What follows are the questions that President-elect Obama took today at his 11 a.m. news conference after formally announcing former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) as his choice for Health and Human Services Secretary.:
JACKIE CALMES, Wall Street Journal: Given the, in your statement when you addressed the controversy over Gov. Blagojevich, you did not repeat what your spokesman said yesterday about having him, that he should resign. Why did you not? And could you tell us what context, if any, you know that your staff or any emissaries for you have had with prosecutors or the FBI?
PHIL ELLIOTT, Associated Press: Thank you. Have you or anyone in your transition or campaign been intereviewed as it relates to the criminal complaint? And who is the transition advisor referenced in the complaint?
The Oct. 26 New York Times took on Sen. Barack Obama's elusive health insurance mandate for employers -- the "play-or-pay" rule that would force businesses to pay a new tax if they didn't contribute a "meaningful" amount toward their workers' insurance. In the debates, Sen. John McCain asked more than once how much businesses would be fined, and Obama declined to say.
Now we know why. Just 'cuz.
“We made a decision even before the plan was rolled out not to decide,” David M. Cutler, a Harvard economist who speaks for the campaign on health care, told the Times. “It’s not that there’s a decision out there that we’re not telling. It’s literally that we’ve decided not to decide.”
The Post awarded an Obama ad called "Your Golden Years" three Pinocchios for its "significant factual errors." It even gave the source of Obama's numbers: "How did the Obama campaign come up with the claim of an $800 billion cut in Medicare (described in another Obama ad as an $882 billion cut)? Answer: some back-of-the-envelope calculations by a liberal think tank, the Center for American Progress.”
CBS's Wyatt Andrews also explained the facts, pointing out that Obama has claimed he'll deliver similar savings to fund his own programs.
We've all heard of them -- the nameless "critics." Journalists often use "critics say" to make sure they're including whatever criticism they deem necessary for their stories, even if that criticism isn't attributed to anyone.
After listing some of the provisions of McCain's plan, Michael Hiltzik and Lisa Girion launched into what unnamed critics had to say about it. But when they listed tenets of Obama's plan, they didn't bother to question it.
They failed to tell readers what "critics say" about Obama's play-or-pay mandate for employers or his National Health Insurance Exchange that would regulate private insurance.
One statement left a door wide open for a critique: That in Obama's plan, "Private insurers would have to compete with a federally sponsored national health plan that would resemble coverage currently offered to federal employees."
Steven Greenhouse, the Times's pro-union, anti-Wal-Mart labor reporter, seemed pretty enthused about the A.F.L.-C.I.O.'s attack mailings against John McCain in "A.F.L.-C.I.O. Targets Seniors," the neutrally headlined story he filed to the "Caucus" blog Tuesday morning. In contrast, another Times reporter, Damien Cave, was offended at the sight of two anti-Obama mailers in his Florida mailbox that dared to attack Obama on taxes and crime.
Only two of the 19 paragraphs of Greenhouse's story are devoted to (very mildly) fact-checking the false claims from the union-backed mailing. Here's an excerpt:
The latest mailer is headlined, "John McCain: A Disaster for Retirees." It criticizes his proposal for partially privatizing Social Security, saying, "This risky move will jeopardize the chances of a secure retirement for millions of Americans."
The mailer also seeks to undermine the Republican candidate by saying, "McCain will cut Medicare." It says he "wants to fund his pro-insurance company health care plan by taking more than $1 trillion from Medicare."
Over the past few days, the Obama campaign has been claiming — both in ads and in statements by Barack Obama himself — that John McCain would “cut” Medicare benefits by “$882 billion,” a charge that the Associated Press called “shaky” and that FactCheck.org bluntly dismissed as “bogus” and “false.”
Yet of the three broadcast networks, only ABC News has thus far joined the condemnation of Obama’s deceptive ad. NBC on Monday would only go so far as to say “McCain’s advisors say that’s not true...” — implying that it’s merely a partisan difference of opinion — while CBS has thus far refrained from questioning Obama’s truthfulness on this issue.
