When Obama does it, it's news. ABC and NBC on Thursday night made time to highlight who President Barack Obama will bestow with a Presidential Medal of Freedom in two weeks -- on Wednesday, August 12. Both started with Senator Ted Kennedy. On ABC's World News, which never touted President George W. Bush's picks in advance, fill-in anchor Elizabeth Vargas trumpeted:
The White House announced that Senator Ted Kennedy, who is battling brain cancer, will be among sixteen people given the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom next month. President Obama said he's honoring Kennedy and the other recipients for their contributions as agents of change. Among the other medal winners are tennis great Billie Jean King, former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and physicist Stephen Hawking.
Youngsters' curiosity about sex used to be sated by late night, soft-core flicks on premium cable channels. Now, they simply have to tune into ABC.
ABC news programs have featured 76 segments about sexual activity in the last six months. The majority of these reports were related to political sex scandals or crime cases that contained a sexual element, but 11 promoted alternative sexual arrangements such as men who become women, Web sites dedicated to helping married people cheat on their spouses and even people who carry on romantic relationships with objects like F-15 fighter jets and the Eiffel Tower.
In highlighting a new study which found $147 billion a year is spent on obesity-related health care and obese people spend $1,400 more a year for health services, ABC and CBS on Monday night couldn't resist interjecting a plug for imposing a tax on soda to bring in revenue to pay for ObamaCare.
ABC's Sharyn Alfonsi asserted “health officials seem to like the idea of a federal soda tax” since “adding a tax of three cents a can to high-calorie sodas could generate $24 billion over the next four years,” and while “opponents argue Americans won't tolerate another tax,” supporters “say it could cut health care costs and America's ever- expanding bottom line, all at once.”
Following a full CBS Evening News story on the obesity report, anchor Katie Couric set up a story on the tax idea: “Now, some believe another way to help pay for health care reform is to put a tax on one of the causes of obesity: soft drinks full of sugar. Nancy Cordes has more on that.” Cordes began: “Americans consume roughly 250 more calories everyday than they did in the '70s and half those calories come from sugary drinks, which is why some health advocates are urging Congress to help pay for health care reform with a tax on non-diet sodas...”
A week after ABC anchor Dan Harris hailed how “Senator Ted Kennedy is using his own battle against brain cancer to make an emotional pitch for health care reform. Writing in Newsweek, Kennedy called it 'the cause of my life,'” Sunday's World News devoted a full story to Kennedy's cause as Harris' tease framed Kennedy's big government agenda in the most-benign light: “In the game. An ailing Ted Kennedy, now working from his sick bed to achieve his life-long goal of health care for everyone.”
He introduced the subsequent story: “Behind the scenes, Senator Ted Kennedy, a man who has called this his life's work, is playing a surprisingly large role, despite his brain tumor.” Reporter John Hendren fretted: “Senator Edward Kennedy is the missing man in the battle for health care reform. On Capitol Hill, nearly everyone agrees things would be different if the liberal lion were here.”
Hendren went back to March to show a clip of President Obama saluting Kennedy -- “To Sir Edward Kennedy. That's the kind of greeting a knight deserves. It is thrilling to see you here, Teddy” -- before effusing over how “in his absence, his colleagues invoke his name, hoping also to borrow his legislative prowess.” Nonetheless, Hendren concluded, passing Obama's health agenda has been “made harder by the absence of its top advocate on Capitol Hill.” As if that's a bad thing.
Continuing a well-established pattern, the broadcast network evening newscasts all failed to point out the party affiliation of the major New Jersey office-holders amongst the 44 people the FBI arrested Thursday for corruption. As the AP pointed out, all but one are Democrats: “Among the 44 people arrested were the mayors of Hoboken, Ridgefield and Secaucus, Jersey City's deputy mayor, and two state assemblymen. A member of the governor's cabinet resigned after agents searched his home, though he was not arrested. All but one of the office holders are Democrats.”
