot of it goes back to Bill Clinton's affair with an intern, then from the attacks of 9/11."
Embedded at right is NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell's March 31 appearance on Sean Hannity's radio program. [audio MP3 for download here; click embed at right to listen to interview here]
Bozell debated Democratic strategist Bob Beckel about, among other things, charges of racism at the Tea Party rally held the day before the vote for final passage of ObamaCare:
BRENT BOZELL: Three separate videos of [Rep.] John Lewis, three separate videos, and it isn't picked up. Andrew Breitbart has offered $10,000 to anyone who can confirm the use of the N-word. No one has come forward to say this. Only this one congressman has said this. Nobody's come forward [with evidence proving the charge].
Bringing his belittling commentary toward conservatives -- disguised as comedy -- to a wider audience, on Wednesday’s Tonight Show on NBC Bill Maher repeated some of the lines he’s spewed in recent weeks on his HBO show. Maher used the sexually-derogatory “tea baggers” term as he credited Tea Party activists for getting the health care bill passed:
I'm sure they're saying, “What are you talking about, Bill? I was so against the health care bill, I marched on Washington with tea bags hanging from my hat, dressed up in my founding fathers costume with a picture of Hitler, you know, and Obama's face on him and, you know, screaming about his birth certificate.” And America saw that and said: “What loons. We're going with the calm black man.”
On Palin: “Sarah Palin screaming about death panels? You know what, Sarah, if we were killing off useless people, you'd be the first to know.”
Host Bob Schieffer led Sunday's Face the Nation by fretting over opposition to the passage of ObamaCare: "What about the violence in the wake of the congressional action? Isolated incidents or signs of a dangerous anger?" He told viewers that he would talk to "Republican firebrands, South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint and Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann" about the issue.
Schieffer pressed DeMint on some of the threats against members of Congress: "Senator, we saw some pretty scary stuff last week....We saw members' offices that were trashed. We saw death threats....Do you think the parties have an obligation to try to tone down some of this runaway rhetoric? Is it, in fact, dangerous?" The Senator defended tea party protestors: "I've been with hundreds of thousands of tea party patriots...and I've never seen any violence or heard any bad language....it's unfair and untrue to try to paint this whole American awakening with some of the bad comments that we heard last week in Washington."
Later turning to Bachmann, Schieffer tried to portray the Congresswoman as extreme: "You said last week that health care reform was dangerous and you equated it with tyranny. Do you really mean that?...You said that you thought Barack Obama had anti-American views....what do you mean the President is anti-American?" He continued his interrogation by pointing to comments made by Sarah Palin: "[She] famously said last week that it is not time for Republicans to retreat. It is time to reload....said she wasn't talking about guns. She was talking about getting out there and using the vote. Do you think Sarah Palin has overstated it here?"
In case there are any residual doubts about how bad the tea partiers have been treated, here are the Top Five ways the left and the media have abused a grassroots movement. The coverage has been so hateful and so biased, it was almost impossible to narrow the list. Here they are in reverse order, just in time for the big tea party events April 15:
5) Protesters are Anti-Government
The media and the left portray tea parties as "anti-government" because it undermines a patriotic grassroots movement. Tea partiers aren't anti-government, they are anti-big government. That's just not the story journalists tell. The "anti-government" theme is strong, cropping up in more than two dozen stories in The Washington Post and New York Times combined. Very few of them mentioned the word "big" in reference to government.
Instead, it's NPR's Liz Halloran claiming tea parties have been boosted by "restive Republicans who have found refuge in the year-old anti-tax, anti-government uprising." Or Frank Rich of The New York Times who compared tea partiers with Andrew Joseph Stack, the man who flew a plane into an IRS building. "Stack was a lone madman, and it would be both glib and inaccurate to call him a card-carrying Tea Partier or a ‘Tea Party terrorist.' But he did leave behind a manifesto whose frothing anti-government, anti-tax rage overlaps with some of those marching under the Tea Party banner."
This item may not surprise those of us who have watched politicians take the safe way out at any opportunity, but it will give any voters who come across it reason to doubt any Democratic congressman who says that he or she voted no on principle against Obamacare on Sunday, March 21.
This explains why it hasn't been covered much -- and maybe not at all -- in any establishment media outlet.
On March 26, the Catholic News Agency had an exclusive interview with Michigan congressman Bart Stupak. Wait until you see some of the things he admitted to CNA (bolds are mine):
Rep. Stupak: Speaker Pelosi had extra health care votes 'in her pocket'
The health care reform bill would have passed the House without the votes of Rep. Bart Stupak’s pro-life Democrats because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “always carries a number of votes in her pocket,” Stupak told CNA in a Thursday phone interview.
Since the passage of ObamaCare on March 21, the liberal media have been working hard to crack down on dissidents, painting the tea party movement, talk radio, and Republicans as dangerous radicals inciting violence against Democrats.
The three broadcast networks and the cable channels all jumped on board the bandwagon of smearing conservatives as angry hate-mongers, in order to discredit broad-based legitimate opposition to the unpopular legislation.
NBC on Monday night squeezed in a few seconds for the arrest of “a Philadelphia man for threatening the life of the number two Republican in the House of Representatives, Eric Cantor of Virginia.”
Yet after the networks led last week with less-immediate threats against Democrats, they weren’t so interested in a real case of a death threat against a Republican as neither CBS nor ABC aired a word about the arrest and NBC’s Brian Williams gave it short-shrift after leading last Wednesday with Democrats as the victims: “It's getting ugly as anger over health care reform erupts into some over-the-top rhetoric, including threats now against members of Congress.”
The next night, Williams still portrayed opponents as the only ones with miscreants amongst their ranks: “While the White House continues to celebrate its largest-ever legislative victory, opponents of health care reform have reacted to the final vote with anger, a few of them with threats of violence.”
CBS last week started with “threats of violence against Democrats who voted for health care reform” as Nancy Cordes relayed how “Democrats complain Sarah Palin is also using violent words and imagery.” On Monday, the CBS Evening News devoted a full story to fretting over a “loophole” which insurance companies may use to delay providing coverage to kids with pre-existing conditions and Katie Couric spent half a minute on how the New York Yankees are “the best-paid team in all of sports,” with the NBA “the highest-paid league” followed by cricket’s Indian Premier League.
On Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked political analyst and writer for the left-leaning blog Slate.com, John Dickerson, if Democrats were "worried" about the "ton of momentum" behind the tea party movement. Dickerson replied: "What Democrats can only hope for is that tea party activists somehow overreach and that that ends up becoming a stain on the Republican Party."
Rodriguez agreed and touted Democratic Party talking points on ObamaCare: "Right. And also, if you ask the Obama administration, they'll tell you maybe people will see the few health care changes that are taking effect immediately and actually like them and it'll turn the tide of public opinion."
"That certainly is the hope," Dickerson replied, but then lamented: "The polling right now does not give the Obama administration a lot of encouragement on that front." He explained that the American public was simply afraid of change: "The problem is that people are nervous about change and this is an enormous change in their lives....people really just don't believe it yet."
Reacting to Haley Barbour's quip that the liberal media has given President Obama "the longest wet kiss in political history" after last week's passage of ObamaCare, Ed Schultz made clear on MSNBC this morning that he feels President Obama deserves it for all the fierce criticism he and Democrats faced during the months of debate over the legislation.
The MSNBC host and liberal radio talker was interviewed by colleague David Shuster shortly after 10:30 a.m. EDT today.
Shuster introduced the segment with a clip of the Mississippi Republican governor's quip on the March 28 edition of ABC's "This Week" and went briefly over some polling data before asking for Schultz's thoughts [MP3 audio here]:
Reacting to a newly released ABC News/Washington Post poll which found 50 percent opposed to the just-passed health bill versus 46 percent in favor of it, on ABC’s This Week, Mississippi’s Republican Governor, Haley Barbour, quipped:
I am surprised that the numbers in the Washington Post poll weren't better. I mean, since this thing passed last weekend, we've been seeing the longest wet kiss in political history given to the Obama administration by the liberal media elite and every day it goes by, it’s sloppier.
That prompted a chuckle from host Jake Tapper, before the other guest, Pennsylvania’s Democratic Governor, Ed Rendell, countered: “I don't know what Haley watches. I don't know what channels Haley watches, but that's a lousy way to kiss, boy because it's getting pounded in the media, a lot of the media is pounding the bill.”
If the media outlets are going to report on tea party events, they're not likely to get any benefit of the doubt much of the time.
Case in point - at the Tea Party Express event on March 27 in Searchlight, Nev., which former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin spoke, CNN's Fredricka Whitfield wasn't quite prepared to give the rally credit it was due as far as participation. She estimated that hundreds, but if not, "at least dozens of people" were in attendance. (h/t fstaff with assist from Mark Finkelstein)
"Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin there in Searchlight, Nev., was the backyard of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, but today it's the backdrop of this Tea Party Express - making a stop here," Whitfield said. "Hundreds of people, at least dozens of people - we haven't gotten a count of how many people turned out there. We heard Sarah Palin talk about everything about the campaign, to unseat Sen. Reid to what she calls ObamaCare, on the heels of that health care vote and even talking about her definition of her love of America."
As President Obama went to Iowa City March 25 to campaign for his already signed health care “reform” bill, he was greeted by non-violent, but angry protesters.
Eli Saslow of The Washington Post profiled one of those protesters on March 26. That man, Randy Millam, did nothing violent at the rally, yet Saslow referenced “death threats” and brick throwing in his article.
