Uniquely among the broadcast network evening newscasts, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams gave attention to "incendiary" comments made by Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida, who charged that the Republican plan for health care is that people should "die quickly" if they get sick, prompting Republicans to demand an apology.
Williams seemed to signal his own disapproval of Grayson’s words as the NBC anchor introduced the item by remarking that "there’s something about this health care debate that makes some people say the most incendiary things." After playing a clip of Grayson’s comments, Williams informed viewers that the Democratic Congressman not only refused to apologize but "compared America’s health care situation to the Holocaust."
Below is a complete transcript of the relevant portion of the Wednesday, September 30, NBC Nightly News:
Karl Rove, David Axelrod - look out. CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer has the political climate figured out.
Since inauguration, President Barack Obama has seen his approval ratings fall by almost every poll and that's historically a normal reaction as the newness wears off a new president.
During his Sept. 30 "Stop Trading" segment on CNBC's "Street Signs," Cramer pointed out that although the prospects of Obama's ideal health care reform package passing are doubtful, health insurance providers are facing fallout from a publicity campaign meant by the administration to push through health insurance reform. That gives the administration a new villain.
Hours after the Senate Finance Committee rejected the public option as part of the proposed health care “reform” plan, CNN’s Campbell Brown couldn’t seem to find any conservatives to discuss the vote on her program on Tuesday. Her discussion segment brought three liberals to the table- former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich, Roland Martin, and senior political analyst Gloria Borger.
Brown first turned to Borger, who flatly stated that she thought the public option is dead: “I think it’s pretty dead, Campbell. I think it’s safe to say that right now it looks like it’s a goner.” The analyst continued that “the President has to settle for something less- something that may be a down payment on a public option, if the insurance companies don’t behave themselves. So, I think the President’s going to have to settle for less, and I think he’s signaling that he will settle for less.”
In a Chicago Tribune article today that appears to open as an attempt at humor but quickly devolves into nastiness, NPR-dependent radio host and author Garrison Keillor, among other things, attacks social conservatives, blames them and not those who have brought legal actions for years-long fights over keeping religious symbols right where they are, and -- while conveniently forgetting that Republican Mitt Romney gave us the Massachusetts disaster known as CommonwealthCare that current Bay State Democratic governor Deval Patrick considers the model for ObamaCare -- ponders the pros and cons of cutting Republicans "out of the health-care system entirely."
There are few if any indications in the last 2/3 of his column that Keillor was attempting anything resembling humor. If he was, he failed.
On Wednesday’s Good Morning America, co-host Diane Sawyer and Dr. Tim Johnson touted the treatment members of Congress get as an example of the unfairness of the health care system. Sawyer speculated, "The question is continually raised, in this land of equal opportunity, should all Americans have, do all Americans deserve the same access to health care that members of Congress have?"
Johnson, a well known fan of government-run health care, explained how, for a yearly fee of $503, representatives receive free access to X-rays, EKGs and minor surgeries. Talking to a Democratic Congressman who refuses to use this Office of Attending Physician (OAP), Johnson marveled, "In fact, [Steve] Kagen and his hundreds fellow members of Congress receive some of the best health care in the country, without even using insurance."
Johnson didn’t explain how, exactly, such a program could be extrapolated to the entire country. And only at the very end of the segment did Sawyer raise the issue of cost: Speaking of the representatives who partake in this service, she finally wondered, "Yes. So, good for you, that you have it. But make it the standard of care for everybody else, too. But, is that realistic, economically?"
The Politico's Jonathan Allen reported last night that Democratic Congressment Alan Grayson of Florida let loose on the House floor. (UPDATE: Politico now has a YouTube video of Grayson's performance at the link.)
Hopefully, Allen himself was only being sloppy with his own wording:
Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., warned Americans that "Republicans want you to die quickly" during an after-hours House floor speech Tuesday night.
His remarks, which drew angry and immediate calls for an apology from Republicans, were highlighted by a sign reading "The Republican Health Care Plan: Die Quickly."
"Warned"? As if "Republicans want you to die quickly" is a fact?
