As President Obama prepares to deliver his 29th speech on health care, this time before a joint session of Congress, it recalls Bill Clinton’s September 22, 1993 speech to Congress on the same topic. Back then, media liberals hit some of the exact same points journalists are making today: “reform” would end the “shame” of America being the only industrialized nation without universal coverage; that a bigger role for government would cost nothing or even save money in the long run, and that government bureaucrats were preferable to insurance companies.
After a year of media cheerleading, however, Congress finally scrapped Clinton’s health care ideas. But the unpopularity of Clinton’s government-based solutions contributed to the election of the first Republican-led House of Representatives in more than four decades. That’s not to say history will play out the same way this time, but the media spin on behalf of ObamaCare certainly echoes the language of the 1990s. A review:
ABC’s Robin Roberts conducted a fawning interview with Barack Obama on Wednesday’s Good Morning America, downplaying controversy and instead offering fawning softballs such as "How difficult is it to stay on message?" The GMA host previewed Obama’s big health care speech to Congress and only gently broached the difficulties that the President has had with the legislation.
Earlier in the segment, Roberts vaguely wondered, "Is there a new approach that you're taking to getting your message across?" The ABC co-host mentioned controversial (now former) green czar Van Jones, but managed to not actually ask a question about him: "You talk about talk radio and the things that are being said. Glenn Beck, for instance, really going after Van Jones. Forced to resign. Controversial things that he said about 9/11 and Columbine. How difficult is it to stay on message?"
She's been ridiculed by the so-called masters of the universe in the mainstream media for warning President Barack Obama's health care proposals could result in one of one of her loved ones having to stand in front of one of "Obama's death panels" to determine their "level of productivity in society" to see if they are worthy of health care. But despite the criticism, she's not backing down from those statements.
She pointed out the president wanted to create a bureaucracy called the "Independent Medicare Advisory Council," which is as she says is "an unelected, largely unaccountable group of experts charged with containing Medicare costs." She wrote it is policy gestures as such as that and other cost-cutting suggestions that have her concerned.
ABC's World News on Tuesday night bemoaned the impact of conservatives and citizen journalists in derailing President Barack Obama's agenda. Pivoting from the reaction to Obama's address to students, anchor Charles Gibson observed “today's speech was really the latest target of some conservative groups taking on the President” and “their tactics are having an impact.”
Reporter Dan Harris asserted “the conservative echo chamber is not new, but,” he fretted, “this White House is operating in a vastly accelerated media environment where you no longer need to be in the presence of reporters to make news, as we saw with the health care furor at those town hall meetings.” Journalistic veteran Tom Rosenstiel marveled: “Today you can arrange that protest yourself, photograph it with a hand-held cell phone, and if you can then generate enough views of that video on YouTube, you can make something into national news.” That's because, Harris insisted, “the mainstream media love a good fight, even if the charges are unfounded.”
Though Harris acknowledged “some of the conservative complaints do play into larger concerns” about Obama, he relayed how “critics say the White House has been simply unprepared to deal with the ferocity of the conservative push-back.”
Former Democratic strategist turned journalist George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday suggested that it might be a good idea for the Barack Obama, during his address to Congress on Wednesday, to tell Americans to "calm down." Appearing on Good Morning America, the This Week host also lobbied the President to claim that his health care plan would not increase the deficit.
Stephanopoulos bizarrely enthused to co-host Robin Roberts: "...He's got assure people that this is not going to increase the deficit. I think that is one place where the President will say, ‘I can't sign a bill if it increased the deficit by even one dime.’" Of course, the Congressional Budget Office asserted that House Democratic legislation would add $230 billion to the deficit.
Anima at The Daily Kos is furious at the idea that the insurance lobbyists (or the "murder-by-spreadsheet industry") will get a "public option" stripped from the health bill. But the metaphors are a bit distasteful:
How unbelievably infuriating it will be if we get a watered-down, junk bill and then have to listen to Rahm tell us how it's a "victory." Yes, let's give the American people a nice, big glass of urine on the rocks and call it the most delicious lemonade they done ever tasted!...
Instead of taking up how five years ago Jones signed the 911truth.org petition calling for an “immediate inquiry into evidence that suggests high-level government officials may have deliberately allowed the September 11th attacks to occur,” a revelation to which FNC's Special Report devoted a full story on Thursday, on ABC's World News fill-in anchor George Stephanopoulos trumpeted the Obama White House “transparency” in the “unprecedented” decision to release visitor logs, which Jake Tapper described as an “historic” move before Stephanopoulos fretted over how Obama “is facing this liberal revolt over the public health insurance option, and the President decided to take it head-on today.”