Nonetheless, CNN's Wolf Blitzer and Deborah Feyerick saw a bi-partisan scandal. In the 5 PM EDT hour of The Situation Room, though five of the six elected officials (including all three mayors and the deputy mayor) are Democrats, Blitzer announced: “Dozens of public figures, including mayors, are caught in a stunning corruption sweep. They belong to both major parties.” From Newark, Feyerick reported “nearly 30 politicians and public officials, Democrats and Republicans, were rounded up in what prosecutors called the largest sweep of its kind.”
On CBS, reporter Kelly Wallace noted: “This is all part of a ten-year public corruption investigation that has already yielded two other high-profile indictments. Officials say some politicians don't seem to be getting the message.” Neither have the media about reporting party affiliation as both of those earlier “high-profile indictments” were of Democrats: Former state Senator Wayne Bryant and Assemblyman Joseph Vas.
Wrapping up a preview of his day with President Barack Obama for Thursday's Nightline, live from Cleveland ABC's Terry Moran informed World News anchor Charles Gibson:
I also took the opportunity at this juncture to ask Mr. Obama about how the presidency is affecting and shaping his spiritual life, and he said, Charlie, that before he was elected, he had a habit of praying every night, but that now he prays all the time.
TERRY MORAN: As you know there's a lot of curiosity about you and what you do, what you wear, all these things. And where you worship. If I may ask, how has -- how have the responsibilities of the presidency affected your spiritual life, if at all?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I had a habit of praying every night before I go to bed. I pray all the time now (laughter)...
For the second weekday in a row, Katie Couric teased the CBS Evening News on Monday night by delivering President Obama's aggressive retorts to critics of his health plan as reporter Chip Reid pitched in to help, discrediting critics by disparaging their perspectives as “harsh” and “incendiary” attacks -- all before Couric caught up with ABC and NBC from the night before and promoted Ted Kennedy's “We're Almost There” Newsweek cover story.
Couric teased: “The President takes on critics of his health care reform plan. He vows to move forward and says trying to fix a system that's breaking American families.” (Friday night she touted “a warning from the President,” leading into Obama's claim: “If we don't get health care reform done now, then no one's health insurance is going to be secure.”)
Reid declared that “in some of his harshest comments yet, Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele said the President's plan for a public insurance option is socialism.” But this is all Steele said in the clip Reid played: “This reckless approach is an ill-conceived attempt to push through an experiment and all of us should be scared to death.” Reid continued: “In one of the most incendiary comments, Republican Senator Jim DeMint, in a conference call with conservative activists, recently said:” Viewers then heard audio of DeMint making a tactical political point: “If we're able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.”
Newsweek engaged itself deeper in the battle for nationalized health care by turning over its cover story -- “We're Almost There” -- to Senator Ted Kennedy for his lengthy personal recitation of “the cause of my life.” ABC and NBC on Sunday night dutifully championed his cause as World News anchor Dan Harris highlighted how “Kennedy is using his own battle against brain cancer to make an emotional pitch for health care reform” and NBC reporter Mike Viqueira touted:
Today, another dramatic push, this time from an ailing Ted Kennedy, absent from Washington but appearing on the cover of Newsweek and writing: “This is the cause of my life. We will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not just a privilege.”
This wasn't the first time NBC has enlisted Kennedy to trumpet Obama's quest. Back in early March when the White House held a summit on health care, reporter Chuck Todd appropriated the coach who inspired “win one for the Gipper” by touting on NBC Nightly News how “the President's drive to pass health care got a Knute Rockne-like boost with a surprise appearance” by Kennedy.
Summing up Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's performance during four days of hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, ABC's Jan Crawford Greenburg on Thursday night asserted “Republicans argued her views on issues like abortion and gun rights, and her controversial speeches, proved Sotomayor was a liberal activist who would rely on empathy.”
But, Greenburg countered, “Sotomayor -- calmly, persistently, repeatedly -- described herself differently, sounding almost conservative.” To illustrate, Greenburg played this soundbite from Sotomayor: “The great beauty of this nation: that we do leave those law-making to our elected branches, and that we expect our courts to understand its limited role.” Greenburg at least noted “Republicans complained of a confirmation conversion.”