SCHULTZ (talking to caller): What do we need? We need stories is what we need. We need people to stand up and tell their story in front of elected officials and demand some answers, as this lady has done. But what we also need, is we need to follow Tom Harkin on the Senate health bill and support that because it's got preventative clinics. We could set up, a one preventative clinic in every state in this country, 50 preventative clinics, that would do colonoscopies, that would do heart exams, that would do blood tests, all kinds of preventive stuff that could be done. That could be done!
“It is possible to have a very good health insurance system without a public option,” ABC's Dr. Tim Johnson acceded on Tuesday's World News in the wake of the Senate Finance Committee's bi-partisan rejection of the liberal quest, but without it we must follow Switzerland and Germany which have “no public option” yet impose “very heavy government regulation” on the health insurance industry. “One way or another, public option or regulation, the government has to play a role,” Johnson, who in March declared it a “national shame” that the U.S. lacks universal coverage, maintained. [audio here, video below page break]
ABC anchor Charles Gibson actually issued a liberal tag in setting up the segment on “a set-back today for the President and liberal Democrats.” Gibson relayed how “the President says we need this public option to keep insurance costs in line. Now with that gone,” he fretted in accepting the view of public option advocates, “do we face escalating insurance costs?”
Imagining in 1998 a “vast right wing conspiracy” to impugn and discredit conveyors of accurate information about her husband's activities with an intern was ludicrous enough when Hillary Clinton made up the foil, but eleven-plus years later NBC's David Gregory treated it as a reality, cuing up Bill Clinton in a Meet the Press interview pre-recorded in New York City: “Your wife famously talked about the vast right wing conspiracy targeting you. As you look at this opposition on the right to President Obama, is it still there?” Former President Clinton, naturally, agreed: “Oh, you bet. Sure it is.”
Gregory also pressed Clinton to assess President Obama from a set of liberal presumptions: “Do you think the President has leveled with the American people on this fact, that Americans are going to have to pay higher taxes if they want health care reform?” And, recalling how “in 1996 you declared the era of big government over,” but now “the era of big government being over appears to be over in and of itself, whether it's the stimulus, whether it's bailouts, financial regulation or this issue of health care,” Gregory wondered: “Do you think the President's done a good enough job selling government as the solution?”
A few weeks ago Washington Post Managing Editor Raju Narisetti rued in this tweet via his Twitter account: “We can incur all sorts of federal deficits for wars and what not. But we have to promise not to increase it by $1 for healthcare reform? Sad.” Washington Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander cited the tweet in a Friday night blog post about how the newspaper has issued new guidelines, on the use of social network sites, which state “nothing we do must call into question the impartiality of our news judgment.” That forced Narisetti to close his Twitter account. Alexander recounted:
Narisetti said today he now realizes that his tweets, although intended for a private audience of about 90 friends and associates, were unwise. They were “personal” observations, he said. “But I also realize that...seeing that the managing editor of The Post is weighing in on this, it’s a clear perception problem.”
The entry previously posted at this address incorrectly asserted that the Capitol Hill switchboard was being used to promote liberal health insurance legislation. It is not being used for that purpose.
The telephone number referenced in this post originally is owned by a liberal lobbying organization, not the U.S. Capitol switchboard. We regret the error.
Americans who fail to pay the penalty for not buying insurance would face legal action from the Internal Revenue Service, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.
The remarks Thursday from the committee's chief of staff, Thomas Barthold, seems to further weaken President Barack Obama's contention last week that the individual mandate penalty, which could go as high as $1,900, is not a tax increase.
Under questioning from Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), Barthold said the IRS would "take you to court and undertake normal collection proceedings."
Ensign pursued the line of questioning because he said a lot of Americans don't believe the Constitution allows the government to mandate the purchase of insurance.
Friday, Brown reported that Ensign got a clarification on what the result of "normal collection proceedings" might be, and got it in writing (HT Hot Air):
Remember "Baghdad Bob," the Iraqi Information Minister Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf? Even with Iraqi forces in a full rout and American Marines just blocks away Baghdad Bob would completely deny the presence of U.S. troops in the Iraqi capitol.
