Honest, I'm not looking for trouble. Just hanging out on Christmas afternoon, watching the Heat vs. the Cavs on ABC, when a State Farm Insurance commercial comes on. Funny stuff. A guy on a treadmill gets so distracted by a shapely young woman on a hamstring machine that he slips and falls off.
Then a trim man, identified by a screen graphic as Dr. Ian Smith, comes by to help him to his feet, and says:
Go on, laugh. But it's not easy getting back in shape. That's why we created the 50-Million Pound Challenge. It's a new way to help our community get healthier together. Get started at 50-Million Pounds dot com.
"Millions of older Americans are facing an important decision right now," anchor Charles Gibson said. "And some hard sell insurance agents see them as easy targets. Every December, seniors choose between Medicare or any of dozens of private plans that compete with the government. This year, almost 9 million opted for the private plans. And as ABC's David Muir reports, some now have serious regrets."
Chris Matthews shouldn't count on a Christmas card from Hillary after the way he absolutely unloaded on her on Morning Joe today. The topic was her Christmas ad [view YouTube here], which shows her "giving" a variety of government programs to the American people.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: I always thought the problem with Hillary was, her notion of government was, "I am Evita, I am the one who gives gifts to the little people and then they come and bring me flowers and they worship at me because I am the great Evita."
Six years ago, Joe Cameron survived more than two months on life support, racking up a bill of more than $1 million. He paid less than $2,000 thanks to the health insurance he had through Medicare Advantage. Needless to say, he's pleased with his outcome, and now speaks highly of the program that paid for his life-saving care.
But in a segment December 19, "Good Morning America" portrayed Cameron as a shill for the insurance industry. Host Chris Cuomo called Cameron "a favorite example for the insurance industry," saying he is a go-to interviewee when they don't want to talk about cases like Angela Dispenza, who claims her insurance company refused to pay for medically necessary rehabilitation after a back injury.
I've noted previously that Old Media has developed a squeamishness towards describing this time of year in business stories as the "Christmas shopping season."
In the midst of media criticism of Mike Huckabee's Christmas ad, including the Whoopi Goldberg-Joy Behar exchange on "The View" noted earlier today by NewsBusters' Justin McCarthy, how interesting it is that one of Hillary Clinton's latest ads in Iowa joins in the C-word sqeamishness (HT Hot Air, whose Bryan Preston calls it "Hillary's Unintentionally Revealing Christmas Ad").
The ad shows Mrs. Clinton wrapping presents for the American people, including "Universal Health Care," "Alternative Energy," "Bring Troops Home," and "Middle Class Tax Breaks" (where have we heard that undelivered promise before?). In search of the final present to wrap, she asks, "Where's Universal Pre-K?" Finding it, she says, "Ah, there it is."
(Three of these "presents" to the American people would have to be paid for with money coming from the American people in the form of taxes -- but that's for another time.)
Those Clinton campaigners sure know how to slip the "subliminable" shiv in. Yesterday, chief Hillary strategist Mark Penn managed to work "cocaine use" into his comments while supposedly disassociating the campaign from charges of Obama drug use made by Hillary's New Hampshire chairman. See video of Penn in action here.
Today, it was the turn of Hillary supporter Evan Bayh to whack Barack while pretending to take the high road. A bit after 3 PM ET this afternoon, the Dem senator from Indiana with the Eagle Scout aura [who might well have his eye on the VP slot] was being interviewed by MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell about the current turmoil in Camp Clinton.
"Critical condition" in medical terminology means a patient has a high risk of death that could occur within the next 24 hours. So when you see "Critical Condition: Rx For America," sounds like something is in really bad shape, right?
Yeah, it was a yawner. Even so, in its coverage of today's GOP debate the MSM has overlooked one notable nugget: Mike Huckabee's fervent espousal of a radical egalitarianism that, at least in this NewsBuster's view, reflects a fundamental misreading of the Declaration of Independence and a departure from conservative principles.
Journalism's defenders often describe it as a profession or craft unto itself, and minimize the importance, or even sometimes the relevance, of subject matter expertise.
That lack of subject matter expertise, and the apparent unwillingness to seek out a source of that expertise when necessary, probably explain how a Hillary Clinton whopper has survived on the campaign trail for so long.
Furthering the media’s love affair with Hillary Clinton, Friday’s CBS "Early Show" featured a segment on her recent speech at Saddleback Church in Southern California and how Evangelical Christians may be moving to the left in 2008. As co-host Harry Smith wondered at the top of the show, "Hillary Clinton addresses an Evangelical megachurch in California. Is it really possible that the Christian Right could be convinced to turn left?" Later, co-host Julie Chen further teased:
Also, the Evangelical vote in the 2008 presidential race --is it up for grabs? Hillary Clinton believes the Republicans no longer have a lock on it...We'll ask Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback if it's really possible that the Evangelical Right, President Bush's key voting block, could be moving to the left.
The segment began with a report by CBS Correspondent Bill Whitaker, who described the uphill battle for Democrats to win such votes:
To detractors and supporters alike, Democrat Hillary Clinton walking into an Orange County Evangelical bastion was like Daniel entering the lion's den...Four years ago, a Democratic presidential candidate coming to speak at an Evangelical megachurch would have been unthinkable, even politically futile.
There's little the MSM likes more than to report the latest thing that's bad for us. Today's news brings a double-header of doom: night shifts and salt.
First, the AP reports that the UN's World Health Organization will soon list working the night shift "as a 'probable' cause of cancer."
Then Reuters informs us that the Center for Science in the Public Interest, arguing that excessive salt in Americans' diets is a major factor in high blood pressure and increases risk for heart disease, is urging stricter regulation of salt by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
At the now infamous CNN/YouTube Republican debate held last night in Florida, candidates received a number of questions from the over 5000 videos submitted for review. The questions were selected by a panel who went through them all, whittling down the choices to just a small number. Out of all those 5000 questions, CNN failed to choose one question about the issue of health care reform. And then CNN has the audacity to snivel about it on the Political Ticker last night. [Emphasis mine]
The issue of healthcare has sparked some of the most heated debate this campaign season on the Democratic front, but the Republican presidential contenders seemed to all but ignore what is considered a major priority for many voters.
Recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation polls show healthcare reform is consistently at the forefront of voter concerns along with the war in Iraq and the economy.
Candidates often find a way to include their talking points and campaign priorities in debate answers regardless of what the question posed to them actually is. Since no question was posed to the candidates about their healthcare reform plans, they all but ignored the issue choosing instead to emphasize their stances on illegal immigration and the war in Iraq. –CNN's Emily Sherman
On the CBS "Early Show" on Nov. 13th, co-host Julie Chen claimed that there was "an alarming suicide rate among veterans" of the Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts. CBS then aired a report that went on to claim that the suicide rate for our troops had wildly climbed. Fellow NewsBuster Kyle Drennen had his doubts about the report when the show originally aired and now comes an editorial by oftentime military reporter Michael Fumento further casting large amounts of skepticism on the CBS report.
The CBS show specifically wanted to make it seem like Iraq war vets are the ones that have seen these outrageously rising suicide rates. Reporter Armen Keteyian included in his report this opener:
On yesterday’s CBS "Sunday Morning," reporter Steve Hartman demonstrated why illegal immigration is actually a good thing: "Good news about an illegal immigrant...By all accounts this man they call Dr. Q is one of the best up-and-coming neurosurgeons in the country." Interestingly, this story was actually first aired on the May 18 "Evening News." Apparently CBS is really going green, it even recycles its own biased reporting.
The segment began by Hartman actually admitting to the mainstream media’s usual doom and gloom reporting: "Because it never leads the news...because war and scandal and planet melting always make for catchier headlines...It's easy to forget all the good stories that happen every year." Hartman decided to focus on three "good" stories for a change, which included a brief profile of Dr. Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa:
Clinically brilliant, relentlessly charming. His patients say it's almost like he was born to be a doctor. If they only knew...Just 20 years ago this renown neurosurgeon was about as anonymous as a human being can get in America. An illegal immigrant working the fields of California's San Joaquin Valley...after he jumped the U.S.-Mexico border and took up residence in this leaky old trailer, Alfredo says the moon seemed closer than medical school.
For years one of the great unanswered questions along Main and Wall streets has been why, in the midst of 24 consecutive quarters of uninterrupted growth, polls have regularly found Americans sour about the economy.
On Tuesday, a battle between the New York Times liberal economics columnist Paul Krugman and WOR radio's Steve Malzberg offered a clue.
In fact, after 16 minutes of sparring on subjects from healthcare to the Iraq war, a truly inconvenient truth became evident concerning the left's continued bearishness since the economy emerged from recession in the fourth quarter of 2001: too many folks listen to people like Krugman.