Earlier in her story, Greenburg, who admired how “she really kept her cool throughout,” touted how “Sotomayor finally showed anger” as “she was steely when asked if she ignored the claims of white and Hispanic firefighters who sued for discrimination.”
“Congress's chief budget analyst delivered a devastating assessment yesterday of the health care proposals drafted by congressional Democrats,” the Washington Post reported Friday, but of the broadcast network evening newscasts on Thursday only ABC's World News related how, as Jake Tapper put it, “the President's case was dealt a blow today” when CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf warned the health plans will require massive additional spending.
Noting “House Democrats would impose a surtax of up to 5.4 percent on top wage earners,” Tapper relayed how the Tax Foundation determined it “would push top tax rates to over 50 percent in most of the country. That has moderate House Democrats concerned.” Tapper pointed out that “if the President signed the House bill into law, which he has not ruled out, he would be breaking this campaign promise.” Viewers then saw a clip of Obama from last September: “Everyone in America, everyone, will pay lower taxes than they paid in the 1990s under Bill Clinton.”
Setting up Tapper's piece, ABC anchor Charles Gibson had led with good news for President Obama: “President Obama is a man on a mission. Everywhere he goes these days, he's pushing health care reform. He got a boost today. The American Medical Association said it supports it -- supports the House Democratic bill, that is. The AMA says that version of health care reform expands coverage but still gives patients a choice of plans.”
The White House's decision to offer interviews with the President to the medical doctors who are correspondents for ABC, CBS and NBC paid off Wednesday night with stories that embraced the assumption health care must be reformed; and interviews on CBS and NBC which put Obama's efforts in the best light. Ironically, ABC's Dr. Tim Johnson, a long-time advocate for government-directed universal coverage, didn't presume Obama's prescription is benign.
Anchor Katie Couric led the CBS Evening News by making the underlining case for Obama's view that government intervention is needed:
They've been talking about it for decades. President Obama says he wants it done now, as in this summer -- universal health care. As he put it today, it's time for us to buck up. And there are a lot of bucks at stake. Since 1999, health insurance premiums have increased 120 percent -- four times as much as wages. And about one and a half million American families lose their homes to foreclosure every year because of sky high medical bills. A number of proposals are making their way through the House and Senate this week.
In the subsequent story, Chip Reid did spend some time on the burden the new health care requirements would place on small businesses, before CBS played an excerpt from Dr. Jon LaPook's Obama interview in which LaPook empathized: “Mr. President, when people hear you talk about a national insurance plan, there are fears of socialized medicine, rationed care, limited choice. How do you handle this?”
Two months ago, as President Obama was contemplating a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter, many in the media elite — particularly NBC News reporters and anchors — sycophantically touted Obama’s credentials as a constitutional law professor as evidence of his deep experience when it came to the judiciary.
Yesterday, however, Obama’s pick for the Court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, explicitly repudiated Obama’s belief that judging should be based on “empathy” or “the heart.” Sotomayor told senators: “I don’t, wouldn’t, approach the issue of judging in the way the President does.”
None of the broadcast networks juxtaposed Sotomayor’s slap at Obama with the President’s supposed brilliance as a constitutional scholar, or explored whether it was credible that Obama’s nominee really disagrees on the role of empathy, what the President previously declared the “essential ingredient” of a good judge.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer late Tuesday afternoon characterized it as “an incredibly important exchange” and a “very, very dramatic moment” when Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor “concurred” with Senator Lindsey Graham that he would have paid a heavy price if he had ever maintained “a wise white man would make better decisions than a Latina,” yet neither ABC nor NBC mentioned in their evening newscasts Sotomayor's acknowledgment about the impact of her assertion “a wise Latina woman” would “reach a better conclusion than a white male” if reversed.
ABC's Jan Crawford Greenburg, who described the hearing as “grueling,” NBC's Pete Williams and CBS's Wyatt Andrews all highlighted Sotomayor's defense of her “wise Latina” reasoning, but none cited the exchange with Graham. CBS's Jeff Greenfield, however, noted Graham's point, if not Sotomayor's acceptance of it: “We saw Lindsey Graham of South Carolina -- very pointedly and conversationally -- saying to her, 'you know, if I'd said such things about the superiority of a Caucasian male I'd have had my head handed to me.'”