For weeks now, the networks have complained about the McCain campaign’s supposed nasty and unfair campaign attacks against Obama, so when will NBC and CBS join ABC in punishing this nasty and unfair charge from the Democrats?
A news brief on "CNN Newsroom" Oct. 17 said that Hawaii's universal health care program for children would be hit with the "budget ax."
The screen said "Hawaii's Budget Ax" and anchor Heidi Collins reported that, "For the past seven months it's been the only state in the nation to offer universal healthcare for children. Now that program is being dropped."
But the brief didn't go into detail about one of the main reasons why the program was being axed: abuse of the "free" system.
A Hawaii state official said that families were "dropping private coverage so their children would be eligible for the subsidized plan," according to the Associated Press.
The smart folks soberly support Barack Obama, while the ridiculous-looking rednecks love Sarah Palin. That's the subtext of the New York Times coverage on Wednesday. Jennifer Steinhauer was watching the second presidential debate with Obama fans at a Mexican restaurant in Des Moines, "Where He First Got Going, Cheering Obama On."
Debate watchers at Dos Rios -- the sort of crowd that can cite chapter and verse of Medicaid waivers without notes -- watched intensely, taking their eyes off the television only to grab a Corona.
Strangely, one of the self-evident geniuses in attendance thinks Barack Obama wants universal health care, despite the Times' desperateinsistence that that's just one of the McCain campaign's many lies:
Health care was clearly a big issue in this crowd, and Mr. Obama's statement that health care was a "right" got a big round, too. "I like the fact that he is taking steps toward universal health care," said Mr. Matson, an osteopath.
In contrast, a Republican rally in Florida featuring Sarah Palin is painted in threatening terms by the Times. In herWednesday story, "Palin Plays to Conservative Base in Florida Rallies," Julie Bosman seems perturbed at the sight of conservative Republicans in their natural element.
If only the United States were more like Europe, Joy Behar laments. Recapping the previous night’s debate on the October 9 edition of "The View," the panel discussed John McCain’s healthcare plan. In the midst of the conversation Joy Behar wondered why the United States can not "solve" health care like quasi-socialist governments in Europe.
"What they haven’t discussed in any of these debates is how other countries have solved this. France has solved it, Denmark has solved it, England has solved it. Why can’t we solve it? [applause] It’s ridiculous."
But have the mentioned countries really "solved" their health care issues? Take for example Britain, which Joy refers to as "England." "The Daily Telegraph" reported in September that Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) is in such crisis that some doctors are "calling for NHS treatment to be withheld from patients who are too old or lead unhealthy lives."
ABC's liberal medical editor, Dr. Tim Johnson, appeared on Wednesday's "Good Morning America to boost Barack Obama's universal health care plan and critique the more market oriented proposals of John McCain. Co-host Robin Roberts began the segment by seriously asserting, "We're not endorsing one plan over the other. We're just showing the differences between the two."
But after she mentioned Obama's assertion during Tuesday's presidential debate that health care is a right, Johnson marveled, "But, I'm struck by the language of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Without good health, and that usually means without good health care, it's hard to have those other rights." Johnson, despite being a doctor, adopts the standard, liberal positions of most journalists and has a 15 year-plus history of advocating universal health care, including once asking if Republicans who opposed the policy were "immoral."
Ben Kamin: In Year 2024 Palin's Grandchild a 'Bastard,' Loser Palin Operates a 'Lenscrafters,' Hates Grandson
Apparently, Rabbi Ben Kamin thinks he's a funny guy. Yes, he must be auditioning for SNL with his latest column on the Examiner.com, a Denver based, Internet news service. You see, to devise the newest way to smear Governor Sarah Palin, the "Rabbi" thought it would be hilarious to wonder what the life of Palin's grandchild, son-to-be of Palin's daughter Bristol, will be like in the year 2024. This odious attack piece imagines the boy being called "bastard" by everyone, imagines Palin to be a washed up, loser who fakes her love for the boy, presents Todd Palin as distant, disgruntled, loveless and depressed, and pits the boy in the role of a downtrodden, suicide risk without a father. All these smears against a child not yet even born!