As a perfect illustration of just how separated this man, and anybody who reads him, are from reality, when Malzberg asked Krugman where he'd seek medical treatment if he was really ill, the Times columnist said (16 minute long audio link available here):
During a Monday November 19 appearance at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, CNN founder Ted Turner charged that the Bush administration has "turned a lot of our friends into enemies," as he contended that when President Bush came into office, "we were friends with just about everybody in the world." Turner remarked, as documented by Raleigh's newspaper the "News and Observer": "Making friends where there used to be enemies is a very important thing to do. ... That's why I'm so sorry about this administration. Because we were friends with just about everybody in this world -- the United States was -- when this administration came to power. Now, we've turned a lot of our friends into enemies. ... I think the country with the most friends is the one that wins in the end." (More quotes follow)
If you can buy sperm or eggs, why are kidneys so radical to ABC? And what happens to the people who are dying if we don't change the system?
ABC's "World News with Charles Gibson" called a doctor's market driven approach to organ donation, in which individuals could sell kidneys to insurers, "radical" November 19.
"Now an outspoken doctor is proposing a radical solution, allow donors to sell one of their kidneys," anchor Gibson began.
University of Minnesota Children's Hospital's Dr. Arthur Matas supported a regulated market only for kidneys and has said that ruling out kidney sales completely is like sentencing some patients to death.
On Sunday’s CBS "60 Minutes," anchor Lesley Stahl began a segment on calorie labeling for fast food by making this alarmist proclamation: "Obesity rates continue to spiral out of control in this country and nutritionists say one main reason is how dependent we've become on eating out." Enter the big government hero:
Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden is in charge of regulating New York City's $11 billion restaurant market...the chains are up against a formidable foe, because Frieden has a record of making big industry bend to his will. He's the one who forced smoking out of city bars and artery-clogging trans fats out of city restaurants. Both those bans spread nationwide, which is also happening with his new crusade.
Frieden’s latest "crusade" is to force big fast food chains nationwide to label the calories of all of their products, which were exempt from doing so. As Stahl explained, "Now, one of the most powerful health officials in the country wants to change that by forcing chain restaurants like McDonald's and Wendy's to spell out exactly how fattening their food is right when you decide what to order."
The Anchoress, a three-time Weblog Awards finalist and 2007 Catholic Blog Awards Winner (congratulations!) in the Best Political/Social Commentary category (scroll down at link to see it), delivered a cold but necessary shower earlier this evening to those of us who are tempted to exaggerate or overstate the impact New Media is having on most Americans.
I'll bet that a lot of us can relay similar stories to the ones she referred to in her very perceptive post ("Good news leaks past the embargo on good news…"; links that contradict the Old Media-driven beliefs described and bolds/italics were included in her original):
Unfortunately, it is still true that until a new president is installed in the WH, preferably one with a D after the name, only the downsides are newsworthy, and that holds true in every subject. Every subject. My elderly family members are convinced that everything, everywhere, is going to hell, and they are fretful and terrified. They think everyone is out of work, the economy is in a recession, the war in Iraq is lost and there are no real terrorist threats - that’s just made-up stuff. They’re sure America is dying. They are sure the world is headed for famine. They are depressed and do not want to send out Christmas cards, because how can you do that when so much is bad in the world?
In an interview with obscure Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul on Sunday’s "Face the Nation," host Bob Schieffer asked the Texas Congressman: "What is it that you see that the government ought to do besides deliver the mail?" This followed Schieffer’s description of Paul’s limited government philosophy:
Well, let me -- I want to just get your take on what you think the government ought to do. You've already said your anti-war. We know you're anti-abortion. You're anti-drug administration. You're anti-Medicare. I wrote all this down. Let's see. You're anti-income tax. You want to do away with that. You're anti-United Nations. You're anti-World Bank. You're anti-International Monetary Fund. And there must be some other things that you're against.
On Sunday's "Good Morning America," ABC co-host Kate Snow reported on the growing controversy over the Clinton campaign's planting of friendly questions at political events. At the same time, she ignored her own network's role in creating a similar cozy setting for the 2008 Democrat. In March of this year, GMA hosted a town hall event where Doctor Steve Eckstat, who was on Hillary Clinton's 1993 health care task force, just happened to be in the audience for the ABC event.
Co-anchor Robin Roberts, who hosted the March 26 event, spun it this way: "Somebody that was there, and wants to ask you what is different now, between what happened then, and he is Dr. Steve Eckstat. He is, he works at the free clinic of Iowa. Doctor?" Eckstat's challenging question to the Democratic front-runner? He wanted to know if the former First Lady would be "willing to try again to provide universal health care coverage for all Americans and make that at priority for your administration?"
That sounds like a weird question, but apparently CNN’s “American Morning” thinks eating your iPhone or earphone cord is a possibility.
In a segment with an on-screen caption – “IPOD & IPHONE DANGER – CAN THEY HURT YOU?” – CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta reported that the cord connecting the earbuds to your iPod contain phthalates, according to the litigious Center for Environmental Health.
Phthalates are a substance often used for increasing the flexibility of plastics, but according to an article on macnn.com, a Web site devoted to news on Apple products, phthalates “may hinder the sexual development of mammals.”
In the November 7 "Washington Post," in an article reporting on the Virginia General Assembly elections, staff writer Tim Craig adopted the liberal terminology of referring to government spending as "investing" as he relayed that Democratic Governor Tim Kaine hopes to get more support for his "agenda to invest more in education, health care, and the environment." The complete text of a similar article using the same line can be found on the Washington Post's Web site here. In the front-page article "Delays in Counting Slow Results in State, Local Races," after summarizing some of the early election results, including the plight of some Republican state senators running for re-election in Democratic-trending districts, the following one-sentence paragraph ran on page A12:
It's difficult to forget the image of Hillary cackling away on the morning shows a few months back - talking about health care. After we finished laughing ourselves, we here at BMI took the time to put together a video of the best (or worst) of Hillary's chortles. This video was posted on YouTube and was subsequently picked up by a few others. Like the Newsbusted video, this is another example of how so-called "new media" can spread like wildfire. It received more than 24,000 views on one of these pages alone.
Clearly, Hillary's view of how to handle health care is not going away. In case you haven't seen it you can check it out right below the fold:
In an article counseling readers to cancel the pity party the Washington Post wants to throw for "Young Altruists In the Crowded Field of Public Interest," Rand Simberg at Transterrestrial Musings nails it, and in the process hammers home a reality that Old Media reporters and pundits never seem to comprehend (links were in original post):
..... Who is it that really changes the world, and for the better?
I would argue that it is the people like Bill Gates, or Henry Ford, or Thomas Edison, or the Wright brothers, who have a much larger and more beneficial effect on the world than people who "want to make a difference."
The United States is not the only country turning out spoiled children, ungrateful for the blessings of life in their land. Cuba is suffering from the same affliction, to judge by "My father's 'crime'" by Yan Valdes Morejon, which appears in today's Boston Globe.
Morejon's column turns out to be just one long complaint. Rather than giving proper thanks for all the wonders of the workers' paradise, like members of our MSM regularly do, it's filled with this kind of kvetching:
When Rudy Giuliani said the survival rate for prostate cancer is 82 percent in the U.S. but only 44 percent in Britain, which has socialized medicine, you'd think a typical American response would be sympathy for the Britons, and the logical British response, outrage at its government.
You'd think wrong. The U.S. press corps devoted considerable energy -- and in some quarters, heated emotion -- to knocking down Giuliani's statistic, even when it had to twist logic like pretzels to do so. Meanwhile, the only outrage detected in Britain was against Giuliani -- for mentioning it.
Yet Giuliani's point, which is that socialized medicine systems fare badly compared to our own, remains valid.
Why is it that a page from Katie Couric's "Notebook" is often cribbed from the left-wing playbook? [Check here for a real eye-roller from June 2007]
In her October 25 "Notebook" item at her Couric & Co. blog, the "CBS Evening News" anchor parroted the complaints of a left-wing group that finds scandalous the practice of doctors getting freebies from pharmaceutical companies.:
We all know the saying, 'there's no such thing as a free lunch,' but not if you're a doctor. Every year drug makers spend almost $7 billion in lunches, dinners, travel fees and gifts to doctors. That's on top of the estimated $18 billion in free drug samples they give them. We talked with Rob Restuccia of the Prescription Project, which studies potential conflicts of interest between drug makers and doctors. He says there's a high correlation between the prescribing of particular drugs and gifts to those physicians...
It may be a bitter pill for some drug companies but when doctors receive free lunches, it's their patients who often pay the price.
Was it just a slip of the tongue, or did Josephine "Josie" Hearn of Politico just let her liberal slip show? On this evening's "Tucker," she sure seemed to wax enthusiastic over a positive poll result for Hillary.
Norah O'Donnell subbed for Tucker Carlson on his MSNBC show this evening, and talk turned to the latest LA Times|Bloomberg poll, which put Hillary at 48%, with Obama at 17% and Edwards trailing with 13%. Norah invited Hearn to comment.
NORAH O'DONNELL: Josie, it just shows she's continuing her wide margin on just about every demographic, right?