President Obama's healthcare initiative is currently in a lot of trouble on Capitol Hill as legislators grapple with finding money -- amidst staggering budget deficits and a declining economy -- to fund the new program.
As a result, on Wednesday, the news divisions of all three broadcast networks have decided to come to Obama's rescue, and on the very same evening, air interviews with the President concerning this issue.
It's good to be a Democrat president the press are in love with, isn't it?
As reported by TVNewser Tuesday (h/t Stewart Thomas):
When a well-known individual creates a disruption at a highly public, widely televised event and is then arrested, any news organization worth the name would include the incident in its coverage of that event. Right?
Not CBS’ “Evening News with Katie Couric.” And NBC’s “Nightly News” only gave the story 21 words. On July 13, Norma McCorvey, better known as “Jane Roe” in the infamous Roe v. Wade case that made abortion legal, was arrested for disrupting Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill.
On the July 12 World News Sunday, ABC correspondent John Hendren filed a report relaying concerns by a former CIA agent that recent attacks on the CIA has hurt the agency’s morale and will weaken its ability to protect America. Hendren even ran clips of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Representative Jan Schakowsky accusing the CIA of lying as examples of "harsh accusations" that have created a "rift" between Congress and the CIA.
Anchor Dan Harris introduced the report: "The CIA is, of course, an agency that largely operates in secrecy. There are concerns tonight that two full-blown investigations of the agency might undermine its ability to gather intelligence. John Hendren has that part of the story."
Hendren introduced clips from former CIA agent Robert Baer:
JOHN HENDREN: This legendary spy sees dark days ahead.
ROBERT BAER, FORMER CIA AGENT: It's one of the last nails in the CIA's coffin. It's finished. It's over. It's done.
HENDREN: Bob Baer, whose exploits as a case officer in the Middle East made him the model for George Clooney's role in Syriana, says the damage at CIA has already taken its toll.
BAER: It's demoralizing the rank and file completely. I've been getting e-mails from officers overseas, you know, they're talking about quitting.
As President Obama headed to Russia, the American news media highlighted the negative views many Russians feel toward America, and left the impression that this trend started during the Bush administration. But conveniently forgotten was that Russian views toward America were just as negative toward the end of President Clinton's time in office. Even recent poll numbers on Russian public opinion are similar those measured in 1999.
In the June 23, 1999, Washington Times article, Janine Wedel wrote:
Two days after Sunday's Washington Post carried a letter from a woman who asked “where was the coverage of my nephew or the other soldiers” who were killed in the days after Michael Jackson died, attacks in Afghanistan took the lives of seven U.S. soldiers, but their deaths earned a total of less than one minute combined on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts on Monday night -- 1/20th the time devoted to Jackson a week-and-a-half after he passed away.
Emblematic of the disparity in priorities, CBS anchor Katie Couric read her 13-second item on the deaths in Afghanistan as she sat in Los Angeles with the Staples Center, the venue for Jackson's memorial, in the background. Those 13 seconds were squeezed in around just over 13 minutes, more than half the newscast's 22 minutes, dedicated to Jackson -- a disparity of 60-to-1 (790 v 13 seconds). ABC and NBC allocated about eight times more time to Jackson than Afghanistan (2:50 v 20 seconds on ABC; 3:00 v 23 seconds on NBC).
On CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, news reader Erica Hill and Cooper spent nearly 40 seconds discussing the “Wife-Carrying World Championship” in Sonkajarvi, Finland and how the winner got his wife's weight in beer, but allocated just 15 seconds to Afghanistan. (The Situation Room aired a full story on the challenges in Afghanistan.)