Despite his obscene attempt at political analysis, this Kamin fellow somehow achieved the title of "Spiritual Life Examiner" with the Internet news outlet. I guess this so-called Rabbi is the Jewish version of Jeremiah "God damn America" Wright, because it just goes to show that claiming to be a man of God and actually living that charge are not necessarily one and the same.
"They're safe if they're used properly, but so often they're not and so I consider them to be dangerous," said Dr. Alanna Levine, a pediatrician based in Englewood Hospital in New York.
The CBS segment focused on new regulations of over-the-counter cough and cold medicines for children by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but left out any representation by pharmaceutical companies or trade organizations.
Levine stressed problems with use of the product telling viewers that emergency rooms see up to 7,000 children a year, but she focused on the medicines, not on the caregivers improperly administering them to children.
ABC's "Good Morning America" exposed many problems with Medicare's hotline number 1-800-MEDICARE September 11, including telephone operators "who couldn't answer the [questions],""gave out the wrong information" or were completely unreachable.
The onscreen caption for the ABC report read "Investigation Exposes Health Care Mess." The morning broadcast didn't disappoint, pointing to a Senate committee investigation that had staffers call the Medicare hotline more than 500 times.
Co-host Chris Cuomo teased to introduce Yunji de Nies' report:
Many seniors looking for answers to their questions often turn to help lines that can be anything but helpful.
Even though "Good Morning America" seems to have taken a recent interest in the glaring problems at the government-backed program, experts have been making the point for years.
ABC's "Good Morning America" isn't afraid to call 'em like they see 'em.
On health care, Chris Cuomo set up his resident health expert to deliver an outright insult to the American people. Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) advocates more patient choice and flexibility in buying health insurance, but ABC’s medical editor, Dr. Tim Johnson, scoffed at that notion in a September 5 story.
“The idea that individuals are going to have enough knowledge and enough savvy and enough insight and, frankly, enough guts to make choices all by themselves is pretty much a pipe dream,” Johnson said.
ABC’s Web site touts Johnson as “one of the nation's leading medical communicators of health care information.”
So how did Anchorage Daily News reporter Lisa Demer end up speaking with a California doctor and getting her allegedly expert opinion concerning the circumstances surrounding Sarah Palin's pregnancy and birth?
Obviously, I don't know. But it's not like Dr. Laurie Gregg was a local phone call away.
Still, a Sacramento, Calif., obstetrician who is active in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said when a pregnant woman's water breaks, she should go right to the hospital because of the risk of infection. That's true even if the amniotic fluid simply leaks out, said Dr. Laurie Gregg.
"To us, leaking and broken, we are talking the same thing. We are talking doctor-speak," Gregg said.
Is that "doctor-speak," or Democrat-speak?
Well, I don't know, but it could be the latter, because, "oddly enough," there is a Laurie Gregg who is a known Sacramento Democrat and a Golden State political appointee (bold after title is mine):
All week (and apparently next week during the Republican convention), ABC’s Good Morning America will use its liberal prism to evaluate how the candidates’ policy proposals might help families with the last name of Jones, with a segment entitled “Meet the Joneses.” On Monday, as MRC’s Justin McCarthy pointed out, reporter Chris Cuomo hit Barack Obama’s tax proposals from the left, suggesting that even his tax hikes on “the rich” might not leave enough money for the government.
Tuesday, Cuomo found a family that was willing to go on camera and whine about having to spend $160 per month -- yes, just one-hundred sixty dollars and no cents -- on their daughter’s health care without being reimbursed by their evil HMO. After not being reassured that Obama’s “reforms” could guarantee that this specific family would save the average $2,500 per year, Cuomo pressed Obama advisor Austan Goolsbee from the left: “Why not take the big step and say universal health care? Or is that just too ugly a word?”