Watching MSNBC's "Countdown with Keith Olbermann," on September 24 was reminiscent of Baghdad's Bob's press conferences. Olbermann asked Newsweek's Jonathan Alter, also an MSNBC political analyst, how "the GOP" would convince the public that the health care system "is not really in crisis" and that it does not need to be a priority compared to Afghanistan. Turning right to page three of the current left-wing talking points, Alter used the opportunity to attack Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., for suggesting that the president is letting Afghanistan slide to curry favor for health care, by invoking George W. Bush.
"It's a pretty lame argument," Alter said. "I don't remember Jim DeMint saying when George W. Bush was proposing to reform Social Security a few years ago that somehow he was putting the troops at risk in Iraq, because he was worried about some domestic issue."
On September 25, "The View's" Sherri Shepherd asked Michael Moore, "How do you feel about Obama's health care plan?"
Moore responded, "Aw, geez. I feel so bad for this guy. I mean - I - ya know, he's out there all alone; nobody's got his back. The other side they're out there angry, organized."
Nobody's got his back? Really? Let's take a look at the numbers.
In August, the Business & Media Institute examined 224 stories about health care on the three broadcast networks' morning and evening shows that aired between Jan. 20, the date of Obama's inauguration, and June 24, the night of ABC's prime time town hall special on health care.
The networks favored proponents to critics by a margin of more than 2-to-1 (243 to 104).
It was quite a "two-for" on CBS' "The Early Show" September 25. They got a chance to feature a young woman who'd recovered from a very rare disease, and they also got to advocate for ObamaCare.
"The Early Show's" Maggie Rodriguez talked with Krista Lesinski, who had been diagnosed with Wilson's Disease, a rare and potentially lethal condition that attacks the liver. With Lesinski was Dr. Lisa Sanders, a former producer of CBS News, covering health and medicine. Sanders is currently at the Yale University School of Medicine and a physician at the Waterbury Hospital in Connecticut. Her monthly New York Times' column "Diagnosis" was an inspiration for the hit Fox TV series "House."
Rodriguez asked Lesinski, "You were ... highlighter yellow ... why did you wait to go to the hospital?"
"I think that the President could have done a better job of really outlining the issues and what's involved in health care reform. I think it's mind-numbingly dull and complicated and a lot of people don't truly understand a) why the system is broken, if it is in fact broken and the proposals - and how these proposals will actually improve the quality of care."
Thanks to info "steveegg" at No Runny Eggs linked me to earlier today, I had to add the word "Annual" before "Cash Flow" at this post (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) that originally appeared Wednesday.
That's because the system is already running monthly deficits, and significant ones.
Back in February, the system also ran a deficit. It was bad news, but because February is an unusual month containing a full month of payments but only 20 business days of collections (actually 19, since Presidents Day is a federal holiday), I didn't think it was an indicator of a near-term problem when I noted it in early April. I was wrong.
The degree of the decay is obvious when you look at July's and August's results. The drastic decline in year-over-year collections noted in Wednesday's post indicate that September is almost certainly going to be no better, and will probably be worse.
Go to this link and you'll be able to replicate the tables that follow (simply type "7" or "8" at Item 3):
Enraged over Republican opposition to ObamaCare, on The Ed Show on MSNBC Wednesday, host Ed Schultz screamed at viewers: "The Republicans lie! They want to see you dead! They’d rather make money off your dead corpse! They kind of like it when that woman has cancer and they don’t have anything for her."
The woman Schultz was referring to was a relative of a woman who asked Republican Congressman Eric Cantor a question at a health care town hall in Virginia. Cantor replied to the woman, Patricia Churchill, by mentioning charitable care. After playing the question and Cantor’s response, Schultz launched into a diatribe: "This is a classic, because when you present the Republicans and the obstructionists with a real-life scenario, they don’t have an answer.... they’re great at holding up the socialism, the communism, the Marxism, all kinds of ’isms, but they don’t have an answer for that woman...Americans, you can’t trust Eric Cantor!"
“In Denmark – my favorite country – they are the happiest people in the world,” declared Joy Behar on “The View” September 23. They’ve come a long way since Hamlet.
Why are the Danes so contented? Could it be all that Havarti and herring? The satisfaction of knowing that their ancestors plundered and pillaged the entire North Atlantic?No. According to Behar, the Danes wear the smile of socialism.
