Yesterday, Sen. Max Baucus announced that he is retiring in 2014, making the six-term Montana Democrat the sixth senator of his party to step down two years from now instead of running for re-election.
That statistic alarmed Rachel Maddow, the liberal host of a weeknight program on MSNBC, who asked anxiously on Tuesday: “Tell us if something is wrong there. What is the secret about this place that has you fleeing like rats from a sinking ship?”
Comedy Central’s The Daily Show usually skewers Republicans and conservatives, but last night, regardless of where you stand on the underlying issue of same-sex marriage, the program went beyond the pale with a joke about Republican acceptance of same-sex marriage that involved Sen. Mark Kirk's (R-Ill.) stroke
Next week, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on the constitutionality of ObamaCare, but if the media were the judges, the Court would rule 9-0 in favor of it. During its coverage of the health care debate, the liberal press never permitted questions about ObamaCare’s legality to interfere with their dream of a government takeover of the health care sector.
Starting even before Barack Obama became President, the press has been campaigning hard for passage of the most liberal version of health care reform as a cure-all elixir to all of America’s health problems. First, they pitched the public on the desperate need to, as ABC’s Dr. Tim Johnson demanded, fix America’s “national shame” of no universal coverage. (Worst of the Worst quote compiliation with videos after the jump)
For the last 17 years, ABC's medical editor, Dr. Tim Johnson, has hyped various forms of government-run health care. He continued that pattern on Tuesday's Good Morning America, promoting Barack Obama's 2010 law and ignoring the its unpopular aspects.
Talking to guest co-host Chris Cuomo, he enthused, "Many issues have already gone into effect and people like them." Johnson did allow that the bill was "controversial," However, he added, "But, there's many features in this bill, that if they go into effect, could help control costs and improve quality."
However, he didn't explain that the legislation as a whole remains unpopular. According to a new CNN poll, 54 percent oppose it. Also unmentioned was a Washington Post report that few Americans are signing up for a provision of the legislation allowing sick individuals to have their medical costs covered.
As if anti-ObamaCare protesters are unruly street gangs, ABC’s Diane Sawyer, anchoring Sunday’s World News on what she touted as “a night for the history books” and a “seismic night,” impugned the opponents as a bunch of out of control marauders, citing “protesters roaming Washington, some of them increasingly emotional, yelling slurs and epithets.”
Elevating the same day-old despicable actions of a few on which ABC also focused on Saturday’s World News, ABC on Sunday devoted a full story to the topic. David Kerley reported that, “surrounded by angry protesters at the Capitol, someone yelled the N-word at” Congressman John Lewis” and “a few steps below, Representative Emanuel Cleaver was spat on,”while “as openly gay Representative Barney Frank walked the halls, a homophobic slur.”
Kerley began with the Democrats’ exploitation of the Lewis incident. Over video of Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer walking side-by-side with Lewis as they joined hands, Kerley hailed “a remarkable scene, a remarkable statement. The Speaker and Democratic leader walking hand in hand to go vote today, with Representative John Lewis, who yesterday was reminded of old battles from his civil rights days.” Over black and white video, Kerley reminded viewers of how Lewis “was beaten by police as he led protesters across the Selma, Alabama, bridge” and so “it was hard to forget the history, as Lewis made that strikingly symbolic walk today.”
ABC's Dr. Tim Johnson, a long-time advocate of government-centered universal health care, again shared his personal view he “absolutely” favors passage of the current ObamaCare bill, though “I would personally prefer to have public option and/or Medicare expansion directly challenging private insurance.” Without irony, about twelve minutes later as he signed off as anchor of his final newscast, Charles Gibson promised he's always tried to deliver an “objective” newscast and lamented “objectivity is not universally in favor in our business these days.”
Approaching Johnson Friday night with liberal complaints the bill has been watered down too much, Gibson related how “the question that I hear most often is, is this bill, without a public option, without an expansion of Medicare, is it better than nothing?” Johnson assured him: “Absolutely, Charlie. We have to remember that doing nothing leaves us with the status quo, a non-system that is headed for financial and health care disaster.”
Later, Gibson asserted in his goodbye comments as he retires from ABC News:
I thank you for investing trust in us each evening, trust that we will give you as objective and honest a look at the day's news as we possibly can. Objectivity is not universally in favor in our business these days, but it is critically important. It is what we strive for each night.
In contending America already has health care rationing, ABC's Dr. Tim Johnson, a universal coverage advocate, on Friday night's World News asserted “we have a lot of rationing, based on income, the kind of insurance you have, the way you can navigate the health system” and “a recent Harvard study estimated that 45,000 people died each year in this country because of lack of health insurance. If that's not rationing, I don't know what is.”
That “Harvard study,” which the CBS Evening News promoted two months ago, was really produced by the Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), a left-wing advocacy group which touts itself as “the only national physician organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to implementing a single-payer national health program.” Study co-author Dr. Steffie Woolhandler of PNHP is one of five signers of an “Open Letter to President Obama to Support Single-Payer Health Care.”
On Wednesday’s Good Morning America, co-host Diane Sawyer and Dr. Tim Johnson touted the treatment members of Congress get as an example of the unfairness of the health care system. Sawyer speculated, "The question is continually raised, in this land of equal opportunity, should all Americans have, do all Americans deserve the same access to health care that members of Congress have?"
Johnson, a well known fan of government-run health care, explained how, for a yearly fee of $503, representatives receive free access to X-rays, EKGs and minor surgeries. Talking to a Democratic Congressman who refuses to use this Office of Attending Physician (OAP), Johnson marveled, "In fact, [Steve] Kagen and his hundreds fellow members of Congress receive some of the best health care in the country, without even using insurance."
Johnson didn’t explain how, exactly, such a program could be extrapolated to the entire country. And only at the very end of the segment did Sawyer raise the issue of cost: Speaking of the representatives who partake in this service, she finally wondered, "Yes. So, good for you, that you have it. But make it the standard of care for everybody else, too. But, is that realistic, economically?"
“It is possible to have a very good health insurance system without a public option,” ABC's Dr. Tim Johnson acceded on Tuesday's World News in the wake of the Senate Finance Committee's bi-partisan rejection of the liberal quest, but without it we must follow Switzerland and Germany which have “no public option” yet impose “very heavy government regulation” on the health insurance industry. “One way or another, public option or regulation, the government has to play a role,” Johnson, who in March declared it a “national shame” that the U.S. lacks universal coverage, maintained. [audio here, video below page break]
ABC anchor Charles Gibson actually issued a liberal tag in setting up the segment on “a set-back today for the President and liberal Democrats.” Gibson relayed how “the President says we need this public option to keep insurance costs in line. Now with that gone,” he fretted in accepting the view of public option advocates, “do we face escalating insurance costs?”
In an open letter sent today to ABC News President David Westin, NewsBusters.org Publisher Brent Bozell questioned the ethics of ABC as a "news" network and wondered "how in the world can anyone take ABC seriously" after it was announced that ABC News has hired Democratic donor Dr. Richard Besser to be their new Senior Medical Editor.
The letter begins here, and continues in its entirety below the fold.
July 30, 2009
Dear Mr. Westin,
It was reported today that you have hired Dr. Richard Besser as your new Senior Medical Editor. By now you also know Besser is a Barack Obama donor, having contributed $400 to his campaign in 2008.
As your new senior health correspondent, he will play a pivotal role in your coverage of the health care debate going forward. How in the world is this ethical?
ABC’s newly hired senior medical editor is also an Obama donor, having contributed $400 to the Democratic presidential candidate in 2008. TV Newser reported on Thursday that Dr. Richard Besser, the director of the Centers for Disease Control, would assume the position in September. A search on the website Open Secrets finds two donations by Dr. Besser on August 22, 2008.
As senior health correspondent, Dr. Besser can be expected to play a major role in ABC's coverage of the health care debate this fall.
Dr. Tim Johnson, who currently holds the position for ABC, has long been an advocate for government-run solutions to the health care problem in America. Going back to the last big push in the early '90s, he told then-First Lady Hillary Clinton on July 19, 1994: "So at least from the physicians represented here, you get a 100 percent vote, including mine, for universal coverage." Johnson will become the "chief medical editor" for ABC News.
What a difference a few hours makes. On the July 15 “World News with Charles Gibson,” ABC medical expert Dr. Tim Johnson interviewed President Obama about his healthcare reform proposals and grilled the president over the cost of the bill, benefits, and primary care. But by the next morning Johnson was back to form, parroting the administration’s line on “Good Morning America.” Johnson often cheerleads for the Obama administration and socialized medicine.
Introducing Johnson, Robin Roberts said, “Tim, President Obama and others, they keep saying, that in the long run, we're going to save money while expanding coverage. As you know, many are skeptical about that statement.”
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?”
ABC medical expert Dr. Tim Johnson, a fervent fan of universal health care, actually talked to the other side on Wednesday, featuring Newt Gingrich for what an onscreen graphic labeled a "debate" on the merits of a government-run program. It might seem odd for the network to tag a segment of a conservative talking to one of its journalists as a debate, but Johnson is certainly a partisan on this issue.
On June 24, he participated in ABC's White House-based, primetime town hall forum on the subject. Responding to criticism of the event from the Republican National Committee, ABC News President David Westin defended Johnson. Writing in a June 23 press release, he complained, "...I entirely reject your attack on my colleague, Dr. Timothy Johnson...His knowledge about health care reform is surpassed only by his commitment to the truth and to fairness."
However, although Johnson was civil and allowed Gingrich to make his points, a "debate" would be a good description for Wednesday's segment. Parroting White House talking points, he challenged, "Now, the President says, what he wants is a system or a field where there's level playing opportunities. The same rules and regulations would apply to the public option, as to the private insurance companies."
ABC News announced on Monday that Dr. Tim Johnson, a longtime advocate for government-run health care, will be participating in a primetime special on the subject, airing on June 24 and being broadcast from the White House. The doctor, who has aggressively lobbied in support of universal health care for over 15 years, will also appear on that day's Good Morning America, a show that will feature Diane Sawyer's interview with Barack Obama.
This is the same Johnson, who, on July 19, 1994, talked to then-First Lady Hillary Clinton about a similar health care plan. He gushed, "So at least from the physicians represented here, you get a 100 percent vote, including mine, for universal coverage." On October 19, 2007, he spoke to Clinton again and noted that she considered the issue a moral one. "Do you think the Republicans who are against it are immoral," he wondered. A selection of some of Johnson's more biased health care-related comments can be found below:
CBS's Katie Couric and ABC's Dr. Tim Johnson tried to provide cover Thursday night for Vice President Biden's gaffe about the swine flu threat, which forced two cabinet secretaries and the White House spokesman to correct his advice to avoid planes and subways, as Couric asked an expert to confirm “that's not terrible advice in certain situations, is it?” and Johnson spun it into a positive, proposing: “In an ironic way, the reaction -- the information that has come out in reaction -- has been very informative.”
Talking with Dr. Jennifer Ashton, Couric pointed out how “the Vice President created a bit of a brouhaha when he said he would tell his family to avoid confined public spaces, but that's not terrible advice in certain situations, is it?” Ashton supported Couric's premise, suggesting “common sense precautions apply here,” so “people who have weakened immune systems, who have cancer, are HIV-positive,” if they would avoid people “a week ago, they should do it today.” But Biden was not warning just those with such vulnerabilities.
This wasn't the first time Couric helped Biden. Last year, when candidate Biden declared in a taped interview with Couric that “when the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on television,” she ran the soundbite in which he had cited FDR to denounce Bush's handling of the economy, but failed to point out his historical error: FDR was not in office at the time of the 1929 crash and his “fireside chats” were on the radio.
"Good Morning America" medical expert Dr. Tim Johnson on Friday gave ex-Health and Human Services nominee Tom Daschle a forum to promote his calls for a government run health care system. Co-host Robin Roberts made it clear in an introduction to the segment that there would be no discussion of the tax problems that forced Daschle to withdraw his nomination. Johnson, however, did offer softballs about what might have been. He cooed, "How hard is it for you to be sitting somewhat on the sidelines, compared to what you would have done?"
The medical doctor also agitated for quick action on a universal health care bill. Johnson extolled, "We hear constantly, if health care isn't done this year, politically, it's going to be impossible...Do you agree?" In a break from past cheerleading for government run health care, the medical expert actually asked a few challenging questions of the former Democratic senator. He asserted, "Most Americans will say they're for health care reform. But they don't want to pay any more for their health care. Or very little more. Can you have health care reform without increasing, overall, the costs for individual Americans?" Johnson also brought up Republican opposition to the legislation.
On October 19, 2007, the ABC News correspondent queried then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, "Do you think the Republicans who are against [universal health care] are immoral?" On April 26, 2007, GMA co-host Robin Roberts introduced a Johnson segment on a new congressional health care bill by Ted Kennedy. She enthused, "You’re very happy about this. You say it's bold and politically brilliant."
ABC's liberal medical editor, Dr. Tim Johnson, appeared on Wednesday's "Good Morning America to boost Barack Obama's universal health care plan and critique the more market oriented proposals of John McCain. Co-host Robin Roberts began the segment by seriously asserting, "We're not endorsing one plan over the other. We're just showing the differences between the two."
But after she mentioned Obama's assertion during Tuesday's presidential debate that health care is a right, Johnson marveled, "But, I'm struck by the language of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Without good health, and that usually means without good health care, it's hard to have those other rights." Johnson, despite being a doctor, adopts the standard, liberal positions of most journalists and has a 15 year-plus history of advocating universal health care, including once asking if Republicans who opposed the policy were "immoral."
During "Good Morning America's" respectful coverage of Ted Kennedy and the sad announcement of his cancer on Wednesday, ABC's medical expert, Dr. Tim Johnson, used the occasion to laud Kennedy's very liberal goals for reforming health care. After stating his admiration for the Massachusetts senator, Johnson fawned, "He is a true giant in the field of those of us who care about health care reform. And we want his leadership to continue."
Johnson may be a doctor, but his rigid liberalism fits right in at ABC. He has a long history of using network airwaves to back Kennedy and other liberal Democrats and their policies. On September 24 1993, he rhapsodized, "...The Clintons are almost heroes in my mind for finally facing up to the terrible problems we have with our current health care system..." On July 19, 1994, he extolled then-First Lady Hillary Clinton's plans for universal health care in an interview, saying, "So at least from the physicians represented here, you get a 100 percent vote, including mine, for universal coverage."
"Critical condition" in medical terminology means a patient has a high risk of death that could occur within the next 24 hours. So when you see "Critical Condition: Rx For America," sounds like something is in really bad shape, right?