Reacting to a newly released ABC News/Washington Post poll which found 50 percent opposed to the just-passed health bill versus 46 percent in favor of it, on ABC’s This Week, Mississippi’s Republican Governor, Haley Barbour, quipped:
I am surprised that the numbers in the Washington Post poll weren't better. I mean, since this thing passed last weekend, we've been seeing the longest wet kiss in political history given to the Obama administration by the liberal media elite and every day it goes by, it’s sloppier.
That prompted a chuckle from host Jake Tapper, before the other guest, Pennsylvania’s Democratic Governor, Ed Rendell, countered: “I don't know what Haley watches. I don't know what channels Haley watches, but that's a lousy way to kiss, boy because it's getting pounded in the media, a lot of the media is pounding the bill.”
Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour on Sunday said that since healthcare reform legislation passed a week ago, the liberal media have given the Obama administration the longest wet kiss in political history.
After ABC's Jake Tapper hosting "This Week" asked the Governor about a new Washington Post poll finding Democrats have become a little more popular since the bill passed, Barbour replied, "I am surprised that the, the numbers in the Washington Post poll weren't better."
He marvelously continued, "I mean since this thing passed last weekend, we've been seeing the longest wet kiss in political history given to the Obama administration by the liberal media league, and every day it goes by it gets sloppier" (video embedded below the fold with transcript, relevant section at 8:13):
Did Frank Rich read Charles Blow's column and sub-consciously subsume it? Rich's NY Times opus of March 27 is a virtual echo of Blow's item of March 26.
Coincidence or not, the two Timesmen are very much on the same wavelength. Their shared theory: conservative opposition to Obamacare is fueled not so much by the substance of PBO's plans as it is by the racism, homophobia and sexism of people who can't bear to witness America's changing demographics.
Compare the eerie similarities in the two columns [emphasis added].
If the media outlets are going to report on tea party events, they're not likely to get any benefit of the doubt much of the time.
Case in point - at the Tea Party Express event on March 27 in Searchlight, Nev., which former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin spoke, CNN's Fredricka Whitfield wasn't quite prepared to give the rally credit it was due as far as participation. She estimated that hundreds, but if not, "at least dozens of people" were in attendance. (h/t fstaff with assist from Mark Finkelstein)
"Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin there in Searchlight, Nev., was the backyard of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, but today it's the backdrop of this Tea Party Express - making a stop here," Whitfield said. "Hundreds of people, at least dozens of people - we haven't gotten a count of how many people turned out there. We heard Sarah Palin talk about everything about the campaign, to unseat Sen. Reid to what she calls ObamaCare, on the heels of that health care vote and even talking about her definition of her love of America."
In the same week Democrats forced unwanted healthcare reform down America's throat, internal documents surfaced across the Pond showing plans for massive budget cuts at Great Britain's National Health Service.
"The sick would be urged to stay at home and email doctors rather than visit surgeries, while procedures such as hip replacements could be scrapped," the Daily Telegraph reported Friday.
"Documents show that health chiefs are considering plans to begin sacking workers, cutting treatments and shutting wards across the country."
President Obama's campaign group Organizing for America is using alleged death threats against Democrats in Congress to raise money for its efforts to get the public to support the unpopular healthcare reform bill signed into law this week.
As Obama-lovers in the media hyperventilate over every incident they believe confirms their most derogatory view of Tea Party members and anyone voicing opposition to what's happening in the United States, will they give attention to the fact that the White House is using the publicity as a fundraising vehicle?
Consider that question as you read the following posting by OFA Director Mitch Stewart (h/t Cubachi):
Appearing on the radical-left public radio network Pacifica on Tuesday to promote his DVD of Capitalism: A Love Story, filmmaker Michael Moore called the passage of ObamaCare a victory...for capitalism:
Well, I mean, to me, it all comes back to this issue of an economic system that is truly evil. And the healthcare bill that was passed ultimately will be seen as a victory for capitalism, because it protected the capitalist model of providing healthcare for people. In other words, we’re not to help people unless there’s money to be made from it. That is so patently disgusting and immoral, but that’s the system. That’s where we live.
Moore wanted the leftists to get right back to pushing a "single payer" option that outlaws insurance companies:
In another predictable column condemning the Tea Party movement, Paul Krugman called Ronald Reagan an “anti-government fanatic” and disdained “the eliminationist rhetoric of the G.O.P" in Friday's "Going to Extreme," using the same silly examples of alleged violent imagery the rest of the press has been wringing their hands over. So why was Krugman happy with the idea of angry lefties hanging Sen. Joe Lieberman in effigy over his opposition to health care?
What has been really striking has been the eliminationist rhetoric of the G.O.P., coming not from some radical fringe but from the party’s leaders. John Boehner, the House minority leader, declared that the passage of health reform was “Armageddon.” The Republican National Committee put out a fund-raising appeal that included a picture of Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, surrounded by flames, while the committee’s chairman declared that it was time to put Ms. Pelosi on “the firing line.” And Sarah Palin put out a map literally putting Democratic lawmakers in the cross hairs of a rifle sight.
In doing so, Klein [pictured in file photo at right] contrasted Frum with "extreme" conservatives who were "pretty close to Jonestown" by "drinking their own kool-aid." Not only is the former Bush speechwriter a friend whose thinking he respects "even when we disagree," Klein argued that Frum is the Right's Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a genteel intellectual who bucked his party on some tenets of its orthodoxy but ultimately was vindicated by history:
I have some experience with a party intent on committing suicide. The Democrats were profoundly self-destructive when it came to race and crime in the 1970s and 1980s. They nearly excommunicated Daniel Patrick Moynihan--one of my mentors--because he told the truth about the impact of out-of-wedlock births on the black family. Over time, Moynihan's thesis was proved by sociology--and supported by prominent AFrican-American [sic] progressive scholars like William Julius Wilson--but he was never really welcomed back into the fold. And he didn't really care. Because he knew he was right.
In the days surrounding passage of healthcare overhaul legislation, Republican lawmakers have been left to strike a fine balance between harnessing voter outrage and fueling it.
Examples of raw anger have piled up. A call to New York Democrat Louise M. Slaughter said snipers would "kill the children of the members who voted for healthcare reform." Later, a brick smashed her Niagara Falls district office window. Hate messages jammed the lines of Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak, the anti-abortion Democrat whose last-minute support helped cinch passage. Law enforcement offered increased protection to at least 10 lawmakers, a security measure usually only afforded party leaders.
Other incidents targeting Democrats are also included in the 18-paragraph article of over 800 words.
Yet it is not until the penultimate paragraph that a shooting incident at the office of minority whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) is noted:
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."