ABC's World News on Tuesday night bemoaned the impact of conservatives and citizen journalists in derailing President Barack Obama's agenda. Pivoting from the reaction to Obama's address to students, anchor Charles Gibson observed “today's speech was really the latest target of some conservative groups taking on the President” and “their tactics are having an impact.”
Reporter Dan Harris asserted “the conservative echo chamber is not new, but,” he fretted, “this White House is operating in a vastly accelerated media environment where you no longer need to be in the presence of reporters to make news, as we saw with the health care furor at those town hall meetings.” Journalistic veteran Tom Rosenstiel marveled: “Today you can arrange that protest yourself, photograph it with a hand-held cell phone, and if you can then generate enough views of that video on YouTube, you can make something into national news.” That's because, Harris insisted, “the mainstream media love a good fight, even if the charges are unfounded.”
Though Harris acknowledged “some of the conservative complaints do play into larger concerns” about Obama, he relayed how “critics say the White House has been simply unprepared to deal with the ferocity of the conservative push-back.”
Former Governor Sarah Palin created quite a firestorm last month when she issued a statement concerning "death panels" hidden inside pending healthcare legislation.
As a result, she was asked to participate in the New York State Senate Aging Committee’s hearing regarding H.R. 3200, America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009.
On Tuesday, she sent her written testimony to Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz, the chairman of the committee.
Given how her last opinion on this matter was treated by Obama-loving media, it's going to be fascinating to see how this gets covered in the next 24 hours, especially with the President about to give an address to both Chambers of Congress:
Just as soon as "average Americans practice their First Amendment free speech rights to protest another outrageous liberal proposal," the liberal media "immediately go into full-on attack mode - against the American people" Media Research Center President Brent Bozell argued in a statement released this morning.
"Just as with the tea party protesters, and the socialized health care town hall protesters, the media are again attacking the American people for having the temerity to speak up," the NewsBusters publisher complained.
Mr. Bozell was addressing the vicious personal attacks members of the media have been making on parents objecting to the proposed Obama administration "lesson plan," which was to accompany a speech President Obama is delivering today to American children.
President Obama is still addressing the children, but in response to public outrage has withdrawn the Department of Education "lesson plan" which recommended among other things that teachers have their students "write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the President." As the Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol has pointed out, it is against the law for the Department of Education to hand down any sort of teaching materials. But rather than report on this, the leftist media are attacking parents.
Candidate Barack Obama promised a new era of bipartisanship in Washington if Americans put him in the White House.
Less than eight months after Inauguration Day, the New York Times has advised the President to ignore such idealism and ram through Congress a widely unpopular healthcare reform package without the support of even one Republican.
Irrespective of the dangerous precedent and the long-term political ramifications, the Times editorial board recommended the Democrats use a parliamentary manipulation to avoid a Senate filibuster (h/t Chuck Todd):
A funeral was held in Northern California Saturday to pay final respects for President Obama's healthcare reform.
Beginning in Pleasanton, a hearse carried a casket symbolizing HR3200 as well as the House-passed cap and trade bill.
Accompanied by a limousine and about 40 cars, the funeral procession began across the street from Rep. Jerry McNerney's (D-Cal.) office, travelling through Dublin, San Ramon, Danville, and Alamo, making a brief stop at Rep. Pete Stark's (D-Cal.) office before ending at the Lone Tree Cemetery in the Hayward hills.
Performing the stirring eulogy was Peter Richards (video embedded below the fold, slide presentation available here):
Since the recession began in December 2007, employers have shed about 7 million nonfarm jobs sending the unemployment rate to 9.7 percent, a 26-year high.
By contrast, the healthcare industry -- which according to Democrats and their media minions is in a state of crisis desperately needing reform -- has actually added 544,000 workers.
If we had an honest media, given the current debate over healthcare and the pending legislation in Congress, the following paragraph from this morning's announcement by the Labor Department would be an important component in every report about the August unemployment numbers:
A country boy can survive the Obama administration. Just ask Hank Williams, Jr.
