Conveniently tucked away at the end of a column about liberal bloggers was an admission from Time magazine's Joe Klein that the Senate's healthcare bill would transfer wealth from upper class Americans to the working poor.
Apparently Klein didn't get the memo about denying the presence of socialism in the Democrats' plan.
In a piece published last Wednesday called "The Left's Idiocy on Health Reform," Klein expressed concern that the far left, angry at the bill for not being socialist enough, would stop supporting it. The goal of the column was to convince ardent liberals to embrace the Senate bill as a matter of loyalty to their party.
President Obama's radical ambitions cannot survive without money and organizing from the nutroots, which prompted Klein to launch a massive guilt bomb in an effort to win them back. He slipped into full-blown talking point mode as he made his case, sounding more like a Democrat strategist than a columnist:
On the second day of a new feature on Keith Olbermann’s Countdown show, called "Quick Comments," the MSNBC host turned his attention to Neal Boortz -- whom he called a "hate radio host" and referred to as being "dehumanized" -- and others who oppose the implementation of ObamaCare, accusing them of "killing 45,000 people every year," and suggesting that those who seek to block universal health care are as bad as terrorists. As Olbermann cited a dubious study which claimed that 45,000 people die in America each year because they lack health insurance, the Countdown host charged:
What would you do, sir, if terrorists were killing 45,000 people every year in this country? Well, the current health care system, the insurance companies, and those who support them are doing just that. ... Those fighting health care reform – not those debating its shape or its nuance – people who demand the status quo, they are killing 45,000 Americans a year.
Olbermann concluded by comparing ObamaCare opponents to terrorists: "Because they die individually of disease and not disaster, Neil Boortz and those who ape him in office and out, approve their deaths, all 45,000 of them – a year – in America. Remind me again, who are the terrorists?"
"Now that the process moves to the critical stage of reconciliation between the Chambers, we respectfully request that you allow full public access, through television, to [health care] legislation that will affect the lives of every single American."
Thus wrote C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb in a December 30, 2009 open letter to congressional leaders, calling for them to "open all important negotiations, including any conference committee meetings, to electronic media coverage."
Today, NewsBusters Publisher and Media Research Center President Brent Bozell issued a statement of commendation to praise C-SPAN and Lamb for publicly urging the Democratic leadership to live up to the President's campaign rhetoric about transparency in government and praised C-SPAN:
Obama has had some real successes this fall. He did a masterful job of bringing together incredibly disparate positions to craft a strategy for Afghanistan. He put himself on the line and will probably come up with a reasonable health-care plan. He left Copenhagen with at least promises of cooperation from other world powers regarding climate change. But he is not getting credit that he deserves because he is being ill served by those around him who will not step up as needed and take the fall for him.
Real successes, heh? Obama's dithering on Afghanistan justifiably earned him criticism both here and abroad, where England's defense minister and others voiced their concerns. It's impossible to know if Obama's health-care plan, cobbled in backroom deals, is reasonable because so many specifics are still obscure. One thing we do know is negotiations weren't, as promised by Obama, aired on C-SPAN. Moreover, Obama failed to go over it line by line with members of Congress, another promise made and broken. Only in the mainstream media could Obama getting "at least promises of cooperation from other world powers regarding climate change" count as a success.
On Saturday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Jeff Glor teased an upcoming story on Switzerland’s health care system by wondering: "Could Switzerland’s health care be a model for America?" He later introduced the segment by claiming that the Swiss system could be "a glimpse of what the U.S. health care system of the future might look like."
Correspondent Richard Roth touted the Swiss "love of capitalism," but then went on to praise their socialized health care system: "The law, finally approved in a 1994 national referendum, guaranteed health care for everyone by requiring everyone to have insurance....They choose their own doctors and their own insurance company, and the whole country is covered....Switzerland devised a health care system that’s been praised as efficient and neutral. Basic insurance is the same price for everyone."
Roth did manage to find one flaw: "...it’s turned out to be expensive....No one goes broke from getting sick, but health care’s cost to the economy here is higher than anywhere except the U.S." However, as he talked to the Swiss director of the Federal Office of Public Health, Thomas Zeltner, Roth described the problem this way: "What you built here was a Rolex, and really, perhaps, you should have made a Timex." Zeltner replied: "It is a Rolex. You’re right. It should not just look like a Rolex, but also work like a Rolex." Roth concluded: "It does, and the Swiss love it..."
