At the top of the 8:00AM ET hour of Wednesday’s Early Show, co-host Russ Mitchell cited protests at health care reform town hall meetings as evidence that the debate was "turning into a nasty national shouting match."
After playing a clip of a U.S. Chamber of Commerce ad opposing the health care plan, Mitchell observed: "Democratic lawmakers pushing reform are being jeered at testy town hall meetings. President Obama is urging Americans to ignore those who he says are trying to scare and mislead."
At the top of the show, co-host Harry Smith declared: "As President Obama takes his health care reform plan to the people, anger spills out all over the country." Smith later introduced a segment on President Obama’s Tuesday town hall: "First though, tempers boiled over again Tuesday in the heated debate over health care, nearly everywhere that is, except inside President Obama’s town hall meeting in New Hampshire."
Are you wary of the federal government using taxpayer dollars to advise senior citizens on "end-of-life" issues? If so, you're just "cruel," according to former ABC reporter Linda Douglass, now the communications director for the White House Office of Health Reform.
Douglass appeared on MSNBC's Aug. 12 "Dr. Nancy," with host Nancy Snyderman. Snyderman pointed out that some of the discussion about end-of-life care is just craziness and these "rumors" are difficult to combat (even though there is precedent for governments involved heavily in health care to take such measures, as Michelle Malkin pointed out.)
"I think the criticism about this euthanasia and death panels is just craziness," Snyderman said. "That, in fact, we should be talking about death and dying earlier, but these are rumors that aren't going away."
This is just a small entry, a blog-lette, if you will. Because I happened to have seen this bit of broadcast flapdoodle live, which you now have before you at right (with the audio available here).
On this morning's MSNBC News Live, co-host Angela Burt-Murray - the Editor-in-Chief of Essence magazine -uncorks this absolutely wild pitch to Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-Md):
Recently you released a report on women and health care, and taking a look at the very real issue that families are facing we have more than 64 million women who have lost health care due to loss of job or a spouse that has lost a job. How do you see the Administration's plan being more able to effectively address this issue for women and children in this country?
64 million? Just women?
We have repeatedly documented that the oft-cited 46 million people - men and women - without insurance is completely bogus. But as you will find at the link's destination, the media's number on this vacillates wildly.
After years of mainstreaming and idealizing antiwar protesters and marches supporting illegal immigrants as "grandmothers with canes, parents with children in strollers," dissent against a president's policies is no longer cool at the New York Times.
The Times finds the newest batch of protesters against Obama health care to be "angry," "irritable" crowds of whites taking marching orders from conservative talk radio and web sites.
Wednesday's front-page story by Ian Urbina and Katharine Seelye on protests at Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter's town hall meeting in Lebanon, Pa., "SenatorGoes Face to Face With Dissent." The front page of the Times showed a confrontation between a stiff-faced Specter and a shouting protester.
They got up before dawn in large numbers with angry signs and American flag T-shirts, and many were seething with frustration at issues that went far beyond overhauling health care.
"The cruelty inherent in scaring the elderly to score political points is beyond reprehensible.... [T]he sort of scurrilous campaign they are conducting--the seditious fear-mongering that is the main staple of their public diet--is a matter of profound disrespect and incivility toward the individuals whose rights they claim to cherish."
So huffed Time magazine's Joe Klein, in an August 12 Swampland blog post seething at rumors of "death panels" being provided for in health care reform legislation before Congress. Klein expressed disgust at Republicans who would seek political advantage by scaring the elderly with inaccurate and misleading rhetoric.
But one might wonder where Klein's moral indignation was during the 1990s, when the liberal media, including Time magazine, were complicit in bolstering the Democratic meme about drastic Republican "cuts" to Medicare.
As MRC archives show, the liberal media was complicit with liberal Democrats in the 1990s in scaring seniors into fearing non-existent "cuts" to Medicare. From the July 1996 MediaWatch (emphasis mine):
The media have repeatedly stated how "angry," "hostile" and "ugly" town hall meetings across America are becoming. They are of course largely ascribing the nastiness to conservatives voicing their opposition to (among other things) President Barack Obama and Congress' proposed government takeover of the health care system.
The press has been particularly offended by the "extreme" use of references to Adolf Hitler specifically and Nazis generally. One image they have repeatedly used as an example of this alleged right-wing extremism is a poster of President Obama - on whose face a Hitler mustache has been Photo Shopped - bearing the caption "I've Changed."
We have compiled a video montage (at right) of just some of the recent news programs that have ascribed this Obama-with-Mustache poster to conservative town hall attendees. (The Obama-with-Mustache image itself appears just below the fold.)
As the likelihood of President Barack Obama's style of health care/health insurance reform has looked more and more uncertain, health care sector stocks have rallied, nearly 10 percent over the last month.
