Introducing a report on passage of the ObamaCare reconciliation bill on Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez referred to a couple upcoming rescue stories on the show and cheerfully remarked: "And speaking of rescues, the Democrats have rescued health care reform, once on death's door, after putting the final touches, finally, on the sweeping legislation yesterday."
At the top of the show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "Health care reform is a done deal after Democrats in Congress make final changes to the historic legislation." In the later report by correspondent Nancy Cordes, an on-screen headline read: "Done Deal; Obama Health Care Plan Gets Final Approval From Congress."
Cordes played a clip of Democratic Congressman Robert Andrews giving a glowing description of the bill: "Tonight the underdogs won. The people who have been abused by their insurance companies, turned down because they had asthma, or had their policies canceled because they got cancer, they won." She framed the GOP as against helping such people: "Republican opposition in the House and Senate was unanimous."
Don't blame Mika—she was just obeying White House orders . . .
When Joe Scarborough tried this morning to comment on Pres. Obama's latest ObamaCare oration, Mika Brzezinski unleashed a series of seemingly serious kicks at his ankles. Having successfully silenced her sidekick, Mika proceeded to read off her Blackberry a statement extolling the glories of what PBO has vouchsafed onto a grateful people.
At one point, Mika said "I have some talking points from the White House." Being the naive and trusting person I am, I assumed Mika was kidding. Except that, upon a bit of Googling, it appears that she wasn't . . . [H/t reader Pam M.]
An evening after all three broadcast network newscasts led by advancing the Democratic narrative of violent ObamaCare critics, a storyline intended to discredit conservatives as all gratuitously named Sarah Palin as a culprit, on Thursday night the same programs weren't so interested and only stumbled into the suddenly “bipartisan” victims – despite fresh revelations of threats and violence aimed at Republicans who voted no.
“It's getting ugly as anger over health care reform erupts into some over-the-top rhetoric,” Brian Williams announced at the top of Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, arguing “the debate over health care reform has gone too far. It's now veered into threats of violence,” citing “ten Democrats who have been threatened.” Incredibly, on Thursday night, Williams still portrayed opponents as the only ones with miscreants amongst their ranks:
While the White House continues to celebrate its largest-ever legislative victory, opponents of health care reform have reacted to the final vote with anger, a few of them with threats of violence.
Two stories later, only after reporter Kelly O'Donnell had noted that “just before the Senators cast their votes, they paused to honor the late Ted Kennedy,” did Williams arrive at the threats “reported by Democrats and Republicans.” Williams:
Newsweek's Liz White took to her magazine's The Gaggle blog today to decry how conservatives critical of the Democratic health care bill have slapped it with "the ominous-sounding term ‘Obamacare.'"
You see, most mainstream media sources only use the term when quoting opponents of the bill or when "carefully placed in quotations or alongside an explanation that Obamacare is how opposition refers to the bill."
This prompted me to investigate how Newsweek dealt with the term "Reaganomics" during the Gipper's early presidency compared to how Newsweek's print pages have used the term "ObamaCare" thus far. The results are telling.
A Nexis search yielded only one reference to ObamaCare from January 20, 2009 through March 25, 2010: a Michael Hirsh article that said that in 1994, "as now, the Republicans were trying to exploit a backlash against big government. It was Hillarycare in '94; now it's Obamacare."
By contrast, a Nexis search for "Reaganomics" from January 20, 1981 through March 25, 1982 yielded 65 hits, many of which had the term Reaganomics used by a Newsweek staffer himself and in a manner to cast the term in a negative light.
I've included some examples below, including some by journalists who are still working in the media today and actively cheering on ObamaCare:
Not content with simply reporting on threats against lawmakers who voted for ObamaCare, the liberal media has taken it upon itself (with a bit of direction from the Democratic Party) to blame the Tea Party and the GOP.
The coverage stands in stark contrast to the litany of similar instances involving conservatives and Republicans. They were treated as isolated incidents, if discussed at all.