“The reason that they’re so happy is because they don’t worry about health care,” she explained. “They don’t worry about sending their kids to college because everything’s paid for.”
It appears Behar was referring to the 2008 World Values Survey that asked 350,000 citizens of 97 different countries two questions:
CNN’s Kitty Pilgrim followed the lead of ABC News in reporting the Obama administration’s attempt to use regulatory power to suppress criticism of its health care proposal on Wednesday’s Lou Dobbs Tonight. Pilgrim noted how “[health] insurers are angry because...the government Medicaid office instructed them to cease sending what it called misleading...information about the bill to clients.”
Anchor Lou Dobbs introduced the correspondent’s report 19 minutes in the 7 pm Eastern hour: “Lawmakers and some of this country’s insurers today [are] incensed about what they see as a White House attempt to control information about possible Medicare cuts. The White House yesterday, in fact, warned insurers and health care companies they could face legal action if they spread what the White House calls misinformation about the health care bill.”
"The liberal media claim to champion free speech, but if they continue to turn a blind eye to this offense, we can only assume they approve of government censorship," Media Research Center President Brent Bozell argued in a statement released today.
Mr. Bozell was reacting to news of the federal Department of Health and Human Services placing a gag order on private health insurance companies communicating to their Medicare Advantage customers their concerns about Democratic health care reform proposals. The gag order is backed by a threat of federal prosecution.
Even so, this flagrant abuse of power by the Obama administration has been underreported in the mainstream media. The Washington Post has not printed one word about the violation, and while ABC News aired a segment on its September 22 broadcast, their rivals at the CBS "Evening News" and NBC "Nightly News" have ignored the transgression.
Mr. Bozell's full statement appears below the page break:
On today's Morning Meeting, host Dylan Ratigan gathered his loyalist liberal media friends to deride Sarah Palin's recent speech to investors in Hong Kong, wherein she made the observation that government programs often create new problems, which are then tackled by eager politicians with what else but even more government programs.
First, in the interest of fairness, it must be noted that the guest from the Huffington Post and Vanity Fair, Vickie Ward, barely uttered a word in the entirety of the segment.
That's because she was laughing.
Here's what caused Ward's giggle-fit:
RATIGAN: I want to go to Andy Barr at Politico. Palin on health reform. This one made a little bit less sense. But I feel like it's very indicative, Andy, of certain aspects of right-wing talking points which look to demonize the government inherently, as opposed to looking at government as a tool that can either be abused, misused, or screwed up. Right? And so that rhetoric is evident here. [reading] 'It's common sense that government attempts to solve problems like the health care problem will just create new problems.' Now, forget the nonsensical aspect of that.
David Letterman is not just wearing his political views on his sleeve, as a one of his shows production executives recently pointed out. Now he's allowing his show to be used as a platform for leading Democrats to advocate action on liberal causes.
On Sept. 21, President Barack Obama appeared on CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman" and used his show to promote his health care/health insurance reform initiatives. But the very next night on Sept. 22, he had former President Bill Clinton on to publicize the efforts of the Clinton Global Initiative, one of which is to give aid to nations with rampant poverty.
Letterman set up Clinton to make a point about global warming. The "Late Show" host said he didn't understand how in this day and age people can still not have access to clean drinking water.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's decision to go to the Senate floor on Tuesday to call out the Obama administration for using the full power of a federal regulatory agency to suppress free speech -- specifically, to silence Humana's predictions about the impact of proposed ObamaCare cuts to the Medicare Advantage program -- led ABC, but not CBS or NBC, to air a story on the “gag order.”
ABC's story began with a McConnell soundbite (“'Shut up,' the government says, 'don't communicate with your customers. Be quiet and get in line,'”), before reporter Jonathan Karl explained McConnell was referring to the “Department of Health and Human Services, telling insurance companies who serve Medicare recipients, to stop 'misleading' and 'confusing' mailings, saying, quote: 'We are instructing you to immediately discontinue all such mailings, and remove any related materials from your Web sites.'”
Karl continued: “The extraordinary order comes in response to a mailing the Humana insurance company sent to customers in the Medicare Advantage program. The Humana mailing warned that because of Medicare cuts in the health care reform bills, quote, 'millions of seniors and disabled individuals could lose many important benefits and services.'”