Over on NBC, Brian Williams bemoaned: “A back to school speech by the President. How did it get branded as an attempt to brainwash America's children?” He also conveyed liberal disappointment Obama-defenders aren't tough enough: “Some are asking how the White House message got hijacked before the speech was delivered and why more people aren't pushing back.” Andrea Mitchell asserted that “it's only the latest example of what the White House calls the silly season -- town halls where disabled speakers are shouted down....From charges of death panels to the birthers...”
He has been a voice in the wilderness for global warming realists, but now that he's taking on other issues put forth by President Barack Obama, some on the left's network, MSNBC, are suggesting Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., is putting the president's life at risk.
Throughout the day of Sept. 3 on MSNBC, the place for liberal politics, a report from the Sept. 2 Tulsa World by Randy Krehbiel was cited and it was suggested Inhofe had gone too far with his criticism of Obama. Both MSNBC hosts David Shuster and Ed Schultz condemned Inhofe's comments that were very unfavorable toward the president's policies.
"I have never seen so many things happening at one time so disheartening to America." Inhofe said, according to the World.
Former Democratic strategist turned journalist George Stephanopoulos appeared on Thursday’s Good Morning America to declare that President Obama’s address to Congress on September 9 must "intimidate Republicans a little bit." Stephanopoulos, who was a top aide to Bill Clinton, added that the White House should force the GOP to "make sure they understand the consequences of failure."
The This Week host, who also worked on Michael Dukakis' 1988 presidential campaign, didn’t explain why it's the Republicans, in a Democrat-dominated Congress, who would suffer "the consequences of failure." And the President "has to" intimidate the GOP? Is that the official advice of ABC analyst George Stephanopoulos? Or is that the opinion of liberal Democrat George Stephanopoulos?
Once again, one of the masters of the universe trotted out on MSNBC has discovered the cure to one of society's ills - more Obama.
Daily Voice editor and CNBC contributor Keith Boykin waved off the reservations of some parents about President Barack Obama addressing their children in the classroom. Boykin appeared on MSNBC on Sept. 3 in a segment about the classroom controversy and added his insightful commentary on the matter.
"So much of the debate about President Obama has been politicized in an effort by some to delegitimize his presidency," Boykin said. "This is clearly much ado about nothing. We're talking about the President of the United States speaking to school kids. Why wouldn't schools want this to happen? That's why our kids are so dumb today, because they don't want to have basic common sense in the classroom."
You have a healthcare rally with opposing sides. Someone from one side bites the finger off an elderly man from the other side. You and I both know which side did the biting, but can the media just come out and say "Moonbat Bites Man"? Of course not. See if you can even follow the multi-paragraph description of the event.
A witness from the scene says a man was walking through the anti-reform group to get to the pro-reform side when he got into an altercation with the 65-year-old, who opposes health care reform.
The 65-year-old was apparently aggressive and hit the other man, who then retaliated by biting off his attacker's pinky, according to Karoli from DrumsnWhistles.
The single eyewitness account coming from a Moveon.Org blogger. Of course. So beware protestors, if you act "aggressive" -- whatever that means -- when an Obama thug decides to go through you rather than around you, there is potential for the 'side of rational logic' to go Mike Tyson on your digits. We are unable to determine if under ObamaCare's Complete Lives System this elderly man would qualify for finger-reattachment surgery.
What would Jesus do? Well, Ed Schultz thinks he knows - that is on health care reform at least.
Schultz, on his Sept. 2 MSNBC program, "The ED Show" told viewers he believed Jesus would vote for a government public option. That, he said, was to the dismay of some on religious right, or what he used the pejorative "Bible thumpers" to describe.
"Now, I have been referring to the health care reform deal as the real moral issue of our time," Schultz said. "I believe Jesus would vote yes for a public option, but some Bible thumpers don't see me eye to eye on this one."
Schultz later elaborated on his statement, likening "fixing health care" to a moral obligation.
There's a reason Matt Drudge just got done celebrating an all-time record August traffic count. His visitors know that he constantly links to newsworthy stories they likely won't find reported prominently in establishment U.S. media outlets, if they're reported at all.