But now as Obama is showing some signs of managing his message and could be trying to make a comeback, even as polls show the odds aren't his favor, CNBC market analyst Steve Grasso is cautioning viewers to be wary of health care stocks for the time being.
"You know, one of my picks has been health care," Grasso said. "I'm a little shaky on it the longer this process goes on, I think the more we have to look at it. I mean, I caught a glimpse of President Obama speaking today. If they're clapping, that was a hand-picked audience. I have yet to find anyone who likes the plan. So I think health care is on waivers for me at this point."
With the Obama administration and their friends in the media denouncing the sometimes loud dissent that liberals are facing in town hall meetings on health care, it’s worth recalling how some of those same journalists celebrated the anti-Bush dissenters and denounced what they claimed was the Republican administration’s attempts to stifle dissent.
Back in 2006, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann attacked what he called President Bush’s “portable public chorus” (does President Obama have one of those?) For telling “those who dissent...[that] we are somehow un-American.” PBS’s Bill Moyers in 2003 found it “galling” to see “all those moralistic ideologues in Washington...attacking dissenters as un-American.”
In 2003, Olbermann saluted protests: “It is political dissent that created this country and sustained it and improved it.” But on Friday’s Countdown, Olbermann called the anti-Obama protests “societal sabotage,” determined that the grassroots groups are “fake” and insisted that “the protestors are not interested in hearing any voices other than their own.” (But the anti-Bush protesters were open-minded?)
Not everyone on the left is in denial of the town hall protests and propagating the notion that any opposition to ObamaCare is manufactured "Astroturf" from the right.
Former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, now a Bloomberg TV contributor, said that the issue of public sentiment isn't settled. Some prognosticators have concluded that everyone wants President Barack Obama's brand of health care reform.
"I think it's still a toss-up ball quite frankly," Daschle said on Bloomberg TV Aug. 11. "I think everybody is looking to see who gets to be on the offensive and there is a critical effort on both sides to do that. Whoever is usually on the offensive as you go into the legislative fight is the winner. And so, that's really the key - who can be on the offensive as we go through the next critical weeks."
Tribune reporter Antonio Olivo served up a 36-paragraph story focused particularly on the plight of illegal immigrants in need of organ transplants. But it seems Olivo buried his lede given the excerpt below from paragraphs 25-28, wherein the immigrants he interviewed scoffed at the idea of going back for government-run health care in their home countries (emphasis mine):
In Chicago, about a dozen patients in need of organ transplants lean on one another through an informal support group. They sat recently inside one patient's Pilsen home, comparing kidney dialysis regimens and worries over mounting hospital bills. Within the group, sharing medicine is common. In cases where pills are running out, so is rationing one pill a day instead of three.
Asked about returning to Mexico or other homelands to receive more comprehensive care, the group broke into laughter.
In an op-ed published Monday by USA Today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Cali.) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Mary.) wrote:
Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American. Drowning out the facts is how we failed at this task for decades.
As NewsBusters reported Monday, a liberal advocacy group called Health Care for America Now published a playbook last Tuesday with the following instructions for its members to counter "the 'tea-bagger' protesters and right-wing activists" showing up at town hall meetings from coast to coast:
Their side will be smaller but noisier. You must bring enough people to drown them out...
Well, it turns out that Hoyer is listed at HCAN's website, along with roughly 200 other members of Congress, as supporting this organization:
MSNBC, the place for left-wing politics strikes again.
If there ever was a textbook example of what not to do in a TV interview for broadcast journalism students, "Hardball" host Chris Matthews put it on display during his Aug. 10 show. In a segment with Americans For Prosperity President Tim Phillips, Matthews did his dead-level best to discredit the opponent of Obama's health care policy proposals, first by trying to link him to those questioning Obama's presidency on the claims of an invalid birth certificate.
"Tim, where are you from politically? What's your story? Who are you politically?" Matthews said, peppering his free-market conservative guest with questions. "Are you one of the people that question's the president's legitimacy as president?" "You're not a birther or anything like that?"
Who says a little engineering mixed in with your journalism is a bad thing? At least one MSNBC host and Washington Post reporter said it's a journalist's job to focus on "real issues" in the hotly debated issue of health care reform.
This was the topic of discussion in a panel featuring John Rother, executive vice president of Policy and Strategy for AARP, Ceci Connolly of The Washington Post, Tim Phillips of Americans for Prosperity and host Dr. Nancy Snyderman during MSNBC's "Dr. Nancy" Aug. 10.
Rother argued there has been far too much hyperbole on the issue, which he insisted was meant to mislead the public.
The liberal media meme on conservative protesters at health care town halls is that they are full of vitriol, but lacking in substance. So how does Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg take on critics of ObamaCare?
