For the second day in a row, CNN appealed to emotion and aired the story of an innocent chid that made the case for ObamaCare. On Tuesday morning they featured a heartrending account of an epileptic three year-old girl who will soon reach her lifetime benefit limits on health insurance – if the Supreme Court strikes down ObamaCare.
CNN correspondent Elizabeth Cohen made the Court's decision as personal as possible, even though the Court is simply determining the constitutionality of the bill. "These nine Supreme Court justices will forever affect the life of 3-year-old Violet McManus," she gravely began. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
If there has ever been a case that could vindicate the Supreme Court as a guardian of liberty or incriminate it as freedom's thief, it is the court's present consideration of the Affordable Care Act.
At the founding of the republic, the Anti-Federalist opponents of the Constitution warned that to grant the power to declare laws unconstitutional to an unelected and life-tenured Supreme Court could subvert the democratic republic and threaten our liberties.
[UPDATED with transcript and audio.] Because the left so utterly dominates America's biggest media outlets, part of being a liberal journalist oftentimes involves being utterly ignorant of conservative viewpoints. Since so many journalists, as former CBS correspondent Bernard Goldberg has said repeatedly, don't really know people who are center-right, they generally tend to have very truncated views of what conservatives think, in part because they have no interest in seeking them out.
That's true not just in political journalism but also legal journalism as well and nowhere has this become more apparent than in the confident predictions that the Supreme Court will uphold Obamacare's "individual mandate" requirement to purchase health insurance. CNN's Jeff Toobin was one such confident liberal who believed the court would rule in its favor. After actually hearing the judges today, though, Toobin has reversed his opinion, calling the Obama position a "train wreck." Video below the fold. [MP3 audio here.]
It was as predictable as the sun rising in the east, but today the Washington Post defended as constitutional ObamaCare's individual mandate. The mandate is defended by the administration as being legitimate under the Constitution's commerce clause, a defense the Post editorial board agreed with while conceding that the arguments against the mandate are "serious."
To justify the individual mandate via the commerce clause would fundamentally obliterate any limit on the federal power to regulate, but that doesn't seem to bother the Post in light of the government's "compelling goals of universal coverage and lower costs." But believe it or not, in the past the Post has hailed Court cases that drew limits on the commerce clause, even and especially when the political goals of the legislation invalidated was laudable. Indeed, after the 1995 case U.S. v. Lopez, which struck down a federal penalty on carrying guns near public schools, the Post cautioned Congress that "in the future, [it] will have to demonstrate some modesty in assessing the elasticity of federal power."
Taking the Constitution's limits on federal power seriously is just, well, backwards to liberal journalists. Take Ari Melber of The Nation. Sitting on the panel on the March 26 edition of Now with Alex Wagner, the MSNBC contributor dismissed as "retrograde" the notion that the ObamaCare individual mandate -- the provision forcing Americans to buy private health insurance or else pay a fine to the federal government -- violates the letter and spirit of the Constitution.
Melber, a former John Kerry presidential campaign staffer, made the remark in the midst of comments wherein he suggested the Obama administration could see a stunning victory before the high court, despite the conservative nature of the tribunal:
"It's been two years" since ObamaCare was muscled through Congress and signed into law, and "more people than ever before" are opposed to it, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell noted on Saturday.
The Media Research Center founder was one of the speakers at the March 24 Tea Party-sponsored "Road to Repeal" rally. Today and the next two days, the U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing oral arguments on questions pertaining to ObamaCare's constitutionality. You can watch Bozell's brief speech in the video embedded below the page break:
With the Supreme Court about to decide the fate of ObamaCare, Americans are destined to hear all kinds of accusations about the so-called partisan nature of the conservatives on the bench.
New York magazine's John Heilemann did his part on this weekend's Chris Matthews Show claiming the Court's ruling in 2000's Bush v. Gore case "was pure politics and purely corrupt" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Former New York Times Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse, who previously confessed she couldn't grasp "the moral compass" of people who opposed Obama-care, denied the need for any balance when discussing the constitutionality of the matter in her Wednesday column, since the measure's opponents are so obviously wrong.
Journalistic convention requires that when there are two identifiable sides to a story, each side gets its say, in neutral fashion, without the writer’s thumb on the scale. This rule presents a challenge when one side of a controversy obviously lacks merit. But mainstream journalism has learned to navigate those challenges, choosing evolution over “intelligent design,” for example, and treating climate change naysayers as cranks.
"As President Obama and his allies gear up to defend the landmark healthcare law he signed two years ago, they confront an unforgiving math problem: Just a tiny fraction of Americans has experienced a major benefit from the law," Times Washington bureau correspondent Noam Nevey lamented, adding:
Today Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and House Republicans unveiled a budget and tax reform plan. But for Center for American Progress alumna Alex Wagner, it was Christmas morning, with the Ryan budget as a handy cudgel with which Democrats and MSNBC could bludgeon politically hapless Republicans.
