Former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller's Monday column defended Obama's embattled health-care law against Republican "slurs" and "lies," in "Five Obamacare Myths." And Keller calling the Democratic-slanted "truth squad" FactCheck.org "impartial" won't do much for his credibility among conservatives, even if he does call himself a "devout capitalist."
On the subject of the Affordable Care Act -- Obamacare, to reclaim the name critics have made into a slur -- a number of fallacies seem to be congealing into accepted wisdom. Much of this is the result of unrelenting Republican propaganda and right-wing punditry, but it has gone largely unchallenged by gun-shy Democrats. The result is that voters are confronted with slogans and side issues -- “It’s a tax!” “No, it’s a penalty!” -- rather than a reality-based discussion. Let’s unpack a few of the most persistent myths.
The folks at CBS News sure are worried about government spending all of a sudden.
After Evening News anchor Scott Pelley grieved Wednesday for how much it's cost to have all these House votes concerning ObamaCare, Face the Nation's Bob Schieffer pointed a similarly dismayed finger at House Republicans Sunday (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Appearing as a panel member on Friday's Inside Washington on PBS, Bloomberg View's Margaret Carlson - formerly of Time magazine - asserted that Mitt Rommey "wanted the boos" he received as he delivered his speech to the NAACP.
She went on to say the GOP presidential candidate is "taking those boos to his fund-raiser with Dick Cheney," and that "he's so proud of them."
In her latest nytimes.com column, posted Wednesday night, "The Mystery of John Roberts," Linda Greenhouse, former Supreme Court reporter for the New York Times, retraced previous conservatives losses at the Supreme Court from the pre-Internet days of the early '90s and the relatively muted response of conservative activists.
That set the stage for Greenhouse to criticize the "torrent of right-wing leaks" and "invective" that poured over Roberts after his shock decision upholding Obama-Care. Greenhouse, whose strident liberal moralizing is obvious now that she is no longer a reporter, suggested Roberts may have "evolved" to his position partially due to "the breathtaking radicalism of the other four conservative justices," and quoted one of her favorite judges in suggesting Roberts may read the criticism and think to himself "What am I doing with this crowd of lunatics?"
CNN's Jim Acosta bragged that his network does not call the Affordable Care Act "ObamaCare," a term he said Republicans prefer. However, CNN has repeatedly referred to the law as "ObamaCare" in its reporting.
"He [Romney] used the term 'ObamaCare,' which by the way, that's fine in Republican circles, but there are a lot of Democrats who sort of bristle at using the term 'ObamaCare'," Acosta explained on Wednesday after Mitt Romney used the term when addressing the Democratic-friendly NAACP. "We at CNN use the term 'the President's health care law,' at least in our news reporting," Acosta boasted. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
As I noted yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) yesterday refused to call a vote on extending the Bush tax cuts, even though President Barack Obama days earlier urged passage of such tax cuts as soon as possible. Predictably, however, the July 11 editions of the network evening newscasts -- ABC's World News, the CBS Evening News, and NBC's Nightly News -- all ignored the development. Ditto with the network morning shows today.
Each evening newscast did, however, note the House vote to repeal ObamaCare, the first such vote after the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate as a tax.
The liberal media aren’t hiding their contempt for the House holding another ObamaCare repeal vote. Thursday’s Washington Post published an article headlined: “A House they looked down on: In the visitors’ gallery, health-law repeal vote didn’t look so dignified.”
On Wednesday night’s All Things Considered, congressional correspondent Andrea Seabrook dismissed the entire debate as "largely fact free, with both sides exercising more condescension and moral outrage than anything else.” That’s right, NPR is describing someone else as condescending:
Showing a renewed concern for the interests of taxpayers, CBS put “Cost to Taxpayers” on screen Wednesday night as CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley worried not about the cost of ObamaCare, but “how much it cost taxpayers for the House to repeal the law again and again?” Pelley relayed how “the Congressional Research Service tells us that the House of Representatives costs us $24 million a week. So with two weeks spent repealing the law, that comes to a little under $50 million.”
What a meaningless point. As if that $50 million wouldn’t have been spent in any event since the cost of operating the House would not have disappeared from federal outlays if the body dealt with other issues.
