In the series of network interviews recorded Friday at the White House for airing on the ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC Sunday morning interview shows, all highlighted Jimmy Carter's charge that racism is fueling the anti-Obamacare protests – with CNN's John King and NBC's David Gregory following up with Nancy Pelosi's claim the heated rhetoric may incite violence – and CBS's Bob Schieffer asserted the “meanness that has settled over our political dialogue” had “started this summer at these town hall meetings.”
Only NBC's Gregory chastised Obama for not taking on the left on malpractice reform and only ABC's George Stephanopoulos brought up ACORN, but painted Obama as a victim: “Have some of your allies made it easier for, handed your opponents some ammunition, like ACORN, for example?” Schieffer and King, but not Stephanopoulos or Gregory, pressed Obama on how seven former CIA directors urged him to drop the criminal probe of interrogations of terror suspects.
I watched them all so you didn't have to and here are some notes about what the four anchors chose to pursue in their allocated 15 minutes with President Barack Obama (should also note that all devoted time to Afghanistan and the likely request for more troops):
Leave it to George Will to perfectly explain in just two words all the recent accusations by Democrats and their media minions that anti-government sentiment sweeping the nation is caused by racism.
Fortunately for those not understanding the reference, Will explained further when the Roundtable discussion on Sunday's "This Week" turned to all the recent pronouncements of racism directed at anyone having the nerve to challenge President Obama's agenda (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript):
The title of Sam Tanenhaus's slim new essay of a book, with the wishful-thinking title "The Death of Conservatism," is misleading. Tanenhaus, the editor of the New York Times Book Review and Week in Review sections, doesn't so much call the movement dead as try to define it out of existence.
"Death" reshapes the U.S. political landscape out of all recognition to make it hospitable to Tanenhaus's peculiar brand of left-center politics, where the only true conservatives stalking the land are Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Clinton, and (wait for it) Barack Obama, "more thoroughly steeped in the Burkean principles of 'conservation' and 'correction' than any significant thinker or political figure on the right today."
Under Tanenhaus's conveniently pinched definition of conservatism, liberals are welcome to expand the reach of the federal government through regulation, higher taxes and welfare, moves that conservatives are then obligated to "conserve" and consolidate to be true to their philosophy -- as dictated by a New York Times editor who assuredly has their best interests at heart (as do the four liberal journalists who contributed back-page blurbs).
Television network journalists on Friday night marveled at President Barack Obama's planned “media blitz” for health care reform even as they, the enablers, reveled in it as they made the very “blitz” and clips from the interviews (conducted Friday afternoon for airing on Sunday morning) their top story of the day. Based on those excerpts, the Sunday hosts were most interested in getting Obama's take on the “tone” of the health care debate (Obama blamed cable TV and blogs) and whether opposition is driven by racism. The teases:
♦ ABC's Charles Gibson at the top of World News: “Tonight, mass media. The President launches another media blitz on health care, and addresses whether race might be behind some of the criticisms of his plan.” (Gibson led by admiring: “On five, count them, five Sunday morning talk shows the guest will be Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama and Obama. That's never been done before...”)
♦ CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric: “Tonight, from Sunday morning to Monday night, the President's TV blitz for health care reform.”
♦ Brian Williams at the start of the NBC Nightly News: “On our broadcast tonight, an extraordinary media blitz by the President and now the First Lady steps in and tonight our own David Gregory asks the President directly about race and President Carter's charges.”
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, White House correspondent Bill Plante highlighted President Obama’s latest media blitz on health care reform and touted a new piece of the PR arsenal: "The President does have a new partner in his nonstop effort to sell health care, it’s the First Lady....Michelle Obama will be more like a stealth weapon in the battle for health care, giving it a softer touch."
Plante further explained the logic behind using the First Lady to promote ObamaCare: "With a favorable rating of around 70%, well above her husband’s, and the background of a hospital executive, Michelle Obama will counter balance her husband’s hard sell." A clip was played of Politico’s Nia-Malika Henderson exclaiming: "They feel like she can give a different voice, because as you can see, a lot of the folks out there are very partisan." Unlike Michelle Obama’s completely non-partisan approach.
Trying to boost the rationale for ObamaCare, Thursday's CBS Evening News ran two stories from far-left sources, but the network disguised the agenda behind both. Katie Couric announced that “while the debate goes on over the cost of insuring everyone, a new study reveals the cost of not doing it. The Harvard study says nearly 45,000 American deaths every year are linked to a lack of insurance.” Neither she, nor reporter Jim Axelrod, noted that the report was really produced by Physicians for a National Health Program, “the only national physician organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to implementing a single-payer national health program.”