On Sunday’s This Week, fill-in host Terry Moran, along with Ron Brownstein and Cynthia Tucker, took swipes at Rush Limbaugh for his contention that his good experience at a Honolulu hospital demonstrated the U.S. health system doesn’t need repair. (Friday night NB item “Rush Limbaugh Leaves Hospital ‘Feeling Strong and Rested’”)
After running a clip of Limbaugh from Friday saying “based on what happened to me here, I don't think there's one thing wrong with the American health care system. It is working just fine, just dandy,” Moran couldn’t resist pointing out “the delightful irony” that “Hawaii mandates that employers provide health insurance to their employees,” a fact which in no way contradicts Limbaugh’s assessment of the treatment he received.
“What Rush was saying, Limbaugh was saying was great, except for the 47 million people who don't have health insurance and don't have access,” former Los Angeles Times reporter Ron Brownstein, now with National Journal, snidely insisted. As he spoke, Washington-based Atlanta Constitution columnist Cynthia Tucker chimed in: “And are not as wealthy as he is.”
2009 began as a year of smiles at the Times, with rapture over the "historic" Obama administration. Reporters showered partisan praise on Obama's Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor and first lady Michelle Obama. Meanwhile, the Times resolutely buried emerging left-wing scandals over ACORN and Obama adviser Van Jones. But the smile curdled into a defensive snarl during the long hot summer of "angry," "white," and "bitter" tea party protesters, while Times columnists blamed conservative talk show hosts for a spate of ideologically motivated killings.
But perhaps the apex of outrage at the Times in 2009 was a textbook case of liberal hypocrisy. In Timesland, unions are vital to the lifeblood of a sound economy -- just not at the Times itself.
In ascending order of awfulness, here are the Top 10 lowlights of the Times in 2009 (you can also read all the gory details at Times Watch).
If there was ever a textbook example of kissing up to a host in a television interview, Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., gave a demonstration on MSNBC's "The Ed Show."
During the Dec. 28 broadcast, Moran, who represents a district that is just a stone's throw away from the U.S. Capitol, encouraged "The Ed Show" host Ed Schultz to keep pushing for the public option as part of health care reform, even though it is losing support as being essential in the U.S. House of Representatives.
"You've got to keep up the pressure, Ed," Moran said. "You know, they pay much more attention to what's said on MSNBC, particularly shows like yours than Fox or something like that. You know that."
Catching up on the Sunday, December 20, syndicated Chris Matthews Show – during which the panel weighed in on who should be granted various dishonors for the year – panel member Howard Fineman of Newsweek charged that independent Senator Joe Lieberman, formerly a Democrat, had "kicked [Democrats] n the teeth time after time after time and behaved in a completely self-righteous way about it," as the panel discussed Lieberman’s insistence on making Senate Democrats negotiate on universal health insurance. After host Chris Matthews introduced the show’s "Chutzpah Prize" for the year – with nominees being Republican Congressman Joe Wilson, former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Bristol Palin boyfriend Levi Johnston, and Senator Joe Lieberman – Fineman voiced his belief that Lieberman deserves attention. Fineman:
On Thursday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent John Blackstone gave attention to the danger for small businesses if the final version of health care reform requires employers to provide health insurance for their employees as he highlighted two business owners – one who fears health care reform could close down his night club business while the other is more optimistic about how her business would be affected. Substitute anchor Jeff Glor set up the report: "As we mentioned earlier, the health care bill passed by the Senate today would extend coverage to 30 million Americans. A key element is a mandate forcing many companies to pay for their workers' insurance or pay a fine – a very difficult choice for struggling small business owners."
Blackstone related that "the prescription for change includes some bitter medicine, mandates requiring companies to pay for health insurance or pay a fine." While Blackstone at one point argued that small business owners are likely to benefit "from insurance exchanges in the reform plans which should hold down premiums in many cases by helping small businesses join together for greater buying power," the CBS correspondent also gave substantial attention to nightclub owner Jay Siegan’s fears that " the music will go silent if he's required to provide insurance."
