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):
Television network journalists on Friday night marveled at President Barack Obama's planned “media blitz” for health care reform even as they, the enablers, reveled in it as they made the very “blitz” and clips from the interviews (conducted Friday afternoon for airing on Sunday morning) their top story of the day. Based on those excerpts, the Sunday hosts were most interested in getting Obama's take on the “tone” of the health care debate (Obama blamed cable TV and blogs) and whether opposition is driven by racism. The teases:
♦ ABC's Charles Gibson at the top of World News: “Tonight, mass media. The President launches another media blitz on health care, and addresses whether race might be behind some of the criticisms of his plan.” (Gibson led by admiring: “On five, count them, five Sunday morning talk shows the guest will be Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama and Obama. That's never been done before...”)
♦ CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric: “Tonight, from Sunday morning to Monday night, the President's TV blitz for health care reform.”
♦ Brian Williams at the start of the NBC Nightly News: “On our broadcast tonight, an extraordinary media blitz by the President and now the First Lady steps in and tonight our own David Gregory asks the President directly about race and President Carter's charges.”
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, White House correspondent Bill Plante highlighted President Obama’s latest media blitz on health care reform and touted a new piece of the PR arsenal: "The President does have a new partner in his nonstop effort to sell health care, it’s the First Lady....Michelle Obama will be more like a stealth weapon in the battle for health care, giving it a softer touch."
Plante further explained the logic behind using the First Lady to promote ObamaCare: "With a favorable rating of around 70%, well above her husband’s, and the background of a hospital executive, Michelle Obama will counter balance her husband’s hard sell." A clip was played of Politico’s Nia-Malika Henderson exclaiming: "They feel like she can give a different voice, because as you can see, a lot of the folks out there are very partisan." Unlike Michelle Obama’s completely non-partisan approach.
Trying to boost the rationale for ObamaCare, Thursday's CBS Evening News ran two stories from far-left sources, but the network disguised the agenda behind both. Katie Couric announced that “while the debate goes on over the cost of insuring everyone, a new study reveals the cost of not doing it. The Harvard study says nearly 45,000 American deaths every year are linked to a lack of insurance.” Neither she, nor reporter Jim Axelrod, noted that the report was really produced by Physicians for a National Health Program, “the only national physician organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to implementing a single-payer national health program.”
Next, Nancy Cordes touted “a rare sight – leaders from the nation's largest insurers sitting down to get grilled,” without pointing out it occurred at a hearing held by the Domestic Policy subcommittee of the House's Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, a subcommittee chaired by far-left former presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich.
NPR "senior news analyst" Daniel Schorr recited the socialist sermon on Wednesday night’s All Things Considered: nationalized health care "would save many lives," and all that bother about providing taxpayer-subsidized abortions and health care for illegal aliens are tiresome "distractions" from the urgent need for more government. Schorr lamented:
Barring illegal from insurance benefits doesn't bar them from receiving treatment in a hospital emergency room. ERs have become the place of treatment of last resort for too many people here legally or illegally. T.R. Reid tells of a dramatic case in his book "The Healing of America." Nikki White lost her job and health insurance as a result of having a type of lupus. Because of her pre-existing condition, she couldn't get new health insurance. Eventually, she collapsed and was taken to the emergency room. Three doctors undertook to treat her until her condition stabilized. That involved six months in critical care and 25 surgical operations. Then she went home, still without insurance, and died at the age of 32. Her doctor, Amylyn Crawford, said: Nikki died of complications of the failing American health care system.
Timothy Egan, liberal New York Times reporter turned ultra-liberal nytimes.com "Outposts" blogger, titled his Wednesday night entry "Working Class Zero," a condescending, stereotypically liberal attack on blue-collar folks too ignorant and easily "distracted" to fight for their own interests, which Egan defined as government-controlled health care.
Egan was vexed that many middle-class Americans were instead heeding "the brat's cry of Joe Wilson" and condescendingly reduced the concerns of conservative protesters of the size and influence of the federal government to "generalized rage" stoked by "well-funded Astroturf outfits."