"[S]ome Democrats are calling it Christmas in March," MSNBC anchor Wagner quipped on her March 20 Now program as she presented a quick overview of the "nuts and bolts" of the plan such as "repealing the Affordable Care Act," simplifying the federal individual income tax down to two brackets, 10 and 25 percent, and reducing the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent.
If you read through the Washington Monthly's list of Obama's top 50 accomplishments, you'll quickly understand why my brother, Rush, properly wanted him to fail.
When Rush said he wanted Obama to fail, everyone knew he was talking about his policies, and for those few who pretended otherwise, he explained it a thousand times: He wanted his policies to fail because his policies are disastrous for America.
Next week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear three days of oral arguments in the healthcare lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, otherwise known as "Obamacare."
We now know the law was based on phony predictions about its cost. After promising the price would be under $940 billion over 10 years, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has issued a correction of its initial estimate, which appears to have been based on sleight of hand accounting tactics by congressional Democrats and the White House. CBO now projects the measure will cost taxpayers at least $1.76 trillion over a decade.
An MSNBC political analyst on Tuesday actually said that Alabama women voting for Rick Santorum in the Republican presidential primary that just concluded in that state "really hurts" her.
Talking to Lawrence O'Donnell on The Last Word, Karen Finney arrogantly said, "It’s a little painful because I’m wondering if those women really heard the full message" (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
Friday's lead New York Times story by Robert Pear, "White House Set To Shape Debate Over Health Law," passed right over the fascinating fact that the White House is helping "coordinate plans for a prayer vigil, press conferences and other events outside the court." Whatever happened to the dangers of mixing religion and politics, which was all the Times could fret about when it came to the Catholic Church's opposition to paying for birth control for employees?
Within five minutes of the start of MSNBC's coverage of the Arizona and Michigan primaries Tuesday evening, Hardball host Chris Matthews falsely claimed Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum wants to "outlaw birth control" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
It’s been nearly three weeks since President Obama faced a political backlash over his plan to force religious institutions to bow to government bureaucrats when it came to supplying birth control coverage to their employees. Since then, the liberal media — led by the broadcast networks — have helped re-script the story to suit the President’s political needs. Instead of a story about the overreach of big government and violation of religious freedom, the networks are now spinning the birth control story as one about out-of-control conservatives, to the point of ignoring broad and continuing opposition — including a lawsuit by seven state attorneys general — to the President’s power grab.
The MRC reviewed coverage from the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts starting with Obama’s February 10 declaration of a unilateral “compromise” meant to end the controversy. Our analysis shows how the networks re-framed the story from one that was damaging to Obama into one that reporters thought would hurt his opponents:
MSNBC's Martin Bashir has been off for a few days, but he was back in the studio and in fighting form today, eager to push the network's leftist talking points on the ObamaCare contraceptive mandate that would force religious institutions to provide contraceptive coverage in their health insurance plans.
Bashir opened up an interview segment with Baptist theologian Craig Mitchell entitled "Full of Grace?" by furthering a misleading liberal talking point about a February 16 hearing before the House Committee on Government Reform, which featured opponents of the mandate affiliated with various religious institutions:
“GOP says HHS mandate is about liberty, not contraception. Dems say it’s about contraception, not liberty. Media accept and amplify Democratic framing.” So the Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes adroitly tweeted noontime Sunday in an accurate observation demonstrated by Meet the Press where host David Gregory opened the roundtable: “I want to start with...a big theme in this race so far. And Politico, I thought, captured the headline here with this theme, ‘2012: The year of birth control moms?’”
Later, Gregory touted how “I see this bumper sticker,” which, he insisted, “we’ve heard everybody talk about,” that proclaims “GM’s back on top, and Osama bin Laden is dead.” Cuing up New York Times White House correspondent Helene Cooper, Gregory noted the obvious: “That’s the record that this President wants to run on.” Cooper affirmed: “That’s absolutely the record that he wants to run on.”
New York Times reporter Laurie Goodstein portrayed Obama’s “compromise” on his requirement that religion institutions provide contraception coverage as causing conflict within the Catholic church that could damage it politically, in Wednesday’s lead National section story, “Obama Shift On Providing Contraception Splits Critics.”
Goodstein, the paper’s religion reporter, hasn’t shown much patience with religious concerns in her coverage of Obama's contraceptive mandate; in her Saturday update she put “religious freedom” in quotation marks while writing dismissively on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops rejection of Obama’s purported compromise.
And in a front-page story February 10 she passed on popular but bad statistic, without even citing a source, falsely claiming “Studies have shown that 98 percent of Catholic women have used artificial contraception at some time in their lives.”
Jake Tapper of ABC News wrote a remarkable story last week revealing the players in the Obama administration’s internal debate on the contraception mandate.