After the Bush years Russians are naturally “wary” of a U.S. President, as negative views of the U.S. have soared ABC reported Monday night, but the network still managed to highlight teens, at a “Kremlin-sponsored summer camp,” who “are optimistic about President Obama.” One asserted “he's so young and energetic” and “he will give a new surge to our relationship,” while a second, echoing the take of U.S. journalists, maintained: “I see Obama as an innovator in your country.” (Back in January, World News featured a story made up of naive kids around the world sputtering beauty pageant-like simplicities about how Obama will bring “world peace” and inspires them to say “yes, we can!”)
Anchor Charles Gibson noted Obama was met in Moscow by “skepticism coupled with an edge of reserve” since “after nearly a decade of tense relations with the U.S., Russians remain wary, even of a President who promises change.” Reporter Clarissa Ward recited the reasons: “In the last eight years, profound disagreements over issues such as the war in Iraq, the invasion of Georgia, and NATO expansion have sunk U.S.-Russian relations to post-Cold War lows.” Specifically, “46 percent of Russians said they had a mainly negative opinion of the U.S. That's up from just seven percent in 1990.”
As the broadcast network evening newscasts on Friday reported on Sarah Palin's decision to resign as Alaska's Governor, they gave little attention to the toll taken on the Governor by the onslaught of frivolous lawsuits from her political enemies. But, by contrast, FNC gave much of the credit for Palin's decision to these lawsuits that have tied up the Governor's time and forced her family to spend a fortune in legal expenses.
On Friday's Fox Report, FNC correspondent Carl Cameron informed viewers: "Those ethics complaints have all been dropped or dismissed, and yet they've taken a toll and she acknowledged as much earlier." Then came a soundbite of Palin from her news conference, which was partially played on the CBS Evening News but not on ABC or NBC. Palin:
Todd and I, we’re looking at more than half a million dollars in legal bills just in order to set the record straight. And what about the people who offer up these silly accusations? It doesn't cost them a dime. ... My staff and I spend most of our days, we're dealing with this stuff instead of progressing our state now.
Sarah Palin's “bombshell” holiday announcement that she will resign as Governor of Alaska managed to trump Michael Jackson as the lead on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts Friday night as NBC's Chuck Todd predicted she will now make fundraising appearances for GOP candidates where she'll draw in “car-wreck watchers.” CBS reporter Nancy Cordes reflected the tone of the stories when she described “a rambling, at times confusing announcement,” while on all three newscasts Palin's decision was called “bizarre.”
NBC News White House reporter Chuck Todd, who suggested she decided to quit so she could “make a lot of money” on the speaking circuit free of ethics complaint hassles, also predicted she will bring in big crowds at fundraisers for GOP candidates which will also entice those not so impressed by her:
She may spend the next year campaigning for Republicans all across the country. She's probably going to be the person that can attract the largest crowds, some of it is car-wreck watchers -- you know, they just are coming, kind of curiosity-seekers. It doesn't matter. She can attract a lot of people.
The news cycle has been dominated by celebrity deaths - Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and even TV pitchman Billy Mays - and President Barack Obama's health care initiative. Obama has used the compliant media to keep the focus to health care, and they are neglecting a critical largest news event that could impact the lives of every man, woman and child for the foreseeable future.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a 1,200-page climate change bill known as the "American Clean Energy and Security Act" sponsored by Reps. Henry Waxman, D-Calif. and Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., by a narrow 219-212 vote on June 26.
Prospects for that piece of environmental legislation might have been hurt had reporters pointed out the scientific censorship taking place in the Obama administration. A veteran of the Environmental Protection Agency strongly questioned the theory of manmade global warming in a report that was then silenced by the administration. That's exactly the opposite of how many journalists handled a similar controversy during the Bush administration.
In a passionate Wall Street Journal op-ed this morning ("Silence Has Consequences for Iran"), former Spanish Prime Minister José Aznar who, in case anyone cares, serves on the board of WSJ parent News Corp., says that "It would be a shame .... if our passivity gave carte blanche to a tyrannical regime to finish off the dissidents and persist with its revolutionary plans."
Shaking off passivity requires visibility. America's media establishment almost across the board is providing very little. The Associated Press and the New York Times reports exist, but their distribution is dwarfed by the death of a pop star and a governor's infidelity.