The country music artist -- best known to millions of Americans regardless of their musical taste for his "Are You Ready For Some Football?" theme to Monday Night Football -- was profiled yesterday by Bill Lynch of the Charleston [W.V.] Gazette (h/t my NB colleague Tim Graham).
Lynch spent a considerable portion of his profile focused on Williams's politics, including his upcoming gig at a Labor Day TEA Party:
In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, a group of experts who care for the terminally ill claim that some patients are being wrongly judged as close to death. Under NHS guidance introduced across England to help doctors and medical staff deal with dying patients, they can then have fluid and drugs withdrawn and many are put on continuous sedation until they pass away. But this approach can also mask the signs that their condition is improving, the experts warn. As a result the scheme is causing a “national crisis” in patient care, the letter states. It has been signed palliative care experts including Professor Peter Millard, Emeritus Professor of Geriatrics, University of London, Dr Peter Hargreaves, a consultant in Palliative Medicine at St Luke’s cancer centre in Guildford, and four others.
As costs skyrocket under a public plan, isn't this inevitable?
What would Jesus do? Well, Ed Schultz thinks he knows - that is on health care reform at least.
Schultz, on his Sept. 2 MSNBC program, "The ED Show" told viewers he believed Jesus would vote for a government public option. That, he said, was to the dismay of some on religious right, or what he used the pejorative "Bible thumpers" to describe.
"Now, I have been referring to the health care reform deal as the real moral issue of our time," Schultz said. "I believe Jesus would vote yes for a public option, but some Bible thumpers don't see me eye to eye on this one."
Schultz later elaborated on his statement, likening "fixing health care" to a moral obligation.
"Rationing is already here," done by insurance companies, so why not "start rationing useless interventions right out of medical practice?" asks Newsweek's Sharon Begley in a September 2 "Web exclusive" entitled "Health-Care Rationing: Bring It On."
Begley made clear that her complaint is with how patients under the current health care structure can easily order up expensive tests (MRIs, CAT scans, etc.) that she argues are often times wasteful or unnecessarily adminstered (emphasis mine):
[L]et's figure out what treatments and diagnostic tests make a difference to people's health and longevity, and which are insanely overused to no good end. The latter is what we need to ration, restricting their use to the patients and conditions where they can make a difference or abandoning them altogether.
Begley continued with criticism that practically hinted that a government middleman would be better able to "ration" health care efficiently (emphasis mine):
On Monday, Jonah Goldberg at The Corner forwarded a shocking page from the Organizing for America website (mybarackobama.com) that promoted setting aside 9/11 as a day to call Senators to pass a Public Option as they “fight back against our own Right-Wing Domestic Terrorists.” They also suggest conservatives are "the heirs of yes, bin Laden."
Will the major media notice? So much for No-Drama Barack Obama uniting the country in hope and change. The Heritage Foundation blog The Foundry noticed that the Obama organizers pulled the page, as it now says: "INVALID EVENT URL: The URL you clicked references an event that does not exist. This event may have existed at one time but been subsequently deleted." The text is nothing less than jaw-dropping, as they describe a day of telephone activism directed at liberal Illinois Senators Dick Durbin and Roland Burris:
Our US Senators return to DC the Tues after Labor Day. That next FRIDAY, Sep 11, is Patriot Day, designated in memory of the nearly three thousand who died in the 9/11 attacks.
All 50 States are coordinating in this – as we fight back against our own Right-Wing Domestic Terrorists who are subverting the American Democratic Process, whipped to a frenzy by their Fox Propaganda Network ceaselessly re-seizing power for their treacherous leaders.
Katharine Seelye, a reporter on the Obama-care health overhaul beat for the New York Times, filed Monday from a town hall in Spartanburg, S.C., that featured conservative Republican Sen. Jim DeMint among supportive constituents who oppose Obama-care in ways Seelye finds unseemly blunt, misleading, and anti-Obama.
In "Fighting Health Care Overhaul, and Proud of It," Seelye looked askance at DeMint's "ideological purity," chided him for "stoking anger" and for not knocking down "misimpressions" about Obama-care -- even though the Times itself seems less convinced that those conservative "myths," like the outcry over "death panels," are totally without merit.