Next, Nancy Cordes touted “a rare sight – leaders from the nation's largest insurers sitting down to get grilled,” without pointing out it occurred at a hearing held by the Domestic Policy subcommittee of the House's Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, a subcommittee chaired by far-left former presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich.
NPR "senior news analyst" Daniel Schorr recited the socialist sermon on Wednesday night’s All Things Considered: nationalized health care "would save many lives," and all that bother about providing taxpayer-subsidized abortions and health care for illegal aliens are tiresome "distractions" from the urgent need for more government. Schorr lamented:
Barring illegal from insurance benefits doesn't bar them from receiving treatment in a hospital emergency room. ERs have become the place of treatment of last resort for too many people here legally or illegally. T.R. Reid tells of a dramatic case in his book "The Healing of America." Nikki White lost her job and health insurance as a result of having a type of lupus. Because of her pre-existing condition, she couldn't get new health insurance. Eventually, she collapsed and was taken to the emergency room. Three doctors undertook to treat her until her condition stabilized. That involved six months in critical care and 25 surgical operations. Then she went home, still without insurance, and died at the age of 32. Her doctor, Amylyn Crawford, said: Nikki died of complications of the failing American health care system.
Timothy Egan, liberal New York Times reporter turned ultra-liberal nytimes.com "Outposts" blogger, titled his Wednesday night entry "Working Class Zero," a condescending, stereotypically liberal attack on blue-collar folks too ignorant and easily "distracted" to fight for their own interests, which Egan defined as government-controlled health care.
Egan was vexed that many middle-class Americans were instead heeding "the brat's cry of Joe Wilson" and condescendingly reduced the concerns of conservative protesters of the size and influence of the federal government to "generalized rage" stoked by "well-funded Astroturf outfits."
A Towers Perrin Survey came across the Business Wire on Reuters this morning stating that a majority of employers surveyed will reduce benefits resulting from the proposed Democrat Health Care Reform bill that is working its way through Congress if it increases costs.
“Voters might be experiencing buyer's remorse over President Obama-51 percent disapproval rating in the current Rasmussen poll -- but the mainstream media are keeping the faith,” The Weekly Standard magazine's “Scrapbook” page noted as it reproduced, in its September 21 issue, “the main headlines of the Washington Post for the two days before the President's health care speech to Congress and the morning after.”
Reminding its readers the headlines were not over op-eds or “news analysis” pieces, but “from the main, front-page news stories in each day's edition,” the un-bylined item expressed frustration at how “it's not easy to choose our favorite among the three,” though “'Obama Speech Aims to Reenergize Effort” certainly wins the award for fatuousness.” The magazine, however, decided:
The blue ribbon is bestowed on “President Says His Critics Lack Health-Care Answer,” which manages to combine fawning deference to Barack Obama with a vague, slightly incoherent slap at Americans who have the temerity to dissent from the vague, slightly incoherent details of Obamacare.
An evening after trumpeting President Jimmy Carter's racism charge (“An overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man”), NBC led Wednesday night with the “fallout” as Andrea Mitchell proposed that though “many thought” the “racial divisions” were “healed by the election of the first African-American President,” Carter's “blunt comments” have “prompted us to re-examine our assumptions about race” -- as if everyone is like those at NBC who adjust their views based on what Carter says.
Mitchell proceeded to smear the tea party activists, corroborated by just two racist posters the network managed to find:
In a season of angry protests, there are ugly signs that some of it is not rooted in bailout fatigue or suspicion of big government. Mixed in the anti-Obama crowds over recent weeks, racial slurs against the President of the United States. All that, plus an unprecedented interruption of the President's speech to Congress prompting Jimmy Carter's blunt comments first broadcast on Nightly News last night.
Do Democrats actually believe referring to Tea Party attendees by a provocative sexual term will help bring the country together?
And why would a member of Congress need journalists to find out what's on the minds of her constituents?
Such questions seem quite important as more and more leftwing politicians refer to folks whose opinions they disagree with as "teabaggers."