CNN's Rick Sanchez certainly got the memo. On his show yesterday, he accused "crazy talk show hosts" and the Republican Party of inciting violence against lawmakers who voted for ObamaCare. He took to Twitter later that night to ask, "are our fundamentalist zealots different than the ones we fight in afghan and iraq?"
At the top of Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez proclaimed: "The health care debate gets ugly as Democrats who voted for reform report violence and death threats." In a report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes promoted left-wing talking points blaming the GOP: "Democrats accuse Republicans of stoking the anger with violent rhetoric and imagery."
As one example of the threats against Democrats, Cordes played phone messages left for Michigan Congressman Bart Stupak: "You and your family are scum....We think you're a devil....I hope you die." However, the Early Show failed to mention any of the threatening phone calls made to Stupak last week, by liberals upset over the pro-life Democrat still being on the fence over the abortion language in ObamaCare. As NewsBusters' Tim Graham pointed out, CBS's own Political Hotsheet blog reported: "Stupak...says his life has become a 'living hell' because of the debate....'All the phones are unplugged at our house – tired of the obscene calls and threats,' Stupak said in an interview with The Hill."
Citing more examples, Cordes noted that Democrats "point to Sarah Palin's Facebook page, which uses cross hairs to denote districts where vulnerable Democrats voted for health care reform. 'Don't retreat, instead, reload,' Palin told fellow conservatives on Twitter." In addition, a picture of the Republican National Committee website appeared on screen, which featured an image of Nancy Pelosi surrounded by flames and the words 'Fire Pelosi'. On Tuesday, Rodriguez asked RNC Chair Michael Steele if such imagery was "a little bit extreme."
Picking up the Democratic line that her MSNBC colleagues started repeating yesterday, NBC's Ann Curry, on Thursday's Today show, continually harangued Senator John McCain about Republican lawmakers "encouraging the violence" against Democrats, and even urged the Arizona senator to condemn his former running mate Sarah Palin. After Curry recounted that the former Alaska governor had "posted a map highlighting weak Democratic districts...with a crosshair symbol" she pressed McCain: "Do you know recommend that your party use less incendiary language?" When McCain responded that terms like "targeted" and "battleground" are just part of the "political lexicon" Curry persisted: "These are very dangerous times. Is this the language that we should be hearing today?" [audio available here]
The following is a portion of the combative back and forth between Curry and McCain that was aired in the 7am half hour of Thursday's show:
In the lead story of Thursday's National section, New York Times congressional correspondent (and Times Watch favorite) Carl Hulse quickly put the Times's stamp of approval on Democrat attempts to discredit anti-Obama-care protesters as violent racists in “After Health Vote, Democrats Are Threatened With Violence.” He even drug Internet images from the RNC and Sarah Palin into the mix. By contrast, the Times was conspicuously quiet during the 2004 presidential campaign concerning vandalism of G.O.P. campaign offices.
Hulse detailed the Democratic message of the week -- violent conservative protesters -- with no hint of how the party is exploiting the anecdotes of violence (some of which have not been documented). Interestingly, he includes Rep. Bart Stupak on the list as having “reported receiving threatening phone calls,” though Hulse fails to say whether they transpired before or after Stupak caved in and voted in favor of the health “reform” legislation.
Democratic lawmakers have received death threats and been the victims of vandalism because of their votes in favor of the health care bill, lawmakers and law enforcement officials said Wednesday, as the Congressional debate over the issue headed toward a bitter and divisive conclusion.
The network evening news programs on ABC, CBS and NBC have also mentioned those "tax breaks" for small businesses in at least four stories in the past month.
ABC's Diane Sawyer told viewers March 19 that "the day he signs this bill, small businesses will get tax credits to spur more coverage of more employees." She didn't mention any of the tax increases on individuals or businesses.