A Towers Perrin Survey came across the Business Wire on Reuters this morning stating that a majority of employers surveyed will reduce benefits resulting from the proposed Democrat Health Care Reform bill that is working its way through Congress if it increases costs.
An evening after trumpeting President Jimmy Carter's racism charge (“An overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man”), NBC led Wednesday night with the “fallout” as Andrea Mitchell proposed that though “many thought” the “racial divisions” were “healed by the election of the first African-American President,” Carter's “blunt comments” have “prompted us to re-examine our assumptions about race” -- as if everyone is like those at NBC who adjust their views based on what Carter says.
Mitchell proceeded to smear the tea party activists, corroborated by just two racist posters the network managed to find:
In a season of angry protests, there are ugly signs that some of it is not rooted in bailout fatigue or suspicion of big government. Mixed in the anti-Obama crowds over recent weeks, racial slurs against the President of the United States. All that, plus an unprecedented interruption of the President's speech to Congress prompting Jimmy Carter's blunt comments first broadcast on Nightly News last night.
RNC Chairman Michael Steele shot back at CNN’s Wolf Blitzer after the anchor tried to smear conservatives with racism on Wednesday’s Situation Room. The CNN anchor pointed out a racist sign at a Tea Party, and Steele replied, “Don’t hold up one person as an example of behavior by everyone.” The RNC chairman also rebuked Blitzer after the anchor pointed out the GOP’s dearth of minorities in Congress [audio clips from the segment are available here].
Before he introduced Steele, Blitzer played a clip from former President Jimmy Carter, who attributed “overwhelming portion of the intensely-demonstrated animosity towards President Barack Obama” to racism. He then asked the RNC chairman for his take on the Democrat’s remarks. Steele replied that Carter was “just dead wrong....I am, like a lot of Americans, concerned and disagree with the President’s policies and approaches from the stimulus spending to this health care strategy. Am I a racist because I disagree with that? I don’t think so.”
A new Investor’s Business Daily poll of more than 1,300 physicians finds that nearly two-thirds (65%) don’t back ObamaCare, more than 70% say the government cannot provide insurance coverage for 47 million additional people and save money without harming quality, and 45% of doctors say they “would consider leaving their practice or taking an early retirement” if the liberal health care plan passes.
Earlier this week, as the front-page story in today’s Investor’s Business Daily noted, the Los Angeles Times ran a front-page story touting the American Medical Association (AMA)’s backing of President Obama’s health care plans, while a National Public Radio publicized a poll funded by a pro-ObamaCare group to claim that “nearly three-quarters of doctors said they favor a public option.”
The IBD/TIPP poll of 1,376 physicians suggests that the AMA does not represent most doctors as it advertises and lobbies on behalf of the administration’s plan, and offers a second opinion to the poll (of 991 physicians) originally published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggesting strong support for a bigger government role.
"All socialism does is spread misery equally," Rush Limbaugh has oft asserted. Newsweek's T.R. Reid found a Canadian health care enthusiast who would proudly agree.
In a September 21 print edition piece entitled "No Country for Sick Men," -- subtitled "To judge the content of a nation's character, look no further than its health-care system" -- Reid turned to Marcus Davies of the Saskatchewan Medical Society, who insisted he was perfectly happy with the Canadian health care system's long waiting lines.
After all, it's Canada's way of rationing care and he and his fellow countrymen are happy with it, so long as the misery is spread equally across income levels:
Appearing on CBS’s Sunday Morning, commentator Nancy Giles shared her thoughts on Congressman Joe Wilson’s outburst: "Some sign waving and you probably heard about it, heckling. At a joint session of Congress....That’s the voice of Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina, not some drunk at open mic night, calling the President a liar."
Giles continued, denouncing all health care reform protestors: "He later apologized, but still, it was a frightening mix of disrespect and bad behavior, with a dash of this summer’s town hall meeting craziness. I guess we should be grateful that there weren’t any ‘show us your birth certificate’ signs and at least no one beat anyone with a cane, which actually happened in the old Senate chamber in 1856."