Senator Jim DeMint, the South Carolina Republican who predicted that President Obama's effort to overhaul the health care system would become his "Waterloo," is doing his best to make that happen.
Taking questions from a friendly crowd of 500 people here the other day, Mr. DeMint did little to correct their misimpressions about health care legislation but rather reinforced their worst fears.
When one man said the major House bill would give the government electronic access to bank accounts, Mr. DeMint told him the bill was never about health care. "This is about more government control," he declared. "If it was about health care, we could get it done in a couple of weeks."
The text box reinforced DeMint's conservatism: "Gaining support by promoting ideological purity."
Last month, one of the nation's leading advocates for ObamaCare published a playbook containing detailed instructions for members to counter "the 'tea-bagger' protesters and right-wing activists" showing up at town hall meetings.
On Monday, a representative of Health Care for America Now was caught on tape actually coaching people on how to block opposing viewpoints at Rep. Jan Schakowsky's (D-Ill.) town hall meeting in Skokie, Illinois.
Given all the attention that's been given to such gatherings the past four weeks, one would think an honest media would be interested in this video (h/t Hot Air via NBer candance):
With “Filling the VOID” as the on-screen heading, Monday's NBC Nightly News, without any consideration for how Massachusetts Democrats blocked the Governor's interim appointment power, fretted over the loss to Democrats of Ted Kennedy's Senate seat as a health care vote approaches. “Less than 48 hours after Ted Kennedy was laid to rest at Arlington Cemetery, the political reality of his vacant Senate seat has set in,” Chuck Todd warned.
Though you could argue Kennedy's plight left the seat empty all year so far, Todd explained: “Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick set January 19th, 2010 for the special election, leaving the potential for the seat to be vacant for five months. To avoid a lengthy vacancy, next week the Massachusetts legislature begins debating a change in the law to give the Governor the power to appoint an interim Senator, a power most Governors in other states already have. It was a wish Senator Kennedy himself and his family made known directly to Massachusetts' lawmakers.” Todd, however, failed to point out that in a crass 2004 political maneuver urged by Kennedy, Bay State Democrats changed the law so then-Governor Mitt Romney, a Republican, could not replace John Kerry if he had won the presidency.
Remember when Michael Moore depicted the United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS) as a superior health care system in his 2007 documentary "Sicko"?
That romanticizing on the silver screen might have seemed like a good idea for the American society, but according to Lord Ara Darzi, it's not ideal for the United States. Darzi, a former British Health Minister, appeared on CNBC's Aug. 31 "Street Signs" to defend the NHS from attacks made in a TV spot, which had been rejected by ABC and NBC for airing because they were "too partisan."
"Street Signs' host Erin Burnett presented the hypothetical question to Darzi that if the U.S. would ever go to a single-payer system, would stifle innovation and would that mean rationing of care. According to Darzi - those decisions are made on a local level.
That's the advice PBS host Bill Moyers had for President Barack Obama in an appearance on HBO's August 28 "Real Time with Bill Maher." According to the former press secretary for President Lyndon B. Johnson, a defeat on health care/health insurance reform would do the left more good than crafting some sort of compromise.
"I mean, I would rather see Barack Obama go down fighting for vigorous, strong principled public insurance, than to lose with a bill - look, BusinessWeek had a cover story last week, ‘The Insurers are Winning,'" Moyers said.
This is a little old, but still strong brew: Katie Couric's TV commentary attacking the town-hall protesters for "disturbing attitudes and emotions," emitting the sound of "fear and frankly ignorance."
At a town meeting hosted by Senator Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania resident stood up to say that the health care debate has "awakened the sleeping giant." Not exactly.
What's it's done, it seems, is stirred a hornets nest, and uncovered disturbing attitudes and emotions that have nothing to do with policy.
Are we really still debating health care when a man brings a handgun to a church where the President is speaking?
How does a swastika spray-painted on a Congressman's office further a discussion about Medicare?
These are tough and challenging times and lots of people are scared about their jobs and the economy. But we can't let fear and frankly ignorance -- drown out the serious debate that needs to take place -- about an issue that affects the lives of millions of people.
