2. Jennings & Johnson Shoot Down Anti-Universal Health Care Points
3. ABC's Johnson Points to Medicare as Model of Cost Efficiency
4. Dr. Tim Johnson Was a Cheerleader for HillaryCare in 1990s
5. FNC Gives Credence to Silly Attack on NRA "Enemies List"
6. NBC's Brian Williams Confuses Vatican with the Pentagon
CBS's John Roberts drew a parallel on Monday night between the hateful, anti-Jewish comments of Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad last week and of those of Lt. General William "Jerry" Boykin from months ago who painted the U.S. war on terrorism as a battle against Satan. Roberts complained that "White House officials, who were quick to condemn Mahathir's remarks as reprehensible, have yet to publicly criticize Boykin's comments."
The remarks which Roberts considered equally reprehensible: Roberts played a clip of Mahathir Mohamad charging, "The Europeans killed six million Jews out of 12 million, but today the Jews rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them." Roberts also related how Boykin had portrayed the war on terror as a 'battle against Satan' and claimed Muslims attacked America because 'it is a Christian nation.'"
Roberts began his October 20 CBS Evening News story from Bangkok, Thailand, where he is accompanying President Bush to an economic summit, by highlighting how Bush reportedly told Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad that his comments last Thursday at another summit in Malaysia were "wrong and divisive...squarely against what I believe."
Roberts described Mahathir as "lashing out at what he sess as America's unquestioning support for Israel." Roberts played this clip from Mohamad's October 16 speech: "The Europeans killed six million Jews out of 12 million, but today the Jews rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them."
Roberts noted that while Bush's rebuke was private, White House aides "issued a very public scolding" to Mahathir. To wit, Roberts played a soundbite from National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. At a press conference, she declared: "Everybody thinks that the comments were hateful, they were outrageous."
Over protest signs reading things, such as, "No Bush Allowed" and "Bush Go Way," Roberts allowed: "But the comments also reflect the depth of anger at the U.S. in Southeast Asia over the war in Iraq, which many people here believe was waged on behalf of Israel. The White House insists most Muslims wouldn't agree with Mahathir's statement and, they added, the war on terror is simply about ridding the world of people who hate and kill."
Roberts concluded by equating the views of Boykin and Mahathir: "White House officials, who were quick to condemn Mahathir's remarks as reprehensible, have yet to publicly criticize Boykin's comments, only saying again, this is not a war between religions and no one should portray it as such."
Boykin's supposedly outrageous comments were first reported, months after he said them, on last Wednesday's NBC Nightly News. NBC played these three clips of Boykin, now head of a Pentagon unit charged with hunting down bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, in addresses at some churches:
-- "Well, is he [bin Laden] the enemy? Next slide. Or is this man [Saddam] the enemy? The enemy is none of these people I have showed you here. The enemy is a spiritual enemy. He's called the principality of darkness. The enemy is a guy called Satan."
-- "They're after us because we're a Christian nation."
-- "Well, you know what I knew, that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God, and his was an idol."
Boykin expressed his belief that his religion is correct and another is wrong, but he did not call for a war against another religion as did Mahathir who, in the same speech cited by Roberts, proclaimed:
James Taranto, in his "Best of the Web" column last week for www.OpinionJournal.com, provided a link to the full text of Mahathir's October 16 speech:
ABC's "Critical Condition, Health Care in America" series: Critically Slanted, Part One of Three. On day two of ABC's week-long promotion of further government control and regulation of health care, Peter Jennings and Dr. Tim Johnson delivered a pre-packaged scripted conversation in which Johnson shot down Jennings' recitation of faulty "conventional wisdom" points about why universal, government-paid health care is bad.
Johnson touted how in an ABC poll "62 percent of our population said that they would favor a system of universal health insurance, financed by the government," but Johnson failed to note how the poll also discovered that support for a "universal" system falls to 39 percent if it means "waiting lists for non-emergency treatment" and to 35 percent if it means "limited choice of doctors" -- both of which are features of actual, as opposed to theoretical, universal systems.
Johnson, ABC's "medical editor," rejected the notion that the marketplace can best set the price for medical services and trumpeted the benefits of a universal system like the one in Canada where the government runs "the financial part of health care. But the delivery system is free. People can choose whatever doctor and hospital they want to go to. So, we have a system like that in this country. It's called Medicare. That's exactly what happens in Medicare."
As if there aren't any problems with cost inflation in Medicare.
(As reported in the October 20 CyberAlert, on Sunday night ABC anchor Carole Simpson decried how the U.S. is not socialist enough: "Even though the U.S. spends twice as much per person as any other developed country on health care, the U.S. is the only developed country that fails to provide universal coverage for all its citizens." A bit later on World News Tonight/Sunday, ABC's "medical editor," Dr. Tim Johnson, argued that "until all of us embrace the idea that health care should be a right, not a privilege, our system cannot be glibly described as, quote, 'the best in the world.'" See: www.mediaresearch.org )
Jennings set up the October 20 World News Tonight session with Johnson by pointing out how the U.S. spends more per capita on health care than does any other country, yet we still have 43 million without health care coverage, including one in ten children. Jennings highlighted how ABC's leading poll found that 59 percent are "worried" about being able to afford health care in the future. Jennings featured a soundbite from Marcia Angell, former Editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, who maintained that all nations with a single-payer system cover all their citizens and at a lower cost. Jennings conceded those in the U.S. spend more money on technology, "if they can afford it."
ABC then played a pre-taped, scripted exchange between Jennings and Johnson in which Jennings tossed out "conventional wisdom" points and Johnson shot them down. With matching words on screen under a "CONVENTIONAL WISDOM" heading, Jennings challenged Johnson:
-- Jennings: "The conventional wisdom is Americans like to think we have the best health care system in the world."
-- Jennings: "So what was notable in that regard in this poll this time."
In fact, in ABC's online summary of the poll, Gary Langer pointed out what Johnson ignored, that support for "a universal health insurance program over the current employer-based system" falls "to fewer than four in 10 if it means a limited choice of doctors, or waiting lists for non-emergency treatments." See: abcnews.go.com
So much for any possibility that ABC will consider the view that a lot of current problems in the system are caused by too much, not too little, regulation.
-- Jennings: "Now, I think the conventional wisdom is still that a single-payer system, as you and others have described it, is socialized medicine and that isn't for the United States."
The ABC News Web page for the "Critical Condition" series also displays a decided political agenda. Check out these two headings:
-- Prescription Drug Plans: Impact on Seniors
-- Medicare Proposal Falls Short
For the main page for the "Critical Condition" series: www.abcnews.go.com
ABC's "Critical Condition, Health Care in America" series: Critically Slanted, Part Two of Three. In the Monday morning edition of ABC's promotion of universal, government-controlled health care, on Good Morning America Dr. Tim Johnson looked at the plight of a couple who are volunteer firefighters but who "need to be rescued themselves -- from the high cost of health care."
But Johnson soon conceded that the husband's employer pays the full cost of their HMO, so they are only responsible for co-payments, which Johnson portrayed as ever more burdensome as those prices increase, such as from $10 to $15 per office visit, as if some magical third party should be responsible for the couple's medical expenses. Someone has to pay for the cost of services, but Johnson seemed to think it should be someone other than the user.
And in all of Johnson's kvetching over health costs for the couple, who live in the very liberal Massachusetts, he never considered the burden on them imposed by high state taxes compared to a low tax state and whether that difference is greater than the cost of their health care.
Johnson complained: "Our private health insurance system is so fragmented and chaotic, that we waste enormous amounts of money just on paperwork, on trying to keep the system working in its fragmented fashion. We spend 15 percent on overhead for health care in the private system." Johnson pointed to an ideal model: "Fifteen percent versus three percent, as a comparable figure, in the Medicare program."
A government bureaucracy as a model of frugality?
Robin Roberts set up the October 20 Good Morning America story, as taken down by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson:
Johnson began: "Angela and Matt Pevzner are the brand new parents of five-month-old Baby Elizabeth. She's a stay-at-home mom; he's a construction worker making $30,000 a year. The couple fell in love after they met as volunteer firefighters in their hometown of Great Barrington, Massachusetts, but now they need to be rescued themselves -- from the high cost of health care."
Roberts: "Health insurance premiums increased nearly 14 percent overall in 2003 and small businesses saw their premiums go up even more -- nearly 16 percent. Dr. Tim Johnson joins us now to explain why health care
costs are skyrocketing, and Tim, why are we seeing this?"
We're all in big trouble if we blindly follow Johnson's left-wing advocacy without considering what ABC seemingly will not -- that a lot of the current health care cost issues are caused by too much, not too little, regulation (such as the pernicious influence of Medicare/Medicaid under-payments), and moving toward Medical Savings Accounts and individuals paying for their own health insurance, not employers, offer more promising improvements.
ABC's "Critical Condition, Health Care in America" series: Critically Slanted, Part Three of Three Dr. Tim Johnson, ABC's "medical editor" who is the prime on-air reporter for the slanted ABC series, didn't refrain back in the early 1990s from using his ABC platform to express his admiration for the Clinton health care plan.
The MRC's Tim Graham went into the MRC archive and culled these three quotes from past issues of the MRC's Notable Quotables newsletter:
# "I say the Clintons are almost heroes in my mind for finally facing up to the terrible problems we have with our current health care system and bringing it to the attention of the public....Most people, I think, will be better off." -- ABC Medical Editor Dr. Tim Johnson, September 24, 1993 20/20.
# "Everyone is applauding, I think, in the health care community, the emphasis on universal access, because they know that unless they're going to let some people just die in the streets, it makes sense to get medical care early, when it's going to be more effective and less costly....the insurance companies are the focal point for the dynamics of denial that are part of our present for-profit system." -- ABC medical editor Dr. Tim Johnson, January 26, 1994 World News Tonight.
# "So at least from the physicians represented here, you get a 100 percent vote, including mine, for universal coverage." -- ABC reporter Dr. Tim Johnson to Hillary Clinton on Good Morning America, July 19, 1994.
Like his former employer, NBC News, did last week, FNC's John Gibson on Monday afternoon gave credence to silly left-wing complaints about how a page on the NRA's Web site listing the names of people, groups and institutions opposed to gun rights really is an insidious "enemies list." During his 5pm EDT show, the Big Story, Gibson brought aboard the NRA's Wayne LaPierre and asked him up front: "Wayne, are you shooting yourself in the foot with an enemies list? I mean, even Nixon figured out that's a bad idea."
Gibson proceeded to list some of the names of the list and suggested that "when you put out a list that big, Wayne, it invites the people looking at it to say, 'Well, maybe some of these people think like I think."
In focusing on the NRA's list as somehow a uniquely underhanded way to impugn critics, Gibson, like NBC last week, ignored how liberal groups also have lists which could be tagged as an "enemies list." People for the American Way, for instance, has a "Right Wing Watch" list of 30 conservative groups and even created a special list in October of those supporting Arnold Schwarzenegger. On that list: Gibson's very own Fox News Channel.
The October 16 CyberAlert recounted: Aiding the fundraising efforts of an anti-NRA group, Wednesday's NBC Today featured a hyperbolic and mocking look at an "enemies list" published on the National Rifle Association's Web site. Fred Francis relayed the political polemics of the NRA's opponents -- "too many people continue to be killed because a powerful NRA is constantly confronting Congress to ease gun laws" -- without offering any counterpoint about how many die because gun laws don't allow people to defend themselves. Nor did Francis alert viewers to how the Brady Campaign was using the very "enemies list," which Francis so helpfully publicized, to raise money.
For that CyberAlert item, with links to the original MSNBC.com gossip item, left-wing pages using the NRA list as a fundraising gimmick and to the actual NRA list, see: www.mediaresearch.org
Add Olbermann to the list!
Back to Monday night, October 20, FNC's John Gibson set up a segment on his 5pm EDT The Big Story program:
After LaPierre explained all those listed had expressed agreement with gun control advocates or had signed a letter or done a fundraiser for an anti-gun group, Gibson still mocked the list: "Yeah, but look at this. Look at this list you've got here. Dr. Joyce Brothers, Candice Bergen, Walter Cronkite, Doug Flutie, Michelle Pfeiffer, Vinny Testaverde, Moon Zappa, the Temptations, of all people. Then you've got the Kansas City Chief, Hallmark Cards, the Sara Lee Corporation, Ben and Jerry's -- I kind of expected that -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City. You know, when you put out a list that big, Wayne, it invites the people looking at it to say, 'Well, maybe some of these people think like I think.'"
LaPierre repeated his assurance that all listed had done something to show their disdain for gun rights. Gibson still seemed unable to comprehend the concept: "Well, you know, but Wayne, it goes beyond the celebrities. I mean, on your list here, I'm reading off the list again, the AFL-CIO, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Children's Defense Fund, the Lutheran Office for Governmental Affairs, the United States Catholic Conference, the US Conference of Mayors, the YWCA. Once again, it seems like you have put out such an extensive list that there's something there for everybody to say, 'Well, maybe I don't agree with the AFL-CIO, buy maybe I do agree with the United States Catholic Conference.'"
Gibson wrapped up: "Two things before we run out of time with you, Wayne. You got anybody call you here and demand to be taken off the list or are they proud to be on it? And number two, what do you expect people to do with this information?"
If Gibson wants to make fun of "enemies" lists, maybe he could look at People for the American Way (PFAW) which earlier this month created a special "Right Wing Watch" for "Wingers for Schwarzenegger: How the Right Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Arnold." The Web page specifically names FNC: "Often denigrating political Hollywood stars, the big guns on the Right embrace Schwarzenegger as a serious political player. The biggest right-wing media megaphones -- including Limbaugh and Fox News -- have lined up behind the action star."
Actually, FNC gets two listings: "Fox News Shifts the Balance" and "Hannity's Crush."
PFAW argued: "Fox's willingness to downplay Schwarzenegger's Hollywood credentials and embrace him as a serious political player stands in stark contrast to its standard take on celebrities who voice opinions on issues. Actors and musicians who disapprove of the war in Iraq have been greeted by many Fox contributors with nothing short of contempt. During the Iraq conflict, the network has offered up segments like 'Is Dissent about the War Unpatriotic?', 'Will Troops in Iraq Hold Those to Account Who Were Critical of the War?' and 'Do Celebrities Represent the Political Views of Mainstream America,' that present harshly critical assessments of celebrities who took a stand.
For the full list, see: www.pfaw.org
For PFAW's regular "Right Wing Watch" page listing 30 dangerous groups, including the Heritage Foundation, see: www.pfaw.org
People inside the Pentagon documented the good deeds of Mother Teresa? The MRC's Ken Shepherd caught how future NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams confused the Pentagon and Vatican. His misstatement came during a Today story on Sunday about the process to beatify Mother Teresa.
Williams asserted from Rome on the October 19 show:
-- Brent Baker