Giles would certainly know about "disrespect and bad behavior," on the October 5, 2003 broadcast of Sunday Morning, she compared conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh to Adolf Hitler: "So as Rush’s world has steadily crumbled, it’s no wonder he allegedly had to turn to prescription pain killers....Edgy, controversial, brilliant....Hitler would have killed in talk radio. He was edgy, too."
Over the last several weeks, no one has been the target of the left-wing media and blogosphere more than Fox News host Glenn Beck, even more so than his radio host counterpart Rush Limbaugh.
Although conservatives have decried the daily ad hominem attacks, some voices on the left are starting to realize that's not an effective strategy for championing their cause, especially when it comes to the hot-button issue of the day, health care.
And that is really starting to bother Air America host Lionel - that is the daily repetitive nature of attacking Glenn Beck and/or Rush Limbaugh by giving a litany of complaints about what they said, as he laid out in a nearly three-minute tirade on his September 14 Air America radio show.
Good Morning America co-host Diane Sawyer on Tuesday conducted a surprisingly tough interview with Tim Geithner, grilling the Treasury Secretary on tax increases, spending and highlighting the 9/12 rally in Washington D.C. Speaking of the American people, she asserted, "They don't see a possible way out without tax raises."
After Geithner tried to squirm out of responding, Sawyer, who will leave GMA in January to become the anchor of ABC’s World News, reiterated, "Are you still guaranteeing that no one in America will have their taxes raised unless they make more than $250,000 a year?" Geithner noted how this was a "commitment" for the President, prompting Sawyer to again attempt to nail down a firm answer: "That's your promise? It will not happen?"
This is a notion that hasn't really gotten any traction anywhere yet, but could Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C. be a viable 2012 presidential election candidate?
The hosts of Fox Business Network's "Happy Hour," Eric Bolling, Rebecca Diamond and Cody Willard, contemplated that possibility on their Sept. 14 show, which comes on the eve of a vote on a "resolution of disapproval" on Wilson for calling out "You lie!" as President Barack Obama spoke to a joint-session of Congress Sept. 9.
"First off, House Dems appear set to censure South Carolina Representative Joe Wilson for shouting ‘you lie' at President Obama during last week's health care speech, but Wilson is not backing down," Diamond said. "He told Fox News Sunday he will not apologize to the House tomorrow. Instead, he is turning this - all of this into a fund-raising campaign, claiming he has raised $1 million since the outrage incident last Wednesday. So we are asking, ‘Hit or Miss' on whether Democrats risk turning Representative Wilson into a viable conservative candidate for 2012."
Two days after her magazine published Evan Thomas's "Case for Killing Granny" -- see related NewsBusters post here -- Newsweek staffer Jesse Ellison lamented that her "grandmother lived a full life and sought a quiet death" but "America's health-care system had a different idea of what was best."
In a September 14 Newsweek Web exclusive, Ellison laid out a story of zealous coverage aimed at prolonging her late grandmother's life, complaining that her grandmother's wish to die peacefully was disregarded as she was "treated like a problem to be solved, not as an elderly woman who had had enough."
Although Ellis's grandmother "had great insurance" plus "enough savings to pay for anything that Medicare and her insurance company would not," the writer found cause for complaint in the health care system having a bias to save and extend life, as well as the high costs that that approach incurred:
There's no doubt the so-called mainstream media turned their collective noses up at the Sept. 12 march on Washington, D.C. to protest the policies of Democratic-controlled federal government - whether in the form of denigration, downplay or outright ignoring the event.
However, conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh has suggested a different tactic. On his Sept. 14 show, Limbaugh proposed a future round of these grassroots protests not take place at the seats of power in government, but instead the headquarters and outposts of the local and national media.
"There have been hundreds and thousands of protests by conservative groups that haven't been covered, and tiny turnouts by the left that are covered," Limbaugh said. "You know all this as well as I do. What about this? We're looking for a force multiplier. Yeah, the protest in Washington on Saturday was great, two million people, but imagine what a force multiplier would be if the next one were held outside of local and national television networks and their headquarters where they can't miss it?"