As Barack Obama and his media minions try to force healthcare reform down the throats of the American people, the President has repeatedly said that a public option would increase competition for private insurance companies and thereby drive down prices.
This apparently wasn't his view in 2006 when he said the expansion of medicare to include prescription drug coverage for seniors was "the worst of both worlds: we've got the price gouging of the private sector and the bureaucracy of the public sector."
One would think that in the middle of the current debate about healthcare reform an honest media would share what then Sen. Obama told CBS's Bob Schieffer on June 14, 2006, and that the President would be asked what he meant back then as well as what changed his mind about such a combination (video embedded below the fold courtesy Naked Emperor News):
An excerpt of Times Watch's latest "Quotes of Note," featuring the most biased things written or spoken by reporters and columnists for the New York Times.
"Almost Entirely White and Irritable Crowd" of "Angry" Obama-Care Protesters
"They got up before dawn in large numbers with angry signs and American flag T-shirts, and many were seething with frustration at issues that went far beyond overhauling health care....Ms. Abram described herself as a stay-at-home mother from Lebanon, and in many ways she was representative of the almost entirely white and irritable crowd, most of whom were from the area. Many of the union members who showed up to support health care reform did not arrive early enough to get into the auditorium at the Harrisburg Area Community College, and thus were largely not represented among the 30 questioners called on by Mr. Specter. It was the angriest people who got in line first." -- Ian Urbina and Katharine Seelye, August 12.
Pro-Obama-Care "Grassroots Advocates" Controlled by DNC
"Under the aegis of the Democratic National Committee, various labor unions and grassroots advocates plan more than 1,800 events, including petition drives, phone-a-thons and rallies over the next two weeks." -- Reporter Katharine Seelye on the "Prescriptions" blog at nytimes.com, August 26.
What a Difference a Week Makes in Health Care Debate
"The stubborn yet false rumor that President Obama's health care proposals would create government-sponsored 'death panels' to decide which patients were worthy of living seemed to arise from nowhere in recent weeks. Advanced even this week by Republican stalwarts including the party's last vice-presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, and Charles E. Grassley, the veteran Iowa senator, the nature of the assertion nonetheless seemed reminiscent of the modern-day viral Internet campaigns that dogged Mr. Obama last year, falsely calling him a Muslim and questioning his nationality." -- Lead sentence to the August 13 front-page story on "death panels" by Jim Rutenberg and Jackie Calmes.
"White House officials and Democrats in Congress say the fears of older Americans about possible rationing of health care are based on myths and falsehoods. But Medicare beneficiaries and insurance counselors say the concerns are not entirely irrational." -- Lead to health care reporter Robert Pear's August 21 story.
ABC displayed “Battle Cry” on screen, beneath HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, as anchor Charles Gibson teased Thursday's World News: “Health care reformers hope to win one for Teddy, but the opposition is largely unmoved.” Gibson introduced the story by asserting “some of his allies in Congress harbor hopes that his death might generate a change of heart among opponents,” but it may not come to be: “If that is to be the case, there are few signs of it yet.”
Reporter Jonathan Karl noted continued opposition amongst those at town hall meetings, yet ran soundbites from three Democrats who demonstrated how “many prominent Democrats are hoping to turn an outpouring of goodwill into political magic.” For instance, “the most senior Senator, Robert Byrd, said yesterday, 'my heart and soul weeps' at the loss of the Senator Kennedy and called for naming the health care bill after him, a view wildly held b by Democrats.”
Karl recalled “the tactic has worked before. After the assassination of John Kennedy, President Johnson invoked his memory to revive the long-stalled civil rights bill.” This year, however, while “win one for Teddy” is “already becoming a rallying cry here on Capitol Hill, Karl concluded, “the divisions run deep and will not be easily overcome, even with all that obvious good will for Senator Ted Kennedy.”
