Racism is on full display on NPR and at least CBS Radio News. Throughout Dubya’s eight years every news program referred to him as President Bush. With Barack Obama (and you can check the audio archives) he was referred to as “Obama” in every news story that I heard during his eight years in office. I bet he’ll still be referred to as “Obama” instead of “Former President Obama”. Never or hardly ever “President Obama”. And now Trump has only been in the White House for 4 days and in every news story he’s either “Donald Trump” or “President Trump”. Yes, racism is alive and all too well in the corporate news media.
I’ve been commenting for years on NPR’s slanted-toward-the-Republicans reporting. The right wing’s contention that it’s part of the liberal media is just a smoke screen. However, this morning NPR’s Morning Edition hit a new low with its hit piece on what it insists on calling Obamacare, which is the Republican-devised epithet for The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), or Affordable Care Act for short. Because the job given to NPR by persons or persons unknown is to keep pushing the myth that the ACA is unaffordable and that is why millions of people are risking federal tax fines by gleefully dropping it. If the ACA is unaffordable for millions of people it is due to the concerted efforts of the Republicans, as I show below.
I don’t know who is ultimately responsible for this hit piece. What I do know is that Steve Inkeep’s lead-in is misleading. What I also know is that typically, the written text underneath the audio link to a news story is identical to the audio story. In this case, the audio version barely resembles the written text. Inskeep intros the story “Millions of Americans have found the Affordable Care Act to be unaffordable.” Thus the story is framed that the ACA is essentially a failure, especially where lower-middle class individuals are concerned. Contrast this with the actual written headline to the story: “Obamacare Deploys New Apps, Allies To Persuade The Uninsured”. Now it’s a story about how the Obama administration is attempting to get more uninsured people the health insurance they lack.
Another difference between the audio and written stories: the audio leads off with sound bites from Dave Egbert of Huron, South Dakota, stating that he and his partner, Rich Davis, dropped Obamacare because it was too expensive. In the written version, Egbert and Davis are buried near the bottom of the story. The audio story says that there are only three insurance plans to choose from. But the story doesn’t explain why and this is where the slanted reporting comes in.
The fact is that Republican South Dakota governor Dennis Daugaard and the Republican-controlled state legislature refused to expand Medicaid in that state on February 24, 2014. Expanding Medicaid in all states was a primary goal of–what else?—the Affordable Care Act. Just about all—if not all—Republican-controlled states refused to expand Medicaid even though the federal government was picking up the tab for the first few years. So Egbert and Davis should be blaming Governor Daugaard and their state legislature—people they most likely voted for in prior elections—for the lack of affordable healthcare in their state, along with the paucity of health plans to choose from. That’s under the control of your state, gentlemen, not the Feds.
This hit the working poor, like Egbert and Davis, hardest of all. Had state Republicans not blocked this expansion, it is very likely Egbert and Davis among 25,000 other people would have had the affordable healthcare Davis needed at the time. I have no information to back this up but I wonder if both Egbert and Davis are Republicans? What I do know is that NPR contacted Egbert after he posted a comment on its Facebook page. Whether or not they vetted Egbert and his story is unknown.
Something else I do know is that, right before next year’s elections, South Dakota has now decided to expand Medicaid and has gotten the initial “go ahead” from a health official in the Obama Administration. http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/2015/09/29/medicaid-expansion-plan-gets-initial-go-ahead-dc/73067220/
So, Messers. Egbert and Davis, and the other 25,000 uninsured inhabitants of South Dakota, it looks like with your South Dakota state government finally embracing Obamacare just before election time, you will get your affordable health insurance. And if it gives you gentlemen any solace, Obamacare started off as Romneycare (an advisor to then-Gov. Romney re-worked it for the Obama administration) which had its genesis with a plan devised by the Koch Brothers own Heritage Foundation as far back as 1989.
So, gentlemen, stop seeing Red over Obamacare. And in next year’s elections, start feeling Blue.
And you, Steve Inskeep and all at NPR Morning Edition, have you no shame? Apparently not.
Rassmussen Reports just released one of its famously pro-Republican polls
showing a virtual tie in the Colorado U.S. Senate Race between Democratic incumbent Mark Udall and Republican challenger Corey Gardner and, coincidentally (?), NPR News runs a tory primarily to make Republican challenger Corey Gardner a national name in pursuit of the NPR News campaign to convince the American voter that this is the year of the Republicans.