Such will likely be the case with a blockbuster story coming out of Great Britain tonight, courtesy of the U.K. Telegraph. It seems that there's this treatment protocol called the "Liverpool Care Pathway." Under the Pathway's guidelines, according to the Telegraph, "Under the guidelines the decision to diagnose that a patient is close to death is made by the entire medical team treating them, including a senior doctor."
Why, if I didn't know any better, that sounds like a d-d-d-d-death panel, complete with top-down ("senior doctor") supervision.
Here are just a few excerpts from Telegraph Medical Correspondent Kate Devlin's must-read report. Especially note the chilling statistic in the second-last paragraph of the excerpt:
Of the three morning shows, only ABC’s Good Morning America on Wednesday highlighted just how quickly and severely Barack Obama’s approval ratings have fallen. In a report on the subject, correspondent Jake Tapper bluntly explained, "Since taking office, President Obama's approval ratings have fallen more steeply than any other newly-elected president in modern history."
In contrast, CBS’s Early Show charted the middle ground in a segment on the network’s new poll. Correspondent Bill Plante observed that Obama has lost some popularity over health care, but spun: "The latest CBS News poll shows that approval of the President’s handling of health care reform has slipped six points since July, even though his overall job rating for that period is down only slightly."
"When you have a party that claims to speak for God or claims that God is on its side, the rhetoric heats up and the anger heats up because it's not just a battle about ideas and positions and what's good for the country or bad for the country," Savage said. "It's a battle about what God wants and what God doesn't want. It's easier to demagogue about your enemies and to despise them and to dehumanize them in this really personal and vicious way."
On Monday, Jonah Goldberg at The Corner forwarded a shocking page from the Organizing for America website (mybarackobama.com) that promoted setting aside 9/11 as a day to call Senators to pass a Public Option as they “fight back against our own Right-Wing Domestic Terrorists.” They also suggest conservatives are "the heirs of yes, bin Laden."
Will the major media notice? So much for No-Drama Barack Obama uniting the country in hope and change. The Heritage Foundation blog The Foundry noticed that the Obama organizers pulled the page, as it now says: "INVALID EVENT URL: The URL you clicked references an event that does not exist. This event may have existed at one time but been subsequently deleted." The text is nothing less than jaw-dropping, as they describe a day of telephone activism directed at liberal Illinois Senators Dick Durbin and Roland Burris:
Our US Senators return to DC the Tues after Labor Day. That next FRIDAY, Sep 11, is Patriot Day, designated in memory of the nearly three thousand who died in the 9/11 attacks.
All 50 States are coordinating in this – as we fight back against our own Right-Wing Domestic Terrorists who are subverting the American Democratic Process, whipped to a frenzy by their Fox Propaganda Network ceaselessly re-seizing power for their treacherous leaders.
With “Filling the VOID” as the on-screen heading, Monday's NBC Nightly News, without any consideration for how Massachusetts Democrats blocked the Governor's interim appointment power, fretted over the loss to Democrats of Ted Kennedy's Senate seat as a health care vote approaches. “Less than 48 hours after Ted Kennedy was laid to rest at Arlington Cemetery, the political reality of his vacant Senate seat has set in,” Chuck Todd warned.
Though you could argue Kennedy's plight left the seat empty all year so far, Todd explained: “Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick set January 19th, 2010 for the special election, leaving the potential for the seat to be vacant for five months. To avoid a lengthy vacancy, next week the Massachusetts legislature begins debating a change in the law to give the Governor the power to appoint an interim Senator, a power most Governors in other states already have. It was a wish Senator Kennedy himself and his family made known directly to Massachusetts' lawmakers.” Todd, however, failed to point out that in a crass 2004 political maneuver urged by Kennedy, Bay State Democrats changed the law so then-Governor Mitt Romney, a Republican, could not replace John Kerry if he had won the presidency.
Remember when Michael Moore depicted the United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS) as a superior health care system in his 2007 documentary "Sicko"?
That romanticizing on the silver screen might have seemed like a good idea for the American society, but according to Lord Ara Darzi, it's not ideal for the United States. Darzi, a former British Health Minister, appeared on CNBC's Aug. 31 "Street Signs" to defend the NHS from attacks made in a TV spot, which had been rejected by ABC and NBC for airing because they were "too partisan."