Most recent on the list was Congressman Maxine Waters (D-Cali.) who on Wednesday told radio's Bill Press, "I want journalists to be all over those rallies and those marches with the birthers and the teabaggers" (YouTube audio embedded below the fold with partial transcript, h/t Sean Hannity):
A new Investor’s Business Daily poll of more than 1,300 physicians finds that nearly two-thirds (65%) don’t back ObamaCare, more than 70% say the government cannot provide insurance coverage for 47 million additional people and save money without harming quality, and 45% of doctors say they “would consider leaving their practice or taking an early retirement” if the liberal health care plan passes.
Earlier this week, as the front-page story in today’s Investor’s Business Daily noted, the Los Angeles Times ran a front-page story touting the American Medical Association (AMA)’s backing of President Obama’s health care plans, while a National Public Radio publicized a poll funded by a pro-ObamaCare group to claim that “nearly three-quarters of doctors said they favor a public option.”
The IBD/TIPP poll of 1,376 physicians suggests that the AMA does not represent most doctors as it advertises and lobbies on behalf of the administration’s plan, and offers a second opinion to the poll (of 991 physicians) originally published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggesting strong support for a bigger government role.
"All socialism does is spread misery equally," Rush Limbaugh has oft asserted. Newsweek's T.R. Reid found a Canadian health care enthusiast who would proudly agree.
In a September 21 print edition piece entitled "No Country for Sick Men," -- subtitled "To judge the content of a nation's character, look no further than its health-care system" -- Reid turned to Marcus Davies of the Saskatchewan Medical Society, who insisted he was perfectly happy with the Canadian health care system's long waiting lines.
After all, it's Canada's way of rationing care and he and his fellow countrymen are happy with it, so long as the misery is spread equally across income levels:
ABC and NBC on Tuesday night joined the effort to undermine the anti-Obama tea party participants by smearing them as racists as ABC framed a story around the proposition “some prominent Obama supporters are now saying” the opposition to Obama is “driven, in part, by a refusal to accept a black President,” while NBC anchor Brian Williams touted how “former President Carter spoke up and spoke out about” the supposed racism. Williams alleged “a certain number of signs and images at last weekend's big tea party march in Washington and at other recent events have featured racial and other violent themes and President Carter today said he is extremely worried by it.” (MP3 audio of Williams, Video below)
With “OUT OF LINE?” on screen beneath what appeared to be pictures from the August town halls, ABC anchor Charles Gibson set up the piece from Dan Harris who recited a litany of liberal presumptions:
They've waved signs likening President Obama to Hitler and the devil, raised questions about whether he was really born in this country, falsely accused him of planning to set up death panels, decried his speech to students as indoctrination and called him everything from a fascist to a socialist to a communist. And all that was before Mr. Obama's speech was interrupted by a Representative who once fought to keep the Confederate flag waving over the South Carolina state house. Add it all up, and some prominent Obama supporters are now saying that it paints a picture of an opposition driven, in part, by a refusal to accept a black President. (MP3 audio,Video below)
Appearing on CBS’s Sunday Morning, commentator Nancy Giles shared her thoughts on Congressman Joe Wilson’s outburst: "Some sign waving and you probably heard about it, heckling. At a joint session of Congress....That’s the voice of Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina, not some drunk at open mic night, calling the President a liar."
Giles continued, denouncing all health care reform protestors: "He later apologized, but still, it was a frightening mix of disrespect and bad behavior, with a dash of this summer’s town hall meeting craziness. I guess we should be grateful that there weren’t any ‘show us your birth certificate’ signs and at least no one beat anyone with a cane, which actually happened in the old Senate chamber in 1856."
Giles would certainly know about "disrespect and bad behavior," on the October 5, 2003 broadcast of Sunday Morning, she compared conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh to Adolf Hitler: "So as Rush’s world has steadily crumbled, it’s no wonder he allegedly had to turn to prescription pain killers....Edgy, controversial, brilliant....Hitler would have killed in talk radio. He was edgy, too."
Two days after her magazine published Evan Thomas's "Case for Killing Granny" -- see related NewsBusters post here -- Newsweek staffer Jesse Ellison lamented that her "grandmother lived a full life and sought a quiet death" but "America's health-care system had a different idea of what was best."
In a September 14 Newsweek Web exclusive, Ellison laid out a story of zealous coverage aimed at prolonging her late grandmother's life, complaining that her grandmother's wish to die peacefully was disregarded as she was "treated like a problem to be solved, not as an elderly woman who had had enough."