"Hillary has fought for universal health-care for all her life. The McCain plan is respectfully a joke. Sen. Obama has a real good plan to bring health care to every American," Rendell told CBS "The Early Show" co-host Harry Smith on August 25. "She cares about that. If she didn't she'd be a bad person and she's a very good person."
Rendell, who supported Clinton in the primary, said Obama's proposal to offer a government-run health insurance program should persuade Clinton supporters to back Obama.
There are plenty of female opponents of Obama's plan who might not appreciate being called "bad."
"I think that a lot of women, when they think about moving towards government run system of health care, which is really what Sen. Obama is talking about, they're going to be a little bit cautious," Carrie Lukas, Vice President for Policy and Economics at the Independent Women's Forum, said to the Business & Media Institute.
Were the apparatchiks of CNN asleep at the PC wheel? Not only did the network air a balanced segment on medical care for an illegal immigrant. It surprisingly let slip by the reporter's line contrasting the illegal's use of the American legal system now with his disregard for it when he snuck into the country!
Aired at 6:22 a.m. EDT today, the segment focused on the case of Francisco Pantaleon, an illegal Mexican immigrant who fell into a coma in July and who has since been receiving extensive care from a Chicago hospital--all at the hospital's expense. Now that his condition has been stabilized, the hospital wants to discharge him to an extended-care facility, in Mexico, and has offered to pay for an air ambulance to transport him there. But his family is protesting the move, and has enlisted a lawyer who also serves as general counsel to the Mexican consulate in Chicago.
Introducing the segment, anchor John Roberts referred to Pantaleon as an "illegal immigrant," not an "undocumented worker." Picking up the story, reporter Bill Tucker actually called Pantaleon an "illegal alien." I could hardly believe my ears, but replayed the video a few times to confirm it.
Question: Isn't it big news when a leading candidate for president of the U.S. admits that since 2003 he has been lying about a vote he once made? Even more to the point, isn't it big news when the candidate himself was on TV not long before that admission saying that everyone else is the liar? So, why is the media silent on the 180 degree about face that the Obama campaign has just made concerning Obama's BAIP vote?
As NewsBusters reported on August 13, the media pretty much ignored the great work by Jill Stanek in uncovering the truth that contradicted nearly 6 years of claims that Obama made concerning his vote on the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act when he was in the Illinois State Senate. Obama claimed that the Federal "neutrality clause" wasn't in the Illinois bill and that if it were he would have voted for the bill instead of against it. Stanek proved that the exact same clause Obama said wasn't in the bill was actually placed in the bill by the very committee Obama chaired. Yet he still voted against it.
ABC correspondent Gigi Stone’s report on Friday’s World News lined up two liberal women against a pro-life pharmacist in a segment on the controversy over whether pharmacists have the right to refuse to fill prescriptions for contraception. She later reported in a condescending tone about how the family of the pharmacist has nine children [see video at right; audio available here].
Stone introduced the first woman, Megan Kelly, as a "married mother." Several years ago, as Stone described, Kelly "tried to fill her monthly birth control pills [when] a pharmacist refused."
In her sound bite, Kelly explained her reaction to this refusal: "It's very, very shocking and very unsettling and one of those moments where, you know, as like a female, you're not sure if you want to cry, if you want to get really mad."
Have you noticed that the old media standby story of the homeless has not been pursued much in the last four or five years? Some may remember how the media constantly bemoaned the state of the homeless during the Reagan and H.W. Bush years in office, and how the media constantly used this tale as a club with which to beat those two Republican presidents over the head. Folks like Rush Limbaugh, I recall, noticed how this standard media go-to story disappeared once Clinton became president and postulated that it would fast return once G.W.Bush took the Oval Office. But, the homeless has not made much of a media come back. In fact, that meme has virtually evaporated as a major media focal point. And there is a reason for that. Under the Bush administration, homelessness has actually decreased by 12% per year between 2005 and 2007.