NBC's Ann Curry, on Thursday's "Today" show, asked Senator John McCain if "the death of Senator Kennedy" would "be the catalyst" to pass health care reform, but when the Arizona senator responded that it may change the partisan way in which the Democrats have had "no real negotiations" with the GOP to get it passed, Curry demanded that McCain and the Republicans should be the ones to relent as she pushed McCain to "cross the aisle." McCain said he was "willing," but reiterated to Curry, "There's been no opportunity to do so," as seen in the following exchange:
ANN CURRY: Well, one of the next battles before Congress, which is one that, what mattered really most to the Senator, is of course about health care reform. And you faced a lot of rancor, some anger yesterday at a town hall meeting. What do you say about this idea? Could, in fact, the death of Senator Kennedy be the catalyst that might spark the possibility that this actually might go somewhere, as it doesn't seem to be right now? [audio available here]
At the top of the 8AM ET hour of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Russ Mitchell wondered if Ted Kennedy’s death could "spur Congress to pass a health care reform bill?" Correspondent Nancy Cordes answered that question: "Kennedy’s death, in a way, gives new life to health care legislation, which has really taken a beating the past few weeks at town halls across the country."
Cordes went on to declare: "Supporters of health care reform say they’re going to fight even harder to achieve Kennedy’s dying wish, universal healthcare. With Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia even suggesting that the legislation be named after the late great lawmaker."
Earlier on the show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed Utah Senator and Kennedy friend Orrin Hatch, and asked about the "dying wish" of the Massachusetts Senator: "I’d be willing to bet that he would be smiling down on the capital if Republicans and Democrats could finally compromise to fulfill his dream of health care reform. Do you think that Senator Kennedy’s passing could be the impetus that could finally make that happen, or do you think that the only bridge builder who could have done that is gone now?"
The announcement of Sen. Ted Kennedy's death came at 2 a.m. Eastern on Aug. 26 and a little over 15 hours later, two prominent liberal voices were scheming as to how the president and other Democratic leaders could use his passing to advance a political agenda.
Huffington Post editor Arianna Huffington appeared on MSNBC host Ed Schultz's Aug. 26 program and was asked by Schultz if it somehow could be used to push "real reform" for health care.
"The passing of Ted Kennedy - could this be a rallying cry for progressives to carry this fight through and to see real reform and health care in this country?" Schultz said. "Because, of course, I think everybody on the left knows that this was his passion, this was his cause."
Proffering how “national sorrow has created political momentum before,” Wednesday's NBC Nightly News devoted a story to the hope of Democrats that Senator Ted Kennedy's passing will propel ObamaCare to victory. Noting how Kennedy was “passionate” about more government in health care, from Hyannis anchor Brian Williams proposed “ironically, the fact that he did not live long enough to see a possible overhaul of the system” raises the question: “Will this be the very thing that might break the log jam over getting it done? Or not?”
With “final Fight” as the on-screen heading, reporter Kelly O'Donnell asserted that “looking forward, the emotional impact of Kennedy's passing could become a factor now” as “Democrats are saying respect for Kennedy could change minds now.” Leading into a clip of President Lyndon Johnson using President John Kennedy's assassination to push for civil rights legislation, O'Donnell delivered the “national sorrow has created political momentum before” formulation, recalling:
Within months the Civil Rights Act passed with young Senator Kennedy's help. Today, a similar suggestion from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “Ted Kennedy's dream of quality health care for all Americans will be made real this year because of his leadership and his inspiration.” And outside groups were even more direct. The seniors lobby, AARP, wrote: “As Congress seems poised to act this fall, Senator Kennedy will no doubt be watching.” And the service workers union said: “Let us continue his cause. Let us take action this year to pass health care reform.”
NBC's Brian Williams, during NBC News' live coverage of the President's remarks about the passing of Ted Kennedy on Wednesday, cited what sounded like a spam e-mail rallying support for health care reform, as a way to remember the Democratic Senator. Quoting from his in-box Williams suggested: "In lieu of flowers, pass health care reform." Responding to a question from "Today" co-host Ann Curry on the effect Kennedy's death will have on the chances of a health care bill passing through Congress, Williams offered the following "theories":
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Number one, that it could lose momentum with the death of its great champion. The other theory, of course, is that in the memory of Senator Kennedy, perhaps it will get a needed shot. There is already an e-mail circulating that I've received today that reads simply, "In lieu of flowers, pass health care reform." [audio available here]
The following exchange was aired during the August 26, "Today" show: