Picking up on how CNN anchor Suzanne Malveaux hailed, as “a bold display of presidential concern,” President Obama hugging a woman at Wednesday's health care forum, Jim Pinkerton, on FNC's Fox Newswatch, pointed out that “in the middle of all of this Stalinesque fakery at this town hall meeting” Malveaux's characterization “is like Stalin putting Ukrainian family victims on his lap during the '30s.” To illustrate, FNC producers displayed a vintage poster showing Stalin hoisting a little child who held up a Soviet flag.
During a discussion on the program aired Saturday afternoon about how all the questions at the town hall with Obama were pre-selected from online postings or came from invited guests, Pinkerton, a Newsday columnist, raised what Malveax said which NewsBusters had recounted:
In the middle of all of this Stalinesque fakery at this town hall meeting -- when Obama hugged that woman who was a plant, her cancer was real enough, but her being there was a total artifact of planning -- she [Suzanne Malveaux] said, quote, this is a quote “bold display of presidential concern,” end quote. Again, this is like Stalin putting Ukrainian family victims on his lap during the '30s.
The Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released on July 1 the “F as in Fat Report,” which studied obesity rates in America While it is certainly worth reporting the facts of the study, NBC managed to take its report to another level. On the July 2 “Today,” host Meredith Vieira interviewed NBC News Chief Medical Editor, Dr. Nancy Snyderman. Snyderman used the report to give her over-the-top personal opinions about America’s role in the world and drive through pharmacies.
Vieira cited study findings, saying that obesity has tripled since 1980 in children and not a single state has decreased its obesity rate in the past year. Snyderman chimed in, “And we know that now almost forty percent of these heavy kids- teenagers- have diabetes, they already have plaque in their arteries, they grow up to be bullies. These are kids who already start to have problems sort of fitting in.”
John Stossel on Monday blogged about the fact that ABC bumped a planned segment of his that is skeptical towards universal health care, saying, "Yes, I am sick of the coverage of Michael Jackson. I hate it that ABC didn’t run my piece." According to TV Newser, the report, which would have aired on the June 26 edition of 20/20, has now been rescheduled for the July 17 edition of the show.
The five minute segment will look at the problems that countries such as Canada and Britain have faced with government-run health care. In an online version of the story, Stossel (see file photo above), Andrew Sullivan and Andrew Kirell wrote, "In England, shortages of dentists have caused hundreds of people to wait in line just for an appointment. The queues can be so long that some people have resorted to pulling out their own rotting teeth, using vodka and pliers as tools."
NBC's Meredith Vieira on Thursday conducted a defensive interview with Fox News contributor Dick Morris, at one point skeptically wondering if "the Republican tactic from this point on" would be "to sit and watch Obama fail." Later, when Morris pointed out the problems with the Canadian health care system, the Today host retorted, "But, the President clearly has said that's not the road he's headed down."
On one level, NBC should be commended for actually featuring Morris to talk about "Catastrophe," his new anti-Obama book. But, the interview didn't air until 8:51am, long after many Americans had left for work. Co-host Matt Lauer dominated most of the program's first two hours, reporting live from the late Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch.
This led Morris to make a dig at the show's excessive coverage. Speaking of Canada's government-run health care, he quipped, "So in Canada, there's a 16 percent higher death rate from cancer than in the United States. And that's not Neverland, that's U.S."
Network reporters swooned over President Barack Obama hugging a woman, who has cancer and lacks insurance, at his Wednesday “town hall” on health care, as both CNN -- where Suzanne Malveaux heralded the hug as “a bold display of presidential concern” -- and NBC failed to point out how all the questions (just seven in total) were pre-selected or from members of pro-Obama groups. Instead, NBC's Savannah Guthrie showed a kid in a video (“My mommy and daddy have small businesses, and we need health care”) before she touted how Obama “solicited questions on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and in person, with a hug for a woman who says she cannot pay her medical bills,” while CNN's Ed Henry related “he fielded questions from YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and a live audience.”