Sounding more like MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann than impartial newscasts, ABC, CBS and NBC all led Wednesday night by legitimizing Democratic talking points meant to discredit critics of the just-passed health care bill. “Opposition to health care turns menacing,” ABC’s Diane Sawyer warned. CBS teased with audio clips -- “Baby-murdering scumbag,”“You are a dirtbag” and “I hope you die” -- as fill-in anchor Maggie Rodriguez cited “threats of violence against Democrats who voted for health care reform, even as public support for the plan is growing.”
On NBC, Brian Williams teased: “It's getting ugly as anger over health care reform erupts into some over-the-top rhetoric, including threats now against members of Congress.” He opened by declaring: “It can now be said that the debate over health care reform has gone too far. It's now veered into threats of violence.” Reporter Kelly O’Donnell relayed how “Democrats accuse Republicans of stirring a hostile mood” before Savannah Guthrie rued “Washington's epic 14-month battle over health care has exposed an angry side of America.” She recounted:
Wrapped around the brick that smashed the door of Democratic party headquarters in Rochester, New York, a note with the Barry Goldwater quote: ‘Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice.’ On Twitter, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin told followers, ‘Don't retreat, reload.’ While an Alabama man advocated armed uprising....At a conservative Tea Party protest at the Capitol this weekend, some demonstrators hurled racially and sexually-charged insults at members of the Congress.
CBS’s Nancy Cordes dutifully reported “Democrats accuse their GOP colleagues of inciting such acts with inflammatory rhetoric” as “Democrats complain Sarah Palin is also using violent words and imagery. On Twitter, she urges conservatives: ‘Don't retreat. Instead, reload.’ And the Web site of her political action committee posts bull's-eyes on districts of vulnerable Democrats.”
On Wednesday, both NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America exclusively cited the latest Gallup/USA Today poll, which shows significantly more public support for ObamaCare than other recent polls. Both programs failed to mention several polls that continued to show public opposition to the massive legislation.
NBC Today co-host Meredith Vieira used the Gallup poll to grill Republican Senator Jim DeMint, suggesting the tide of public opinion had turned in favor of the bill: "by a margin of nine percent, Americans say it was a good thing that Congress passed this bill. Half describe their reaction as enthusiastic or pleased. 48 percent called the bill a good first step. So who is out of touch with the public? The Democrats or the Republicans?" DeMint replied: "we would expect hype with – with all the hype and propaganda – that we would get a bump....I don't think the anger's gonna go away. I think you're gonna see it continue to build."
On Good Morning America, fill-in co-host Bill Weir noted the poll after Democratic strategist James Carville touted it: "The new USA Today Gallup poll say 50 percent, or just under, 49 percent, say passing this bill is a good thing. 40 percent call it a bad thing." Weir then turned to Republican strategist Kevin Madden and wondered: "Those who are opposed to it, though, are very angry. Will that be enough? Will there be enough steam left in that anger come November?"
During a segment headlined: "Health Care Extremes, Obama Celebrates New Bill As Right Wing Rants" NBC's Kelly O'Donnell, on Wednesday's Today show, painted a stark contrast of cheery Obamacare supporters versus "conservative voices" full of "anger" and "hateful words" that are being provoked by Rush Limbaugh who is adding "fuel to the fire."
O'Donnell began her piece with the Democrats celebrating: "Even Washington veterans wanted a keepsake from a ceremony that may define the Obama years. And to victors, go the pens - 22 of them," but then quickly turned to running clips of protestors and conservative talk show hosts "turning up the volume":
At first glance it appeared Today viewers were in for a balanced segment with NBC's Meredith Vieira interviewing both Republican Senator Jim DeMint and Democratic Senator Dick Durbin about the health care bill bill on Wednesday's show. However Vieira saved her most slanted questions for DeMint as she mocked his earlier prediction of an Obamacare defeat being his Waterloo, "Is it now your party's Waterloo?" and after selectively citing one poll that showed a favorable view of the bill questioned which party was really "out of touch with the public?"