Anticipating “a real defeat for Obama and the end of health-care coverage for many,” The New Yorker had several covers ready to go if ObamaCare was deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, including one which depicted Chief Justice John Roberts poised to push an elderly woman in a wheelchair down the Court's stairs.
Francoise Mouly was so sure that ObamaCare would be struck down that she instructed her artists to come up with possible sketches for the magazine cover before the ruling. Yesterday, Mouly decided to publish an article showing readers several of the possible covers that the artists came up with but never used.
CNN's Christine Romans played Obama spokesperson on Monday's Starting Point and accused Republicans of creating "uncertainty" about ObamaCare in trying to repeal it. That fits what has seemingly become a CNN line to Republicans of "stop fighting this law and get in line."
"I'm wondering, should Congresspeople be spending more time helping their constituents comply with the law rather than continuing all this uncertainty about it?" Romans challenged Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.). Ironically, CNN's own poll shows a majority in favor of Congress repealing the law. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee talked to Andrew Goldman for the New York Times Magazine, who used a media myth to give Huckabee a platform to call the Republican Party "hyperorthodox" and excessively ideological: "Mike Huckabee Likes Romney. Really."
Goldman's opening question basically begged Huckabee to bash the GOP: "During the Republican primary debates, audience members booed a question from an active serviceman who was gay and shouted, “Let him die,” about a hypothetical gravely ill patient without insurance. Is this different from the party that you know and love?"
Time magazine demonstrated in its last issue that it was so overwhelmingly thrilled with John Roberts upholding ObamaCare that it put Roberts on the cover with the title “Roberts Rules,” touting his “landmark decision.” Inside, the magazine gave the ruling 15-plus pages of coverage.
By contrast, the Congress voting to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for failing to deliver documents on the “Fast & Furious” program drew two dismissive paragraphs – one less paragraph than Time editor Richard Stengel took to boost Roberts as a chip off the old block of “John Marshall, the greatest of all Chief Justices” in an Editor’s Note:
CBS This Morning went after Governor Rick Scott (R-Fla.) on Thursday, throwing an Orlando Sentinel op-ed and a PolitiFact report at him and challenging him to answer just why ObamaCare wasn't the best option for his state to follow.
CBS questioned the governor over his opposition to Obamacare's expansion of Medicaid in Florida, and his refusal to follow the law. "But you have the third highest rate of residents without health insurance," CBS's Jeff Glor told Scott. "So I wonder if the ACA is not the right way to do things, what is?" [Video below the break.]
As NewsBusters reported Saturday, Politico has officially cut ties with White House correspondent Joe Williams for saying presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is more comfortable around "white folks."
Throwing caution to the wind, Salon editor at large Joan Walsh on Thursday doubled-down on these caustic comments writing, "It’s almost certainly a fact that Mitt Romney is more comfortable around white people":
Let's call a spade a spade: the arrogance, hypocrisy and racism of Salon's Joan Walsh knows no bounds.
On PBS's Tavis Smiley Show Monday, this so-called "editor at large" had the nerve to depict some Republicans as "a white, older base that doesn’t quite understand the way healthcare works" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In the wake of revelations that Chief Justice John Roberts switched his vote on the constitutionality of ObamaCare, former CBS journalist and Fox News contributor Marvin Kalb appeared on Tuesday's Fox & Friends and flat-out rejected the notion that the media influenced the Roberts opinion or that media influence, especially from left-wing networks, has any adverse impact on national politics.
Nevertheless, he squeezed in a comment stating that the Obamacare decision was “truly important” in his interview with Gretchen Carlson, and also said it pained him as a old CBS hand to slam CBS reporter Jan Crawford, but that's what he "reluctantly" did.
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer took a humorous poke at Barack Obama and Chief Justice John Roberts Monday.
During a Special Report discussion about the President recently begging for donations during a conference call aboard Air Force One, Krauthammer said, "If he is running low on money, what he ought to do is to call it a tax and send the IRS after it to go and get it, which I’m sure his lawyers will be able to find a way to do it, and then go find a Supreme Court justice who’ll uphold it."