After all, NPR trashes Obamacare at least weekly, and now almost daily (and several times daily) mentioning Rand Paul’s name and frequently accompanying it with a sound bite. There are 45 Republicans in the U.S. Senate but from NPR News you’d think that Paul is the only saying or thinking anything important because he’s about the only one in heavy radio rotation. So Ted Cruz is now SO last year’s chopped liver for wrapping himself around and making himself the voice and voice of the GOP/Tea Party’s federal government shutdown. And Marco Rubio? He’s got the charisma of any fresh-faced little boy who looks like he’s wearing his father’s U.S. Senator’s clothes.
It’s been decided somewhere that Rand Paul needs to be pushed into the psyche of the American public and as frequently as possible. For what purpose, I don’t know—yet. He’s not up for reelection until 2016 and two years from how he’s got as much chance of getting the Republican nomination for president as he has getting elected president this year. To show how little chance the guy has to send out bids on a new design for the Oval Office rug, his GOP buddies in the Kentucky state senate are pushing a bill that would allow him to be on the 2016 state ballot as candidate for both president and reelection to the US Senate (much like Wisconsin state law enabled Paul Ryan to lose his VP bid and still keep his day job in Congress in 2012). The state House of Representatives doesn’t like that idea so much and will most likely shoot it down if it passes the state senate.
It’s perfectly plausible that Paul has been positioned to be the once and future Head Mad Hatter of the Tea Party at a time when the Karl Roves of the GOP are attempting to separate and isolate it from the mainstream party because frankly, my dear, most Republican voters don’t give a damn about the Tea Party (except when it shuts down the federal government and then the word “damn” is heard a lot preceding the words “tea party”) except in the smallest and poorest Southern states with the highest numbers of uneducated people in America. Rove once had pull in the GOP until his meal ticket ran out of presidential terms and he had to settle for a new career as PAC Man. The meal ticket’s brother, Jeb, is undoubtedly planned by Rove to be his entrée to eight more years of White House entrées in 2016.
So, with Jeb in the top ticket slot, who would be the chosen one to slide into the number two spot? Hmmm, the name is on the tip of my psyche…Rand Paul. It now all makes sense. In front of closed doors guys like Rove decry how the Tea Party is destroying the GOP. But behind closed doors perhaps Paul’s name was bandied about as a sure way to bring the Tea Party—and its voter base—back into the fold and under control of the mainstream Republican Party. The GOPowers-that-be may be willing to risk a Rand Paul presidency if it gets them a Jeb Bush presidency first.
So in the pursuit of that end, the orders went out to the subsidiary media outlets like Fox, CNN and NPR to put Rand Paul in heavy rotation and to keep his erstwhile rivals out of the limelight. Too many choices make tea partiers nervous. They like to keep things simple, you know.
The story linked to above could be a prime example of a David Koch-funded NPR “news” story which means that NPR reporter Julie Rovner could be regarded as a Koch employee. Koch has heavily funded PBS and until recently sat on the boards of WNET New York and WBGH Boston so it can be assumed that he and/or brother Charles have also put a few hefty pay packets into the coffers of NPR. Read here about David Koch and PBS: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/05/21/1210748/-Did-David-Koch-Kill-Critical-PBS-Documentary
And more on this from Jane Meyer with The New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/05/27/130527fa_fact_mayer?currentPage=all
This NPR story reeks of right wing propaganda, with Rovner even going so far as to use a sound bite from Paul Ryan and ONLY Paul Ryan to support its contention that Obamacare is soundly and roundly hated by the American public. But then comes in the false equivalency between it and Medicare Part D, the Republican legislation that prohibited government bargaining with Big Pharma over prescription medicine prices and threw countless numbers of seniors into the “donut hole” along with a huge chunk of their disposable income, forcing them to pay out of pocket for their meds.
This apparently Koch-funded story claims that Obamacare is just as unfavored now as Medicare Part D was in 2005. But Rovner re-writes history when she claims it was partisan Democratic politicking and not the egregious Republican kickback to Big Pharma and the slap in the life savings to seniors on Medicare now being required to pay for all their meds themselves that was the source of contention and disfavor. She further skews the story by using the memory of George W. Bush H&HS Secretary Mike Leavitt to spin the story to make it appear that the opposition was just due to partisan politics. Not ONE Democrat is interviewed for this story to shed some truth on it. Here is Leavitt’s big Republican spin comment: “’There is always a political backdrop to the implementation of a controversial law,’ said Leavitt in an interview. ‘With Part D, clearly the Democrats did not believe this would succeed, and I think in their heart didn’t want it to succeed. I suspect the inverse is true in the context of this [Affordable Care Act] law.’” Once a Bushie always a Bushie.
The only reason why Medicare Part D has never been repealed is because the Republicans have remained in control of Congress from that time until now except for a small window of time in 2009 when the Democrats couldn’t get their act together to get it wiped off the books.