CBS's Katie Couric showcased “an emotional moment” when “a 53-year-old cancer patient described her battle to get treatment she can afford.” Couric relayed how Obama “called her exhibit A in a system that's too expensive and too complicated,” but at least, unlike NBC and CNN, Couric noted the woman “is a volunteer for Mr. Obama's political operation Organizing for America” and “the White House invited her to attend.”
Filling-in as anchor on CNN's The Situation Room, Suzanne Malveaux painted Obama as a combination of General Patton and Oprah as she set up Henry in the 6 PM EDT hour:
President Obama has a message for some critics. He will get his way. Today he made a bold promise regarding health care reform. And, in a bold display of presidential concern, the President comforted a sick and emotional woman.
ABC medical expert Dr. Tim Johnson, a fervent fan of universal health care, actually talked to the other side on Wednesday, featuring Newt Gingrich for what an onscreen graphic labeled a "debate" on the merits of a government-run program. It might seem odd for the network to tag a segment of a conservative talking to one of its journalists as a debate, but Johnson is certainly a partisan on this issue.
On June 24, he participated in ABC's White House-based, primetime town hall forum on the subject. Responding to criticism of the event from the Republican National Committee, ABC News President David Westin defended Johnson. Writing in a June 23 press release, he complained, "...I entirely reject your attack on my colleague, Dr. Timothy Johnson...His knowledge about health care reform is surpassed only by his commitment to the truth and to fairness."
However, although Johnson was civil and allowed Gingrich to make his points, a "debate" would be a good description for Wednesday's segment. Parroting White House talking points, he challenged, "Now, the President says, what he wants is a system or a field where there's level playing opportunities. The same rules and regulations would apply to the public option, as to the private insurance companies."
For the Matador Media, One Side Fits All As the media walk hand-in-hand with the Left towards their fantasy-addled government medicine Utopia, they routinely forget that there is another perspective out there as to whether or not the government should commandeer the nation's private health care system. A perspective on which they, had they not already chosen sides on the issue, would (and should) be reporting.
The most recent high-water mark in media health care bias was last Wednesday, when ABC broadcast on four separate occasions from the White House during what they said was a day of their "moderating" a health care "conversation" with President Barack Obama. Good Morning America, World News and Nightline all satellite-beamed their video images from within the confines of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
And all of that was in addition to a one hour prime time special entitled Questions for the President: Prescription for America. During which the queries posed to Obama were for the most part fairly difficult, but given the home-field advantage format he was able to deviate from the intent of each question as much as he wanted, filibuster as long as he wished and in every instance had the last word on each issue.
This all-day Obama domination of the "conversation" ABC was claiming to "moderate" inspired in us a notion. After all, one doesn't "moderate" a "conversation." What IS moderated - and what is certainly called for on something as important as the decision whether to allow the government to shanghai nearly 20% of the private sector (and arguably it's most important portion) - is a DEBATE. And ABC wasn't having one.
So we decided to offer up the other side of the deliberation in which ABC - and the media as a whole - aren't engaging. Working with Americans for Tax Reform and the Health Care Freedom Coalition, we put together a rock star panel of legislators and health care experts to put forward free market-based health care reforms. And to identify the myriad problems with and debunk the many myths and canards about government medicine - which the Left repeatedly offer up and the Matador Media let go by them with barely a wave of the cape.
At one point during her new MSNBC show today, Dr. Nancy Snyderman proclaimed:
"the White House, their health care agenda continues to be our agenda."
Snyderman would probably say she meant it only in terms of the subject matter the show will cover, not its point of view. But she was, if unintentionally, revealing a larger truth. Just in time for the Obama admin's push on health care, MSNBC has rolled out a show that loyally pushes the Obama plan, right down to the call for nationalization via the so-called "public option."
Time magazine’s Michael Grunwald attempted in an article on Time’s Web site to make connections between two of the most prominent issues facing America and congress today, healthcare and energy. But he put forward a flawed argument that lacked balance and fell into the doomsday language so common in the main stream media.
“Everyone knows we use too much energy,” lamented Grunwald, “Our addiction to fossil fuels is torching the planet, empowering hostile petro-states and straining our wallets.”