"Street Signs' host Erin Burnett presented the hypothetical question to Darzi that if the U.S. would ever go to a single-payer system, would stifle innovation and would that mean rationing of care. According to Darzi - those decisions are made on a local level.
Chris Matthews, on Monday's "Hardball," threw out a couple of crazy comparisons as he likened the socially conservative Sarah Palin to shock jock Howard Stern and the rakish Bill Clinton to God. First up, in his "Hardball Sideshow" segment, Matthews claimed the reason the former Alaska governor was so popular on the lecture circuit is because, "just like Howard Stern the reason people will pay to hear her is that they have no idea what she's gonna say next." However Matthews outdid himself, just a little later, as he declared listening to Clinton's strategic advice for Democrats on passing health care reform was like hearing, "The Voice of God." [audio available here]
The following Matthews observations were made on the August 31, edition of "Hardball":
Some of us have been wondering how viable the Voluntary Employee Benefit Arrangements (VEBAs) set up by the United Auto Workers for its auto industry employees really are. This is of particular concern at the VEBAs tied in to General Motors and Chrysler. What happens to the employer stock these VEBAs own will heavily influence whether they have the money to pay promised benefits.
The answer to the viability question must be "not very," because the House version of health care that has made it out of committee has a $10 billion provision tucked into it that would largely work to back the VEBAs up in case GM and Chrysler are never able to stand on their own -- or in case other high-wage, high-benefit companies, many of which are unionized, follow them into serious financial difficulty.
Maybe it's because $10 billion doesn't mean much any more in an era of trillion-dollar deficits, but media coverage of this "little" provision has been very, very light. A Google News search on "retiree health care UAW" (not typed in quotes) came back with only about 25 relevant items of roughly 100 total results earlier this afternoon. Many of those results are outraged editorials and op-eds. There is precious little original news coverage of the topic.
One of the few examples of original coverage is an August 24 report by Justin Hyde and Todd Spangler of the Detroit Free Press that explains the provision and provides background:
That's the advice PBS host Bill Moyers had for President Barack Obama in an appearance on HBO's August 28 "Real Time with Bill Maher." According to the former press secretary for President Lyndon B. Johnson, a defeat on health care/health insurance reform would do the left more good than crafting some sort of compromise.
"I mean, I would rather see Barack Obama go down fighting for vigorous, strong principled public insurance, than to lose with a bill - look, BusinessWeek had a cover story last week, ‘The Insurers are Winning,'" Moyers said.
I know it's accepted by now that the MSM group will label any conservative group, "conservative," any libertarian group, "conservative," and any liberal group, "left-leaning" or "centrist," when they bother to label them at all. But when a new one comes along, it's good to put both that group's leanings, and the MSM's failure to note them, on the record.
Despite those fears, a study from the nonprofit Small Business Majority found health reform, even with a mandate, would save small business more than $500 billion over the next decade.
"Should everybody be in?" asked Elisabeth Arenales, an analyst with the Colorado Center on Law and Policy. "What's the contribution of the business sector? Businesses stand to gain a lot from health-insurance reform."
The CCLP may be talking about small business, but that doesn't mean it's speaking for small business. Far from it.
On the one hand, she writes that "the feeding tube that had nourished her for years was removed according to her husband's wishes." I would expect that Michael Schiavo, who consistently said for years that withdrawing nourishment is what Terri would have wanted, and that he pursued that end "purely based on her wishes," will be miffed at Kennedy's assertion. Too bad, so sad, Mike. Your own words in the legal record say otherwise; Ms. Kennedy is correct.
But Ms. Kennedy erred in her single paragraph about Terri's autopsy, continuing an incorrect media meme that has persisted for years:
An autopsy supported Michael Schiavo's contention that she was in a persistent vegetative state with no consciousness and no hope of recovery.
It's as if there was no support for contrary contentions. That implied assertion is patently false.
Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the results of a study entitled "2009 Pandemic Influenza A (H1N1) Virus Infections: Chicago, Illinois, April-July 2009."
In a report Rush Limbaugh criticized on the air, Mike Stobbe of the Associated Press ("Swine flu sends more blacks, Hispanics to hospital") irresponsibly framed CDC's results in racial terms, and then used them as evidence of health care system "inequities."
By contrast, Julie Steenhuysen of Reuters ("In Chicago, swine flu hit children hardest") went right to the study's key finding, namely that H1N1 appears to be more likely to affect children compared to other flu viruses, which have tended to hit the elderly harder.