First up, in addition to Vieira throwing DeMint's previous "Waterloo" comments back in his face, she included (most likely) David Frum's criticism at DeMint:
VIEIRA: Senator DeMint, if I could start with you, back in July you said, "If we're able to stop Obama on this," meaning this health care reform bill, "it will be his Waterloo, it will break him." Well, the bill is now law and a former speech writer for former President George W. Bush has said Republicans messed up big by adopting the "Hell no!" approach to this bill. So do you still feel it is the President's Waterloo or is it now your party's Waterloo?
During the Bush years, the news media were the promoters of protest, the champions of dissent. Denouncing the president as a brain-damaged warmonger was the most patriotic thing you could do (just ask the Dixie Chicks), and it was guaranteed to please the press.
On MSNBC before the Iraq War in 2003, David Shuster elevated the "anti-war" movement as the equivalent of the United States military, only with a higher morality: "The size of the demonstrators, at least here, at least in Europe, seems to underscore that there are now perhaps two world superpowers," he told Chris Matthews. "There’s the United States and then there are those millions of people who took to the streets opposing U.S. policy."
My, how times – and standards – change. On the weekend of the vote for a massive government intervention in the health-insurance market, these same reporters had a different take. The Tea Party protesters were not going to be hailed for their courageous and patriotic use of their free time. They were going to be smeared for daring to be.
New York Times columnist Charles Blow and MSNBC contributor Mike Barnicle traded liberal talking points like Topps baseball cards on today’s “Morning Joe.” Confident the American people care more about eliminating preexisting conditions and expanding health insurance entitlements than the $569.2 billion tax increase and the $1.2 trillion price tag, the journalists failed to substantiate their claims with anything more than their liberal impulses.
“Most people want what they have in this bill or more,” insisted Blow. “We cannot let Republicans take over that talking point, which is that most people don’t want this bill somehow because it is too liberal. That’s just a lie. That is just a lie.”
Really? The American people don’t think the largest tax increase in American history is too liberal? The American people don’t think an unprecedented expansion of government control in the health insurance industry is too liberal? Blow’s failure to back up his assertion renders it laughable.
Getting carried away with her enthusiasm, Diane Sawyer opened ABC's World News on Tuesday night by proclaiming: “As of today, it is the law of the land that every man, woman and child in America will have health care coverage.” CBS's Harry Smith, however, filling in for Katie Couric, led by reporting the bill President Obama signed “will ensure that 94 percent of Americans have health insurance, the closest the nation has ever come to universal coverage.”
Later, Smith displayed Obama's signature as he trumpeted: “This is what history looks like, as it came from the hand of President Obama today with 22 different pen strokes comprising his signature.” (See screen shot after the jump)
Sawyer couldn't resist reminding viewers of the “Kennedy Legacy” (the on-screen tag) as she highlighted a photo of his son's grave side note: “You heard the President pay tribute to Senator Ted Kennedy, who devoted his career to health care reform. But there was another quiet tribute at the Senator's grave. A note left by his son, Congressman Patrick Kennedy. It said simply: 'Dad -- the unfinished business is done.'”
Even before ObamaCare passed, on CBS's Sunday Morning reporter Tracy Smith touted the bill as the fulfillment of a century of liberal efforts: "After months of rancor in the streets, and histrionics in the halls of Congress, the vote takes place in just a few hours....if it feels like this long, angry, divisive debate over American health care has gone on practically forever – the fact is, it has."
Throughout the segment, Smith spoke with left-wing Brown University Professor James Morone, who began by lamenting how much of an obstacle the Constitution has been in achieving nationalized health care: "The founding fathers didn't want to make it easy. And they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams." As Smith began to recite the list of presidents who attempted implementing different proposals, Morone later explained: "Why don't we have it? One word: Congress. We've organized Congress in a way to make it very, very difficult."
In concluding the segment, Smith proclaimed: "Earlier this year, the President said, 'We are close to the summit of the mountain.' Whether or not he reaches that goal will be decided in today's vote." Morone took it a few steps further: "If they get it through, Obama's done something that Roosevelt couldn't do, that Kennedy couldn't do, Clinton, Nixon. Obama becomes, in history, a quite major figure, whatever else happens in the rest of his administration, or he becomes a minor figure. All in one day."