To justify his crisis language, Grunwald cited studies by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory which “suggest that more than half of our energy is lost through inefficiencies, calculations that don't even include the energy we fritter away through wasteful behavior like leaving lights on or idling cars.” He failed, however, to mention that Livermore is not an unbiased source. According to its Web site, “More than 40 Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers were key scientific contributors to the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which, along with former Vice President Al Gore, won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.”
Clearly, the most important takeaway from ABC's low-rated White House forum on health care was President Barack Obama's admission that he would go outside the constraints of a nationalized system to get the "very best care" if necessary for his own family.
As if the ABC filibuster for ObamaCare wasn’t enough. The network, at it again, plugged Obama’s universal health insurance on “The View” with a huge assist from the editor of Fortune magazine.
The June 26 episode of program was a special, “Bank on The View: How to get a Job,” and was supposed to highlight what industries were hiring and offer tips to successfully find a job. Yet Joy Behar unabashedly used the show to promote Obama’s overhaul of the healthcare industry, even when it wasn’t the topic.
Andy Serwer, the editor of Fortune magazine, was in the midst of a discussion about the jobs available in the health care industry when Behar interrupted him and pointedly asked, “If Obama can push a healthcare, single-pay or whatever he’s trying to do, through, will that alleviate the problem, do you think?”
What problem Behar is referring to is unclear, since Serwer was speaking of the jobs available. But to Behar it was the perfect time to slide in support for Obama’s plan, even though she is not even sure what it entails.
Sorry I didn't get to this until two days later, but I figured someone else would have written about this by now. Since no one did, for those of you that are curious, Obama's super special, ultra spectacular healthcare infomercial was a dud in the ratings last Wednesday night.
ABC's Barackspactacular Healthcare Extravaganza (I think that was the official name of the show, wasn't it?) went up against the NBC premiere of "The Philanthropist," widely panned as disappointing, and a repeat of "CSI: NY" on CBS, widely seen as already once widely seen. Unfortunately for ABC, its prop"O"ganda special got a dismal 1.2 rating to the 2.0 and 1.8 ratings respectively for the entertainment competition.
Apparently the TV show where he's president but plays a doctor on TV didn't go over well. The "Super-dooper, Obamalicious, Doctor Spock medicine woman show" was only able to cajole 4.703 million viewers into watching while NBC picked up 7.414 and CBS got 7.393 in the ten O'Clock hour. Remembering that we have 300 million citizens and healthcare is supposed to be the biggest emergency in history, well, that is a paltry number of viewers that Doc Barack got.
I am wondering when the euthanasia folks are going to start touting this one? I mean, it sure seemed to me as if the most caring, most civil, most intelligent president evah just said that healthcare could be cheaper if we don't give old folks and the infirm the full measure of care they now get. It appeared that Obama said we should just let them die or suffer because they aren't worth the effort. Imagine if Bush had said something like this? The left wouldn't have hesitated to call him any manner of names. Oddly, though, the Old Media have not had so much as a raised eyebrow over his statements on Wednesday.
Obama said during the ABC Special on Wednesday night that a way to save healthcare costs is to abandon the sort of care that "evidence shows is not necessarily going to improve" the patient's health. He went on to say that he had personal familiarity with such a situation when his grandmother broke her hip after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Obama offered a question on the efficacy of further care for his grandmother saying, "and the question was, does she get hip replacement surgery, even though she was fragile enough they were not sure how long she would last?"
But who is it that will present the "evidence" that will "show" that further care is futile? Are we to believe that Obama expects individual doctors will make that decision in his bold new government controlled healthcare future? If he is trying to make that claim it is a flat out untruth and he knows it.
"ABC News has more than earned the title of the All Barack Channel, they have recklessly fought to achieve it," Media Research Center President Brent Bozell stated in a press release today.
The network had promised to deliver a health care presentation that would "not be ‘slanted' in any way - much less a ‘day-long infomercial' or ‘in-kind free advertising'," but not a single expert was offered to counter President Obama's plan to nationalize the nation's health care industry.