Here are useful comparisons (all searches were done at Google News at about 8:45 a.m. for June 23-27, limited to USA sources):
Noteworthy from Friday night's broadcast network evening newscasts which, a day after his death, spent 95 percent of their air time on Michael Jackson -- all but 1:03 of ABC's approximate 22 minutes was devoted to Jackson, all but 34 seconds of CBS and all but 1:22 of NBC, for 2:59, less than three minutes in total for all news beyond Jackson:
♦ Only ABC's World News reported how Monica Conyers, a Detroit city councilwoman married to powerful U.S. House Democrat John Conyers, pled guilty to accepting bribes. But anchor Charles Gibson, who on Wednesday night made sure to identify Mark Sanford as “a rising star in the Republican Party,” failed to name the party affiliation for either Monica Conyers or John Conyers, and neither did any on-screen graphic. Speaking of Detroit, last year, when Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was charged with felonies, Gibson (as well as the CBS and NBC anchors) didn't consider Kilpatrick's party worth mentioning.
♦ ABC also uniquely found a little time, a mere 20 seconds, to mention House action on President Obama's “cap and trade” bill. As noted by the MRC's Business and Media Institute, for months the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts have barely covered the bill “that would cost each family $1,241 a year.” CBS and NBC kept up the near-blackout again Friday night. Gibson outlined how “the bill would impose limits pollution from power plants and factories and force a shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy,” but also noted: “Critics charge it will drive up energy costs for consumers.”
In the wake of political sex scandals including South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and Nevada Sen. John Ensign, ABC's Cokie Roberts took the opportunity on June 25 to suggest that the fundamental flaw in each case was the male gender.
"World News with Charles Gibson" anchor asked question of why such affairs ever begin.
"It's an admission that can doom the most promising political career," Gibson said. "So, why do politicians tempt fate and cheat on their wives? Why do so many think they can get away it?"
ABC correspondent John Berman's report tried to rationalize marital infidelity as "politics as usual" and part of the narcissism that comes with being a politician. Berman explained the recent rash of infidelity scandals weren't bound by geography, political party or sexual orientation.
In the wake of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford’s admission to having an affair, evening and morning newscasts on NBC, CBS, and ABC all immediately identified him as a Republican. In contrast, in March of last year, the networks rarely identified disgraced New York Governor Eliot Spitzer as a Democrat in the wake of his affair with a prostitute.
In a 2008 study of evening and morning network newscasts following the Spitzer scandal, NewsBusters’ Rich Noyes found that within the first week of news coverage Spitzer was only identified as a Democrat 20% of the time. However, within the first 24 hours of Sanford’s confession to having an affair, he was identified as a Republican 100% of the time, during coverage on all the networks.
On Wednesday, the NBC Nightly News, which failed to give Spitzer’s party affiliation for three days following his scandal, immediately focused on Sanford’s national role in the Republican Party as anchor Brian Williams declared: "In a Republican Party hungry for young stars, he was one of them: Mark Sanford, the governor of South Carolina...Tonight his political career is in tatters. His state, his party are in some turmoil. And Mark Sanford is no longer being mentioned as a possible GOP nominee for the White House."
Former Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos appeared on Thursday's Good Morning America to bizarrely assert that Democrats have a harder times surviving sex scandals than Republicans. While discussing South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, he breathlessly claimed, "We've never seen anything like this before"and never mentioned his former boss, Bill Clinton, who escaped impeachment conviction after being caught in a sex scandal with Monica Lewinsky.
GMA co-host Diane Sawyer informed viewers that Stephanopoulos had been "looking back at this roll call of apologies for indiscretions, Republicans and Democrats." The "This Week" host spun, "Democrats have had a harder time holding on to office after scandals, recently, than Republicans." Stephanopoulos also appeared on Wednesday night's "World News" and told anchor Charlie Gibson virtually the same thing. And, once again, he failed to cite Bill Clinton, certainly one of the most famous examples of a Democrat retaining office after a sex scandal.
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.
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.”