CBS Wails: "With Only $400 Billion to Spend"; NBC Rues Tax Cut --6/25/2003
2. Woodruff Hits Kennedy and Santorum from Left on Drug Coverage
3. Limbaugh and "Best of the Web" Pick Up on CyberAlert Item
4. Ann Coulter's Defense of McCarthy Appalls ABC's Diane Sawyer
5. You're Either a "Civil Rights Supporter" or a "Conservative"
6. Reporters Tag Howard Dean as "Centrist," "Fiscal Conservative"
7. "Top Ten Signs You're in Love with Howard Dean"
8. Leno Mocks Gore on No Liberal Media, Grammer Zings Jennings
"With only $400 billion to spend." Not even $400 billion is enough spending for CBS and NBC which on Monday and Tuesday night ran stories from the left lamenting the inadequate level of spending proposed to create a huge new entitlement program, prescription drug coverage in Medicare.
In fact, economists Andrew Rettenmmaier and Thomas Saving of Texas A&M and the National Center for Policy Analysis, reported in a June 24 Wall Street Journal op-ed that the cost will be a lot more: "The new benefits will create an unfunded liability of $7.5 trillion, or almost twice the current debt held by the public." For an explanation: www.ncpa.org
But the deficit implications of such massive new spending does not concern the network reporters who were so worried about by how much the tax cut would increase the deficit.
Dan Rather warned on Tuesday's CBS Evening News of inadequate spending: "The plan may wind up falling far short of what Medicare recipients were hoping for." Joie Chen proceeded to find a victim of "the donut hole. That's the point at which there's no coverage." And why the so-called "donut hole"? Because of a lack of spending: "Well, with only $400 billion to spend, there just isn't enough money to fix it, at least not without cutting into some other part of the plan."
The night before, on Monday's NBC Nightly News, Norah O'Donnell similarly focused on how "the AARP argues the plan in Congress, backed by President Bush, will short-change seniors." She too found of victim who would actually have to pay for some of her own expenses before targeting the tax cut as the culprit: "Some Democrats charge the recent tax cuts killed off any hope of closing the benefit gap."
It's all a sure sign that no matter what is passed it will never be enough for liberals back-stopped by their allies, the pro-big government media.
A full rundown of the CBS and NBC stories, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth:
-- CBS Evening News, June 24. Dan Rather intoned: "On another big pocketbook issue, millions of seniors are now expecting President Bush and Congress to deliver on promises of some prescription drug coverage under Medicare. Lawmakers are still working out details, but as CBS's Joie Chen reports, the plan may wind up falling far short of what Medicare recipients were hoping for."
Chen began: "You'd think lawmakers would know better than to upset America's toughest lobby, but as Congress moves toward passage of a Medicare prescription drug benefit, seniors are looking more closely at what's being offered and finding things they don't like. Both House and Senate versions involved an annual deductible plus monthly fees. But when you start to look at coverage levels, you'll see what's referred to as the 'donut hole.' That's the point at which there's no coverage. Participants would have to pay the entire cost of their prescriptions before they reach the level of catastrophic expense when the plan would pay for most of the drug costs. The donut hole is bigger in the House bill, nearly $3,000 worth of prescription costs before the plan starts paying the full drug cost. AARP activist Claire Krulik falls into the donut hole under both bills. But she doubts the proposed drug benefit will do her much good."
I'm going to nominate "with only $400 billion to spend," as the Clause of the Year.
-- NBC Nightly News, June 23. Anchor Brian Williams announced: "Now to the family tonight, one of the big political issues in play right now, adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare. The bill backed by President Bush circulating on Capitol Hill is being looked at very carefully now, and while seniors are grateful to be getting help, they're not happy with everything they're seeing. Here is NBC's Norah O'Donnell."
O'Donnell began: "It's the nerve center for the AARP, a political powerhouse, 35 million members strong. They've been battling for years to get Congress to help with the high cost of prescription drugs. Yet now on the verge of victory, the AARP argues the plan in Congress, backed by President Bush, will short-change seniors."
And further exacerbates the exploding cost of government and the ever-burgeoning welfare state.
CNN's Judy Woodruff, a case study in the media's liberal, pro-government spending/government can solve any problem bias. Last Wednesday, she took on Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy from the left suggesting to him on the June 18 Inside Politics that his prescription coverage giveaway program in Medicare doesn't go far enough: "I began by asking him about his signing off on a plan that would leave some seniors with less drug coverage than they need and whether he undercut those seniors."
Six days later, on Tuesday's Inside Politics (June 24), she interviewed Republican Senator Rick Santorum about the same subject and a fair and balanced journalist would have hit him from the right by pressing him to justify not following conservatives who oppose the massive new entitlement in any form. Instead, she saw the conservatives as an impediment, the ones creating the "final obstacle to the Medicare prescription drug bill." She began with Santorum by worrying about how with Democrats wanting a government-only programs and Republicans preferring a plan to subsidize private insurers, the new program might not pass: "I started by asking him if the whole Medicare reform effort could unravel over this kind of disagreement."
Woodruff did, at least, note to Santorum how President Bush wanted to give "an incentive to beneficiaries to switch to private plans," but that provision was dropped, "so my question to you is, did the President give in a little too soon on this?"
Last week, in addition to suggesting to Kennedy that the plan he backs would "undercut" seniors, Woodruff worried that the Senate version "is going to have to be compromised in the direction of the House version, which is much friendlier to the insurance industry," and how, "at a time when the Democrats are trying mightily to carve out distinct positions for themselves against a very popular Republican President," she scolded Kennedy, "what you have done is helped a Republican President take a very controversial issue off the table." For details: www.mediaresearch.org
Before getting to Santorum, however, Woodruff rued the impediments put up by conservatives: "Back here in Washington, there are reports that Senators are nearing agreement on a final obstacle to the Medicare prescription drug bill. But over in the House, some conservatives apparently are up in arms."
Jonathan Karl relayed the concerns of Congressman Jeff Flake from Arizona and how "Congressman John Shadegg, who is an influential member of the 90-member conservative Republican Study Group, said that it is indefensible for Republicans to talk about adding such a big new benefit to Medicare without first restraining the program's costs. He made the case in an op-ed piece in the Arizona Republic yesterday that's gotten a lot of attention up here today. In the piece, Shadegg wrote, quote, "'Sadly, Congress is putting politics ahead of policy. In its rush to pass something, anything, it is on the verge of imposing a staggering financial burden on our children and on our grandchildren.'"
Woodruff then told Karl: "Still much to be determined. Interesting, two Arizona Republicans weighing in. It would be interesting to know what the retirement community in Arizona has to say about all this." Karl agreed: "Excellent point."
Later in the program, Woodruff set up Santorum: "As we reported earlier, Congress is continuing its debate today over the addition of a prescription drug benefit to Medicare. Big differences remain between Republicans, who want to subsidize some private insurance plans, and Democrats, who want to see parity between private plans and the benefits offered by the government. A little while ago, I spoke with Republican Senator Rick Santorum. And I started by asking him if the whole Medicare reform effort could unravel over this kind of disagreement."
Woodruff's second question: "The President essentially agreed to the Senate plan without it having an important provision, at least a provision important to him. And that is giving an incentive to beneficiaries to switch to private plans. So my question to you is, did the President give in a little too soon on this?"
You read it here first. Rush Limbaugh and OpinionJournal.com on Friday jumped on the June 19 CyberAlert item about CBS and ABC, two years apart, showcasing the same old woman as the poster victim of high prescription drug costs, though they couldn't agree on her ailment.
-- Rush Limbaugh, in the second hour of his June 20 show, as transcribed by the MRC's Liz Swasey:
-- James Taranto related in his June 20 "Best of the Web" column for OpinionJournal.com:
For the June 19 CyberAlert item, with pictures of Baer-Schenkein as shown by ABC and CBS: www.mediaresearch.org
Appalled by Ann Coulter's suggestion in a new book that Senator Joseph McCarthy was largely correct about the infiltration of the U.S. government by those sympathetic to communist tyranny and some who spied for the Soviet Union, on Tuesday's Good Morning America Diane Sawyer suggested that Coulter's historic perspective means that she'd want anyone opposed to war in Iraq to lose their job since, to Sawyer, McCarthy promoted the idea of "thought crime."
Sawyer was also visibly appalled when, after she asked Coulter whether her book could out-sell Hillary Clinton's book, the petite Coulter replied: "Well, I think she has a three-to-one pound advantage over me." Sawyer expressed disillusionment: "Three-to-one pound? Did you say what I think you said?"
The June 24 Good Morning America brought Coulter aboard during its last half hour, just past 8:30am, matching NBC's Today which did not air its interview with Coulter about her previous book, Slander, until its last half hour, after 9:30am.
The June 25, 2002 CyberAlert related: Katie Couric argued Wednesday morning with author Ann Coulter who accurately quoted Couric as having opened Today in 1999 by trumpeting: "The Gipper was an airhead. That's one of the conclusions of a new biography of Ronald Reagan..." Couric took umbrage: "I'm just curious why you took it so out of context?" But Couric didn't interview the author, Edmund Morris, until two days later. Couric insisted that Today opened with the "airhead" insult just once. In fact, they did it two days in a row. See: www.mediaresearch.org
Coulter proceeded to explain how decrypted Soviet cables released in 1995 showed how there were communist agents inside the Roosevelt and Truman administrations.
Sawyer pounced: "Let me go to a couple of things, though. One of your big arguments is that McCarthy basically was right, and that in fact, he helped defend the country in a major way. Do you think, extrapolating to today, do you think there should be hearings on Capitol Hill for the people who were critical of the war in Iraq? Do you think that they should be hauled up and then banned from their jobs if they're proven to have been deeply critical of the war with Iraq?"
Sawyer then played the famous clip from a McCarthy hearing in which Army lawyer Joseph Welsh demanded: "Have you no sense of decency, sir?"
Sawyer pressed Coulter: "Decency. Was it a violation of decency?"
Coulter suggested the public has a skewed view of McCarthy since most have only seen examples of people attacking him and not the evidence which supported his allegations.
Wrapping up, Sawyer inquired: "A final word to you. You're going to be out on The New York Times best-seller list slugging it out against Hillary Clinton."
ABC News has posted an excerpt from Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism, published by Random House's Crown division: abcnews.go.com
Conservatives who desire a color-blind society in which advantages aren't handed out for belonging to a favored class aren't for "civil rights"? Displaying the standard liberal view about the definition of "civil rights," Monday morning on ABC John Cochran recalled how President Bush's opposition to the University of Michigan's racial quota system "angered many civil rights supporters around the country and it pleased very much a lot of conservatives."
During live coverage late Monday morning EDT of the two Supreme Court rulings on racial preferences, Cochran relayed from the White House:
Cochran came through with a good point at the end about the Bush administration's duplicity on this subject.
Is Howard Dean a "centrist" or a "conservative"? Instead of exploring how far to the left he'd move the country, some journalists are baffled by how to label him and wonder if he's really liberal at all.
Monday night on MSNBC, James Warren, the Chicago Tribune's Deputy Managing Editor and former Washington Bureau Chief, described Dean, who created a state-funded health payment system, as a "fiscal conservative." On CBS's Early Show that day, Hannah Storm tagged Dean as a "centrist Governor."
-- MSNBC's Hardball, June 23. MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens took this down from Warren during a discussion about Dean's announcement of his candidacy earlier in the day:
-- CBS's The Early Show. MRC analyst Brian Boyd caught this question from Hannah Storm to Dean: "Governor, I think some people are unsure how to characterize you at this point. You certainly have gained quite a liberal following, you have opposed the war with Iraq, you oppose the President's tax cut package, and yet you were a centrist Governor. So where does your constituency fall on the political spectrum?"
I don't know much about Dean's years as Governor of Vermont, but I certainly don't trust judgments by journalists that he was some kind of "centrist" or "fiscal conservative." Maybe some Vermont readers could pass along any analysis or stats that would shed some light on the matter. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
From the June 24 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Signs You're in Love with Democratic Presidential Candidate Howard Dean." Late Show Web site: www.cbs.com
10. You've actually heard of him
9. Whenever he discusses plans to revitalize economy, you get goosebumps
8. Named your cats "Howard," "Dean" and "Six-Term Governor Howard Dean"
7. You'll only watch movies featuring Ron Howard or Harry Dean Stanton
6. When you hear a report on the radio about a highway accident, you murmur, "Please, god, don't let Howard Dean be involved"
5. Constantly complain rival candidate Dennis Kucinich isn't "Howardly" enough
4. Changed outfit four times before watching appearance on "Meet the Press"
3. You stand by him despite the fact his infidelities embarrassed you in front of the entire...oh wait, wrong Democrat
2. When he announced his candidacy, you didn't laugh your ass off
1. You're actually considering wasting a vote on him
Two good jokes from the late night shows last week: Jay Leno mocked Al Gore's view that liberals don't have any outlets in the media and Kelsey Grammer, filling in for David Letterman, took a shot at the "effete" Peter Jennings.
-- Friday's Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC and Fox News Sunday both played this Jay Leno joke from the June 19 Tonight Show on NBC:
-- Guest-hosting the June 20 Late Show Friday night on CBS, actor Kelsey Grammer, who holds the record for playing the longest-running ever sit-com character ("Frasier Crane" on both Cheers and Frasier), delivered this joke during his opening monologue:
That one earned the audience's laughter and applause -- and mine too.
For a picture of Grammer, see the Internet Movie Database's page on him: us.imdb.com
* Tonight, Wednesday, on the Late Show: Avigayil Wardein, the six-year-old arrested for selling lemonade without a permit, a true victim of oppressive government regulation.
-- Brent Baker