Demonstrating the media never tire in coming up with new rationales to tout President Barack Obama's popularity, ABC led Monday night with a polltimed to the night before Tuesday's nine-month mark of the Obama presidency -- as if that's some kind of important anniversary, and spent as much time on how it found record low affinity for Republicans. Anchor Charles Gibson announced “the President has a 57 percent approval rating, his rating rising for the first time since April. And only 20 percent of the country now consider themselves Republican. That is the lowest level of support in 26 years.”
In “perhaps the biggest surprise,” Gibson suggested, “57 percent support one of the [health] plan's most controversial elements -- perhaps the most controversial -- a government-sponsored insurance option,” though “fewer than half those polled agree with” Obama on health care as “45 percent approve of his plans for health care reform, 48 percent opposed.”
Emphasizing Obama's popularity compared to the GOP, George Stephanopoulos relayed how “we asked Americans 'who do you trust to make the right decisions for the country's future?' 49 percent said President Obama, only 19 percent said Republicans in Congress.” Stephanopoulos also contended “one of the most interesting numbers in the poll, Charlie, the President's highest ratings on how he's handled his responsibilities as Commander-in-Chief: 57 percent.”
Back on October 7, when the Congressional Budget Office reported that the federal deficit had ballooned to a massive $1.4 trillion during President Obama’s first year on the job, Katie Couric’s CBS Evening News did not tell viewers. But Couric finally caught up to the bad news after the Obama White House put out its final numbers on Friday afternoon.
Couric disclosed the news in a brief item that never mentioned The One by name: “It's the biggest IOU Uncle Sam has ever written. Government figures out today show for the last fiscal year, which just ended, the United States spent a record 1.4 trillion dollars more than it took in. That's three times more than the year before.”
New York Times reporter Jackie Calmes this morning noted that Obama’s deficit is much larger as a percentage of GDP than during the 1980s, when Democrats attacked Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts as fiscally reckless:
Robert Reich has finally responded to the audio of him telling "brutal truths" to an audience at Berkeley which your humble correspondent chronicled here in NewsBusters on Tuesday. Here are the gems delivered up by Reich as to what he claims an honest candidate for president would say about health care if he didn't worry about getting elected:
"We're going to have to, if you're very old, we're not going to give you all that technology and all those drugs for the last couple of years of your life to keep you maybe going for another couple of months. It's too expensive...so we're going to let you die."
"...I am going try to reorganize it to be more amenable to treating sick people but that means you, particularly you young people, particularly you young healthy people...you're going to have to pay more."
"...What that means, less innovation and that means less new products and less new drugs on the market which means you are probably not going to live much longer than your parents."
So what was Reich's excuse for these assertions? Why he was "taken out of context." Here is Reich making his claim on Wednesday:
MSNBC, the self-proclaimed "place for politics" is well-known for its pro-Obama boosterism, from Chris Matthews's "tingles" to on-air talent Ed Schultz's persistent bully pulpit-pounding for the so-called "public option."
But it's not just the on-camera talent that has all the fun cheerleading liberal policies. It seems a promotional ad narrator for MSNBC also does voiceover work for a pro-ObamaCare group, Health Care for America Now (HCAN).
I noticed the HCAN ad at 11:20 a.m. EDT today and worked up a mashup featuring excerpts of the HCAN ad and a promo for tonight's MSNBC programming.
Listen for yourself by clicking the play button on the embed at right.
National Public Radio is making a change and has sent out a "guidance" email to member stations on the issue.
NPR'S deputy senior supervising editor Joe Neel drafted an e-mail that was sent out Oct. 14 to member stations addressing the number of uninsured. The e-mail clarified proper use of Census Bureau statistics and advised staff to "avoid the construction '46 million Americans.'" That number has been a flashpoint throughout the health care debate.
The NPR e-mail said, "We are sticking with the 46 million number issued by the Census Bureau in September (for 2008). It's the number of people in the U.S. who lack insurance coverage at any point during the prior 12 months. It includes citizens, legal residents and undocumented immigrants."
Last fall, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel remarked, "Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it's an opportunity to do things you couldn't do before."
That quote has become part of a rallying cry for conservatives, that those currently in power are trying to create the perception of a crisis to force things through the legislative process that couldn't be done otherwise. That has been dismissed by those on the left as fear-mongering and the party in power is acting in good faith based on what their constituents want.
But on MSNBC's Oct. 14 "Countdown," Newsweek senior Washington correspondent Howard Fineman found fault with President Barack Obama's administration for not living up to Emanuel's expectations. On Oct. 14, the Senate Judiciary Committee toyed with the idea of stripping health insurance providers of their antitrust exemption and "Countdown" Keith Olbermann suggested members of Congress hold that exemption over insurance companies' heads to force them to go along with the Senate's idea of health insurance reform.
Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, is a media darling now that she was the only Republican to break ranks and vote a health care reform bill out of the Senate Finance Committee Oct. 13. "Good Morning America" interviewed Snowe about health care reform on Oct. 14 and didn't challenge a misleading statistic about the number of medical-caused bankruptcies.
Snowe, who backed the $829-billion bill, claimed that "62 percent of all bankruptcies are a result of medical debt. I can't imagine that kind of anxiety. It's one thing to deal with an illness, quite another to deal with the fact you don't have the insurance to cover for it."
The senator did not mention the source of her claim or point out that respondents to the study she cited didn't even agree with that result. CNN.com reported on June 5 that the 62 percent figure came from a Harvard Medical School study that would be published in The American Journal of Medicine.
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Nancy Cordes celebrated one GOP Senator’s support for health care reform: “Democrats can claim a smidge of bipartisan support and that’s because of one yes vote from one rebel Republican....When Olympia Snowe cast the lone Republican vote for the Senate Finance bill, she reaffirmed her place as a power player on Capitol Hill.”
Cordes went on to tout Snowe’s history of going against the Republican Party: “This is not the first time Snowe has bucked her party. In 2006, she helped kill an amendment that would’ve federally banned gay marriage. And she voted in favor of allowing federal funding for stem cell research. This January, she joined Democrats to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and was one of only two Republican senators to support President Obama’s stimulus package.”
After Cordes’s report, co-host Harry Smith spoke with Senator Snowe and wondered why other Republicans on the Finance Committee did not support the legislation: “You’ve described this crisis as like the Titanic heading toward an iceberg and this being an opportunity to turn away from it. If there is no bill, and if there is no Republican support, will they be abrogating their responsibility to avert this crisis?”
Forget Sarah Palin. The female maverick of the Republican Party is Sen. Olympia Snowe.
Kellman's opening is revealing on a number of levels. To bring Palin into this at all exposes the establishment press's obsession with dissing her at every conceivable opportunity. It also classically employs the "sudden respect" technique the media has used for decades to buck up Republicans who sell out core principles. Finally, it sends a message to male Republican "maverick" John McCain that he's being upstaged, and that to keep his media cred he should join hands with Snowe in acquiescing to statist health care.
Here are other paragraphs from Kellman's Snowe congratulatory:
Anchor John Roberts became the fourth CNN personality to omit the left-wing affiliation of Wendell Potter, as he interviewed the on Tuesday’s American Morning. Roberts only described Potter as someone who “worked for two different insurance companies in the past, and now he’s working against them to help get reform passed.”
Before introducing his guest, the CNN anchor played up the merits of Senator Max Baucus’s health care reform proposal: “The Senate Finance Committee’s health care reform bill got high marks from the Congressional Budget Office for keeping the deficit down, but now, insurance companies say it will actually cost you and your family thousands of dollars more than you’re paying now. So who is telling the truth?”
After posing this rhetorical question, Roberts introduced his guest: “We’re joined by Wendell Potter. He has worked for two different insurance companies in the past, and now he’s working against them to help get reform passed.” An on-screen graphic gave a glowing description of the former insurance company spokesman’s career: “Former head of public relations at Cigna Corp. and Humana Inc., now a whistleblower against health insurance industry- advocate for health care reform.” Another chyron finally revealed that the guest was also “Sr. Fellow on Health Care, Ctr. For Media & Democracy,” but Roberts never revealed Potter’s affiliation with the left-wing organization.
ABC's Charles Gibson and CBS's Katie Couric led their newscasts on Tuesday night in a manner which suggested they are along for the ride with President Barack Obama as they celebrated how a Senate committee's vote moved Obama's quest to impose ObamaCare closer to reality.
“In 1912, almost a hundred years ago,” Gibson trumpeted at the top of World News, “Teddy Roosevelt called for universal health care. It now may be closer than at any time since then.” Couric championed “a major victory for President Obama” and how “health care reform cleared a major hurdle today” so “health care reform is closer than it's ever been,” but, she warned, “the battle is still far from over.”
Gibson teased: “Tonight, vital vote. A key Republican joins with Democrats in an historic move forward on health care. We cover today's vote, and talk with Senator Olympia Snowe.” With “Crucial Vote” on screen, he led:
Paging Congressman Alan Grayson! Here is a quote that validates what you said about those EVIL Republicans:
"We're going to have to, if you're very old, we're not going to give you all that technology and all those drugs for the last couple of years of your life to keep you maybe going for another couple of months. It's too expensive...so we're going to let you die."
Aha! So it turns out that Grayson was right when he said "Republicans want you to die quickly." Only one "little" problem here. That quote did not come from a Republican. In fact it came from the very liberal former Labor Secretary Robert Reich who is now an economics adviser for Barack Obama.
Let's see. A Big 4 independent public accounting firm vs. the Democratic Party's go-to health care economics guy. Who has more presumptive credibility?
It's more than a little offensive to see the people whose party gave us entitlement programs with multitrillion-dollar unfunded liabilities (Social Security and Medicare), pension plans that are completely unsustainable (the federal government and many states), and year-over-year budget increases that almost always dwarf inflation -- in other words, people with absolutely no record of financial credibility on matters big and small -- go after Big 4 accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and its "industry-funded" study on what would happen to insurance premiums under the BaucusCare iteration of ObamaCare with the eager assistance of their media apparatchiks.
Understand this: When PwC prepares a report for the health insurance industry projecting, in the Wall Street Journal's words, that "the Senate Finance Committee’s big health-care bill would raise health insurance premiums by thousands of dollars a year," one can be confident that it is based on exhaustively researched and thoroughly reviewed work.
I suppose President Obama is still running around telling everyone who will listen, along with anyone else who won't, that "If you like your doctors and medical providers, you can keep them."
It would also not surprise me to learn that Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is still singing the praises of CommonwealthCare, the state-run system conservatives also deride as RomneyCare, so named after Mitt Romney, Patrick's allegedly Republican predecessor who brought it into being. Patrick even wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed column several weeks ago that called CommonwealthCare a "model for national reform."
As an apparently pivotal Senate committee vote on imposing statist health care on the entire country looms, the Boston Globe's Liz Kowalczyk has inconveniently reminded statists (HT Hot Air) that the alleged wonders of the Bay State's care regimen are instead leading it inexorably into serious rationing, and to a direct contradiction of Obama's and Patrick's core claims. Currently on the horizon are serious limitations on choice of care providers and annual capitated payments to those providers. Kowalczyk would probably protest that she never uses the word "rationing," but it really doesn't matter. Anyone with even a modicum of sense will recognize these moves for what they are.
A New York Times article by Nick Bunkley on Friday targeted for print on Saturday about the status of contract talks between Ford Motor Company and the United Auto Workers piqued my interest in a previously neglected but important matter.
Ford and the UAW are apparently close to an agreement. In describing what Ford workers are being asked to give up, Bunkley wrote the following (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Ford executives have said the company needs more concessions to keep G.M. and Chrysler from having an advantage.
.... The deal that U.A.W. workers at Ford approved in March got rid of cost-of-living pay increases and performance bonuses through 2010 and eliminated the jobs bank program, which allows laid-off workers to continue receiving most of their pay. In addition to those concessions, G.M. and Chrysler workers agreed to work-rule changes and a provision that bars them from striking.
What? From press coverage at the time, you would have thought that unionized GM and Chrysler workers made ginormous, humungous, unprecedented sacrifices to enable their companies to get through bankruptcy and to emerge as lean, mean vehicle-making machines.
CNN’s White House correspondent Dan Lothian, on Friday's American Morning, saw nothing but pluses for President Obama’s reception of the Nobel Peace Prize. Lothian guessed that “the President obviously is getting an ‘A’ for effort here,” and even went so far to speculate about whether the reward could help the Democrat “push through on...health care as well...so this could help him.”
Anchors Kiran Chetry and John Roberts turned to the correspondent right out of the gate at the beginning of the program at 6 AM EDT. Chetry asked if there had been any official reaction from the White House at that early hour, and Lothian confirmed that the administration hadn’t released any statement at that point. He continued that “two things came to mind when this shocking announcement was made. First of all, that the President obviously is getting an ‘A’ for effort here. The President has made overtures and talked about, since he was running for president, that he wanted to be one who would engage in dialogue.” The White House correspondent cited the Obama administration recent work with Iran and the President “trying to get both the Israelis and the Palestinians to jump-start the peace process there.”
The Senate Finance Committee's ObamaCare bill will spend $829 billion over ten years, but fill-in CBS Evening News Maggie Rodriquez trumpeted how “according to a new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the plan costs less than expected and would actually reduce the deficit. So why do Republicans still oppose it?”
Instead of explaining the skepticism toward how the massive additional spending could lead to less spending, reporter Nancy Cordes touted how “the new numbers give health care reform a much-needed boost” and credulously recounted the spending would be offset by fees, taxes “and trims to Medicare.” When Republicans proposed a reduction in the rate of increase of Medicare spending the media screamed about “cuts.” Now a $400 billion change is merely a “trim.” And who really believes that proposal will ever pass?
“The result,” Cordes maintained, “a net savings to government of $81 billion over 10 years” before she championed: “It's estimated the new bill would allow 29 million Americans who don't currently have coverage, Americans like Javier Salinas, to buy it.” Nonetheless, “Republicans still oppose the bill, despite the lower price tag.”
Don't be surprised to soon see Keith Olbermann display a picture of Randi Rhodes on his "Worst Person In The World" segment while pompously intoning, "Have you no shame, madam?"
And what would be the cause for this "honor?" Well, yesterday Randi emerged briefly from radio obscurity to blast Olbermann's one hour special comment on ObamaCare that he delivered earlier this week. And it wasn't just a quick blast. She went on a rampage against him for her entire three hour show. To get an idea of the tone of the attack, here is what Randi posted on her blog:
Last night's Countdown on MSNBC was devoted to a one-hour "special comment" by Keith Olbermann. I always thought a comment was a brief observation. Evidently I was wrong about the "brief" part. I'm sorry, but that was the most self-indulgent hour I've heard since Emerson, Lake & Palmer broke up. Keith! Talking for an entire hour isn't a comment. It's a filibuster. Olbermann railed on for an hour about how we need healthcare reform. Keith, the best thing about stating the obvious is that you can state it pretty quickly. At least most people can. Watching that there were a lot of things I wanted to hear Keith Olbermann say. But mostly I wanted to hear him say "And in conclusion..."
Following the talking points of the Democratic Party, at the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared a win for health care legislation being pushed by Montana Senator Max Baucus: “President Obama’s health care plan gets a green light from the Congressional Budget Office, as a key bill not only pays for itself, but actually saves billions.”
Rodriguez later introduced a report on the CBO estimates by declaring: “This morning Democratic leaders are cheering a report that shows that the Senate Finance Committee’s health care bill actually saves money.” Correspondent Nancy Cordes followed: “The new bill would actually reduce the federal deficit by $81 billion according to the new estimates. The price tag, $829 billion over ten years, would be fully paid for, and then some, by an excise tax on top dollar insurance plans, by fees on drug makers and medical device manufacturers, and more.”
During the segment, an on-screen headline read: “One Step Closer? New Health Care Estimate Raises White House Hopes.” In her report, Cordes cited Jonathan Cohn, the senior editor of the liberal magazine, The New Republic, who praised the bill: “You’re average family will have security they don’t have, they won’t – they’ll know they won’t lose their insurance if they lose their job. If they need financial assistance paying for their health care, that will be available to them.”
MRC's Brent Bozell appeared on this morning's "Fox & Friends" to discuss reporting by NewsBusters.org's sister site CNSNews.com that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is planning to hitch a health care reform bill on to an unrelated tax bill which passed out of the House of Representatives earlier this year.
Instead of having a debate in the House and the Senate and giving a bill to the president, you're going to get Harry Reid's bill, passed by the Senate, by the Democrats... immediately rubber-stamping it, no debate, no House-Senate conference, no Republican discussion, and it goes right to the president for his signature, and oh, by the way, no one knows what's in it.
You can check out the October 7 story by CNSNews.com's Nicholas Ballasy here, an excerpt appears below the page break:
Remember back just a few short months ago - when thousands, if not millions, of Americans were protesting out-of-control government spending and other policies favored by President Barack Obama's administration?
Surprised by the resounding turnout, the usual lefty talking heads on MSNBC, specifically on "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" and "The Rachel Maddow Show," explained the protests away as being fake grassroots aka AstroTurf.
Fast forward to Oct. 7, when both Olbermann and Maddow started laying down AstroTurf of their own. They encouraged free health care clinics to be held in the states of six Democratic senators that are not in lockstep with the left-wing agenda on health care reform.
When a group of about 200 doctors gathered in D.C. on Thursday, October 1, to demonstrate against the public option and in favor of tort reform and free market-based solutions, FNC’s Hannity show highlighted the group’s activities, as host Sean Hannity introduced a story by correspondent Ainsley Earhardt on how "doctors from around the country converged on Washington, D.C. today to protest the President's plan to overhaul health care." David Asman and Liz Claman of Fox Business Network even interviewed one participant in the rally – known as the Million Med March – on the same day. On FBN, Dr. Todd Rubin conveyed his fears that a public option would lead to a single-payer system. Rubin: "Eventually, if the bills that are currently presented pass as is written, what will we be left with will be a single-payer-dominated health insurer, and that will be the federal government." Video of the interview can be found here.