CNN's efforts to smear Obama critics as racist gained visibility on Monday's Situation Room when the usually more sensible Wolf Blitzer, with “RACIAL TINGE TO TEA MOVEMENT” as the on-screen heading, set up a story on how, “most disturbing,” within the tea party crowds there's “a very small but vocal minority, they're targeting President Obama's race.” Though reporter Elaine Quijano said “we have to emphasize by far most tea party protesters are not casting their arguments in what could be seen as a racial light,” she nonetheless proceeded to treat as newsworthy how “a small but passionate minority is also voicing what some see as racist rhetoric.”
In decrying the racism, CNN gave national cable air time to what she described as a “controversial image that's been circulating on the Web since July,” a “doctored image circulating on the Internet and even some protesters signs like this one in Brighton, Michigan, portraying President Obama as a witch doctor.” Brighton, Michigan? So, not at the more newsworthy big national event Saturday in DC I presume.
Quijano soon went to Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page who saw race as the common denominator: “People are not just mad at Obama. They're mad at Jesse Jackson, they're mad at Reverend Wright, they're made at Al Sharpton, they're mad at people who have nothing to do with Obama except they all happen to be black.” Without questioning the supposition, Quijano warned: “Page says the vehement racial resistance that's emerged is another sign any notion of a post-racial society after Barack Obama's election was wishful thinking.”
CNN’s Jim Spellman did his best to paint the participants of the Tea Party Express’s rallies across the nation in late August and early September as a bunch of extremists on Saturday’s Newsroom. Spellman played clips which zeroed-in on the protesters who called President Obama a Nazi, carried guns, or forwarded “outlandish conspiracy theories,” and labeled all of them “a dark undercurrent.”
The CNN journalist followed the Tea Party Express organization’s bus caravan during its 2 week journey across the United States, and the thirty-plus rallies held where it stopped. Spellman appeared just after the beginning of the 5 pm Eastern hour of Newsroom, and first played clips from seven men and six women who participated in these rallies. Six of the thirteen clips came from people who could be portrayed as “extreme,” as anchor Don Lemon put it, included one who referred to a “Gestapo-type tactic” and another who carried an AK-47:
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) appeared on MSNBC around 3:40 p.m. EDT today to defend Rep. Joe Wilson's (R-S.C.) claim that President Obama was lying about Democratic health care reforms not ensuring "public option" coverage of illegal immigrants. [MP3 audio available here]
King explained at length about Democrats voted down Republican amendments to put in place an enforcement mechanism to check the legal status of public option applicants.
Of course at the end of his interview, Shuster was unmoved, sticking to his guns that Joe Wilson "was lying" and insisting that Republicans were more interested in making political hay out of the illegal immigration question than safeguarding taxpayers from subsidizing illegal immigration:
On Sunday, CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer praised President Obama’s recent media blitz for health care reform: "There’s no question he is the best salesman on the staff," but wondered: "Does he run the risk of overexposing himself?" Politco.com’s Roger Simon dispelled that fear: "It is a risk, but he keeps topping himself."
Simon elaborated on Obama’s oratory skill: "Every time you think this guy can’t give another speech that’s better than the last one, he gives another speech that’s better than the last one. And he’s achieving his purpose." He added that the President’s address to Congress last Wednesday: "was to unite Democrats around him. As a man who can get this job done."
In the same segment, Schieffer also spoke with syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker, who gushed: "There is always that risk of overexposure. And yet, if you watched his speech yesterday in Minneapolis, he sort of redeems himself every time he goes out there in front of the public, because he is so good."
The "Killing Granny" link takes readers to a September 21 print edition article by Evan Thomas which is more measured in tone than the sensational headline suggests, but one that nonetheless laments how Medicare, presently structured, has a built-in bias towards heavy per-patient spending with too little government bureaucrat oversight (emphasis mine):
At the end of Sunday’s Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer denounced South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson: "The irony of a congressman trying to heckle a President in the midst of a speech that was, among other things, about the need for civility, is just one ugly sign of the mindless meanness that has settled over our politics."
Apparently Schieffer forgot this passage of President Obama’s speech last Wednesday: "Some of people’s concerns have grown out of bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost. The best example is the claim...that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens. Such a charge would be laughable if it weren’t so cynical and irresponsible. It is a lie, plain and simple." Calling your critics liars hardly sounds like a call for "civility."