CBS “Early Show” host Harry Smith used the top of the broadcast today to transmit liberal talking points on health care reform without bringing on a single conservative to articulate opposition.
First, CBS Senior White House Correspondent Bill Plante’s glowing description of the benefits of passing health care reform went unchallenged:
It is expected to increase assistance for lower income people to afford health care, increase federal funding for the Medicaid program, and raise prescription drug benefits under Medicare. If the bills are signed into law, they would immediately forbid insurers from setting limits on dollar coverage or canceling policies in most cases. Children could then remain on their parents' insurance until age 26. In 2014, most Americans would be required to carry health insurance. There would be a health insurance exchange and insurers would then not be able to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. But meanwhile, the heat is really on. The President has been holding some one-on-one meetings with freshman House Democrats to try to persuade them. They are the people most vulnerable to the pressures to get this bill passed.
MSNBC host David Shuster on Tuesday demonstrated his condescension for conservative tea party activists, deriding protesters who had arrived in Washington as "far right" and "going nuts." Talking to reporter Richard Wolffe, he chided, "I mean, what does the White House make of the opposition on the far right?" [Audio available here.]
Later in the day, Shuster showed video of demonstrators who oppose the health care bill and dismissed, "Tea partiers are going nuts over the process Nancy Pelosi may use to pass the bill, even though it's the same process Republicans used when they were in power."
In the 10am hour, the MSNBC anchor talked to Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. He brought up the very unusual parliamentary tactics that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has threatened to use. But, Shuster didn't seem particularly concerned with questions of the constitutionality of the so-called deem and pass measure. Instead, the journalist fretted about the "very pugnacious, very aggressive" tone of the protesters.
Perfectly timed for the week President Barack Obama is pushing the House to vote on ObamaCare, on tonight’s (Tuesday) episode of CBS’s The Good Wife, set at a Chicago law firm, the lawyers “battle a health insurance company that refuses to pay for urgent in-utero surgery.” The CBS.com plug for the March 16 episode: “In an emergency courtroom set up in a hospital, Alicia and Will battle Patti Nyholm and an insurance company that refuses to pay for life-saving in-utero surgery.”
So, I’ll hold out hope this episode will deliver more than just simplistic vilification of an insurance company and might, given the plot involves “in-utero surgery,” also forward pro-life perspectives. Watch and see.
That famous line from the movie "Marathon Man" comes to mind when considering the attitude of Ohio Congressman Zack Space about ObamaCare. Back in January, after Space caught heat for voting for the House version of ObamaCare in November, he decided it was safe to "boldly" express his opposition to the Senate bill on the heels of Nancy Pelosi declaring it DOA at the time. Here is what Space had to say in January as recorded in your humble correspondent's NewsBusters blog:
U.S. Rep. Zack Space said Thursday he plans to oppose the health care bill passed by the U.S. Senate.
He made the announcement shortly after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the national media she didn't think she had the votes to pass the bill.
While ABC and CBS on Monday night focused on President Barack Obama's “final push” for his health care bill and the plight of Ohioan Natoma Canfield, Obama's poster woman for victims of rising health insurance premiums, NBC anchor Brian Williams touted how at “one last campaign-style rally,” in suburban Cleveland, “a shout-out from the audience gave him a chance to road test a new catch phrase: 'We need courage.'”
Viewers saw a clip of Obama bemoaning “a lot of hand-wringing going on” in Washington, DC, interrupted by a woman's voice from the audience at the Walter F. Ehrnfelt Recreation and Senior Center in Strongsville: “We need courage!” To cheers, a delighted Obama picked up on her prompt: “We need courage. That's why I came here today. We need courage!”
If “courage” as a catch phrase sounds familiar, it's the one word with which Dan Rather ended his newscasts in the mid-1980s, an ending he resurrected on Wednesday, March 9, 2005 when he signed-off forever from the CBS Evening News. (MRC CyberAlert item)
Good Morning America's Jake Tapper on Monday interviewed a woman selected by the White House to represent victims of the health care industry. Tapper emphasized the sad case of Natoma Canfield, a cancer victim who "had to drop her Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance because her monthly premiums kept skyrocketing." Yet, the ABC correspondent provided no horror stories from those who deal with government-run health care.
