ABC Touts Mostly Liberal Examples of 'Enraged' and 'Livid' Health Care Protesters

Good Morning America's Claire Shipman on Wednesday highlighted "enraged" and "livid" health care protesters, but mostly offered examples of angry liberals lobbying for a bill. After video of demonstrators chanting "Stop Blue Cross!" played, Shipman touted, "California demonstrators, livid over a huge increase in insurance rates."

The ABC reporter described the preparations for the upcoming health care summit between Republicans and Democrats and then trumpeted, "And an increasingly engaged and enraged public will be watching it all. Look at Anthem insurance after raising premiums 39 percent, they got those protests and a grilling from California lawmakers."

Regarding Thursday's health care face-off between Barack Obama and congressional Republicans, Shipman hyped preparations for the event as "reminiscent of a Cold War Kremlin summit." She didn't say which side was which, but the segment certainly featured very little of those opposing the health care bill.

Shipman highlighted unidentified California lawmakers berating members of the health care profession: "How much profit is enough," asked one indignant legislator. Another chided, "Have you no shame?"

The only possible example of a non-liberal voice was a brief clip of an ad and Senator Mitch McConnell complaining, "[Obama's] fun to be around and I'm sure he'll have a great six hours. But, it looks to me like he posted on the internet what he would like to see the majority jam through."

The network correspondent closed the report by lecturing for the parliamentary option known as reconciliation: "But at the end of the day, most people think the best way to get any health care through this year is still to send through that Senate version that has already been passed and doesn't require that extra super majority."

A transcript of the February 24 segment, which aired at 7:11am EST, follows:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to go back to Washington now where Republicans and Democrats are gearing up for President Obama's health care summit tomorrow. All six hours will be broadcast live on C-SPAN. But, will it be more than a television show? Is there any hope that anything real will get done? Claire Shipman has more now on how both parties are preparing for the showdown. Claire?

CLAIRE SHIPMAN: Good morning, George. Well, look, both the White House and the Republicans know, this could be make or break for this version of health care. And I think that's why you see the preparations reminiscent of a Cold War Kremlin summit. They are arguing from everything from the shape of the table to the agenda, because they know there will be a lot of eye balls, a public that is increasingly paying attention.

HEALTH CARE PROTESTERS: Stop Blue Cross! Stop Blue Cross!

ABC GRAPHIC: Health Care Showdown: Anger Grows Before Televised Debate

SHIPMAN: California demonstrators, livid over a huge increase in insurance rates. The increasingly public and angry passion over health care, driving both sides at Thursday's high-stakes Washington summit. Where frenzied propaganda and posturing is in full swing. From commercials-

AD: Tell Congress, start over and get health care right.

SHIPMAN: To cable chatter-

SEN JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-NH): It's another opportunity for the President to make the case for why we need health care reform.

SHIPMAN: -to intense negotiations over table shape and camera angles for the live action drama.

[At White House press briefing]

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: It almost sounds like, you know, a G8 summit negotiation.

ROBERT GIBBS: Well, maybe we'll just- maybe the desks they give you in elementary school.

SHIPMAN: The table at Blair House has gone from U-shaped to rectangular. The President on more equal footing with lawmakers.

SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): He's fun to be around and I'm sure he'll have a great six hours. But, it looks to me like he posted on the internet what he would like to see the majority jam through.

SEN. HARRY REID: We've heard they have ideas. And we look forward to those ideas.

SHIPMAN: And an increasingly engaged and enraged public will be watching it all. Look at Anthem insurance after raising premiums 39 percent, they got those protests and a grilling from California lawmakers.

UNIDENTIFIED VOICE (off camera): How much profit is enough?

LESLIE MARGOLIN (Anthem Blue Cross): We have no interest in profit beyond the range that I have described to you.

UNIDENTIFIED CALIFORNIA LAWMAKER: We can't believe you. Have you no shame?

MARGOLIN: The question is one that is disappointing to me, Mr. Chairman. It is disappointing to me.

UNIDENTIFIED CALIFORNIA LAWMAKER: I mean it sincerely.

SHIPMAN: Will this be more than a public relations exercise? Not clear, George. But at the end of the day, most people think the best way to get any health care through this year is still to send through that Senate version that has already been passed and doesn't require that extra super majority.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And the White House will have to make that decision after tomorrow's meeting. Claire Shipman thank you very much.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org