On Thursday's World News, ABC anchor Diane Sawyer took the time to devote an entire story to 92-year-old Democratic Senator Robert Byrd’s vote for the Democratic health care bill, which the West Virginia Democrat dedicated to former Senator Ted Kennedy, whom the ABC anchor described as "health care champion Ted Kennedy." Sawyer recounted that Byrd had to be brought into the Senate chamber in a wheel chair several times recently to cast votes related to the bill.
Sawyer informed viewers of Byrd’s long Congressional career and 98 percent attendance record, and then quoted his declaration that "I do what duty tells me to do" as he arrived to vote for the bill. After recounting the Democratic Senator’s emotional reaction and declaration of love for Senator Kennedy when he learned of Kennedy’s illness, Sawyer concluded: "Old comrades, old friends – one gone, one carrying on."
Breaking: TVNewser has learned MSNBC has canceled "Dr. Nancy" the NoonET health/medical show hosted by Dr. Nancy Snynderman.
The cancellation of "Dr. Nancy" is yet another daytime programming move by MSNBC, which has fallen to 4th and, on some days, 5th place in the daytime ratings. Last week, the network announced it was moving Dylan Ratigan from two hours in the morning (9-11amET) to one hour in the afternoon (4pmET), beginning next month.
We Give It a Solid B+ Yesterday, Media Research Center (MRC) Director of Communications and NewsBusters Contributing Editor sat down with Breitbart.tv's Liz Stephans and Scott Baker to discuss the media not discussing the major rifts that exist between liberals and Democrats and Democrats and Democrats on the health care legislation wending its way fitfully through Congress.
The Jurassic Press is instead putting forward a false sense of bill passage ineveitably, ignoring the myriad soap opera-esque dramas playing out throughout the Left's ideological and political topography.
There are many stories to be told of the various liberal and Democrat factions fighting it out for health care supremacy, if only the media were willing to tell them.
Like an overmatched offensive lineman haplessly striving to stave off the onslaughts of a Pro Bowl defensive end, Ed Schultz's heroic but unsuccessful struggles with the English language continue.
A couple weeks ago, fellow NewsBuster Jack Coleman hilariously documented Schultz's penchant for calling others "stupid"—while regularly making a mash of our mother tongue.
On his MSNBC show this evening, Schultz once again fought the good linguistic fight but was in way over his head. This time, his indomitable opponent was the word "emanate." The rascally verb turned up in a HuffPo blog Ed was quoting. Speaking with Drew Westen, the blog's author, Schultz essayed three different pronunciations, including "e-man-uate," without ever hitting on the correct one. Here's Ed, with my phonetic spelling of his various failed assaults on Mt. Emanate.
While Senate Democrats scurry to pass an unpopular health care reform bill by Christmas Eve, CNN did something rare on Dec. 22: they offered two different perspectives on the bill, including a critic's view.
That critic was University of Maryland economist Peter Morici, who expressed skepticism of the assumptions built into the health care reform bill, projected that it would raise costs for many average families and it would add "substantially" the federal deficit.
"There's a lot of assumptions in this bill that are kind of nefarious, uh, and I believe that the typical American family will pay $1,000 to $2,000 more for coverage for a family of four," Morici said.
Early in the 1PM ET hour on MSNBC on Tuesday, anchor Norah O’Donnell pressed New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg on Republican efforts to slow down passage of ObamaCare: “You guys are going to probably be there late on Christmas Eve....And a lot of people say it’s the Republicans’ fault, that you could easily go ahead and move forward with this legislation. Are you the Grinch that stole Christmas?”
Senator Gregg rejected that notion and pointed out: “...it wasn’t necessary for the Democratic leadership to back this up to Christmas....We could have come back at the beginning of January and debated this for a week or two in the sunlight. But they don’t want sunlight on the bill, it’s that simple.”
Earlier on Tuesday, during the 10AM ET hour of MSNBC coverage, anchor Contessa Brewer played up the same theme while interviewing Texas Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison: “Is it just, at this point, being mean to keep all the staffers here, to force this thing out until Christmas Eve? Senator McCaskill [D-Missouri] said today, ‘look, if we – if the Republicans would get on board we could get this passed today and let everybody go home for Christmas.’”
The Republican minority in the Senate found an unlikely defender today: MSNBC’s Morning Joe co-host, Mika Brzezinski.
Yesterday, the Brew Crew played the video for the Democrat talking point attack on Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), but omitted the ghoulish statement by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.):
They [the GOP] are desperate to break this president. They have ardent supporters who are nearly hysterical at the very election of President Barack Obama. The birthers, the fanatics, the people running around in right-wing militia and Aryan support groups, it is unbearable to them that President Barack Obama should exist. That is one powerful reason. It is not the only one."
This morning, however, the bump-in to start the show was that very quote – kudos to the producers of the show for making the connection. Better late than never; and it was even done without the presence of Joe Scarborough, the token MSNBC Republican.
Sadly, some members of the Brew Crew could not contain their bias:
Remember Barack Obama's pipe dream put forward during the 2008 presidential election cycle - that he was going to usher in an era of "post-partisanship" and change from "the politics of usual" in Washington? How's that working out? Not so well according to NBC "Meet the Press" moderator David Gregory.
Gregory appeared on NBC's Dec 21 "The Tonight Show" and was asked by host Conan O'Brien about the prospects of health care reform becoming a reality - which Gregory praised as some sort of monumental achievement.
Most incredibly, the two reporters either missed or ignored the most inflammatory comments issued on the Senate floor on Sunday, when Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island comparing some Republican opponents of Obama care to Jim Crow-era lynchers, and Nazis: “History cautions us of the excesses to which these malignant, vindictive passions can ultimately lead. Tumbrils have rolled through taunting crowds, broken glass has sparkled in darkened streets. Strange fruit has hung from Southern trees. Even this great institution of government that we share has cowered before a tail-gunner waving secret lists."
From Hulse and Herszenhorn's report, with its emphasis on Republican nastiness:
Nasty charges of bribery. Senators cut off midspeech. Accusations of politics put over patriotism. Talk of double-crosses. A nonagenarian forced to the floor after midnight for multiple procedural votes.
The "nonagenarian" is of course Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia. Hulse and Herszenhorn returned to the sad plight of Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd later.
The Times actually quoted a portion of Whitehouse’s nasty speech chiding the GOP, but without mentioning the odious comparisons to Nazis and Jim Crow racists Whitehouse had made less than four minutes previously:
Appearing Monday on MSNBC during the 10AM ET hour, CNBC White House correspondent John Harwood worked to whip up support for the health care bill passed by Senate Democrats while slamming its liberal opponents: “...so much of the commentary I’ve heard has been really idiotic. Liberals who want universal health care ought to be thanking Harry Reid for getting this thing done...”
Speaking to anchor Contessa Brewer, Harwood told left-wing critics to stop “talking about what’s inadequate in the bill” and said that if they think “that Harry Reid can do better than what he’s done....they ought to lay off the hallucinogenic drugs because we have had a vivid demonstration of the limits of political possibilities on this issue.” Later in the 1PM ET hour Harwood called them “insane” and that they should “have their heads examined.”
Good on the Post for printing this letter from a reader who caught liberal columnist E.J. Dionne in the act of hypocrisy:
E.J. Dionne Jr. ["Democratic fratricide," op-ed, Dec. 17] views the Senate as a "dysfunctional and undemocratic partisan hothouse," presumably because of the ability of 41 senators to prevent a bill from coming to a final vote.
Mr. Dionne has not always taken such a dim view of undemocratic procedures, however.
In 2003, he heartily approved of Democratic obstruction of two judicial nominations by President Bush: "The filibuster is the only way to prevent the president from creating a federal judiciary dominated by ideologues of his own persuasion, appointed to satisfy his political base" ["Order and the Courts," op-ed, May 9].
When it comes to freedom of speech, liberal journalists are the staunchest of defenders, right? Not so much when it comes to blasting Republican senators opposed to ObamaCare for "borderline sedition" that "comes dangerously close to inciting violence."
"The crisis of confidence in this country is now at an apex that has not seen in over 150 years, and that lack of confidence undermines the ability of legitimate governance," he said. "There's a lot of people out there today who...will say, 'I give up on my government,' and rightly so."