CNN's Carol Costello told guest Bill Nye "The Science Guy" on Monday that climate change skeptics are "politicizing this issue" and "winning." Of course, the two did not admit to the possibility of man-made climate change believers doing the exact same thing.
"But the people who are politicizing this issue, they seem to be winning because not much is being done on the issue of climate change even though President Obama promised that, you know, back in the day, 2008," Costello said. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
When is a tax not a tax? When President Obama says it isn't, or when the Supreme Court says it is?
Obamacare was sold on several fraudulent lines. The president knows the country doesn't want to pay higher taxes, given the deplorable way their government spends the money. And so the administration packaged it as something different.
On Sunday's Face the Nation, fill-in host Norah O'Donnell simply let Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) air his Democratic talking points on ObamaCare while she challenged Republican Senator Tom Coburn (Okla.) over criticisms he made of the law.
O'Donnell asked simple questions of Schumer like "What's your reaction?" to Republican criticisms of ObamaCare, and "Mitt Romney says he is going to repeal this on day one of his presidency. Can he actually do that?"
In the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision that upheld the Affordable Care Act as constitutional under the taxing powers of Congress, the Obama administration can’t seem to call it a tax. Instead, they’re trying to peddle the “tax” as a penalty. White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew did his run through the Sunday morning talk shows with this entertaining spin. Even former Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos was unconvinced: “As you know, President Obama denied all along that this was a tax. Is he now prepared to defend it?”
Mr. Lew stuck to the "not a tax" spin: “I think we have to take a step back. What is in the law is a penalty. It starts by saying all Americans have a right to health insurance. For Americans who buy health insurance or who can't afford it and get it through a government program, there is no penalty.”
Norah O'Donnell kept safeguarding provisions of ObamaCare on Sunday's Face the Nation, daring Speaker John Boehner to oppose "protections for individuals" in the bill. She also asked if Mitt Romney has a "credibility problem" for opposing the law's individual mandate.
"But he [Romney] was for it before," O'Donnell insisted to Boehner. "Doesn't he have a credibility problem?" [Video below the break. Audio here.]
The Supreme Court's ruling in Obamacare v. the United States of America is yet another body blow to the U.S. Constitution's principle of limited government and the freedom tradition, but there is a major upside.
Despite President Obama's opposition to an individual mandate when he was debating Hillary Clinton during the Democratic presidential primaries and despite his postelection insistence that Obamacare's mandate does not constitute a tax, his lawyers insisted otherwise, and the Supreme Court bought it. So we have a law with enormous reach — one-seventh to one-sixth of the economy — having been fundamentally misrepresented to the American people from the beginning.
NewsBusters' associate editor Noel Sheppard spent part of his Sunday discussing with CNN's Don Lemon the media's coverage of last week's ObamaCare ruling by the Supreme Court.
Although the encounter was quite friendly, the two clearly didn't see eye to eye on how the press has handled this controversial matter in recent months (video follows with CNN transcript and commentary):
How cozy. Former Democratic operative turned television news host George Stephanopoulos used his ABC News platform on Sunday to celebrate, with Vicki Reggie Kennedy, ObamaCare’s Supreme Court victory. Stephanopoulos excitedly plugged his “special exclusive guest” on This Week, announcing: “We begin with something special. The first reaction on the ruling from Vicki Kennedy, the widow of Senator Ted Kennedy who fought for universal health care...”
A giddy Stephanopoulos conveyed how he’s vicariously living in the glory of the liberal triumph: “I can only imagine what it must have been like for you, at the moment you heard that the Supreme Court had decided.”
CBS News broke a huge story on Sunday's Face the Nation concerning the Supreme Court's Thursday ruling on ObamaCare.
According to Jan Crawford, CBS legal and political correspondent, Chief Justice John Roberts was initially going to strike down the individual mandate requiring citizens to buy health insurance, but changed his mind over the objections of the conservatives on the Court (video follows with transcript):
One of the key parts of Thursday's Supreme Court ruling regarding the President's healthcare bill was that the fine for not complying with the individual mandate must be considered a tax in order for it to be constitutional.
On CNN's State of the Union Sunday, host Candy Crowley didn't think this was a very important distinction (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):