Instead, ABC News "balanced" itself this morning by having Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on today's "Good Morning America" to discuss his health care ideas - for a 3 minute 5 second segment. Ryan got less than 2 minutes (1 minute, 47 seconds) to respond to questions. Obama received 25 times that much time last night.
Call this a teachable moment, but even with ABC's best-laid plans to kickstart the debate about health care reform and not allow the "Prescription for America" special to become an "infomercial," as many have complained - the president spent more than twice as much time as his questioners vaguely answering or not answering the questions asked of him. But the network consistently presented the event as part of the need to fix a "broken system." When asked, every one of the 164 hand-picked audience members said they felt that health care needed to be changed.
President Barack Obama appeared on the ABC network in a town hall format broadcasted from the White House on two separate programs on June 24 - an hour-long primetime special during the 10 p.m. Eastern Time hour and later on the "Nightline" program that aired during the 11:30 p.m. Eastern Time hour.
With the very first question of its prime time special, Questions for the President: Prescription for America, ABC set the tone that essentially confirmed for viewers that the president was right in his desire to radically remake America's healthcare system. As the infomercial began, "moderator" Charles Gibson asked a seminal question of the doctors and other participants that were about to hear the president speak: "How many of you agree with the president that we need to change our healthcare system?" Naturally they all raised their hands.
Imagine that? This handpicked crowd all agreed with ABC and Obama that "change" was paramount. Surprised? Hardly.
So, as the viewer is introduced to the infomercial, they start off with the unanimous affirmation that the president is right, radical changes have to be made. The premise is set and even the sharp questions to the president later in the show are blunted by the assumption that some major change is needed. And since the president is the only person allowed to offer any plan during this ABC special, the further assumption promulgated is that he is the one that must affect that change.
For viewers of this healthcare infomercial, Obama wins thanks to an assist by ABC. The viewer is deftly led to the desired conclusion.
Hours before ABC's Wednesday prime time special with President Obama from the White House, Questions for the President: Prescription for America, a World News piece conveyed the public's doubts that Obama will achieve his goals, but also endorsed Obama's premise that something must be done as reporter David Wright focused on concern over rising costs and a family without insurance before concluding: “Expectations are low, but the need is obvious.”
From Lynchburg, Virginia, Wright reported how “some folks here clearly have their doubts President Obama is going to be able to fix the health care system” as “some worry about big government programs, others that they'll pay higher taxes in the end.” But, he stressed, “Democrats and Republicans alike here told us they hope he can fix it because something needs to be done. Kimberly Gambiladi (sp?) is a stay at home mom. Her husband got laid off two months ago. Now the whole family has no insurance.”
Wright moved on to “a civil engineering firm with 85 employees” where “business has dropped off during the recession. But health premiums haven't.” After the stay at home mom with no insurance admitted “I don't have the answer. Hopefully, somebody will,” Wright delivered his closing line: “Expectations are low, but the need is obvious.”
Can food taste too good? Yes, if you're New York Times health columnist Tara Parker-Pope. Her Tuesday "Well" column for the Times is currently the #1 most emailed article on nytimes.com, and is an interview with former Food and Drug Administration head (and over-zealous banner of orange juice and silicon-gel breast implants) David Kessler on his new book, with the typically scolding title, "The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite."
A Times headline writer took the same hectoring cue, eschewing personal responsibility for what people eat and blaming it all on food industry mind control: "How the Food Makers Captured Our Brains." Parker-Pope, via Kessler, actually comes out against food manufacturers for making their products tastes good.
As head of the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. David A. Kessler served two presidents and battled Congress and Big Tobacco. But the Harvard-educated pediatrician discovered he was helpless against the forces of a chocolate chip cookie.
Chris Matthews got into a heated exchange with MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski on Wednesday, accusing them of "pussyfooting" the issue of health care and its cost. He also attacked conservatives in general, deriding, "You know, it seems to me that the right-wing will fight any war and say, 'Don't look at the cost,' because they want to fight the war."