On Tuesday’s Situation Room, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer used a left-wing talking point on the health care debate during a brief about a web ad made by comedian Will Ferrell and other celebrities: “One of the most famous comedians joins some of your favorite actors to promote health care reform. So why are they defending health care...executives making billions of dollars at your expense?” [audio clip available here]
Blitzer devoted three news briefs during the 5 pm Eastern hour of the CNN hour to the ad, all the while omitting how Ferrell and his group made it in conjunction with the leftist organization MoveOn.org. After playing a clip from the web ad during the first brief, which came 10 minutes into the hour, the CNN anchor highlighted how the celebrities were “using comedy to make some serious points about health care. This video [is] getting a lot of attention out there.”
Major newspapers and networks have been ignoring the question of abortion coverage in the new health care bill sponsored by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont. The only newspapers to even mention abortion coverage since the bill was released on September 16 were The Boston Globe, The Oregonian, and The Orlando Sentinel - all of which were editorials.
The Boston Globe only mentioned in passing that the funding of abortion was scratched in order to please the Republicans, who refuse to be pleased anyway. The Oregonian admitted that abortion was funded in the bill but concluded that "being a citizen means paying taxes, and being one of hundreds of millions of citizens means that some tax revenues will fund something you don't like." And The Orlando Sentinel stated that the "truth" behind Republicans "right-wing anti-Obama rhetoric" against abortion is simply "cowardly coded smoke screens intended to mask fear and racism."
David Letterman, who still regularly ridicules former President George W. Bush – and has even accused him of committing “war crimes” and lacking “humanity” – didn't hide his affinity for Barack Obama during his Monday night Late Show interview of the President, while remaining unable to contain his disgust for Bush. “I can't tell you how satisfying it is to watch you work,” a beaming Letterman gushed to Obama at the conclusion of the program.
When Obama, who took two weeks of vacation in late August and early September, displayed some jealously as he quipped that his two daughters “basically just goofed off all summer, which I couldn't do,” Letterman interjected, in an obvious jab at Bush which delighted the audience: “Others have.”
The United States has been called a bailout nation, following the passage of TARP in 2008 and the government takeover of the auto industry earlier this year. However, that may ring true in other, more controversial areas, as well.
Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J, took President Barack Obama and proponents of his style of health care reform, along with the news media that cover the issue, to task, in a video posted on Sept. 21. He explained to the Washington News Observer the bill would do harm to sick people and called it the worst bill he had seen as a member of the U.S. Congress.
"Well, the Republicans are very clearly standing against bogus health care reform - that which will do grave injury to those who are very sick, those with cancers, unborn children and their mothers," Smith said. "This is I think the worst piece of legislation that I have seen in my 29 years as a member of Congress."
ABC's "World News" is supposed to be above the fray, right? According to "World News" executive Jon Banner, his program didn't jump into covering the recent ACORN scandal because it is "not in the business of noise."
Earlier in the day, on four Sunday morning network news programs, President Barack Obama had urged the media not to engage in Taibbi's specialty. The networks shouldn't air rude, angry political behavior, because that only encourages it, the president said. ABC must have missed that memo.
In the series of network interviews recorded Friday at the White House for airing on the ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC Sunday morning interview shows, all highlighted Jimmy Carter's charge that racism is fueling the anti-Obamacare protests – with CNN's John King and NBC's David Gregory following up with Nancy Pelosi's claim the heated rhetoric may incite violence – and CBS's Bob Schieffer asserted the “meanness that has settled over our political dialogue” had “started this summer at these town hall meetings.”
Only NBC's Gregory chastised Obama for not taking on the left on malpractice reform and only ABC's George Stephanopoulos brought up ACORN, but painted Obama as a victim: “Have some of your allies made it easier for, handed your opponents some ammunition, like ACORN, for example?” Schieffer and King, but not Stephanopoulos or Gregory, pressed Obama on how seven former CIA directors urged him to drop the criminal probe of interrogations of terror suspects.
I watched them all so you didn't have to and here are some notes about what the four anchors chose to pursue in their allocated 15 minutes with President Barack Obama (should also note that all devoted time to Afghanistan and the likely request for more troops):