CBS Airs Insurance Hit Piece Just in Time for 'Sicko'

The timing couldn't have been more perfect. As the media begin hyping Michael's Moore's latest film "Sicko," CBS "Evening News" ran a two-part attack on the insurance industry.

“It’s all about money,” said Tod Smith, a 54-year-old who suffered a heart attack, about insurance companies. “That’s the bottom line,” he told CBS viewers.

The segments, aired on May 23 and 24, relied heavily on anti-industry and liberal sources, and limited industry representation.On May 23, CBS chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian focused on the plight of Scott Svonkin, portraying him as an average uninsurable American. But Svonkin is not average, in fact he is an advocate - something Keteyian didn't reveal until the end of the segment.Svonkin is the chairman of the Los Angeles County Insurance Commission and appeared onstage with Governor Bill Richardson (D-New Mexico) as Richardson announced his candidacy for president.Industry representation was limited to Susan Pisano, a spokeswoman for America's Health Insurance Plans (a lobbying group) and a statement from insurance company Assurant. Both were undermined in the broadcast.

Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour is the Assistant Managing Editor for the MRC's Business and Media Institute.