The opening paragraphs of Steenhuysen's work makes you wonder how the AP and Stobbe could have looked at the same CDC study and not have done anything with its critical age-based finding:
ABC displayed “Battle Cry” on screen, beneath HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, as anchor Charles Gibson teased Thursday's World News: “Health care reformers hope to win one for Teddy, but the opposition is largely unmoved.” Gibson introduced the story by asserting “some of his allies in Congress harbor hopes that his death might generate a change of heart among opponents,” but it may not come to be: “If that is to be the case, there are few signs of it yet.”
Reporter Jonathan Karl noted continued opposition amongst those at town hall meetings, yet ran soundbites from three Democrats who demonstrated how “many prominent Democrats are hoping to turn an outpouring of goodwill into political magic.” For instance, “the most senior Senator, Robert Byrd, said yesterday, 'my heart and soul weeps' at the loss of the Senator Kennedy and called for naming the health care bill after him, a view wildly held b by Democrats.”
Karl recalled “the tactic has worked before. After the assassination of John Kennedy, President Johnson invoked his memory to revive the long-stalled civil rights bill.” This year, however, while “win one for Teddy” is “already becoming a rallying cry here on Capitol Hill, Karl concluded, “the divisions run deep and will not be easily overcome, even with all that obvious good will for Senator Ted Kennedy.”
NBC's Ann Curry, on Thursday's "Today" show, asked Senator John McCain if "the death of Senator Kennedy" would "be the catalyst" to pass health care reform, but when the Arizona senator responded that it may change the partisan way in which the Democrats have had "no real negotiations" with the GOP to get it passed, Curry demanded that McCain and the Republicans should be the ones to relent as she pushed McCain to "cross the aisle." McCain said he was "willing," but reiterated to Curry, "There's been no opportunity to do so," as seen in the following exchange:
ANN CURRY: Well, one of the next battles before Congress, which is one that, what mattered really most to the Senator, is of course about health care reform. And you faced a lot of rancor, some anger yesterday at a town hall meeting. What do you say about this idea? Could, in fact, the death of Senator Kennedy be the catalyst that might spark the possibility that this actually might go somewhere, as it doesn't seem to be right now? [audio available here]
At the top of the 8AM ET hour of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Russ Mitchell wondered if Ted Kennedy’s death could "spur Congress to pass a health care reform bill?" Correspondent Nancy Cordes answered that question: "Kennedy’s death, in a way, gives new life to health care legislation, which has really taken a beating the past few weeks at town halls across the country."
Cordes went on to declare: "Supporters of health care reform say they’re going to fight even harder to achieve Kennedy’s dying wish, universal healthcare. With Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia even suggesting that the legislation be named after the late great lawmaker."
Earlier on the show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed Utah Senator and Kennedy friend Orrin Hatch, and asked about the "dying wish" of the Massachusetts Senator: "I’d be willing to bet that he would be smiling down on the capital if Republicans and Democrats could finally compromise to fulfill his dream of health care reform. Do you think that Senator Kennedy’s passing could be the impetus that could finally make that happen, or do you think that the only bridge builder who could have done that is gone now?"
Law of averages being what it is, only a matter of time before a moment of candor eluded the thought police on left-wing radio.
Appearing on Ed Schultz's top-rated liberal radio show this past Monday, Newsweek chief political correspondent Howard Fineman provided an example of this when he traced Obama's difficulties in overhauling health care to his vague promises about reform during the '08 campaign (click here for audio) --
SCHULTZ: What do you make of the president's leadership so far on this? Should the Democrats be this divided at this point on some of these major issues in health care reform and what responsibility does the White House bear for that?
ObamaCare supporter Anthony Wright has a suggestion for TV networks in their coverage of the town hall protests: treat the protesters the way ESPN covers unruly sports fans. In other words, avoid pointing the cameras at them. Here are some of Wright's thoughts about censoring the town hall protesters published in The New Republic:
The Fox network has done more than any other network to showcase the protesters at health care town halls. And the coverage has been a lot like Fox’s reality shows: The more outrageous, the more likely you’ll end up on TV or YouTube. A sign referencing Nazis will get you on the local news. Shouting in a Senator’s face gets an radio interview afterwards. Bring a gun, and you get your full interview on a cable news program. After the first gun-toter made the rounds, the question wasn’t why there was a dozen folks packing outside the next presidential event, but why weren’t there more?