CNN's Kiran Chetry's two guests -- Time magazine's Karen Tumulty and Wendell Potter of the liberal Center for Media and Democracy -- promoted the latest health care "reform" proposal by President Obama on Tuesday's American Morning. Chetry also omitted the left-of-center political affiliation of Potter's organization.
The CNN anchor began the segment, which aired just after the bottom of the 7 am Eastern hour, by focusing on the cost of President Obama's latest health care plan: "[Obama] laid out his own vision online yesterday. It would cost an estimated $950 billion over 10 years, and it would extend coverage to about 31 million uninsured Americans. It would also expand Medicaid and close the so-called 'doughnut hole' in Medicare, where seniors have to pay out-of-pocket for prescription drugs. So where does all the money come from?"
Chetry then introduced Potter as a "former insurance executive" who is "now with the Center for Media and Democracy," and Tumulty as the "national political correspondent for Time magazine, who has done extensive writing about the health care situation." The anchor never mentioned the Center's liberal political agenda during the segment (four previous CNN personalities did the same during 2009). She first asked Tumulty to "break down for us how the President is proposing to pay for this nearly $1 trillion proposal."
Anchor John Roberts became the fourth CNN personality to omit the left-wing affiliation of Wendell Potter, as he interviewed the on Tuesday’s American Morning. Roberts only described Potter as someone who “worked for two different insurance companies in the past, and now he’s working against them to help get reform passed.”
Before introducing his guest, the CNN anchor played up the merits of Senator Max Baucus’s health care reform proposal: “The Senate Finance Committee’s health care reform bill got high marks from the Congressional Budget Office for keeping the deficit down, but now, insurance companies say it will actually cost you and your family thousands of dollars more than you’re paying now. So who is telling the truth?”
After posing this rhetorical question, Roberts introduced his guest: “We’re joined by Wendell Potter. He has worked for two different insurance companies in the past, and now he’s working against them to help get reform passed.” An on-screen graphic gave a glowing description of the former insurance company spokesman’s career: “Former head of public relations at Cigna Corp. and Humana Inc., now a whistleblower against health insurance industry- advocate for health care reform.” Another chyron finally revealed that the guest was also “Sr. Fellow on Health Care, Ctr. For Media & Democracy,” but Roberts never revealed Potter’s affiliation with the left-wing organization.
CNN’s Rick Sanchez joined two of his colleagues in omitting the left-wing affiliation of Wendell Potter, a senior fellow at the Center for Media and Democracy. In fact, Sanchez went so far as to deny Potter’s alignment with liberals: “Is he [Potter] some crazy lefty? Is he Ralph Nader? Is he Dennis Kucinich? No. In fact, he’s a former player in the health insurance world.”
Before the CNN anchor made this denial about Potter, he read the senior fellow’s assessment of Senator Max Baucus’s health care “reform” proposal: “Here’s what my next guest thinks of this Baucus bill- quote, ‘It’s hard to imagine how insurance companies could have written legislation,’ he says- ‘that would benefit them more.’ In other words, if the guys who run the insurance companies would have sat down and written legislation- he says- they couldn’t have written it any better.”
Sanchez then made his introduction of his guest: “Who’s my guest? Is he some crazy lefty? Is he Ralph Nader? Is he Dennis Kucinich? No. In fact, he’s a former player in the health insurance world. He used to be a part of it. You ever heard of Cigna? Of course, you’ve heard of Cigna. They’re one of the biggest insurers in the whole world. Wendell Potter is who I’m talking about, and for 15 years he was the company’s chief corporate spokesperson, and he was also an executive with Humana as well.” He didn’t mention Potter’s current position with the Center for Media and Democracy during the interview, though an on-screen graphic did mention it (see above).
On Saturday’s House Call program, CNN’s Sanjay Gupta finally reported the left-wing affiliation of a “health insurance insider” glowingly featured on his network. Gupta noted that Wendell Potter was a “senior fellow at the Center for Media and Democracy” and that the former Cigna spokesman was now “pro- a public insurance option.” He didn’t label Potter’s organization or position as leftist.
The following day, ABC’s Good Morning America on Sunday ran a sympathetic piece on Potter’s “personal journey from health industry insider to outsider” that treated him as a subject of a human interest story. Despite reporting on the fellow’s “loss of income, status, position and colleagues,” correspondent Ron Claiborne omitted Potter’s new liberal affiliation.
CNN’s Elaine Quijano failed to mention the left-wing political affiliation of Wendell Potter, whom she touted to be a health care “insurance company insider” on Wednesday’s Situation Room. When her network featured a glowing segment on the former Cigna spokesman over a month earlier, her colleague Jim Acosta also omitted Potter’s work as a senior fellow for the liberal Center for Media and Democracy.
Anchor Wolf Blitzer introduced Quijano’s report, which aired just after the beginning of the 5 pm Eastern hour, and described Potter as a “one-time insurance insider...turned whistleblower on industry tactics to try to sway the health care debate.” The CNN correspondent further described the former Cigna spokesman as being part of the pro-ObamaCare forces’ arsenal: “In the heat of the summer battle over health care reform, Democrats are deploying another weapon- he’s a former insurance company insider who’s speaking out once again.”
It’s not surprising that Democrats treat the health-insurance industry as an enemy – an enemy that "single payer" advocates actually want to eliminate and liquidate.
But The Washington Post published an article Wednesday attacking insurance-industry claims that should have come with a "news analysis" label at the very least. Reporter David Hilzenrath’s story was headlined "Health Insurance Industry Spins Data in Fight Against Public Plan."
It reads like an attempt to rebut industry critics of the Democrat talking points, and suggest they "cherry pick the facts" in their arguments:
Indeed, the leader of the insurance lobby has sent lawmakers a message: Be careful what you change, because "77 percent of Americans are satisfied with their existing health insurance coverage."
Struggling to sell a "public option" of socialized medicine on America, the left needs demons. So here comes, right on time, the focus on all the "lies" that free-market "front groups" are pushing on the failures of nationalized health care in countries like Canada and Great Britain.
These leftists are shameless. Their intellectual dishonesty is boundless. One wonders if socialized medicine might include treatment for this condition.
A man named Wendell Potter was the star of the hour on PBS’s "Bill Moyers Journal" on July 10. Potter used to be a spokesman for the insurance giant Cigna. He painted a picture of gilded excess. "I was served my lunch by a flight attendant who brought my lunch on a gold-rimmed plate. And she handed me gold-plated silverware to eat it with." Sitting in a spacious corporate jet, he said he was overcome by guilt at the gap between his creature comforts and the health struggles of the poor and uninsured.