The Hardball host fretted, "And this pussyfooting around and looking at the costs....We could have avoided World War II if we went through the cost factors ahead of time. We wouldn't have won World War II if we looked only at the costs." Firmly declaring for universal health care, Matthews asserted people "should have health care" and smeared Morning Joe host Scarborough: "That's a value judgment that I've made and the American people have made. And you have not made. You have not made that value judgment." [audio available here]
Scarborough struck back, decrying wasteful spending and saying that he did support a health care plan, so long as it was affordable and did not bankrupt the country. He sarcastically questioned Matthews, "Chris, would you like us to play 'Just As I Am' and have me walk down to the front of the church and recommit my life to nationalized health care?" Co-host Brzezinski defended her colleague and clearly resented a jibe that Matthews threw her way.
There may be no limit to how far establishment media reporters will go in their attempt to prop up the public perception of failing state-run health care programs.
The latest example comes from Massachusetts. The Bay State's CommonwealthCare (aka RomneyCare, so nicknamed because Governor Mitt Romney, rumored to be a Republican and pictured at right, championed the legislation's passage and signed the bill in 2006) continues to implode -- as anyone with a brain could have predicted, and as many, including yours truly (fourth item at link), did predict.
Despite deep cuts, which essentially amount to large-scale rationing of care and cash-starving of providers, the Boston Globe's Kay Lazar, in an allegedly straight news story, felt compelled to describe the state's health care arrangement as "trailblazing," and to characterize a 12% budget cut as "trimming."
Here are key paragraphs from what amounts to Lazar's lament, with "rationing" tags added by yours truly for emphasis:
ABC's Diane Sawyer on Wednesday hit Barack Obama with some refreshingly tough questions about his plans for health care reform, quizzing the President on potential rationing, reduction of services and whether Americans would really be able to keep their current plan. However, the program also devoted 13 minutes and two segments to Obama, neither of which featured any Republican opposition.
Sawyer, who reported live from the White House and will be co-hosting ABC's June 24 primetime special on health care, focused on a possible reduction of benefits as a result of government-run health care. After an ABC graphic appeared onscreen asserting that eight in ten Americans worry about such a result, Sawyer queried, "They're very concerned that there's going to be a reduction in treatment at some place in all of this. Will [your plan] have the weight of law? Will it have the weight of regulation?"
The GMA host brought up Obama's often-repeated pledge that Americans who like their current health plan will not have to change. However, she observed, "...I thought today [June 23] in the press conference, I heard you amend it to say, if your employer decides to change it, we don't have control over that." Obama justified, "Well, but, of course- that's the case whether we pass health care or not. I can't pass a law that says, 'I'm sorry, employers, you can never make changes to the health care plans you provide your employees.'"
It seems that congressional criticism about the fairness of the ABC News Obamacare show tonight has struck a nerve in the president of that organization, David Westin to such an extent that he has responded via letter in a less than pleased manner. What sparked this testy reaction was a letter signed by 40 members of Congress that was sent yesterday by the Congressional Media Fairness Caucus to ABC News president, David Westin, criticizing the fairness of the health care special:
Dear Mr. Westin,
Health care reform is an extemely complex issue involving one of the largest sectors of the economy. Directly or indirectly, it will touch the lives of all Americans. The decision by ABC News officials to devote an entire day, June 24, to the "President's health care agenda" culminating with a primetime healthcare "town hall" gives the American people a slanted view of an important subject.
The manner in which the news programming is being presented – at the White House with the president and first lady and without opposition – is unprofessional and contrary to the journalistic code of ethics to present the news fairly and independently. This is not a presidential news conference open to all news outlets. This is an exclusive arrangement from which the president and his viewpoint stand to gain. It's as if ABC News is providing in-kind free advertising for President Obama.
Froma Harrop may have once been called Heartland Institute's "favorite lefty" journalist, but lefty she is and her use of a lopsided New York Times poll to urge President Obama to "act fast" on a government healthcare policy is a perfect example of that.
With her June 23 article, Harrop was frustrated that Obama was not "stepping on the gas" to institute publicly funded healthcare and she wondered why he is dragging his feet when "85 percent of Americans want 'fundamental changes' in American healthcare." This factoid she gleans from a very flawed NYT poll that is so badly skewed to the left that it is amazing anyone takes it seriously.
Harrop makes no bones about the fact that she wants a nationalized healthcare policy to be forced on the nation and she also doesn't think that anyone needs to listen to Republicans, effectively disenfranchising the roughly half of the American electorate that votes that way. Amazingly, Harrop is supposed to be a "financial reporter," yet she still wants this disastrously expensive, jobs killing, cost spiraling sort of plan anyway. This doesn't say much about her grasp of economics.
CBS, of all news outlets, is setting a high standard for ABC to meet Wednesday in its broadcasts from the White House. On Tuesday night, just a week after a “Reality Check” on how President Obama's claim that his government-expansion health care plan won't hike the deficit doesn't match reality, the CBS Evening News aired a story on how his plan would likely force many to lose their current health insurance and/or doctor.
Katie Couric noted “72 percent of Americans say they favor a government plan that would compete with private insurers,” but “at the same time, nearly two-thirds are concerned that would reduce the quality of their own health care. And some experts believe they're right to be worried.”
Sharyl Attkisson featured the Cato Institute's Michael Cannon, who explained: “Employer premiums will go up and employers might respond by dropping coverage entirely. So if you're one of those unfortunate workers, then it will be a government policy that ousted you from your health plan.” Attkisson added: “And if you do choose a public plan, you may want to keep your favorite doctors, but they may not want to keep you. Under government health care, they could be paid 20 to 30 percent less.” Attkisson pointed out how “Obama also scoffed at claims that a public plan would put private insurers out of business,” but she countered: “The answer, say critics, is that the government has many tools to get an unfair advantage and undercut private companies.”
During the June 23 White House press conference, ABC News reporter Jake Tapper sparred with Barack Obama over the details of the President's universal health care plan, bluntly observing, "...If the government is offering a cheaper health care plan, then lots of employers will want to have their employees covered by that cheaper plan, which will not have to be for-profit, unlike private plans."
Although there was laughter in the press conference, the exchanges became pointed. At one point, Tapper sarcastically observed that he appreciated Obama's "Spock-like language about the logic of the health care plan." Tapper's question, about whether the so-called "public choice" option would actually allow employees to keep the current insurance plans they have now, was a follow-up to a similar one offered by USA Today's David Jackson. After the President failed to answer that query, Tapper began by challenging, "I wonder if you could actually answer David's? Is the public plan non- negotiable?" A testy Obama retorted, "All right, if that's your question."
ABC's Robin Roberts conducted two fawning interviews with Michelle Obama on Tuesday and repeatedly reminded viewers that the First Lady would be tending to the White House garden as soon as the segment was completed. Roberts breathlessly explained, "I caught up with Michelle Obama for an exclusive interview as she was heading outside to work in the White House garden..."
In a second Good Morning America piece, Roberts reiterated, "Again, I talked to her right before she was about to tend to the White House Garden." After discussing healthy living and childhood obesity, the GMA co-host cheered, "And she was casually dressed because she was literally heading out to the garden there at the White House that she planted with kids from a local elementary school..."
Chris Matthews showed up on the Morning Joe set on Monday morning, and he quickly established a pro-Obama hard line. On Iran, he claimed "We are not the good guys. We did not liberate Iran. They liberated themselves from our people." Life under the ayatollahs is "liberation"?
Matthews also insisted that a new New York Times poll showed the American people are instinctively socialistic on health care: "So there is a socialistic sense to it, like Social Security in a positive sense. Nobody wants anybody at the door at the hospital to be kept out when they are sick or dying. There is a social responsibility here that seems to fit like running museums, running zoos. There are certain things we expect government to do."
On Iran, Matthews was pleased that John McCain and Barack Obama were debating how explicitly the U.S. government should sympathize with the pro-democracy protesters, but he clearly came down for Obama and against rotten American policy going back to the arrival of the Shah of Iran in 1953: