Appearance Alert!
MRC's Brent Bozell talks about media bias on FNC's The Kelly File, 9:30pm ET/PT Thursday

CBS: Immigration Loss Shows Bush a 'Dead Duck,' NBC: DC Broken --7/2/2007


1. CBS: Immigration Loss Shows Bush a 'Dead Duck,' NBC: DC Broken
CBS on Thursday night emphasized how the demise of the immigration vote was a defeat for President Bush, but NBC's Tim Russert argued that essentially all of Washington was now lame, not just the President. Even though top Senate Democrats like Ted Kennedy and Harry Reid, plus a few Republicans like John McCain had also fought for the measure and failed, CBS White House correspondent Jim Axelrod asserted that the vote marked "a defining day in the Bush presidency." CBS's resident historian (and John Kerry biographer) Douglas Brinkley went even further: "George Bush is beyond being a lame duck President. He's a dead duck President." In contrast, NBC's Tim Russert proposed: "I think there's a growing sense, a strong sense, that Washington is just broken. It's incapable of now taking on big issues like immigration or the looming Social Security crisis or the war in Iraq....I think both the White House and the Congress will pay a price for their inability to do something about immigration."

2. NBC Conveys Only Complaints on Supreme Court's 'Shift to Right'
On Saturday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Pete Williams presented a one-sided look at the Supreme Court's "shift to the right," conveying complaints by liberals over recent court rulings, but without showing any conservatives who supported some of the court's recent right-leaning decisions. Williams began his piece by quoting liberal Justice Stephen Breyer's complaint that "it's not often in the law that so few have so quickly changed so much," before playing a soundbite of the ACLU's Steven Shapiro: "Civil liberties and civil rights took a beating virtually across the board from race to religion to abortion to speech to the basic right to come into court and sue when you've been a victim of discrimination." Williams also found that Chief Justice John Roberts "has turned out to be more conservative than even some of the court's liberals thought he would be."

3. CNN's Gupta Fact Checks Michael Moore's 'Sicko'
On Friday's Anderson Cooper 360, CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta examined the accuracy of the claims presented in Michael Moore's film Sicko. Gupta found that while there are complaints about America's health care system, "you won't find medical utopia elsewhere." Although Gupta did not show much skepticism in reporting that life expectancies in Cuba are about equal to those in America despite being outspent by American 26 to 1 in health care, the CNN correspondent did report that in countries with tax-funded universal health care, that "even higher taxes don't give all the coverage everyone wants." After Gupta's report, host Anderson Cooper interviewed Karen Ignagni of America's Health Insurance Plans to hear criticism of Moore's film from the insurance industry point-of-view. During the interview, Cooper was inquisitive about the importance of profit-making for insurance companies, as three out of four questions he asked dealt with profits, such as: "You know, let's be honest. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses, and the way they maximize profits is by minimizing payments. Isn't that correct?"

4. NBC's Al Gore 'Live Earth' On Air Boosting Began Friday
At the end of Friday's Today show on NBC, the marketing of Al Gore's Live Earth concerts began, just eight days shy of NBC's big three-hour Live Earth concert in prime time, hosted by NBC anchor Ann Curry and Carson Daly. (Not to mention the other 72 hours donated to Gore by NBC Universal on CNBC, Bravo and Sundance.) NBC's Friday guest was David DeRothschild, author of "The Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook." Like a good NBC employee, anchor Natalie Morales praised the climate-crisis cause: "Fantastic effort. It's going to raise a lot of awareness." Morales plugged her employer: "This book is published as a companion guide for Live Earth, which is a concert on July 7th. A 24-hour concert right? It's going to be broadcast here on the networks of NBC."

5. On Wednesday, C-SPAN2 Will Air MRC's Gala with DisHonors and Rush
On Wednesday, July 4 at 3:20pm EDT (2:20pm CDT, 1:20pm MDT, 12:20pm PDT), C-SPAN2 is scheduled to carry the MRC's March 29 "2007 DisHonors Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of 2006" -- the showcase of the MRC's 20th Anniversary Gala -- which was followed by Rush Limbaugh accepting the MRC's first annual "William F. Buckley Award for Media Excellence."


CBS: Immigration Loss Shows Bush a 'Dead
Duck,' NBC: DC Broken

CBS on Thursday night emphasized how the demise of the immigration vote was a defeat for President Bush, but NBC's Tim Russert argued that essentially all of Washington was now lame, not just the President. Even though top Senate Democrats like Ted Kennedy and Harry Reid, plus a few Republicans like John McCain had also fought for the measure and failed, CBS White House correspondent Jim Axelrod asserted that the vote marked "a defining day in the Bush presidency." CBS's resident historian (and John Kerry biographer) Douglas Brinkley went even further: "George Bush is beyond being a lame duck President. He's a dead duck President."

In contrast, NBC's Tim Russert proposed: "I think there's a growing sense, a strong sense, that Washington is just broken. It's incapable of now taking on big issues like immigration or the looming Social Security crisis or the war in Iraq....I think both the White House and the Congress will pay a price for their inability to do something about immigration."

[This item is adapted from a Friday posting by Rich Noyes on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

While ABC and NBC both led off their Thursday night newscasts with the Supreme Court decision barring an exclusively race-based approach to assigning students to various schools, the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric began with the demise of the Senate immigration bill.

Over on ABC's World News, anchor Charles Gibson seemed to echo his analysis from June 8, when a similar failure to invoke cloture seemed to indicate the immigration bill's defeat. Back then, Gibson said the immigration bill's defeat made him wonder if "the way things stand, if our political system is really equipped to attack and solve the big problems?" See: www.mrc.org

Thursday night, after reporter Jake Tapper noted how despite obvious problems with the immigration system, there is "little desire on Capitol Hill to plunge yet again into that morass," Gibson again suggested: "Jake, that seems counter-intuitive to some people. Everybody -- whether you were for this bill or against this bill -- says something has the to be done about immigration. And yet, you have a majority of the Senate saying well, let's not do anything."

Tapper replied: "That's exactly right. And as we mentioned before on this broadcast, there was something in this compromise legislation, to offend everybody. There was something that everybody didn't like. And that ultimately is what killed the bill, especially with that very, very strong opposition from Republicans."

Here's more of how the big three networks covered the immigration bill's defeat. MRC intern Joe Steigerwald transcribed the reports from the June 28 CBS Evening News and Nightly News, while Rich Noyes transcribed ABC's World News.

# CBS Evening News, following a report from correspondent Sharyl Atkisson on the Senate vote:

JIM AXELROD: "I'm Jim Axelrod at the White House. President Bush was in no mood for questions about his stunning defeat on immigration. It's not just that this is a clear rebuke of his confident prediction two and a half weeks ago."
GEORGE W. BUSH, June 11: "I believe we can get it done. I'll see you at the bill signing."
AXELROD: "It's that the defeat was sealed by his own party. After personally lobbying many Republicans, more than three dozen defected. Immigration was Mr. Bush's signature domestic issue, and he used whatever remaining political capital he had left. Remember those hot and sweaty trips to the southwest so he could patrol the border? Which is exactly why historians will look back on this as a defining day in the Bush presidency."
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CBS News Analyst: "Failure of the immigration bill means that George Bush is beyond being a lame duck President. He's a dead duck President."
AXELROD: "And it's not just immigration. When the White House claimed executive privilege today to fight congressional subpoenas in the U.S. Attorney firings investigation, a top Republican complained the White House was just continuing to protect the President's embattled Attorney General."
SENATOR ARLEN SPECTER (at press conference): "And while the investigation is lagging, Attorney General Gonzalez continues to serve. But as long as he continues to serve the department is in disarray."
AXELROD: "Add to that, this week's high-profile republican defections about the war [screen shots of Senators Richard Lugar and George Voinovich] which sent national security adviser Steve Hadley to Capitol Hill to see if he could contain the damage."
BRINKLEY: "It's when people in your own party turn on you when you're President, is when your policies crumble."
AXELROD: "One GOP insider told me when it comes to the President's influence, it's how low can you go? If the President's approval ratings were just at traditional lows it might be different. But they're not, he added, they're at historic lows, so now it's every man for himself. Jim Axelrod, CBS News, the White House.


# NBC Nightly News, June 28. After a review of the Senate action by David Gregory, anchor Brian Williams talked about the political implications with Tim Russert:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: "And with us tonight to talk a little bit more about this, our Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert. And, Tim, what just happened here? Did, as some contend, the American people just rise up and kill this?"
TIM RUSSERT: "Well, Brian, there was a lot of anger out there but that's why leaders are sent to Washington, to analyze and try to look at legislation and do what they think is in the overall public's interest. I think there's a growing sense, a strong sense, that Washington is just broken. It's incapable of now taking on big issues like immigration or the looming Social Security crisis or the war in Iraq. It's incapable of sitting down and finding common ground and achieving compromise and achieving great things."
WILLIAMS: "And Tim, in Washington, where nothing, it seems, is ever really a sure bet and nothing is ever really dead, is this really now dead?"
RUSSERT: "It's dead. Finito. Morte. It is over, Brian, for this cycle legislatively. You'll see a big debate in the presidential campaign play out. Democrats will try to convince Hispanics that they were the party with a pathway to citizenship. They'll try to get the Hispanic vote by a margin of 2-1. Republicans will say nonsense it was an amnesty bill. It will play out. Ironically Brian, the one thing that the Congress did achieve, the House approved a $4,000 pay raise. That they found common ground on. I think both the White House and the Congress will pay a price for their inability to do something about immigration."


# ABC's World News with Charles Gibson. Reporter Jake Tapper began by summarizing the bill's defeat, then wrapped up his report by noting how the Congress probably won't want to pursue a different version of immigration reform:

JAKE TAPPER: "The bill was unpopular with so many Americans." [On screen display: CNN Poll on Immigration Bill: 47% Oppose; 30% Support; 22% Unsure]
SENATOR JON KYL (at press conference): "A lot of Americans have lost faith in their government. They don't think we can control our borders, that we can win a war, that we can issue passports."

SENATOR JIM DEMINT (on floor of Senate): "They're calling in such numbers that it's crashed the telephone system here in the Senate. My question to the Senate today is, what part of no don't we understand?"
SENATOR TED KENNEDY (at press conference): "It's extremely difficult for me to understand how the will of the American people [is to] want to continue to have broken borders."
TAPPER, over video of a border patrol vehicle, some people walking through a turnstyle, and others jumping over a fence: "Status quo border security, at least 12 million illegal immigrants, an antiquated and broken immigration system. And that system will continue, as is, with no solution in sight, and little desire on Capitol Hill to plunge yet again into that morass. Charlie?"
CHARLES GIBSON: "Jake, that seems counter-intuitive to some people. Everybody -- whether you were for this bill or against this bill -- says something has the to be done about immigration. And yet, you have a majority of the Senate saying well, let's not do anything."
TAPPER: "That's exactly right. And as we mentioned before on this broadcast, there was something in this compromise legislation, to offend everybody. There was something that everybody didn't like. And that ultimately is what killed the bill, especially with that very, very strong opposition from Republicans."

NBC Conveys Only Complaints on Supreme
Court's 'Shift to Right'

On Saturday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Pete Williams presented a one-sided look at the Supreme Court's "shift to the right," conveying complaints by liberals over recent court rulings, but without showing any conservatives who supported some of the court's recent right-leaning decisions. Williams began his piece by quoting liberal Justice Stephen Breyer's complaint that "it's not often in the law that so few have so quickly changed so much," before playing a soundbite of the ACLU's Steven Shapiro: "Civil liberties and civil rights took a beating virtually across the board from race to religion to abortion to speech to the basic right to come into court and sue when you've been a victim of discrimination." Williams also found that Chief Justice John Roberts "has turned out to be more conservative than even some of the court's liberals thought he would be."

[This item, by Brad Wilmouth, was posted Sunday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

In spite of the absence of conservative voices in the piece, anchor Lester Holt introduced the report by referring to "both liberals and conservatives agreeing the court has moved to the right." Williams then began by highlighting liberal critics.

PETE WILLIAMS: When the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional public school programs that enroll students based on their race, Justice Stephen Breyer spoke a line in dissent that could have summed up this entire term. "It's not often in the law," he said, "that so few have so quickly changed so much."
STEVEN SHAPIRO, American Civil Liberties Union: Civil liberties and civil rights took a beating virtually across the board from race to religion to abortion to speech to the basic right to come into court and sue when you've been a victim of discrimination.

After mentioning the significance of Sandra Day O'Connor's replacement with Samuel Alito, Williams listed some of the "big legal victories" for conservatives. When referring to the ruling that upheld the federal ban on partial-birth abortion, Williams merely referred to the practice as "a specific abortion procedure," and incorrectly stated that the procedure had been "declared unconstitutional" by the Supreme Court. Willams: "Besides the landmark school race case decided the last day of the term, the court declared unconstitutional a specific abortion procedure, made it harder to sue for pay discrimination, imposed a limit on free speech rights of students, and loosened a federal restriction on campaign issue ads that run before elections."

Williams soon relayed that Chief Justice John Roberts "has turned out to be more conservative than even some of the court's liberals thought he would be," although the NBC correspondent probably meant to say that Roberts "has turned out to be even more conservative than some of the court's liberals thought he would be." Professor Daniel Marcus of American University then relayed the "disappointment" of the court's liberals.

WILLIAMS: And legal scholars say the court's new chief justice, John Roberts, has turned out to be more conservative than even some of the court's liberals thought he would be based on his past legal work and confirmation hearing.
Professor DANIEL MARCUS, American University: I don't think they expected to have him on their side as a regular matter, but I think the consistency of his conservative voting on the court has been a disappointment to them.

Below is a complete transcript of the story from the Saturday, June 30 NBC Nightly News:

LESTER HOLT: NBC News "In Depth" now. Tonight, the Supreme Court's shift to the right. The court wrapped up its term this week with a blockbuster decision on school desegregation, and by agreeing to hear an appeal from Guantanamo Bay detainees. And while nearly all of this term's major rulings were split decisions, both liberals and conservatives agree the court has moved to the right. NBC's justice correspondent, Pete Williams, reports now "In Depth."

PETE WILLIAMS: When the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional public school programs that enroll students based on their race, Justice Stephen Breyer spoke a line in dissent that could have summed up this entire term. "It's not often in the law," he said, "that so few have so quickly changed so much."
STEVEN SHAPIRO, American Civil Liberties Union: Civil liberties and civil rights took a beating virtually across the board from race to religion to abortion to speech to the basic right to come into court and sue when you've been a victim of discrimination.
WILLIAMS: With Sandra Day O'Connor replaced by Samuel Alito, who has now completed his first full term, the court gave conservatives some big legal victories. Besides the landmark school race case decided the last day of the term, the court declared unconstitutional a specific abortion procedure, made it harder to sue for pay discrimination, imposed a limit on free speech rights of students, and loosened a federal restriction on campaign issue ads that run before elections. All those decisions were 5-4 votes, and the court's fault line now seems clearly set.
Professor ROY SCHOTLAND, Georgetown University: The splits are sharper, and I'm afraid we'd all have to say more bitter than they've been for quite a while.
WILLIAMS: In fact, a third of this term's cases were decided 5-4, the highest share in a decade. And in every one of those split decisions, Anthony Kennedy was the only justice to vote in the majority every time. The court leans more to the right now partly because he tends to vote more often with the conservatives than Sandra Day O'Connor did when she was the swing vote. And legal scholars say the court's new chief justice, John Roberts, has turned out to be more conservative than even some of the court's liberals thought he would be based on his past legal work and confirmation hearing.
Professor DANIEL MARCUS, American University: I don't think they expected to have him on their side as a regular matter, but I think the consistency of his conservative voting on the court has been a disappointment to them.
WILLIAMS: With a presidential campaign coming up, it's unlikely any justice would choose to retire in an election year. So this divided court will not soon change. Pete Williams, NBC News, at the Supreme Court.

CNN's Gupta Fact Checks Michael Moore's
'Sicko'

On Friday's Anderson Cooper 360, CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta examined the accuracy of the claims presented in Michael Moore's film Sicko. Gupta found that while there are complaints about America's health care system, "you won't find medical utopia elsewhere." Although Gupta did not show much skepticism in reporting that life expectancies in Cuba are about equal to those in America despite being outspent by American 26 to 1 in health care, the CNN correspondent did report that in countries with tax-funded universal health care, that "even higher taxes don't give all the coverage everyone wants."

Gupta discussed the waiting lines that exist in some industrialized nations, and found that "Americans have shorter wait times than everyone but Germans when seeking non-emergency elective procedures," although he also found that "only Canada was worse than the United States when it comes to waiting for a doctor's appointment for a medical problem." After informing viewers of the higher taxes paid in other countries, he also relayed that "even higher taxes don't give all the coverage everyone wants" as health analyst Paul Keckley informed viewers that "15 to 20 percent of the population will purchase services outside the system run by the government."

[This item, by Brad Wilmouth, was posted Sunday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Regarding Cuba, Gupta cited statistics which claim that while America spends substantially more per person on health care each year than Cuba, that America does not have a "far better outcome," contending that life expectancy is about equal in both countries: "The United States spends $6,096 a year per person, versus $229 a year in Cuba. And astronomically more money doesn't mean far better outcomes. In fact, Americans live just a little bit longer than Cubans, on average."

After Gupta's report, host Anderson Cooper interviewed Karen Ignagni of America's Health Insurance Plans to hear criticism of Moore's film from the insurance industry point-of-view. During the interview, Cooper was inquisitive about the importance of profit-making for insurance companies, as three out of four questions he asked dealt with profits, such as: "You know, let's be honest. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses, and the way they maximize profits is by minimizing payments. Isn't that correct?"

And later, Cooper continued: "Insurance companies have people whose job is to retroactively look at big claims that have been paid out for any evidence that there might be some preexisting condition so they can, you know, deny the claim. Again, the bottom line is profit for these companies."

His final question: "There are all these commercials from insurers about how, you know, they want to help people, and clearly, I'm sure there are good people who do want to help people. But again, the bottom line is profit and maximizing profit."

Below is a complete transcript of Gupta's report followed by Cooper's interview with Ignagni from the Friday, June 29 Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN:

MICHAEL MOORE, from the June 29 Larry King Live: We have a tragedy taking place every year now -- 18,000 people a year, these are the, these are the actual official statistics, 18,000 people a year die in this country for no other reason other than the fact that they don't have a health insurance card. That's six 9/11s every single year.
ANDERSON COOPER: That was Michael Moore earlier on Larry King Live. His new movie, Sicko, opened nationwide today, and as you may have already heard, it is a scathing indictment of the U.S. health care system, starring American citizens and their medical horror stories. Moore, of course, is known for his controversial style of filmmaking. Some have questioned the facts in his films. So tonight, we thought we'd ask CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta to do a fact check.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, clip from Sicko: That's not on, right?
MOORE, clip from Sicko: No.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, clip from Sicko: Okay.
Dr. SANJAY GUPTA: Sicko throws some hard punches at the United States health care system, and it seems just about everyone has something to say.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's played fast and loose with the facts.
MARK MEANEY, National Institute for Patients Rights: Michael Moore was spot on.
MOORE: The facts, I think, support what I believe.
GUPTA: And Moore presents a lot of facts throughout the movie. But do they all check out? "Keeping Them Honest," we did some digging, and we started with the biggy. The United States slipped to number 37 in the world's health care systems. It's true. Thirty-seven is the ranking, according to the World Health Organization's latest data on 191 countries. It's based on general health level, patient satisfaction, access and how it's paid for. France tops the list. Italy and Spain make it into the top 10. The United Kingdom is 18.
MOORE, from Sicko, in a boat: Hello?
GUPTA: Moore brings a group of patients, including 9/11 workers, to Cuba and marvels at their free treatment and quality of care. But hold on. That WHO list puts Cuba's health care system even lower than the United States, coming in at number 39. Moore asserts that the American health care system spends $7,000 per person on health, whereas Cuba spends $25 per person. Not true, but not too far off. The United States spends $6,096 a year per person, versus $229 a year in Cuba. And astronomically more money doesn't mean far better outcomes. In fact, Americans live just a little bit longer than Cubans, on average.
So Americans do pay more, but the United States also ranks highest in patient satisfaction. And Americans have shorter wait times than everyone but Germans when seeking non-emergency elective procedures like hip replacement, cataract surgery or knee repair. That's not something you'll see in Sicko, as Americans tell their tales of lack of coverage and suffocating red tape. It's true that the United States is the only country in the western world without free universal access to health care. But you won't find medical utopia elsewhere.
The film is filled with content Canadians and Brits sitting in waiting rooms, confident care will come. But in Canada, you can be waiting for a long time. A survey of six industrialized nations found that only Canada was worse than the United States when it came to waiting for a doctor's appointment for a medical problem.
PAUL KECKLEY, Deloitte Health Care Analyst: That's the reality of those systems. There are quotas. There are planned wait times. The concept that care is free in France and Canada and Cuba, and it's not. Those citizens pay for health services out of taxes. And as a proportion of their household income, it's a significant number.
GUPTA: It's true that the French pay higher taxes, and so does nearly every country ahead of the United States on that list. But even higher taxes don't give all the coverage everyone wants.
KECKLEY: Fifteen to 20 percent of the population will purchase services outside the system of care run by the government.
GUPTA: So there's no perfect system anywhere. But no matter how much Moore fudged the facts, and he did fudge some facts, there's one everyone agrees on. The system here should be far better.
COOPER: Far better indeed. It's numbers like these, released just days ago by the Centers for Disease Control, that are fueling calls for change. Nearly 44 million Americans, almost 15 percent of us, did not have health insurance in 2006. The percentage varied widely by state, from nearly 8 percent in Michigan, Michael Moore's home state, to nearly 24 percent in Texas, President Bush's home state.
Moore's solution, as you just heard, is to give all Americans free universal coverage. He paints insurance companies as the villains. As you might imagine, they see it far differently. Joining me now is Karen Ignagni, president of America's Health Insurance Plans. Karen, thanks very much for being with us.
KAREN IGNAGNI, America's Health Insurance Plans: My pleasure.
COOPER: I want to play a clip from the film Sicko. Let's take a look.
MOORE: Laura Burnham was in a 45-mile-an-hour head-on collision that knocked her out cold. Paramedics got her out of the car and into an ambulance for a trip to the hospital.
LAURA BURNHAM: I get a bill from my insurance company telling me that the ambulance ride was not going to be paid for because it wasn't pre-approved. I don't know exactly when I was supposed to pre-approve it, you know? Like after I gained consciousness in the car, before I got in the ambulance, or I should have grabbed my cell phone off of the street and called while I was in the ambulance. I mean, it was just crazy.
COOPER: You represent insurance companies. How do you explain a situation like that?
IGNAGNI: I think, Anderson, there are only two possible explanations. One, straightforwardly, it was a mistake. Two, this was an auto accident. I've been in an auto accident, and I know my health insurer was the second payer, not the first. So in this case, maybe the health insurer actually was saying that it was the auto insurer's responsibility. But I think the point of this movie is that Michael Moore is right, and I watched the interview on Larry King, that it's time for our nation to confront the fact that we have 46 million people without health insurance. He's right about that. He's not right about the prescription, but he's right about what the need to move forward is.
COOPER: Let's listen to some of what he said to Larry earlier tonight.
MOORE, from the June 29 Larry King Live: The insurance company is the one deciding whether or not the doctor can perform a procedure or a treatment on a patient. I mean, just think about that. You go to see a doctor, the doctor says, I think you need this particular operation. But the doctor just can't order the operation or send you to a specialist. He has to call someone sitting in a cubicle, maybe 1,000 miles away, who can then give permission. And as you see in my film, the doctors who work at the insurance companies, they get bonuses for denying the most number of claims.
COOPER: Over the past 10 years, Karen, health care premiums have grown at four times the rate of wages and inflation, and insurance company profits have nearly tripled. You know, let's be honest. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses, and the way they maximize profits is by minimizing payments. Isn't that correct?
IGNAGNI: I saw that clip, and, in fact, there's another side to this story, which the point has been made by Larry King and others, that Mr. Moore never endeavored to see the other side of the story. First, Anderson, these are tragic cases. Anyone with, any human would say that. But now I think it's important, if we're going to be moving toward a solution, to find out is this a situation where there was a mistake? Is it a situation where the health plan, in fact, was interpreting the contract the employer purchased? Which is the case in the case that you just asked me about. Or is it an experimental process or procedure that employers simply don't cover? It's important to get the answers to those questions because it will guide how we proceed with health care reform.
COOPER: But, you know, just about everybody listening to this who's dealt with insurance companies on medical issues is not going to really buy that, you know, these mistakes happen or, I mean, we have seen plenty of cases. There's people interviewed in this film. We've seen testimony on Capitol Hill. There have been peer-reviewed journals. You know, I mean, insurance companies have people whose job is to retroactively look at big claims that have been paid out for any evidence that there might be some preexisting condition so they can, you know, deny the claim. Again, the bottom line is profit for these companies.
IGNAGNI: The case you're talking about is more than 15 years old, number one. We made some very different decisions 15 years ago than we make today. Our industry led the fight for independent external review because we wanted to give people a sense of peace of mind that, in fact, they could have another, a second opinion if they didn't agree with the decision. That's a very important difference.
COOPER: But it is, I mean, just so we're clear, you know, there are all these commercials from insurers about how, you know, they want to help people, and clearly, I'm sure there are good people who do want to help people. But again, the bottom line is profit and maximizing profit.
IGNAGNI: In every doctor's office, in every hospital, in every health plan, yes, it's true, in all of those situations. No margin, no mission. If you're not in the black, then you can't do your job. The individuals that we cover, 250 million of them, expect to have their health care coverage. We saw eight to 10 stories featured in the film, and, in fact, there was no attempt to get the other side of the story. And I know for a fact, because many of these cases are eight to 10 to 15 years old, there is another side of the story. In many of these cases featured in the film, it was simply a case where the health plan was interpreting, was this coverage purchased by the employer? Now, we can have a debate about whether employers purchase enough coverage. We can definitely talk about that. And what society's obligation ought to be. But that's a very different discussion. So if we're going to figure out where we go with the health insurance crisis in this country, the 46 million people who don't have coverage, we have to answer those questions very straightforwardly.
COOPER: We like to get all sides and let people represent themselves. Karen Ignagni, appreciate you representing your side.

NBC's Al Gore 'Live Earth' On Air Boosting
Began Friday

At the end of Friday's Today show on NBC, the marketing of Al Gore's Live Earth concerts began, just eight days shy of NBC's big three-hour Live Earth concert in prime time, hosted by NBC anchor Ann Curry and Carson Daly. (Not to mention the other 72 hours donated to Gore by NBC Universal on CNBC, Bravo and Sundance.) NBC's Friday guest was David DeRothschild, author of "The Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook." Like a good NBC employee, anchor Natalie Morales praised the climate-crisis cause: "Fantastic effort. It's going to raise a lot of awareness." Morales plugged her employer: "This book is published as a companion guide for Live Earth, which is a concert on July 7th. A 24-hour concert right? It's going to be broadcast here on the networks of NBC."

The author mostly made the usual plugs for compact-fluorescent bulbs and other electricity savings, but the strange part (at least for late June) was urging everyone to wear a sweater and turn the thermostat down. Did they think they were recording a segment for Christmas break?

[This item, by Tim Graham, was posted Saturday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

For details about NBC's July 7 plans, check the June 6 CyberAlert item, "NBC to Devote 75 Hours to Al Gore's 'Climate in Crisis' Concerts." It recounted:

In what will surely be one of the largest ever, if not the largest, in-kind contributions to a presidential campaign if Al Gore decides to run, NBC Universal announced late last week that its networks will devote an incredible 75 hours of time on Saturday, July 7 to showing Gore's "Live Earth: The Concerts for a Climate in Crisis."

In addition to the entirety of NBC's prime time that night hosted by Ann Curry of NBC News, CNBC will carry seven hours of coverage from 7pm to 2am EDT; Bravo will show the concerts around the world for 18 hours starting at 8am EDT; and both the Sundance channel and the Universal HD channel will showcase the concerts for 22 hours each beginning at 4am EDT. Rounding out the 75 hours, mun2 will run a two-hour show at 5pm EDT and Telemundo will air a one-hour special at 7pm EDT. And that's not counting how NBC's press release touted that "MSNBC will broadcast special coverage of this global concert event throughout the day with live reports from the concerts in New York and London."

END of Excerpt

For the full details: www.mrc.org

The transcript of the June 29 segment:

Natalie Morales: "And before we go this morning, doing your part to stop global warming, now you've heard all the warnings, and you know about the dangers, what can you do about it? Well, David De Rothschild is an adventurer, environmentalist, and the author of 'The Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook.' David, good morning."
David De Rothschild: "Good morning. Thank you for having me."
Morales: "This is all about in order to prevent global warming, well to stop it, we need to stop our carbon dioxide emissions. You say first basic tip is just change your light bulbs."
De Rothschild: "Just do it. I mean I've spent time in the North and the South Pole. This is real. We're seeing it happening. There are small things we can do. The good news is they're all in here. Changing light bulb is one. One light bulb...if every American changed one light bulb, we'd take 800,000 cars off the road, equivalent, in carbon dioxide emissions."
Hoda Kotb: "You know what I didn't know in the book you say unplug all of your appliances when you leave the house. I didn't know that saved any energy."
De Rothschild: "It's amazing. We just alone in tvs and vcrs, we're wasting $1 billion worth of energy every year just by leaving these things running, so, just, you know, holidays are coming up, when you leave your house, turn it off."
Morales: "The next thing you say is to put on a sweater."
De Rothschild: "A sweater."
Morales: "Turn down the thermostat."
De Rothschild: "Exactly, I mean the sweater's a great one again. Sweaters make you sweat, turn down the thermostat, you're going to save yourself money, save the planet. About 4, 4% of your electricity bill will be saved."
Kotb: "In grocery stores, they always ask paper or plastic. In your book, you say neither."
De Rothschild: "Neither, neither, no don't do it."
Kotb: "What do you do then?"
De Rothschild: "The best thing you can do is go into the store with your own bag, canvas bag, any kind of bag. You know, it's all in here. You'll find all the tips."
Morales: "And a lot of people are heading out for The Fourth of July holiday. One thing, if you're in a hotel room, you say tell them not to change your sheets every day."
De Rothschild: "Do you do it at home? I don't change my sheets everyday."
Kotb: "And the towels too."
De Rothschild: "The towels, we have a shower, throw it on the floor, get a new one. You know, save them. Save them. Save the planet."
Morales: "This book is published as a companion guide for Live Earth, which is a concert on July 7th. A 24-hour concert right? It's going to be broadcast here on the networks of NBC."
De Rothschild: "It's an amazing event happening next weekend. There's still some tickets available. I just heard that the port authority has released more tickets. Lots of room, 5000 seats. They're going fast. Big bands."
Morales: "Around the world."
De Rothschild: "Around the world. 2.5 million people involved in this, so it's going to be an amazing event."
Morales: "Fantastic effort. It's going to raise a lot of awareness. David De Rothschild, thanks so much."
Rothschild: "Thank you very much."

On Wednesday, C-SPAN2 Will Air MRC's
Gala with DisHonors and Rush

On Wednesday, July 4 at 3:20pm EDT (2:20pm CDT, 1:20pm MDT, 12:20pm PDT), C-SPAN2 is scheduled to carry the MRC's March 29 "2007 DisHonors Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of 2006" -- the showcase of the MRC's 20th Anniversary Gala -- which was followed by Rush Limbaugh accepting the MRC's first annual "William F. Buckley Award for Media Excellence."

For a rundown of the evening's winners and a lot of pictures, as well as Real and Windows Media clips: www.mrc.org

As of noon Monday, the C-SPAN schedule page for Wednesday is blank, but it should soon be updated. Check it for any time change: inside.c-spanarchives.org:8080

C-SPAN2 is also scheduled to re-run the MRC's gala at about 3:20am EDT on Wednesday night/Thursday morning.

The program should run for just under three hours.

-- Brent Baker