But not only are opponents of ObamaCare "dead wrong," argues Steinberg, they're an un-American, if not outright traitorous "fifth column" dedicated to stopping President Obama's agenda at any cost (emphasis mine):
On Friday's Glenn Beck Program, FNC aired a pre-recorded interview between host Beck and a British member of the European Parliament, Daniel Hannan, who warned against the dangers of instituting a national health system in America because of the problems Britons must endure from their country's government-run monopoly, the National Health Service. During an interview in which he recounted the long waits, the inability to go outside the system for faster treatment, and the system's discrimination against elderly patients, Hannan summed up his amazement that Americans would consider such a system:
I find it incredible that a free people living in a country dedicated and founded in the cause of independence and freedom can seriously be thinking about adopting such a system in peacetime and massively expanding the role of the state when there's no need.
He also warned that once such a massive bureaucracy and voting bloc of government workers becomes entrenched, such a system would likely be impossible to get rid of:
The New York Times suddenly isn't so fond of community organizing, now that the right has gotten into the game, attacking Obama's health-care proposals in clamorous town halls held by Democratic congressmen over the August recess.
In fact, the Times agrees with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that such meetings have become "hostile" and "extreme." "Beyond Beltway, Health Debate Turns Hostile" is the headline over a very slanted front-page story Saturday by Ian Urbina.
The bitter divisions over an overhaul of the health care system have exploded at town-hall-style meetings over the last few days as members of Congress have been shouted down, hanged in effigy and taunted by crowds. In several cities, noisy demonstrations have led to fistfights, arrests and hospitalizations.
Democrats have said the protesters are being organized by conservative lobbying groups like FreedomWorks. Republicans respond that the protests are an organic response to the Obama administration's health care restructuring proposals.
There is no dispute, however, that most of the shouting and mocking is from opponents of those plans. Many of those opponents have been encouraged to attend by conservative commentators and Web sites.
On Friday's Glenn Beck Program on FNC, substitute host Eric Bolling interviewed the now-famous "angry Democrat," Don Jeror, who confronted House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer at a recent public event as he challenged the Democratic push for universal health insurance. At the event, Jeror famously contended that while President Obama took six months to choose a dog for his family, Congress is "trying to stuff the health care bill down our throat in three to four weeks."
During his interview on FNC, Jeror summarized the potential risks to the elderly posed by the institution of public health insurance, and proclaimed that America has "the best health care in the world."
This summer, the Rockwellian ideal of neighbors gathering to discuss community issues in a neighborly way is gone, replaced by quarrelsome masses hollering questions downloaded from activist websites, as video cameras record every word of the squirming lawmaker's response. Many seem to be following advice laid out in a memo circulating on the Internet advising activists to “watch for an opportunity to yell out” early in the presentation and “have someone else follow up with a shout-out.”
Wangsness soon bemoaned the impact -- “Political specialists say, endlessly looping images of these confrontations on cable TV could hurt the case for the healthcare overhaul” -- before she set out to prove, as if it were something nefarious, how “conservative activist groups are deeply involved.”
On Thursday's The O'Reilly Factor, FNC host Bill O'Reilly hosted a discussion with FNC analyst and former CBS News correspondent Bernard Goldberg, as the two pointed out the mainstream media's double standard in "obsessing" over how protesters who have been challenging ObamaCare were organized, but have shown no interest in the organization of protesters by left-wing groups. After O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" addressed the subject, Goldberg observed:
The word "hypocrisy" in your "Talking Points" is the key word. Civil rights demonstrations, anti-war demonstrations, pro-abortion rights demonstrations, environmental demonstrations, I don't remember the media obsessing about who got these people out to the demonstration site, who orchestrated the demonstration, who manufactured, to use another of their words, the anger at the demonstrations. ... But the media only feels an obligation to look behind the curtain at the forces that are orchestrating and manufacturing the demonstrations when it's a conservative demonstration.
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Thursday, August 6, The O'Reilly Factor on FNC:
Franken, who departed CNN in 2006 and now shows up occasionally as an analyst on MSNBC, continued: “What do you call the partisan groups that whip up their fear-of-change ultra-conservative base to engage in that symbolic lynching and then disavow any responsibility? You have a choice here between 'deniers' and a word that rhymes with it.” I guess that would be “liars.”
The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts in near-unison on Friday night disparaged the anti-ObamaCare protests at town meetings held by Members of Congress as “unruly,” “nasty” and “getting ugly,” while CBS and NBC targeted Rush Limbaugh -- NBC's Kelly O'Donnell charged “some anger...gets stoked by the provocative megaphone of Rush Limbaugh, who went so far as accusing Democrats of wanting the socialized medicine of Nazi Germany” -- without bothering to acknowledge Limbaugh was reacting to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who first put Nazi comparisons into play by accusing the opponents of “carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town meeting on health care.”
Following O'Donnell, NBC's Chuck Todd checked in from a parallel universe at the White House where, except for the pesky health care opponents, Obama's staff achieved great things during the week:
They look back at this week, and they see that they've rescued two Americans from North Korea, that they broke a barrier at the Supreme Court with the confirmation of soon-to-be Justice Sonia Sotomayor, that a major terrorist was killed in, of the Taliban, a figure that is believed, that is somebody that might be able to break up the Taliban in such a way, that the cash for clunkers turned out to be a success, those good unemployment news. So they sit here and say, hey, it's pretty good, but then this health care debate and this town halls that Kelly was reporting on....
ABC anchor Charles Gibson saw “a pattern of disruption -- opponents of change shouting at members of Congress so loud that at times police are called in.” He then pointed to the Obama administration as an authority on civility, highlighting how “White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said today: 'We can discuss these issues without being uncivilized. It's the same thing I tell my six-year-old.'”
"When I watch the news people stand here and tell me that I am a member of a hired mob, that I've been called up by the Republican Party, they only wish they could have done something like this. I've never been contacted by any organized group."
So fabulously stated a caller during Saturday's "Washington Journal" on C-SPAN in a monologue that is likely to go viral throughout the Internet and possibly make the speaker America's next Joe the Plumber.
But that's only the tip of the iceberg, for Leah from New Hampshire's declaration about what's really going on in the country, Congress, the media, and at these town hall meetings perfectly encapsulated what most so-called journalists are either ignorantly missing or dishonestly ignoring (video and transcript below the fold, h/t Ed Morrissey via Bob Hicks):
There’s something deeply wrong with journalism that scrutinizes and criticizes the institutions of free and successful nations, but produces puff pieces on the supposed achievements of totalitarian dictatorships. On Thursday, CNN aired a piece of Communist Party propaganda about how Cuba could serve as “a model for health care reform” in the United States, complete with an authoritative sound bite from an American medical expert, identified only as someone “who’s lived and worked in Cuba for decades.”
But the expert, Gail Reed, is a longtime admirer of the Cuban revolution, married to the Cuban official who served as ambassador to Grenada in the early 1980s when U.S. troops liberated the island from hardline communists who had executed the leftist Prime Minister Maurice Bishop. She's also worked at Granma, Cuba’s official communist party newspaper.
Correspondent Morgan Neill also recited all of the standard tropes about how Cuban health care is the best in Latin America, is completely free, and “no one falls through the cracks.” While he acknowledged that “critics charged that conditions in Cuban hospitals are appalling and that Cubans had to pay bribes to get decent care,” nearly all of the August 6 report was positive.
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is not pleased with some of his fellow racist mobs -- er, U.S. citizens -- as he demonstrated in his column on Friday, "The TownHall Mob," on loud protests that have met some Democratic congressmen who support Obama's costly health care ideas.
There's a famous Norman Rockwell painting titled "Freedom of Speech," depicting an idealized American town meeting. The painting, part of a series illustrating F.D.R.'s "Four Freedoms," shows an ordinary citizen expressing an unpopular opinion. His neighbors obviously don't like what he's saying, but they're letting him speak his mind.
That's a far cry from what has been happening at recent town halls, where angry protesters -- some of them, with no apparent sense of irony, shouting "This is America!" -- have been drowning out, and in some cases threatening, members of Congress trying to talk about health reform.
In Friday’s Washington Post business section, columnist Steven Pearlstein — who last week condemned the conservative “fantasy” that raising taxes is damaging to the economy — blasted Republicans as “political terrorists” who are “poisoning the political well” by peddling “lies” about liberal health care plans, lies that are “so misleading, so disingenuous, that they could only spring from a cynical effort to gain partisan political advantage.”
"As a columnist who regularly dishes out sharp criticism, I try not to question the motives of people with whom I don't agree," Pearlstein claimed before warning: "Today, I'm going to step over that line."
But the “facts” Pearlstein uses to slam the anti-ObamaCare “terrorists” line up better with Democratic talking points than the analysis of non-partisan sources such as the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). For instance, Pearlstein claims it is a lie that the Democratic bills would push people out of private insurance, that it is a lie that the price tag is $1 trillion, and trumpets “offsetting savings” as bringing the cost down to “less than 1 percent of a national income that grows at an average rate of 2.5 percent every year.”
UPDATE: Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Sean Hannity read Bozell's statement on the air on August 6th. The audio can be found here.
Liberal Democrats have launched a war of outrageous hate speech directed at Americans who haved dared to express opposition to Obama's health care "reform."
First, the Democratic National Committee launched a Web video charging "desperate Republicans and their well-funded allies" with "organizing angry mobs" to "destroy President Obama." Then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) accused town hall protestors of "carrying swastikas."
In response this morning, MRC President Brent Bozell called on the mainstream media "to report on this hate speech, who is behind it and how vicious it has become."
Mr. Bozell's full August 5 statement is printed below: