NewsHour viewers last night (9/9/10) might have been surprised to see a long one-on-one conversation with far-right activist/lobbyist Dick Armey, promoting his new book, Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto. The interview gave Armey ample room to explain the Tea Party movement's beliefs, with host Judy Woodruff offering no real challenge to any of Armey's rhetoric–like when he claimed that Tea Party activists are "probably the kindest, gentlest, most gentle souls we ever saw. We had a million of them in town last September, and they left the town cleaner than they found it." Armey is wildly exaggerating the [...]
Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt wrote a piece today (5/24/10) headlined, "In the Absence of Debate, Iraq and Afghanistan Go Unnoticed." Hiatt laments the silence surrounding U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and ponders whether "the absence of debate reflects not full-bodied consensus but a wishful averting of eyes." Fair enough. But what kind of debate does Hiatt wish the country to have, anyway? His job gives him a chance to affect the national discussionabout these wars, and the evidence suggests that he's done little to provide a forum for dissenting views. As FAIR's Steve Rendall wrote in [...]
FAIR's latest Action Alert (4/23/10) concerns the Frontline program Obama's Deal, which not only didn't mention the single-payer proposal, but misrepresented single-payer advocates as proponents of a public option. You can leave copies of your messages to Frontline, or comments on the alert, in the comments thread of this post.
The PBS program Frontline on April 13 offered a look at the White House drive for healthcare reform titled Obama's Deal. Like a previous Frontline special about the U.S. healthcare system, the program failed to adequately include single-payer. But the way the show did it this time was remarkable. Margaret Flowers of Physicians for a National Health Programwas interviewed by Frontline–leading one to suspect thatthe show might include some discussion of truly universal healthcare systems like single-payer (aka Medicare for All). But the program was a major disappointment. As she wrote (Consortium News, 4/15/10) after it aired, "Curiously, just as [...]
Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann made two false claims about healthcare on CBS's Face the Nation last Sunday that went unchallenged by host Bob Schieffer. CBS did, however, post an article on their website challenging her claims. FAIR has a new action alert encouraging Face the Nation to debunk Bachmann's lies on its upcoming April 4 broadcast. Read the alert here and post your letters to CBS below.
One GOP Lawmaker Says Dems Are 'Ratcheting Up Rhetoric,' While Another Calls for Beating Enemies to Pulp
Articles like "Accusations Fly Between Parties Over Threats and Vandalism" in the New York Times today (3/26/10) are fairly useless. Are Republicans "fanning the flames with coded rhetoric," as a Democratic lawmaker says, or is a Republican representative right that it's Democrats who are "ratcheting up the rhetoric"? Readers are really left to judge based on their own partisan predilections, since Times reporter Michael Cooper gives them almost nothing else to go on. The article reports that "some Democrats accused the Republicans of stoking anger on the right with their fierce language during the healthcare debate," but it only gives [...]
One of the main assumptions of the final weeks of coverage of the congressional debate over healthcare reform was that the public was opposed to the White House plan. But some polling analysis shows that this wasn't the case. Barry Sussman noted this at the Nieman Watchdog on March 5. A McClatchy/Ipsos poll from late February told the usual tale: 41 percent supported the plan, 47 opposed. Sussman wrote: But the pollsters went a step further, asking those opposed–509 people in all–if they were against the proposals because they "don't go far enough to reform healthcare" or because they go [...]
…he would have to take a leave of absence to recover from the shame of having heaped ridicule on a guest who tried to explain to him how Congress could and would pass a healthcare reform bill. Daily Kos (3/22/10) recalled the January 22 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, in which guest Rep. Alan Grayson (D.-Fla.) pointed out that the Senate had already passed a healthcare bill, and that the House could approve it and then pass amendments that the Senate could accept via reconciliation. Matthews' response: "OK, OK. OK, you know, this show is about reality." Matthews continually mocked Grayson [...]
Via an interview with Raw Story (3/22/10): The Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor added that it's a damning referendum on American democracy that one of the most highly supported components of the effort nationally, the public insurance option, was jettisoned. He partly blamed the media for refusing to stress how favorably it's viewed by the populace. "It didn't have 'political support,' just the support of the majority of the population," Chomsky quipped, "which apparently is not political support in our dysfunctional democracy." The provision has consistently polled well, garnering the support of 60 percent of Americans across the nation in [...]
Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank (3/18/10) returns from his excursion into mocking right-wingers to return to his natural role of ridiculing single-payer advocates. His target today is Rep. Dennis Kucinich. You know what's funny about him? He's short! Or, in Milbank's words, he's a "little man," a "little guy," a "diminutive figure" and–because he announced his support for the healthcare bill on St. Patrick's Day–a "leprechaun." Actually, Kucinich is the exact same height–5 foot 7–as John McCain, whom Milbank can somehow write about without any elf jokes. Milbank also includes a sneering reference to how Kucinich "led the city into [...]
Last night on the O'Reilly Factor (3/16/10): What I'm about to tell you is simply stunning. A new survey published by the New England Journal of Medicine, a prestigious magazine, says that nearly half of primary care doctors in America could leave the medical profession if Obamacare is passed. According to the Journal, 63 percent of physicians feel that healthcare reform is needed but should be done in a more gradual way. And an astounding 72 percent of doctors believe a public option, that is a government-run health insurance company, would have a negative impact on medical care in the [...]
In a February 28 pieceheadlined, "Obama Ready to Move Forward on Healthcare Reform," the Washington Post's Anne Kornblut closed on a rather odd note: Republicans have expressed growing confidence heading into the midterm elections, with healthcare as a potential campaign tool. Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele took the argument a step further, saying after the Thursday summit that it had been "a death panel for Obama-care." "If that wasn't enough, when you come out of this thing and you're looking at the reconciliation fight that may loom ahead of us, it certainly will have represented a death panel [...]
Why are liberals and Democrats losing on issues like healthcare?Columnist E.J. Dionne (Washington Post, 2/18/10) rightly points out that congressional Democrats have caved on almost every big issue: "Single-payer was out at the start. The public option died. A Medicare buy-in died." He wonders: While liberals were arguing about public plans and this or that, and while Obama was deep into inside deal-making, the conservatives relentlessly made a straightforward public case based on a syllogism: The economy is a mess. Obama and the Democrats are for big government. Big government is responsible for the mess. Therefore the mess is the [...]