David Frum of NRO found the lack of media attention of interest as it does us. He notes that this report of the amazing improvement of homelessness, due to the hard work of Bush appointee Phil Mangano, has generally been absent from the media. Saying, "I'll be very curious tomorrow morning to see where and how this story gets placed," Frum wonders if the story will make much ehadway in the old media. He notes that the story didn't make the Washington Post, but that The New York Times did pick it up (and I'll note the AP story as linked above, too).
Gas prices and an alleged recession have many in the media thinking the economy is going to the dogs. Little do they know exactly how much is going to the dogs - and cats, hamsters, and goldfish.
The Dallas Morning News ran an interesting article on the perseverance of pet owners ‘despite an economic downturn.' In fact, according to the article, owners are expected to spend a record $43 billion on their pets this year.
But how can this be? Surely these owners can skip their doggy wellness exam and save for a tank or two of gas instead.
When a horrible tragedy happens, media reports try to find a place to point the finger. Although, this time a company name is being tacked on to something they had nothing to do with.
Heparin is a generic drug made by many different companies that is used to thin blood. It has recently been involved in two accidents involving babies and media reports have unfairly connecting one company to both incidents.
Actor Dennis Quaid and his wife Kimberly are suing Baxter Healthcare Corp. They claimed the heparin blue labels could be confused with a less potent derivative, which reportedly led to the injury of their newborn children, according to Bloomberg.
On July 6, 17 babies in a hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas, were given an overdose of the drug, resulting in the death of a set of twins. Although their deaths are still being investigated.
Media reports of the incident at Christus Spohn Hospital South in Texas have been tied in with Quaid's lawsuit against Baxter over heparin even though the two cases are unrelated and Baxter has confirmed it did not manufacture the heparin used in the Texas accident.
See Bonus Coverage at foot: Barnicle accuses Jesse Jackson of "corporate blackmail."
Two veteran members of the Senate, two entirely different treatments from Andrea Mitchell. Reverence for Ted Kennedy; scorn for Strom Thurmond. Guest hosting in Mika Brzezinski's spot on Morning Joe today, Mitchell, emotion in her voice, hailed Kennedy as "valiant" and a "hero." As for Thurmond, Mitchell mocked that he wasn't alive even when he was in the Senate.
The reference to the late South Carolina senator arose in the context of a discussion of the way in which, with the nomination of Barack Obama, the torch of Dem leadership has been passed to a new generation, whereas the same isn't true in John McCain's GOP.
On Wednesday's CBS "Early Show," co-host Russ Mitchell declared: "The high cost of gas is hurting everyone these days. Families, businesses, and even charities. Many organizations that deliver food to the sick and elderly are being hit extra hard." In the report that followed, correspondent Kelly Wallace went even further: "In one rural California case, according to the president of Meals on Wheels nationwide, cutting back from daily deliveries to one every 14 days proved fatal. Two seniors were found dead."
The Meals on Wheels president, Enid Borden, explained that: "We have people who are literally dying in their homes waiting for a meal. That's a crisis." Wallace also played a clip of Maryland Meals on Wheels executive director, Tom Grazio, who worried: "Some day in the not too distant future, unless things get better, we'll be telling people they can't eat today and that's disheartening."
Wallace then described " a dire situation in New York City," where Meals on Wheels director Marcia Stein continued the melodramatic theme: "For the first time in our 25-year history, we are having to ration food. We're having to make tough choices about who gets a meal, who does not get a meal, what days somebody might be without food." From this report, one is under the impression that people are literally starving to death across the country due to high gas prices. In May, the "Early Show" described how one woman "...pumps out her own blood, making $40 a pop so she has enough money to pump gas."
DOBBS: Well, I'm very sorry that Julie Gerberding and the CDC is frustrated. But I'm a little more concerned about the fact that the American consumer right now is absolutely vulnerable. When the two agencies, the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration still, after more than two months, don't have a clue as to what is going on here.