According to Tapper, President Obama’s top advisers on the issue included Vice President Joe Biden, former White House Chief-of-Staff Bill Daley, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, former Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes, White House Senior Advisers Valerie Jarrett and Pete Rouse, former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn, two U.S. Senators – and Planned Parenthood Federation for America CEO Cecile Richards:
On Monday, MSNBC's Martin Bashir tried to obscure the real policy issues in the contraceptive mandate row by harping on Newt Gingrich's past infidelities. On Wednesday, the afternoon host stocked his program with liberals who backed the Obama administration's position and complained Republicans were engaging in a "toxic waste of time" by calling for congressional debate on the contraceptive mandate.
"This time, they went too far," MRC President and NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell said of the Obama administration's rule to force Catholic institutions to violate their conscience on contraception, and he scolded the media for refusing to cover the controversy at first.
"The national news media has no understanding of what goes on in the Catholic church. This is massive inside the Catholic church, and think about how long it took -- it took CBS 10 days to do a story on this and they only devoted seconds to it," Bozell argued on the February 9 edition of FNC's Hannity, during his regular "Media Mash" segment. "It took NBC and ABC 17 days to arrive at this story. This is the biggest story dealing with an assault on religious freedom in the history of the Republic."
[MP3 audio here; video and additional transcript below the fold]
The front of Thursday’s New York Times National section featured Jennifer Steinhauer’s “Birth Control is Covered, And G.O.P. Vows a Fight.” Steinhauer portrayed the fight in cynical political terms, showcasing Republicans as being opportunistic rather than motivated by principled opposition to Obama’s requirement that Catholic universities and charities violate their religious beliefs by offering free birth control via their health insurance plans.
Congressional Republicans, seizing on the type of social issue that motivates and unifies their base, stepped forcefully Wednesday into the battle over an Obama administration rule requiring health insurance plans provided by Catholic universities and charities to offer free birth control to women, vowing to fight back with legislation to unravel the new policy.
Filed from CPAC 2012 in Washington, D.C. -- Shortly before noon Eastern today, Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) walked through the bloggers lounge here at CPAC, answering a few questions from reporters and bloggers.
I asked Gov. Perry if, in light of the Obama administration's move to force Catholic institutions to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees, he felt vindicated about his claims of an Obama administration war on religion. His response:
Even Chris Matthews, who famously gushed about the "thrill" Barack Obama gave his leg, is troubled by the President's "frightening" decision to force Catholic charities to provide birth control through health care. Discussing the issue on Tuesday's Hardball, the host sputtered, "...How can you make the [religious] teacher pay for birth control without losing their authority, their moral authority?"
Matthews didn't seem sure how to broach the subject. Talking to E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post and Susan Milligan of U.S. News and World Reports, he warned, "It gets to that interesting point to me, which is frightening, when the state tells the church what to do." (Interesting?)
For 60 years the National Prayer Breakfast has been a nonpolitical event where speakers put aside their earthly biases and focus on a Higher Authority. Last Thursday, President Obama departed from that tradition to claim the endorsement of Jesus for raising taxes. It beat the endorsement of Mitt Romney by Donald Trump.
In his remarks, the president quoted Luke 12:48: "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." The president sees this verse as a command for him to raise taxes on the successful so the money can be "spread around" to the less successful. If the president's interpretation of this verse sounds a little like Karl Marx, it should. Marx said, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."
NBC Nightly News on Monday lifted its two-plus week blackout of the Obama administration’s decision to force religious institutions, such as Catholic hospitals and charities, to provide birth control coverage in health insurance provided to employees, but ABC’s World News and the CBS Evening News have still yet to utter a syllable about what has enraged people across the political spectrum while having plenty of time to champion Planned Parenthood’s attacks on the Komen foundation.
NBC’s Chuck Todd on Monday evening found a few seconds in a larger story to relay how the Republican presidential candidates “are hitting the Obama administration’s decision to require all health insurance plans to cover birth control. Many Catholic organizations had hoped for an exemption since the rule runs counter to the church’s doctrine. Today Mitt Romney’s campaign launched a petition drive to repeal the decision, and Newt Gingrich also sounded off.”
Of course, true to MSNBC form, Bashir ignored the legitimate policy and religious liberty implications of Gingrich's complaint to dredge up Gingrich's past moral failings, namely his adulteries, as a way of fatally wounding the messenger and hence, Bashir hopes, negating the message [MP3 audio available here; video posted below page break]:
Editor's Note: What follows is a letter that NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center president Brent Bozell sent to the presidents of the news divisions of ABC, CBS, and NBC as well as to CNN president Jim Walton. It has also been carbon copied to 10 leaders representing various Catholic and Protestant faith organizations.
The broadcast and cable television networks need to report the current, unprecedented assault against freedom of religion in this country, as well as the millions of Americans who would be left out in the cold by the Obama administration if it does not rescind HHS’s recently issued insurance mandate requiring contraceptive coverage. As our statistics and analysis below outline, they are not, and it’s a glaring double standard.