Of course, many liberals said similar things about losing faith in their government during the previous administration, one with which Klein had many disagreements, most if not all of which he took to Time's pages or Web site to bluster about. I don't recall any concern from Klein about seditious liberals or Democrats when George Bush or Dick Cheney was the object of harsh rhetoric.
But leave it to a Republican senator to criticize the pork barreling and special exemptions Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has given to fellow Democrats to buy a cloture vote, and it's damn near seditious to Klein:
There was something very important that I did not see on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” this morning.
The very first bump-in on the show was a montage of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.):
COBURN: What the American people ought to pray, is that somebody can’t make the vote tonight. That’s what they ought to pray.
DURBIN: I don’t think it’s appropriate to be invoking prayer to wish misfortune on a colleague. And I want him to clarify that. I’ve invited him, I’ve tried to reach out to him. He is my friend, and I have worked with him, but this statement goes too far. The simple reality is this: We are becoming more coarse and more divided here [...].
This, of course, is political gamesmanship. But it goes further than that. In the entirety of Morning Joe, I did not note a single mention of the following statement from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) -- hat tip to Kerry Picket for catching this:
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) told people on Sunday they should pray someone misses Monday morning's crucial healthcare vote, and media members predictably gasped as if he was hoping a Senator would take ill or worse.
Somehow all those hyperventilating missed that there was a major snowstorm over the weekend closing airports and snarling traffic, and that travel impediments might have acted to prevent those not already in the nation's capital from getting there.
Likely with this in mind, Coburn said Sunday, "What the American people ought to pray is that somebody can't make the vote tonight. That's what they ought to pray."
The Washington Post's Dana Milbank gruesomely took issue with this in his piece "An Ugly Finale For Health-care Reform" (video of Coburn's remarks embedded below the fold):
In an interview in which he hit the 2008 Republican presidential nominee repeatedly from the left, George Stephanopoulos pleaded with Sen. John McCain to "name an issue next year where you are going to be joined at the hip with President Obama." [audio available here]
The live interview via satellite occurred six hours after McCain joined the other 39 Senate Republicans in voting against cloture on the Senate version of Democratic health care legislation.
All but two of Stephanopoulos's questions dealt with health care,the other two with Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Transcribed below are Stephanopoulos's agenda of questions, which you'll notice buffet McCain from the left, and/or paint Republicans are the party responsible for keeping the Senate from wrapping up its business until Christmas Eve, even though it is Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) who controls the legislative calendar:
“There's a lot in” the health care bill as it now stands -- even without the “public option” or expanded Medicare -- “that people are going to like” and a “lot of people are going to like a whole lot once they see what's in it,” ABC News veteran Cokie Roberts contended on Sunday's This Week as she blamed Democratic messaging, not the substance, for declining support: “I think the Democrats lost control of the argument – the message – and that's why the polls are as they are.”
If the public just understood all the great things in it, she scolded, they'd realize the Christmas gift they're getting from those Democrats: “It's just a question of understanding it and the Democrats should have been getting that out there more.” As if hey haven't had the news media on their side. Amongst the wonderful benefits: “For he first time” there will be “totally paid-for long term care insurance.” Totally paid for by whom?
Roberts soon praised Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's deal-making and payoffs: “The person that I have really new-found respect for is Harry Reid, who just has this Senate in session relentlessly until they do this.”
A rather shocking thing happened on Sunday's "Meet the Press": host David Gregory complained to Senior White House Advisor David Axelrod that the healthcare reform bill ready to pass the Senate is not what Barack Obama campaigned on last year.
Maybe just as surprising, Gregory showed recent polls to Axelrod reflecting the public's disinterest in this bill.
"I've got a few of the bullet points of campaign promises made," said Gregory. "[T]here would be universal coverage when it came to getting healthcare. He opposed an individual mandate, which, of course, is part of this bill. And he indicated this would be paid for by rolling back Bush tax cuts, tax cuts."
The host then amazingly pointed out the contradictions: "There's not universal coverage here. The individual mandate is in there and, in fact, there are a slew of taxes that are part of this legislation, including on the Cadillac plans that a lot of union members hold" (video in two parts embedded below the fold with transcript):