Although Ellis's grandmother "had great insurance" plus "enough savings to pay for anything that Medicare and her insurance company would not," the writer found cause for complaint in the health care system having a bias to save and extend life, as well as the high costs that that approach incurred:
CNN's efforts to smear Obama critics as racist gained visibility on Monday's Situation Room when the usually more sensible Wolf Blitzer, with “RACIAL TINGE TO TEA MOVEMENT” as the on-screen heading, set up a story on how, “most disturbing,” within the tea party crowds there's “a very small but vocal minority, they're targeting President Obama's race.” Though reporter Elaine Quijano said “we have to emphasize by far most tea party protesters are not casting their arguments in what could be seen as a racial light,” she nonetheless proceeded to treat as newsworthy how “a small but passionate minority is also voicing what some see as racist rhetoric.”
In decrying the racism, CNN gave national cable air time to what she described as a “controversial image that's been circulating on the Web since July,” a “doctored image circulating on the Internet and even some protesters signs like this one in Brighton, Michigan, portraying President Obama as a witch doctor.” Brighton, Michigan? So, not at the more newsworthy big national event Saturday in DC I presume.
Quijano soon went to Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page who saw race as the common denominator: “People are not just mad at Obama. They're mad at Jesse Jackson, they're mad at Reverend Wright, they're made at Al Sharpton, they're mad at people who have nothing to do with Obama except they all happen to be black.” Without questioning the supposition, Quijano warned: “Page says the vehement racial resistance that's emerged is another sign any notion of a post-racial society after Barack Obama's election was wishful thinking.”
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) appeared on MSNBC around 3:40 p.m. EDT today to defend Rep. Joe Wilson's (R-S.C.) claim that President Obama was lying about Democratic health care reforms not ensuring "public option" coverage of illegal immigrants. [MP3 audio available here]
King explained at length about Democrats voted down Republican amendments to put in place an enforcement mechanism to check the legal status of public option applicants.
Of course at the end of his interview, Shuster was unmoved, sticking to his guns that Joe Wilson "was lying" and insisting that Republicans were more interested in making political hay out of the illegal immigration question than safeguarding taxpayers from subsidizing illegal immigration:
On Sunday, CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer praised President Obama’s recent media blitz for health care reform: "There’s no question he is the best salesman on the staff," but wondered: "Does he run the risk of overexposing himself?" Politco.com’s Roger Simon dispelled that fear: "It is a risk, but he keeps topping himself."
Simon elaborated on Obama’s oratory skill: "Every time you think this guy can’t give another speech that’s better than the last one, he gives another speech that’s better than the last one. And he’s achieving his purpose." He added that the President’s address to Congress last Wednesday: "was to unite Democrats around him. As a man who can get this job done."
In the same segment, Schieffer also spoke with syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker, who gushed: "There is always that risk of overexposure. And yet, if you watched his speech yesterday in Minneapolis, he sort of redeems himself every time he goes out there in front of the public, because he is so good."
There was a huge protest against Obama's big-government plans at the U.S. Capitol on Saturday, but one was hard-pressed to find evidence of it on the New York Times home page Sunday morning: A small headline tucked under the Political subhead.
The print edition wasn't much more forthcoming. Although the Washington D.C. Fire Dept. estimated 60,000 to 70,000 people attended the 9/12 protest, and many estimates are higher, the Times made do with one medium-sized story buried on page A37 of the Sunday paper, "Thousands Attend Broad Protest of Government," teasing it on the front page in a below-the-fold photo from the march. A much smaller Obama rally got better placement, and so had a previous ACORN-led left-wing protest numbering...40 people.
Reporter Jeff Zeleny painted protesters as "angry" and "profane" and that the rally contained "no shortage of vitriol," as if there were never raised voices and obscene signage at left-wing anti-war rallies:
A sea of protesters filled the west lawn of the Capitol and spilled onto the National Mall on Saturday in the largest rally against President Obama since he took office, a culmination of a summer-long season of protests that began with opposition to a health care overhaul and grew into a broader dissatisfaction with government.
On a cloudy and cool day, the demonstrators came from all corners of the country, waving American flags and handwritten signs explaining the root of their frustrations. Their anger stretched well beyond the health care legislation moving through Congress, with shouts of support for gun rights, lower taxes and a smaller government.
The "Killing Granny" link takes readers to a September 21 print edition article by Evan Thomas which is more measured in tone than the sensational headline suggests, but one that nonetheless laments how Medicare, presently structured, has a built-in bias towards heavy per-patient spending with too little government bureaucrat oversight (emphasis mine):
Video of Baltimore ACORN activists willing to help a pimp and prostitute work out a tax shelter for a brothel is a "devastating" indictment of the liberal activist group, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell pronounced on the September 11 "Hannity." [MP3 audio available here]
"It shows the power of the Internet. It doesn't matter anymore that [Big Three broadcast networks] ABC and NBC and CBS aren't covering it. The world now knows about it because people go in there and show them the truth," Bozell noted, adding that it proves what conservatives have been saying that ACORN "is a suspect organization [subsidized] with millions of taxpayer dollars."
Bozell also discussed the controversy involving Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), who yelled "You lie!" at President Obama during last Wednesday's speech before Congress:
Something absolutely shocking happened on Monday's "Good Morning America": ABC's George Stephanopoulos told the nation that the President's healthcare address to the country Wednesday did nothing to change Americans' views about ObamaCare.
Referring to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll released moments earlier, Stephanopoulos shared numbers with host Diane Sawyer indicating the President's speech wasn't the game-changer Democrats and the Obama-loving media had hoped.
And, you can see by the expression on Stephanopoulos's face that no one was more disappointed than him (video embedded below the fold with some of the poll results, h/t Jake Tapper):
At the end of Sunday’s Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer denounced South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson: "The irony of a congressman trying to heckle a President in the midst of a speech that was, among other things, about the need for civility, is just one ugly sign of the mindless meanness that has settled over our politics."
Apparently Schieffer forgot this passage of President Obama’s speech last Wednesday: "Some of people’s concerns have grown out of bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost. The best example is the claim...that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens. Such a charge would be laughable if it weren’t so cynical and irresponsible. It is a lie, plain and simple." Calling your critics liars hardly sounds like a call for "civility."
About a year ago, then-Senator and Democratic nominee Barack Obama managed to seize control of the issue of taxes from the Republican Party by promising lower taxes for "95 percent of Americans."
But today it's a drastically different situation. Obama's $787-billion stimulus has been passed into law and the administration is taking on higher deficits, which will only increase if a Democrat health care reform bill passes. It looks as though the president's hand will be forced and he will have to raise taxes. That's begs question - where were the media on this a year ago?
CNBC's Erin Burnett asked Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at a CNBC made-for-television town hall on Sept. 10 if taxes would be raised. Geithner dodged the question, but Burnett interpreted the dodge to mean yes, as she explained on NBC's Sept. 13 "Meet the Press."
On Sunday, the home page of the Washington Post website buried the 9-12 rally in tiny type, while the rotating photos at the top of the page were all local stories. On Monday, one of those rotating photos highlighted a Post story on the front of the Metro section on how people attending the Black Family Reunion think that tens of thousands of Americans came to Washington not because they love freedom, but because they hate black people. Metro reporter Yamiche Alcindor began:
On Saturday, tens of thousands of protesters thronged to the U.S. Capitol to angrily accuse President Obama of taking the country in the wrong direction. A day later, in the shadow of the Washington Monument, many participants at a much smaller gathering -- the 24th annual Black Family Reunion -- said the level of hostility toward the nation's first African American president had little to do with policy differences over health care or taxes and everything to do with race.
"It' s not conducive to the coalitions we need to build in this country," said Vera Hope, 60, of Mount Rainier as she left a booth promoting health prevention. "I'm disgusted and upset by the hostility. Let's call it was it is -- it's just a disguise for right-wing racists. They are fomenting a climate of violence to provoke people."
60 Minutes on Sunday night gave President Barack Obama at least his fourth interview platform since his election (not counting re-runs), and while Steve Kroft framed the segment around how Obama “seemed confident that he had succeeded” in his Wednesday night speech and asked him, in the context of how the health care debate “has brought out the worst in us,” how “you were heckled. Not at a town meeting. Not on the campaign trail, but in a joint session of Congress,” whether “Congressman Wilson should be rebuked?,” he also gently challenged Obama from the right. Unfortunately, Kroft did not follow up when Obama delivered his usual liberal platitudes.
After Obama touted how he had reached out to Republicans on tort reform, Kroft pressed: “Would you be willing to do more in the area of tort reform and malpractice insurance? Would you be willing to agree to caps, for example, on malpractice judgments?” Kroft raised how to pay for it all: “There is still a great deal of skepticism about how this plan is going to be paid for. What you promised is essentially you promised not to affect anybody who has coverage now at all. You have promised to add another 30 million people into the system and you're saying that you can do all of this or want to do all this without impacting or increasing the deficit by a dime. How do you do that?”