SCHIAVONE: It's just an astonishing turn of events. We know that the first case was recorded in early April. This thing is not only going on, but it shows no signs of pulling back. And as you say, they just don't have any idea what the cause is.
On Monday's "Good Morning America," co-host Robin Roberts again interviewed Elizabeth Edwards and lauded her as a "powerful voice" on the issue of health care. The journalist never identified Edwards, the wife of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, as a "liberal voice" on the subject or questioned the rightness of government run health care. Roberts also failed to ask just where the money to fund universal health care would come from.
In an intro, Roberts announced, "[Elizabeth Edwards] has, of course, emerged as a powerful voice in her own right, particularly on the issue of health care." During an April segment, the co-host applauded the "passionate voice" the then-candidate's wife brought to the debate over the issue. On Monday's segment, Roberts only challenged Edwards from the left. Referencing earlier support for Senator Hillary Clinton's universal health care plan, the journalist quizzed, "...You indicated [during the April interview] that you considered Senator Clinton's health care plan a better plan. That you had some concerns about Senator Obama's health care plan. Are you going to partner with him and do you still have those same concerns?"
UPDATE: Hard to imagine, but it's even worse than originally thought. AP's go-to "historian" is, as Wikipedia shows, a shameless politically active far-leftist (HT Eric at Vocal Minority).
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Two Associated Press writers, with the help of accompanying photos at ABCnews.com, have dug down deep and reached a new low in dismal, depressive reporting.
You can be forgiven if, after reading the entire Saturday afternoon "report" by Alan Fram and Eileen Putman of the Associated Press, you worry that the two writers plan to jump from the nearest tall building -- and take their readers with them -- unless Barack Obama wins the White House.
This is how the pained pair's incredibly over-the-top report begins (note how the headline answers the question before the text begins; excerpted text is included here for fair use and discussion purposes, as are photos originally found at the ABC link that are included at the cross-post):
Everything seemingly is spinning out of control Out-of-control weather, gas prices, economy chip away at American self-confidence
Update | 10 AM: McCain Campaign Comments to NB on Mitchell Remarks
McCain campaign deputy chairman Frank Donatelli has commented to NB on Mitchell's remarks. See report at foot.
IMing with a friend in England this morning, Morning Joe on in the background, I was vaguely aware that an Obama staffer was on, touting her candidate's economic plan. Signing off my chat, I focused on the tube, only to realize that the Obama staffer was in fact . . . Andrea Mitchell.
Mitchell cast the battle of the candidates' tax plans as McCain's "old-fashioned" supply-side economics versus Obama's "mainstream, centrist" plans that "do help people" while responsibly "paying for everything."
Could science and statistics be beyond the media's ability to understand and report upon them? One might be excused to think so by the hash the MSM made of the supposed claim that in the U.S. one in four teenaged girls have a sexually transmitted disease. On March 11, the CDC issued a press release announcing a study that made the claim, but did not release the full study so that anyone interested might see the whole story. Regardless of the further facts that serves to sharply decreases that one in four number, the media rushed to sensationalize the shocking claim that 25 percent of our young girls have STDs.
Making it political, The New York Times rushed the story to their front page in order to attack the Bush Administration's so-called "abstinence-only programs" with a slam by the president of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards. The Times quotes Richards as saying, "The national policy of promoting abstinence-only programs is a $1.5 billion failure and teenage girls are paying the real price." But, unfortunately for this claim, lower rates of sexual activity has, indeed, brought down the number of STDs in the U.S. So, contrary to the breathless exclamations by Planned Parenthood and The New York Times, abstinence-only programs cannot be fingered as a negative in disease rates.
But the Times wasn't the only one. Just about every major newssource on TV and print media went on a feeding frenzy with the "one in four" claim. Only, further review of the CDC's report seems to show that the "one in four" claim is not really the case.