He explained, "The President has been trying to tell [Canfield's] story to the nation." Obama mentioned Canfield in his campaign-style speech in Ohio to promote the health care legislation. However, back in February, neither Tapper, nor ABC spotlighted the case of Danny Williams, the premier of the Canadian province of Newfoundland.
On February 25, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, staff writer Sally Pipes informed that Mr. Williams "traveled to the United States earlier this month to undergo heart valve surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami." She added, "With his trip, Williams joined a long list of Canadians who have decided that they prefer American medicine to their own country's government-run health system when their lives are on the line."
The Associated Press's timing couldn't have been better for those who still want to pretend that Social Security is really not in serious trouble. Stephen Ohlemacher's item ("Social Security to start cashing Uncle Sam's IOUs") originally appeared on Sunday, in the midst of most of the major college basketball conference tournament championships, then followed by the evening's announcement of the selections for the NCAA Division I Men's basketball tournament. (The AP has issued minor revisions several times since its original appearance, up to and including today.)
The wire service's timing, while convenient for the Washington establishment, as it minimizes the possibility of distractions from its statist health care obsession, couldn't have been worse for those of us who wish the American people would get a grip on the gravity of the situation -- which is why I saved this post for today.
What is about to occur is the event that as little as a year ago, according to the Social Security Trustees' 2009 Report, wasn't expected to arrive until 2016. Ohlemacher tells us that it's right here, right now, and gets the reporting right until his seventh paragraph (bolds are mine):
The White House may have to waterboard its congressional allies to compel enough Democrats to support the health care bill and Congress will definitely have to raise taxes if the bill passes, insisted Bob Schieffer, host of Face the Nation on CBS, this morning on The Early Show. [Audio available here.]
As liberals focus on extending coverage to millions of uninsured Americans, Schieffer departed from the liberal talking points by pointing out that the current bill would definitely force Congress to raise taxes.
“These Democrats don’t know yet how much this bill is going to cost, they don’t know exactly who’s going to pay the taxes—there is no question some taxes are going up on this,” he said.
The end of Congress’s long debate over ObamaCare could be near, as the President pushes for a final vote this week before his Asia trip, and House Democrats want a resolution before next week’s Easter break.
Yet whether or not liberals’ dreams are ultimately realized, they have had a huge advantage throughout the process. Over the past twelve months, journalists have continually stacked the deck in favor of a big government takeover of health care.
And delivering that response was "The O'Reilly Factor" host Bill O'Reilly, who called his show "the signature broadcast" of the network. O'Reilly dismissed Raines as a lunatic. However he was also critical of The Washington Post for giving him an outlet to trot out his ranting.
"[I] think there is a more important thing in play here," O'Reilly said. "The Washington Post has given this guy Raines a big platform on Sunday, this coming Sunday, to print this nonsense and it is nonsense. If Raines were sitting here I could carve him up and he, Raines knows it."
But O'Reilly questioned why the Post had decided to give Raines the space in its upcoming March 14 issue to rip on his network. According to O'Reilly, this was an effort to rally the media for a last stand.
So much for the MSM refrain about Republicans having previously used reconciliation just as Dems are proposing to do now on ObamaCare . . .
Larry O'Donnell has emphatically proclaimed that the way Dems intend to use reconciliation is "unprecedented" and has "never, never, never" been so used before. O'Donnell's many off-his-meds rants notwithstanding [recent example here], he actually does understand the legislative process, having served as Dem Chief of Staff of the Senate Committee on Finance back in the HillaryCare day.
O'Donnell also criticized the MSM "group think" to the effect that Dems were obliged to pass some kind of health care legislation this year. Larry's uncharacteristically lucid observations came during his Morning Joe appearance today. [H/t reader Mike K.]
Let's see... The author of the bizarre solution to avoid a direct vote in the House of Representatives on the Senate ObamaCare bill is Congresswoman Louise Slaughter. Yet, to call it a "Slaughter Solution" is somehow an unfair Republican tactic. Such is the assertion of Brian Montopoli at the CBS Political Hotsheet:
The Republican Party already has plenty of evocative phrases with which to hammer the health care reform effort: "Government takeover," "ram down our throats," "job-killing monstrosity."
Now House Republican Leader John Boehner's office has come up with perhaps the most striking entry yet: "Slaughter Solution."
Good Morning America's Jake Tapper on Thursday forced a completely unrelated rant by Patrick Kennedy into a story entirely on health care. Tapper pivoted off a statement by Senator Mitch McConnell that legislation on the subject is a "farce." He then spun, "For one Democrat, the force driving that farce- the media- who earned the scorn of Democratic Congressman Patrick Kennedy for focusing away from substance."
Tapper then played a clip of the Rhode Island Representative screaming, "If anyone wants to know where cynicism is, cynicism is that there's one, two, press people in this gallery! We're talking about Eric Massa, 24/7 on the TV! It's despicable, the national press corps right now!" Watching this, viewers would be led to believe Kennedy was talking about health care. He wasn't.
The Congressman was actually yelling about a bill that was voted down in Congress which would have brought the troops home from Afghanistan. The Tapper segment even edited out the part where Kennedy's topic became clear: "We're talking about war and peace! Three billion dollars! A thousand lives!" Are journalists so interested in self flagellating over a liberal congressman's criticism that they would force Kennedy's remarks into a totally unrelated story?
One of the left's knocks on conservatives has been claiming they're demagogues that play on emotion to push a certain point of view. It's been said about Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the Tea Party movement.
However, HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" host Bill Maher doesn't seem to take issue with using trumped up emotions to push an agenda. The difference - he is approaching things from the opposite end of the ideological spectrum. Maher appeared on MSNBC's March 10 "Countdown" and defended his demand from his own March 5 program that President Barack Obama quit smoking. The reason - so he would get angry and use that emotion to promote his agenda.
"No, what I was - you know, the point of the rule was that when people quit smoking, they get angry," Maher explained. "And I like my president angry, because, you know, considering how much in this country people are poisoned, ripped off and lied to, we should all be angry, but especially that guy, who has to deal with Congress every day in trying to get this health care bill through and all that. And you know, I like him when he's out on the stump in a sort of a partisan mode. I think his biggest mistake, that he has made, in his first year, was to out put bipartisanship ahead of fixing the country. He spent all his political capital on getting three damned votes for that stimulus bill instead of coming in with all the energy from the election and saying, ‘You know what, we're in a crisis mode, I won this election by a sizable mandate, here's what we're going to do. If you don't like it, Republicans, you can suck on it.'"
When Michael Moore starts getting panicked, you know times are getting tumultuous for the left and the Democratic Party.
The anti-corporation, sometimes conspiracy theorist documentary filmmaker aired his frustrations about the current health care reform predicament. Congressional Democrats have gotten themselves into a mess with time running out as the midterm election cycle fast approaches and Moore said he was worried. According to Moore, who appeared on MSNBC's March 10 "The Rachel Maddow Show," if the Democratic Party doesn't make strides in getting their liberal agenda passed - it's bleak times ahead for them.
"Well, we see what it's led us to, to the fact that one out of eight homes now in America is in foreclosure or delinquency," Moore said. "One out of eight home and, of course, the millions that don't have health care and everything else it's - how do you get yourself out of bed every morning to do this show with just the despair of how - the hope that we all had a year, year and a half ago. And now it's like, I just feel like the Democrats are - they're in for an ass-whooping of Biblical proportions in November if they don't get off the dime and do the job they were sent there to do. I mean that. I mean, it - don't they see that?"
CNN's Jim Acosta omitted the left-wing affiliation of pro-ObamaCare protesters during a report on Wednesday's American Morning, referring to them as only "health care advocates and labor groups." Acosta, like his colleague Nancy Cordes at CBS, also highlighted child protester Marcelas Owens, and labeled him a "brave young man."
Kiran Chetry and John Roberts introduced Acosta's report, and the anchors also failed to mention the political bent of the protest, which was organized by the Health Care for America Now coalition (HCAN's members include the AFL-CIO, NAACP, and Planned Parenthood). Chetry remarked that "thousands though rallied in Washington against what they call 'insurance industry bullying.'" Roberts stated that the demonstration was "one for the books."
On Tuesday's edition of MSNBC News Live, host David Shuster tossed softballs to an 11-year-old supporter of Obamacare. However, back in 2009, reporter Norah O'Donnell grilled a conservative teen and fan of Sarah Palin.
Shuster interviewed young Marcelas Owens, who lost his mother from pulmonary hypertension and is now lobbying for government-run health care. The anchor gently asked the child of his reception in Congress, "Are they at least pleased to meet you?" Shuster failed to mention that Owens' entire family have been members of the liberal Washington Community Action Network.
In contrast, on November 19, 2009, O'Donnell interrogated Jackie Seal, a conservative, Michigan teen who was waiting in line to see Sarah Palin at a book signing. The MSNBC host challenged this particular young person on her political beliefs: "Did you know that Sarah Palin supported the bailout?" O'Donnell berated, "Does that change your view?"
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith underwent a live colonoscopy in order to raise awareness of colon cancer. Hosting the momentous occasion was CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric, who dressed the part, wearing green scrubs, a white lab coat, and a stethoscope around her neck as if she was a medical doctor. (Click on photo for larger size)
Couric famously taped herself undergoing the same procedure in 2000, while still co-host of NBC's Today, in the wake of her husband, Jay Monahan, dying of colon cancer in 1998.
In the Early Show segment, Couric stood by Smith's bedside as they discussed the procedure and later dressed in full surgical garb as the colonoscopy was being performed.
Co-host Maggie Rodriguez led the coverage by touting the "Couric effect" of Americans getting colonoscopies in wake of Couric's televised exam and hoped for a similar "Smith effect."
See more photos of Couric playing doctor after the jump.
ABC and CBS on Tuesday night picked up on the cause of a small anti-health insurance industry protest in DC organized by left-wing labor groups, but instead of denigrating them as the networks did with much larger Tea Party and anti-ObamaCare rallies, the two newscasts empathized with their cause, each relaying an anecdote about a victim of the current system. Both ABC’s Jonathan Karl and CBS’s Nancy Cordes did, however, proceed to point out the small profit margin for health insurance companies.
“Taking their cue from President Obama, protesters took their complaints about insurance company premiums and excess profits to the insurance industry and the streets,” ABC anchor Diane Sawyer announced. Karl noted the ideology of the “coalition of liberal groups” and recognized “the attacks are pretty harsh. They're accusing the insurance company CEOs of bribery, money laundering and manslaughter.” But he then showcased “Leslie Boyd, whose son Michael died of colon cancer after he couldn't get insurance or afford a colonoscopy.”
On CBS, Katie Couric set up the story on how “angry protesters targeted the insurance industry.” Cordes found “eleven-year-old Marcelas Owens” who “flew here from Seattle” because “his mother Tiffany lost her job and the health insurance that went with it after a prolonged illness caused her to miss work. She stopped going to the doctor and died at 27 of pulmonary hypertension.” The kid [in the screen capture] delivered a perfect soundbite: “She ended up passing away because she didn't have the equal rights to health care as some people with more money.”
What's a principled stance on the life of an unborn fetus if it means achieving the be-all and end-all victory for liberal ideologues - a government intrusion into health care? According to The Nation's Chris Hayes, it's just "one giant obstacle."
Hayes, filling in for Rachel Maddow on MSNBC's March 9 broadcast of "The Rachel Maddow Show," didn't seem impressed with Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich. Stupak, who has a documented history of having a pro-life position on abortion long before so-called health care reform was even a possibility, has been taking heat from left-wingers in this political battle. But according to MSNBC, it's just his "15 minutes of fame."
"If health reform is finally going to happen this year, Democrats have one giant obstacle standing in their way, his name is Bart Stupak," Hayes said. "Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak from Michigan has threatened for the last week to pretty much anyone who will listen, to bring down the health reform bill if the anti-abortion language he prefers is not in it. And Bart Stupak says he's not just speaking for Bart Stupak. He is speaking for the Stupak dozen."
At the top of Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "President Obama makes a tough final push, going on the offensive against health insurance companies. Will it work?" Later, co-host Maggie Rodriguez gushed: "It looked like a campaign rally yesterday with President Obama center-stage taking his fight for health care reform out of Washington and into America's heartland."
White House correspondent Bill Plante followed up Rodriguez's fawning intro by reporting: "It did indeed look like a campaign. I'll tell you, the President is racing hard to get across the finish line with health care reform. He's trying to convince the public to ignore what he calls 'Washington's obsession with keeping score in politics.'" An on-screen headline read: "Obama on the Offensive; Attacks Insurers In Latest Push for Reform."
Plante ignored the Obama administration's constant political score-keeping and instead lamented how despite the President "taking on the pundits and the political establishment...polls show Mr. Obama has an uphill battle." Plante cited a recent Gallup poll showing 49% of Americans oppose ObamaCare, though failed to point out that only 42% of respondents in that poll favored the plan.
On Thursday, the Early Show claimed that ObamaCare was on the "fast-track" to being passed.
Rush mentioned this on the air as his show opened.
It comes from the Associated Press, in a later paragraph of an Obama cheerleading item ("Obama pitches health plan in spirited appearance"; AP picture at right is from that story) by Julie Pace and David Espo.
The paragraph in question opens by giving readers the impression that either Pace, Espo, or another AP person has actually seen language in whatever iteration of ObamaCare happens to be floating around House chambers these days. But then it backs down and says it's only "described by a Democratic aide," meaning that the wire service is willingly serving as a trial-balloon enabler:
In a new change sought by House Democrats, the fix-it bill would require businesses to count part-time workers when calculating penalties for failing to provide health coverage for employees. Smaller businesses would be exempt. The Senate bill would count only full-time workers in applying the penalties, but under the change, described by a Democratic aide, two part-time workers would count as one full-time worker. Businesses say that's unduly burdensome, but Democrats contend it would prevent businesses from avoiding penalties by hiring more workers part-time.
“During the presidential campaign, candidate Barack Obama often used the phrase ‘fired up’ to do just that to the crowd. Democrats have been openly wondering when he was going to bring that campaign energy and fire to an issue like health care reform,” Brian Williams announced at the top of Monday’s NBC Nightly News,” and “today the President chose an event at a quiet Philadelphia suburb to get loud. He made his case and he rallied the troops and now readies to head into battle yet again on this topic.”
ABC’s Diane Sawyer noted “the President made a direct attack on the health insurance industry, accusing companies of putting profits before patient care” -- which means he was just catching up with Sawyer’s agenda. A couple of weeks ago, Sawyer demanded to know who will “keep insurance companies from jacking up premiums while making huge profits?” and touted “the growing outrage at insurance companies, the ones that raise premiums on ordinary Americans while racking up big profits.”
Jon Karl asserted Obama “hopes to tie into some of that Tea Party anger by focusing on a group that the White House believes is even more unpopular than Congress” as Karl championed a far-left group’s upcoming protest with “wanted” posters “that will highlight the CEOs of the health care companies making the argument that they are the ones to blame.”
Perhaps President Barack Obama might have preferred New York Times columnist Tom Friedman to reserve these comments for their golf outings together, but has Friedman recognized this path toward a larger government is unsustainable?
On MSNBC's March 5 "Morning Joe," host Joe Scarborough recounted his childhood in the early 1970s and the poor economy. He explained there was a different focus - that his family was hoping for the economy to turn around and could have cared less about the other issues of the day - Vietnam, Watergate, etc. It was all about the economy.