Saslow, who was named an Obama “slobberer” by media critic Bernard Goldberg, followed Millam, a rural Iowan, who made the trek to Iowa City to join people protesting at the president’s speech. He brought an American flag, a homemade sign that read “Chains We Can Believe In” and a megaphone. He also wore a cap with the Second Amendment written on it.
However, as MSNBC "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski suggested, discretion should be exercised with the amount of attention given to these radical components of the opposition to President Barack Obama's health care reform endeavors.
"Yeah, call it out but also I think we have to be careful along the way," Brzezinski said on the March 26 broadcast. "I think this happened during the campaign. I think this happened during the final hours of the health care debate where certain fringe, really minute members of it were highlighted."
In doing so, Klein [pictured in file photo at right] contrasted Frum with "extreme" conservatives who were "pretty close to Jonestown" by "drinking their own kool-aid." Not only is the former Bush speechwriter a friend whose thinking he respects "even when we disagree," Klein argued that Frum is the Right's Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a genteel intellectual who bucked his party on some tenets of its orthodoxy but ultimately was vindicated by history:
I have some experience with a party intent on committing suicide. The Democrats were profoundly self-destructive when it came to race and crime in the 1970s and 1980s. They nearly excommunicated Daniel Patrick Moynihan--one of my mentors--because he told the truth about the impact of out-of-wedlock births on the black family. Over time, Moynihan's thesis was proved by sociology--and supported by prominent AFrican-American [sic] progressive scholars like William Julius Wilson--but he was never really welcomed back into the fold. And he didn't really care. Because he knew he was right.
Introducing a report on passage of the ObamaCare reconciliation bill on Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez referred to a couple upcoming rescue stories on the show and cheerfully remarked: "And speaking of rescues, the Democrats have rescued health care reform, once on death's door, after putting the final touches, finally, on the sweeping legislation yesterday."
At the top of the show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "Health care reform is a done deal after Democrats in Congress make final changes to the historic legislation." In the later report by correspondent Nancy Cordes, an on-screen headline read: "Done Deal; Obama Health Care Plan Gets Final Approval From Congress."
Cordes played a clip of Democratic Congressman Robert Andrews giving a glowing description of the bill: "Tonight the underdogs won. The people who have been abused by their insurance companies, turned down because they had asthma, or had their policies canceled because they got cancer, they won." She framed the GOP as against helping such people: "Republican opposition in the House and Senate was unanimous."
(March 26, 8:30 p.m. -- SEE THE UPDATE at the end of this post.)
People in Cincinnati who follow politics reasonably closely will be scratching their heads wondering what's gotten into the people assembling news stories at the Seattle Times once they learn of what the Times reported in an item that originally went up Wednesday evening and was modified Thursday morning:
A rock was thrown through the window of (1st District Congressman) Driehaus' Cincinnati office Sunday, and a death threat was phoned in to his Washington office a day later, Mulvey said.
Driehaus, who claims to be pro-life but in reality stopped being so when he supported Barack Obama for President in 2008, is one of the members of the Bart Stupak contingent that abandoned their alleged pro-life beliefs to vote for statist health care in the House Sunday night.
Well, perhaps the death threat was real, and of course if it is it demands a thorough investigation.
But there's a "little" problem with the news about that rock throw:
An evening after all three broadcast network newscasts led by advancing the Democratic narrative of violent ObamaCare critics, a storyline intended to discredit conservatives as all gratuitously named Sarah Palin as a culprit, on Thursday night the same programs weren't so interested and only stumbled into the suddenly “bipartisan” victims – despite fresh revelations of threats and violence aimed at Republicans who voted no.
“It's getting ugly as anger over health care reform erupts into some over-the-top rhetoric,” Brian Williams announced at the top of Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, arguing “the debate over health care reform has gone too far. It's now veered into threats of violence,” citing “ten Democrats who have been threatened.” Incredibly, on Thursday night, Williams still portrayed opponents as the only ones with miscreants amongst their ranks:
While the White House continues to celebrate its largest-ever legislative victory, opponents of health care reform have reacted to the final vote with anger, a few of them with threats of violence.
Two stories later, only after reporter Kelly O'Donnell had noted that “just before the Senators cast their votes, they paused to honor the late Ted Kennedy,” did Williams arrive at the threats “reported by Democrats and Republicans.” Williams:
CNN anchor Ali Velshi enthusiastically interviewed self-proclaimed child health care activist Mercelas Owens on Thursday's Newsroom, complimenting him for his "snappy dressing" and labeled him a "handsome, charming, self-assured young man."
Velshi brought on Owens 50 minutes into the 2 pm Eastern hour. At the beginning of the segment, a graphic on-screen read, "The Little Boy That Could." The child was featured prominently in the last days before the passage of ObamaCare, fighting for the passage of the legislation. Owens was also present at the bill signing, standing next to the desk as President Obama used the 22 pens to sign his name.