When the White House staged a photo-op on Monday with 150 doctors who support ObamaCare, ABC’s World News anchor Charles Gibson touted the event later that day. Gibson: "The doctors were in the house – 150 of them in the White House today, all in white lab coats. It was a show of support for President Obama’s efforts at health care reform."
And NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams got to the story on Tuesday as he defended President Obama from charges that it was the White House that supplied lab coats for the doctors to wear for the photo-op. Williams: "Today's New York Post took issue with a photo from yesterday of a White House staffer passing out lab coats. The White House was accused of staging the photo op. Turns out the doctors group provided the extra lab coats for anyone who forgot to bring one along."
If you didn't already have reason enough to avoid Keith Olbermann's left-wing screeching on Countdown, here's another one: Tonight (Wednesday), for the first time, he will devote his entire MSNBC hour, sans relief for commercials, to a “Special Comment” -- the kind of high-handed pontificating, laced with mean-spirited and cheap insults toward conservatives, so far confined to the last 8 to 11 minutes of the 8 PM EDT/5 PM PDT program re-run at 10 PM EDT/7 PM PDT.
“Special Comment Hour” topic: “Health Care Reform: The Fight Against Death.”
An interesting, yet little known fact about goldfish: The average goldfish has a memory of approximately one to three months, depending on the stimuli used to train it.
Dylan Ratigan, former CNBC co-host and current MSNBC desk jockey, has a shorter memory than a goldfish.
As the MRC’s Tim Graham noted just yesterday, it is an odd thing when MSNBC hosts wish for more civility in political dialogue. A mere 24 hours later, Ratigan provided another example of his insincerity during a live segment on health care.
Former New York Lt. Governor Betsy McCaughey (R) took the conservative viewpoint, and Ratigan tag-teamed with Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner (N.Y.) in belittling her every statement.
Last week the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sent a letter to U.S. Senators about current health reform legislation. The USCCB has supported the goal of universal health coverage for decades, but the letter made clear that they do not yet support the Senate Finance Committee's bill because of concerns about affordability, coverage for immigrants, and financing for abortion. I'd like to focus on that last point, because I think it's here that the bishops may be moving the goalposts on what they can and cannot accept.
Sullivan lamented that the bishops are not accepting the word of the Obama administration as the gospel truth when it comes to abortion:
In his latest push for a health care overhaul bill, President Obama spoke to doctors in the White House Rose Garden yesterday. Painting a nice picture of the event were many media outlets that neglected to mention the White House's doctoring (forgive the pun) of the audience in an attempt at a powerful photo-op.
Doctors attending the event were instructed to show up in white lab coats to give observers the feeling that doctors stand behind the President's health care plans.
Fans of Douglas Adams’ “Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” books will remember that the answer to “life, the universe, and everything” was “42.” For American liberals, the answer to “health, insurance, and everything” appears to be 47. Liberal pundits and politicians, right up to President Obama, have famously – and wrongly – claimed that there are 47 million uninsured Americans.
Now, an ObamaCare partisan has claimed that 47,000 Americans die annually because they lack health insurance. On Oct. 5, former Clinton White House staffer David Goodfriend appeared on CNBC’s “Power Lunch” to argue for taxing healthcare businesses to pay for health care reform. Goodfriend stated that, even though medical device manufacturers and others would pay up front, they’d see returns in the form of more customers when those now uninsured enter the system.
“Just think; ask yourself this question,” Goodfriend said. “Why would 47,000 people a year be dying from lack of health insurance? How many more procedures would they get – how many more devices would they buy, if they had the insurance?”
Goodfriend didn’t cite the source of that figure, but The American Spectator shed some light on the possible source. In the Sept. 2008 American Spectator, David Hogberg explained the origin of claims that 18,000 people die each year because they are uninsured and why some could improperly extrapolate even larger figures (up to 47,000 people).
Morning Meeting host Dylan Ratigan on Monday smeared conservatives, saying that the right doesn’t care if "half the country dies" in order to "take down Obama" on health care. Ratigan made his vitriolic remark while discussing glee over the President’s botched handling of the Chicago Olympic bid. Audio can be found here.
MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer complained, "Can you imagine this that some people actually went as far as to cheer?" This led Ratigan to froth, "Sure. I mean, there are people that are actually trying to derail health care in order to take down Obama, even if it means half the country dies. So, of course, they don't care about Chicago’s Olympics. Are you kidding me?"
Ratigan isn’t the first MSNBC host to accuse conservatives of wishing death on Americans. On the September 23 Ed Show, Ed Schultz screamed, "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."