"You know Tom Friedman, I remember in the early '70s, my dad worked for Lockheed, got laid off and he was without a job for 18 months," Scarborough said. "This is in the middle of Watergate was blowing up on TV and in the middle of Vietnam, as it was grinding to a very bloody, messy ending. And my family, we just cared about one thing. When we watched Walter Cronkite at night, we wanted to know if the economy was turning around. And we didn't understand what was going on in the college campuses."
Sullivan did some number crunching and found that, due to concerns about a lack of a restriction on abortion spending in the Senate bill, Pelosi may end up being a few votes shy of the threshold to pass the legislation.
Sullivan's advice to the Speaker? She just needs to moderate her testy tone to dupe enough pro-life Democrats to voting for a bill that lacks the Stupak amendment which was passed in the House version of the bill (emphasis mine):
NBC's Tom Brokaw, in searching for a reason as to why Obamacare faced so much opposition, on Thursday's Today show, determined it was because the people can't quite grasp it, as he sniffed: "The public is very confused." The former NBC Nightly News anchor, on to promote his CNBC documentary about the Baby Boom generation, also told Today co-anchor Matt Lauer that the GOP was fighting the current version of the health care bill for merely "political" and not principled reasons and depicted the uninsured as victims to the now powerful tea party.[audio available here]
For his part, a bewildered Lauer expressed disbelief at the unpopular state of the Democratic Party right now as he questioned Brokaw:
Introducing a story on the latest effort pass health care reform on Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez proclaimed: "This morning President Obama is putting health care reform on the fast-track, declaring that it's year-long journey must be completed in Congress quickly."
At the top of the show, co-host Harry Smith had similarly declared: "President Obama says the health care debate is over. He wants a reform bill on his desk in the next few weeks." A Headline on screen read: "Health Care Fast-Track."
White House correspondent Bill Plante reported on the so-called "fast-track" plan: "The President yesterday rejected Republican calls to start over, saying that it is time to make a decision on health care....he made it clear that he's willing to get this done with a legislative maneuver requiring no Republican support." At the end of his report, Plante acknowledged things weren't quite so simple: "this is by no means a done deal....Republicans united in opposition, Democrats wavering because of elections this fall."
Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Thursday put the responsibility for passing health care on the shoulders of the pro-life Bart Stupak, worrying that the Congressman is "now threatening a mutiny over the issue of abortion." The GMA host interviewed Stupak and pressed him three times on voting for the legislation. [Audio available here.]
At one point, he solemnly queried, "If the President doesn't change the language, if your language is not accepted, you and your 11 colleagues who voted yes the last time will vote no this time. Does that mean you're prepared to take responsibility for bringing down this whole bill?"
Notice that Stephanopoulos placed the obligation on Stupak and not on pro-abortion Democrats who, one could argue, are more concerned with that issue than with passing health care. Earlier in the segment, the ABC journalist grilled, "So, if the President doesn't change the Senate bill, you can't vote for it?"
Someone submit the Morning Joe java to Henry Waxman for analysis. There seems to be something in it causing top Dems to experience serious delusions . . .
On today's show, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius claimed that the people of her home state of Kansas are "wildly supportive" of the substance of ObamaCare. Unfortunately, suggested Sebelius, they're just too ignorant to know what's in the blessed bill.
Later, DNC Chairman Tim Kaine didn't deny that the Obama admin had engaged in two sleazy patronage deals, involving Joe Sestak and Scott Matheson. Instead, the DNC Chairman laughed off the cynical, and possibly illegal, arrangements. "Life is life," smirked Kaine.
To Morning Joe's credit, the patronage deals and the Charlie Rangel situation were discussed throughout the show. The withdrawal of Dem Rep. Eric Massa from his re-election race, amidst allegations he sexually harrassed a male staffer, was also discussed, though not raised with Kaine. Would an RNC Chairman appearing on the show the day after the Mark Foley affair erupted have gotten a similar pass?
Without big government, Americans are nossink, nossink—do you hear me!?
On his MSNBC show this evening, Ed Schultz bellowed that "small government has never gotten anybody any health care." Got that, you weak, dependent Americans? You are incapable of getting anything done for yourself. Only big government can save you.
Here's how Schultz denigrated the ability of Americans to fend for themselves.