NPR is looking quite desperate in its promotion of Obamacare. This was an actual headline at the NPR website: "Despite Glitches, HealthCare.gov Could've Been Worse." Jonah Goldberg told me "I thought you made up that headline!" He cracked on Twitter: "For instance, logging on could have permanently blinded you!"
On Tuesday night's All Things Considered, anchor Melissa Block borrowed this oddly optimistic concept inside the liberal bubble from Rusty Foster of The New Yorker magazine. He said "I'm sort of amazed at how well it does work, actually, which is, you know, where it kind of -- it could've been worse." They needed more time, he protested:
When Obamacare was signed by the president in 2010, NPR marked how its health reporter Julie Rovner had a "picture perfect day," and took a snapshot. She "was all smiles when asked about how important this day was to her.” She said: “It's the first month of my twenty-five years covering health policy...and I did not intend to miss this event!”
So it’s not surprising that she would write a blog on how utterly conservatives failed to nick Obamacare in the shutdown fight – or as she called it, “their 16-day tirade against the government.”
NPR health policy correspondent Julie Rovner has a bad habit of stacking the deck in her stories, frequently giving the liberal side several times as much time as conservatives. During NPR’s June 21 Morning Edition, Rovner appeared to be aiming for a personal record in tipping the scales for a piece about the group Enroll America. Rovner gave almost 15 times as much time for the group’s case than against it.
Enroll America is a liberal organization working to get as many people sign up for ObamaCare as possible. Its founding chairman is Ron Pollack, head of the liberal (even according to The New York Times) advocacy group Families USA. That group pushed hard for both major Democrat health care bills (Hillarycare & ObamaCare). Enroll America’s president is Anne Filipic, a former Democratic political operative. Rovner conveniently left out the ideological and party labels and the background for Ron Pollack, Families USA, Anne Filipic and Enroll America, instead portraying them as impartial experts: “of…Families USA,” “consumer group,” “president of Enroll America,” and “a private nonprofit group" respectively.
NPR has a seriously bad habit of running “news” stories that are stuffed with liberals...who then aren’t called liberals. On Thursday’s All Things Considered, NPR health policy correspondent Julie Rovner reported on how Team Obama is queasy about letting girls under 15 – middle-school girls -- get access to “emergency contraceptives,” even after a federal judge mandated they be sold to all ages.
As Rovner put it, “the administration's decision to appeal that ruling has outraged many of the president's allies in the women's health community.” That’s what they call the aggressively “sex-positive” feminists. The only “conservative” view in this story was...Obama! Well, that's not fair. The Obama quotes they used were liberal-pleasers, too. Everyone else wanted to make America safe for sixth-grade sex.
Julie Rovner, NPR's resident ObamaCare flack, failed to include any conservatives experts for her report on Medicare on Tuesday's All Things Considered . Rovner played two sound bites each from Drew Altman of the Kaiser Family Foundation and from MIT's Jonathan Gruber, whom the Washington Post named the Democratic Party's "most influential health-care expert." She didn't mention either individual's liberal affiliations.
The closest that the correspondent got to mentioning their left-of-center politics is when she pointed out how Gruber "likes the way the Affordable Care Act takes on Medicare with a variety of approaches."
On Wednesday's Morning Edition, NPR's pro-ObamaCare shill Julie Rovner predictably lined up backers of the contested law. Rover again cited the Kaiser Family Foundation and failed to mention their liberal leanings. She also turned to a former Clinton administration official, without identifying her as such, and played five total clips from liberals, versus only two from a conservative.
The correspondent hyped the "the potential impact on the relationship between the federal government and the states" if the Supreme Court struck down the controversial legislation, and that "virtually any program in which the federal government gives money to the states with conditions attached" could be at risk.
On Thursday's All Things Considered, Julie Rovner, NPR's resident ObamaCare flack, claimed that the U.S. Senate rejecting an amendment protecting religious liberty was "closer than the 63 percent majority that supports the contraceptive coverage requirement" from the federal government, according to the poll from the liberal Kaiser Family Foundation. The organization is an oft-used source for Rovner.
The group obtained the 63 percent figure by asking a question that omits the religious liberty component to the firestorm: "In general, do you support or oppose the new federal requirement that private health insurance plans cover the cost of birth control?" A Pew Research Poll from mid-February included that issue, and found that 48 percent supported an exemption for religious groups, versus 44 percent in support of the mandate.
Julie Rovner, NPR's on-staff shill for ObamaCare, filed an unashamedly one-sided report on Friday's Morning Edition about the controversial Obama administration mandate that forces religious institutions to include coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, sterilizations, and birth control.
Rovner turned to only two individuals for her pro-mandate report: Peggy Mastroianni, general counsel at the federal government's own EEOC, an organization which recently got slapped down in a unanimous Supreme Court decision concerning the rights of houses of worship in hiring and personnel matters; and Sarah Lipton-Lubet, a lawyer for the notoriously far-left American Civil Liberties Union, who until May 2011, worked for the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights.
The Obama administration announced plans to force Catholic schools, hospitals, and other church-affiliated organizations to subsidize sterilization, abortifacients, and contraceptives in their health insurance plans. Bizarrely, this is causing the media to wonder if the exact opposite is happening. Time.com posted this odd headline on Monday: "Birth Control: Could It Be Illegal Again?"
On Thursday, NPR talk show host Diane Rehm echoed that science-fiction question: "Are we creeping towards a wiping out of the availability of birth control?" NPR health correspondent Julie Rovner replied "I'm not sure I would say that." Because it's not exactly supported by any present facts?
On Wednesday, NPR's resident ObamaCare booster Jule Rovner spotlighted the left-leaning Kaiser Family Foundation's latest tracking poll on the law. Rovner indicated that 51% unpopularity for the legislation in October was merely a "blip," and played up how "the public is still confused about what the law does and does not do, more than 18 months after its passage."
The journalist led her November 30 item for NPR's "Shots" blog, "Health Law's Popularity Rises...Ever So Slightly," with her "blip" label. After briefly noting that "the federal Affordable Care Act still remains slightly more unpopular 44 percent) than popular (37 percent)," she explained that "the major reason for the uptick is the rebound in support among Democrats. Their favorability ratings jumped from 52 percent last month to 62 percent this month."
On Friday, NPR's Julie Rovner bemoaned the "crummy month for sentiment" about ObamaCare in an online report about the latest poll from the liberal Kaiser Family Foundation, which found that over 50% oppose the liberal law. Rovner also labeled Romney's Massachusetts health care law his "landmark achievement."
The correspondent lead her NPR.org item, "Democrats Lose Enthusiasm For Health Law," by seemingly downplaying the poll results and using her "crummy" label: "Sure, it's just one poll of many, but October marks a crummy month for sentiment about the federal Affordable Care Act." She continued by noting that "more than half of those polled...had an unfavorable view of the measure overhauling health care. Only 34 percent said they viewed the law favorably, a post-passage low."
On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Julie Rovner promoted the supposed benefits of ObamaCare, and played up a recent poll which found that "about a third of those without health insurance think the law will help them, and that's because only about half know that it includes key provisions that will make insurance more available and affordable."
The sole source for the correspondent's report was an August 2011 tracking poll conducted by the liberal Kaiser Family Foundation. Rovner played three sound bites from Drew Altman, who works for the foundation, and none from opponents of ObamaCare. In his first clip, Altman highlighted how a majority of people surveyed for the poll agree that "it [ObamaCare] really does help the uninsured. Thirty-two million uninsured people will get coverage."
On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Julie Rovner spun the debate over a proposed mandate for private insurance companies to cover birth control without a copay as being between "women's health groups," which were not given an ideological label, and organizations such as the Family Research Council, which she clearly identified as "conservative." A representative from her example of a "women's health group," Planned Parenthood, labeled "unintended" pregnancies an "epidemic."
Anchor Steve Inskeep began the report with an admission about ObamaCare: "President Obama's health care overhaul law touches almost every aspect of health care, including birth control." Rovner first highlighted a woman from Tucson, Arizona who, despite having a "full-time job with health insurance [and] a husband," along with two kids, apparently couldn't afford the $25 a month copay for her birth control prescription. This led to her having a third child, and the woman declared that "while we're happy that she's here, it was not planned, and had we had some better finances, we probably could have made some better decisions."
NPR's Julie Rovner lined up proponents of the federal Title X program on Friday's Morning Edition, devoting most of her four-minute report to three employees at a Washington, DC health care clinic who all pushed for continuing the funding of the subsidy for contraceptives. Rovner left only 30 seconds for a conservative advocate of defunding the program.
During the bulk of her report, the correspondent featured Unity Health Care's Upper Cardozo Clinic in Washington, DC. She stated that it is locate in a "heavily Hispanic neighborhood" and accented this by playing a clip of one of the clinic's doctors, Andrea Anderson, speaking in Spanish with a patient. Dr. Anderson's female patient had a "sinus problem," according to Rovner, but continued by noting that the "family physician" also asked the patient "if she's happy with the birth control method she's using. Thanks to the Title X program, Unity has available a wide array of contraceptive options....Anderson says one of her favorite things about the family planning program is the way it lets her integrate contraceptive choices into her everyday practice."
[Update, 10:20 am Friday: The original version of this item stated that Brandon Smith worked for Indiana Public Radio. He is actually affiliated with Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations.]
NPR's Steve Inskeep, who used "deceitful sophistry" to contend that his network's audience leaned right in a Thursday WSJ column, also claimed in the same piece that "not much of the media pays attention to the middle of the country, but NPR and its local stations do." But an affiliate in his home state of Indiana touted the findings of a pro-ObamaCare organization on the first anniversary of its passage, while leaving out anything from opponents.
Brandon Smith of Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations led his Wednesday report on the one-year anniversary of the signing of the legislation by trumpeting how "Families USA, a non-partisan, national health care advocacy organization, released state-by-state data on the potential impact of the law." Despite running a sound bite from Ron Pollack, the executive director of the organization, and highlighting some of their data specific to Indiana, Smith didn't point out Families USA's liberal political leanings. NPR correspondent Julie Rovner also omitted the organization's ideological affiliation on Wednesday's Morning Edition, the very program which Inskeep hosts.
NPR's Julie Rovner put the best liberal spin on the one-year anniversary of ObamaCare becoming law on Wednesday's Morning Edition. When an opponent of the legislation stated that supporters would try to "create constituencies that will fight to preserve it...[by] spending hundreds of billions of dollars on health insurance subsidies," Rover added that "those are just a few of the law's benefits."
The correspondent led her report with sound bites from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who marveled over the "landmark law," and Senator Orrin Hatch, who labeled it "one of the worst pieces of legislation in the history of this country." She continued by focusing on the opponents of ObamaCare:
Usually, when a reporter files a fact-check on a presidential press conference, there are some definitive mistakes listed. Clay Waters at TimesWatch noted that even The New York Times found that Obama's deficit-cutting claims would only be true if he left every troop in Iraq for another ten years. But after Wednesday night's press conference was aired live on National Public Radio, NPR health reporter Julie Rovner signaled that Obama may have goofed when he said that nationalizing health care wouldn't add to the deficit, but "there's a distinction about whether or not you think that adds to the deficit or not. I guess it's people's call to make on their own." Here's how it unfolded:
MADELEINE BRAND, anchor: I think there's a couple of places where the president may have sort of misstated a few things. There was one place, where he said that he wasn't going to let it add to the deficit. Here's what he said.
BARACK OBAMA: I've also pledged that health insurance reform will not add to our deficit over the next decade, and I mean it.