Newsweek's Liz White took to her magazine's The Gaggle blog today to decry how conservatives critical of the Democratic health care bill have slapped it with "the ominous-sounding term ‘Obamacare.'"
You see, most mainstream media sources only use the term when quoting opponents of the bill or when "carefully placed in quotations or alongside an explanation that Obamacare is how opposition refers to the bill."
This prompted me to investigate how Newsweek dealt with the term "Reaganomics" during the Gipper's early presidency compared to how Newsweek's print pages have used the term "ObamaCare" thus far. The results are telling.
A Nexis search yielded only one reference to ObamaCare from January 20, 2009 through March 25, 2010: a Michael Hirsh article that said that in 1994, "as now, the Republicans were trying to exploit a backlash against big government. It was Hillarycare in '94; now it's Obamacare."
By contrast, a Nexis search for "Reaganomics" from January 20, 1981 through March 25, 1982 yielded 65 hits, many of which had the term Reaganomics used by a Newsweek staffer himself and in a manner to cast the term in a negative light.
I've included some examples below, including some by journalists who are still working in the media today and actively cheering on ObamaCare:
Good Morning America's Pierre Thomas on Thursday played up the threats and intimidation that Bart Stupak has suffered since he voted for the health care bill. However, last week, the same program ignored the "living hell" the Congressman dealt with as he claimed to oppose the legislation.
Thomas played a voice mail released by Stupak where an anonymous caller attacked, "Congressman Stupak, you baby-killing mother [bleeped]. I hope you die." However, when George Stephanopoulos talked to Stupak on March 19, he skipped the Representative's complaints to The Hill that "All the phones are unplugged at our house — tired of the obscene calls and threats."
Are threats only notable when they can potentially be linked to those on the right? Before the vote, Stupak repeatedly stated he was leaning towards voting against the legislation. But, Stephanopoulos' questions all revolved around what it would take to get the Representative to vote yes. There were no questions about possible violence.
Conventional wisdom on the right and left has been that President Obama and the Democrats will pay a heavy price in the November mid-term elections for passing the deeply unpopular health care reform bill. But Fox Business Network's Charlie Gasparino isn't so sure.
Gasparino appeared on the network's "Imus in the Morning" on March 25. "They can all get even in November then," Imus said of conservatives and Republicans. But Gasparino pointed out the indispensable weapon liberals have their side: the "cheerleading" news media.
"You know, listen - there's not a lot of good reporting on this stuff, and that's the scary thing," Gasparino said. "Someone should Google or do a LexisNexis on how many times the media positively portrays the savings of this - $138 billion over ten years. To me? This sounds like Enron to me - you really have to believe in a lot of assumptions, and the chicanery of the White House."
Furthermore, Gasparino said even if the numbers were true? In no way, shape, or form did $13 billion in annual savings justify "blowing up" the entire economy:
Good Morning America on Thursday worried about the possible violence Sarah Palin's Twitter page could cause to Democrats who voted for the health care bill. Guest host Bill Weir interviewed Barney Frank and fretted, "Some on the left have also been pointing to Sarah Palin's Twitter message encouraging her followers to 'Do not retreat. Instead, reload.'"
He ominously explained to viewers, "And her Facebook page has a map with cross-hairs on 20 Democrats who voted for the bill." Reporter Pierre Thomas also rehashed Democratic fears that"a toxic political environment is a catalyst for ugliness."
He touted complaints by Democratic Congressman Steve Driehaus that Republican Minority Leader John Boehner said he would be a political "dead man" if he voted for the bill. Thomas intoned, "The fears that all this angry talk could push a deranged person over the edge."
Picking up the Democratic line that her MSNBC colleagues started repeating yesterday, NBC's Ann Curry, on Thursday's Today show, continually harangued Senator John McCain about Republican lawmakers "encouraging the violence" against Democrats, and even urged the Arizona senator to condemn his former running mate Sarah Palin. After Curry recounted that the former Alaska governor had "posted a map highlighting weak Democratic districts...with a crosshair symbol" she pressed McCain: "Do you know recommend that your party use less incendiary language?" When McCain responded that terms like "targeted" and "battleground" are just part of the "political lexicon" Curry persisted: "These are very dangerous times. Is this the language that we should be hearing today?" [audio available here]
The following is a portion of the combative back and forth between Curry and McCain that was aired in the 7am half hour of Thursday's show:
The network evening news programs on ABC, CBS and NBC have also mentioned those "tax breaks" for small businesses in at least four stories in the past month.
ABC's Diane Sawyer told viewers March 19 that "the day he signs this bill, small businesses will get tax credits to spur more coverage of more employees." She didn't mention any of the tax increases on individuals or businesses.