In Tuesday's front-page "political memo" in the New York Times, "For G.O.P., United Stand Has Drawbacks, Too," chief political reporter Adam Nagourney, like much of the mainstream media, used Republican critic David Frum to represent the responsible "conservative" wing of the party to bash lack of Republican support for Obama-style health care reform. Frum has blamed talk radio and Fox News for Republican defeat on ABC News and other outlets, as noted by MRC's Brent Baker.
Nagourney's front-page editorializing began in the very first paragraph, accusing the G.O.P. of misleading the public about the health plan (as if anyone currently truly knows what the bill will do):
Passage of the health care legislation challenges the heart of the Republicans' strategy this year: To present a unified opposition to big Democratic ideas, in this case expressed in a stream of bristling anger and occasional mischaracterizations of what the bill would do.
After admitting that Republicans feel optimistic about their electoral chances in November, Nagourney quoted at length the media's newest favorite Republican, David Frum, a Republican writer who has devoted much of his time lately to railing against Fox News and talk radio conservatives.
And in a week when Democrats are celebrating the passage of a historic piece of legislation,Republicans find themselves again being portrayed as the party of no, associated with being on the losing side of an often acrid debate and failing to offer a persuasive alternative agenda.
The crescendo of bigotry by the left-wing media against the Tea Party movement reached a disgusting pinnacle yesterday with MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann indicting the entire movement as being homophobic racists based on the actions of a few fringe protestors.
The media coverage from other networks - particularly ABC and CBS - the past few days has followed suit, attributing to the millions of Americans who fiercely oppose ObamaCare the disgraceful outbursts of a few.
In response, Media Research Center President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell issued the following statement today:
Chris Matthews could have a future in comedy if only his funniest moments weren't unintentional.
Here's today's knee-slapper: The Washington Post is not ideologically liberal in its editorials [MP3 audio available here].
Matthews made that pronouncement today during live coverage shortly after the conclusion of the ObamaCare signing ceremony. The "Hardball" host's comment followed MSNBC correspondent Savannah Guthrie's observation that ObamaCare is a "Rorschach test" that Democrats and Republicans will respond to along ideological lines in the run-up to the midterm elections in November:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me go to Jonathan Capehart on that, because he has to write editorials for the Washington Post, which is kind of hard to read ideologically these days.
In an interview with Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez touted the signing of ObamaCare into law: "the Senate bill...becomes law today. You're going to be stuck with a bill you don't like." She then wondered: "What if the catastrophic scenario that you've been warning about doesn't play out?"
Rodriguez referred to an interview that her fellow co-host Harry Smith had just concluded with White House advisor David Axelrod and asked: "What if, as David Axelrod suggests, now that it's a reality and people start to see the benefits, they actually like it?" Steele replied: "David Axelrod didn't talk about the $506 billion that's being taken out of Medicare....He didn't talk about the $500 billion in new taxes that are going to be imposed on those small businesses....there's a lot in this bill that have yet to be revealed to the American people. And when it's further revealed, it'll be less – less liked."
After Steele's response, Rodriguez felt the need to incredulously repeat: "If it turns out to be the catastrophe that you are predicting." She then criticized the RNC for being too "extreme" in its opposition: "I looked on the RNC website this morning. I have to say, I was surprised by what I saw. The home page shows a big photograph of Nancy Pelosi and in huge block letters it says 'Fire Pelosi' and she is against a backdrop of flames....Isn't this a little bit extreme?...What can you accomplish with this?" A still shot of the RNC website appeared on screen (see picture below). Rodriguez failed to point that in the latest CBS News poll, Nancy Pelosi only has an 11% approval rating.
Steele dismissed Rodriguez's characterization: "Actually, I tamed it down. You know, the reality of it is I don't know why you're surprised. Nancy Pelosi is the architect of the demise, in my view, of one-sixth of our economy. She should be fired for her failure to serve the interests of the American people."
On the day after the historic healthcare reform vote in the House of Representatives, CNN's Rick Sanchez decided to use his interview with Congressman Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) to bash former Alaska governor Sarah Palin.
After spending a few minutes getting the outspoken Floridian's views of what happened in the House Sunday, Sanchez moved on to what he and his producers must have felt was a more important topic: "Let me ask you about something that just went on between you and Sarah Palin. You got into a little bit of a scuffle recently."
Moments later, Sanchez said, "Well, you came back and you called her a 'Alaskan dingbat.' Did you really say that?" (video embedded below the fold with transcript):
The VAT is a consumption tax that is placed on a product whenever value is added at a stage of production and at final sale. For example, as Investopedia.com explains, "When a television is built by a company in Europe the manufacturer is charged a VAT on all of the supplies they purchase for producing the television. Once the television reaches the shelf, the consumer who purchases it must pay the VAT that applies to him or her."
Now that health care reform has actually been passed by Congress, the options of stopping it are growing more and more limited. According to syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer, this expensive unfunded liability won't likely be undone in the Supreme Court.
Nancy Pelosi: you lie! Chris Hayes didn't take to the floor of the House to call the Speaker out. But the Washington editor of The Nation did "totally agree" when Joe Scarborough described as "a lie" Pelosi's claims that insurance companies hate ObamaCare. Added Hayes: "I think that's a completely disingenuous statement by Nancy Pelosi."
The pair were reacting to a clip of Pelosi's interview yesterday with Diane Sawyer in which the Speaker said of House Minority Leader John Boehner that "some people will do anything for the insurance companies." Pelosi cast the bill as tough regulation of the insurance industry.
Scarborough's point, in which Hayes concurred, was that far from punishing insurance companies, the bill that Pelosi piloted through Congress gave them the biggest prize of all: a law forcing all Americans to buy their product.
Appearing on Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC analyst Howard Fineman – also of Newsweek – dismissed Republican promises of working to repeal ObamaCare, suggesting that because it would be nearly impossible to have the numbers in Congress to do so after the next election, Republicans are merely using the issue as a fundraising and political ploy: "This isn`t about mathematics, Keith, it`s about theology – and fundraising, as you pointed out. ... But the Republicans aren`t interested in fixing anything. They`re interested in holding out this kind of almost anti-messianic hope that they`re somehow going to be able to repeal the thing."
Fineman also argued that because the ObamaCare bill does not include either the government-run "public option" or a single-payer system, that in reality it is a "preservation and enhancement, if you will, of the existing system."
As he listed factors that helped Democrats successfully pass ObamaCare, Fineman at one point seemed to make Olbermann a little nervous that some would tie the "birther" conspiracy theory in with his contention that President Obama "comes from a country of long-distance runners and was one," as he credited Obama with "persistence."
Looking at the state of both parties after President Obama’s health bill win in the House, ABC’s Terry Moran elevated the view of “prominent conservative” David Frum, author a year ago of Newsweek’s “Why Rush is Wrong” cover story, who blamed Rush Limbaugh and Fox News for what he’s dubbed the GOP’s “Waterloo.” On Nightline, Moran contended “anger, stoking it, expressing it, riding it...was the Republican strategy to defeat health care. And over the weekend all that anger got ugly, as some Democratic Members of Congress were called vile, racial and anti-gay slurs.”
But, he warned, “in the wake of the Democrats’ victory, some Republicans are not sure all that anger makes good politics,” as if Limbaugh and other conservative leaders advocated yelling the “slurs.” Moran relayed how “Frum says the real leadership of the Republican Party during the course of the health care battle was not to be found in the halls of Congress, but on the air waves” since “it was talk radio and Fox News, Frum argues, that drove the GOP strategy.” Moran paraphrased Frum’s take:
It sounds like you're saying that the Glenn Becks, Rush Limbaughs, hijacked the Republican Party and drove it to a defeat?