The CBS Evening News’ latest installment of “Where America Stands” failed to mention that some Americans actually stand opposed to embryonic stem research. Instead, last night’s program only featured medical professionals and industry experts who support the controversial research method.
Setting the stage for the segment, "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric emphasized the potential promise of embryonic stem cells while neglecting to acknowledge pro-life objections.
“It’s been a year since President Obama loosened restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research,” Couric noted, adding, “Those stem cells come from unused human embryos at fertility clinics and they can be transformed into any cell in the body.”
Dr. Jon LaPook, CBS News medical correspondent, chronicled the progress that researchers have made in recent years, declaring, “The report card on stem cells is promising, but incomplete.”
The White House's decision to offer interviews with the President to the medical doctors who are correspondents for ABC, CBS and NBC paid off Wednesday night with stories that embraced the assumption health care must be reformed; and interviews on CBS and NBC which put Obama's efforts in the best light. Ironically, ABC's Dr. Tim Johnson, a long-time advocate for government-directed universal coverage, didn't presume Obama's prescription is benign.
Anchor Katie Couric led the CBS Evening News by making the underlining case for Obama's view that government intervention is needed:
They've been talking about it for decades. President Obama says he wants it done now, as in this summer -- universal health care. As he put it today, it's time for us to buck up. And there are a lot of bucks at stake. Since 1999, health insurance premiums have increased 120 percent -- four times as much as wages. And about one and a half million American families lose their homes to foreclosure every year because of sky high medical bills. A number of proposals are making their way through the House and Senate this week.
In the subsequent story, Chip Reid did spend some time on the burden the new health care requirements would place on small businesses, before CBS played an excerpt from Dr. Jon LaPook's Obama interview in which LaPook empathized: “Mr. President, when people hear you talk about a national insurance plan, there are fears of socialized medicine, rationed care, limited choice. How do you handle this?”
The night after ABC's World News raised the possibility John McCain's POW ordeal caused “psychological damage,” on Friday's CBS Evening News Dr. Sanjay Gupta thought it noteworthy that the release of McCain's medical records ignored the Senator's “mental health,” any “mention of post-traumatic stress disorder” or of “substance abuse.” Oddly, Dr. Jon LaPook asserted that “people” notice McCain is “not able to raise his arm” and think “'doesn't that look funny?'” Who thinks McCain's limitation, caused by an attack on him after his plane crashed in North Vietnam and he was denied medical care, looks funny? In what circles does CBS's doctor travel? [audio available here]
From Fountain Hills, Arizona, CNN's Gupta, identified by Katie Couric as “a CBS News contributor” and on-screen as “contributing medical correspondent,“ marveled:
What I didn't see I thought was interesting, as well. There was hardly any mention of his mental health. There was no mention of depression. You know, this is man who had two admittedly weak suicide attempts when he was a prisoner of war. There was no mention of post-traumatic stress disorder or anything that may have been asked, or substance abuse, none of that was even mentioned.