Rovner offers not one positive analysis of Obamacare, but she is just toeing the Koch/Fox/Republican Party line because NPR has been broadcasting Obamacare-bashing story after Obamacare-bashing story for weeks. I’m not a fan of Obamacare only because it was just a tepid toe in the water of health insurance reform. But I stand with everyone who supports it by saying that Obamacare is a lot better than what we had before and is helping to bring health insurance to 50 million previously uninsured or uninsurable people.
It is truly a shame that publicly-funded NPR is a sham when it comes to news reporting. And it raises the question that if NPR is the deceptive and false in its reporting of domestic issues, how are we to believe it when it comes to the reporting of international news stories? For more on the purchase of PBS by at least one Koch brother (David) read Thom Hartmann’s excellent article: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/16538-the-corporate-dictatorship-of-pbs-and-npr
Another word for corporate dictatorship is fascism.
Once again monitoring NPR and still confirming they are just as anti-Obama/Democrat, pro-Republican as Fox, CBS Radio, or ABC Radio News. They have been framing their “fiscal cliff” reporting as the problem we have here is a lack of respect between the two political parties. If only one of them would be the grown up in the room and negotiate in good faith and be willing to compromise like the parties did in the old days, this would be settled quickly.
NPR loves going into how all the spending cuts are going to hurt us all, but they give no context or history as to how this whole thing came about, not even when they bring their so-called analyst Cokie Roberts–one of the biggest hacks with a most undeserved reputation–to talk about it. No one brings up that the Republicans brought this all about with the acquiescence of the Democrats last year. In return for voting to raise the debt ceiling the Republicans demanded spending cuts in “entitlement” programs while the Democrats hang tough for defense spending cuts. The idea was that if budget and tax reform talks ever got stalemated these spending cuts would kick in. Other middle class staples like the payroll tax holiday would end as well. These changes were considered so draconian that no Congress in its right mind–meaning THESE guys–would ever allow these spending cuts to tax place. Obama dutifully signed this legislation–which also brought you the dead-on-arrival Super Committee–probably knowing all the time the Republicans would take us over that very cliff the following year.
But NPR insists on giving its listeners none of this context. They hold their reporting to “oh some terrible things are about to happen if Congress doesn’t start acting its age”, again attempting to create a false equivalency between the two sides. There is not one mention that the Democrats have put forth a serious plan with specific measures to increase revenue by raising taxes on the top 2%, but they do report Republicans insist on closing unspecified tax loopholes, which NPR then claims would raise more revenue than the tax increases, which really aren’t tax increases so much as ending the George W. Bush tax cuts. They also insist on “entitlements reform” although it’s been proven Social Security adds not dollar one to the deficit and Obamacare has already mandated Medicare provider payment reforms. If the Republicans would agree to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices—which their Medicare Part D prohibits—that alone would save hundreds of billions of dollars over the next ten years. To lend themselves credibility, NPR quoted talking heads from two economic policy think tanks without telling us anything about these think tanks—such as if they were right or left wing or middle oriented, or if they were sponsored surrogates for the Koch Brothers or George Soros or the like. Or they interview Tom Wilson, president and CEO of Allstate Insurance—universally regarded as the worst insurance company in the country—to comment on the Congressional budget impasse. His astute observation? Both parties lack respect for each other and we still need entitlements reform. He also admitted that after we go over the fiscal cliff no one in the insurance industry will lose their jobs because profits are still up. That should come as no surprise to any Allstate policy holder who has filed a claim and tried to collect what they were promised while Wilson pocketed a 20% pay increase in 2011, raising his salary and compensation and bonuses to $11.2 million.
They ended their fiscal cliff story today with Obama’s scheduled visit to Detroit and that “some Republicans say” Obama is still acting like he’s on the campaign trail. Of course NPR didn’t add that Detroit is expected to go broke by the end of the month, which might kick in Republican Governor Rick Snyder’s Emergency Manager law where he takes over the governing of a city through a hand-picked surrogate. NPR also failed to add that Michigan Republicans have passed legislation that Snyder is about to sign into law that will kill the union movement, lower wages and reduce or end benefits that union members and non-members working in union shops enjoy. Obama has every right—in fact an obligation—to stand with workers in Detroit and rally them to support his budget and support the right of unions to exist for the protection and benefit of workers.
You would think that with the resounding Obama and Democratic victories of last month NPR would see that their bread is buttered on the left side and no longer on the right, but they don’t. And this could be bad news for them as NPR heads into its annual holiday pledge drive. Alienating liberals—who historically are much more generous individual donors than conservatives—is not a good idea unless NPR is confident that its Republican-leaning corporate sponsors are already in the bag.
In NPR News world, everything is either “fair and balanced” or simplistic. Today, they and Mike Cannon from the “libertarian” (NPR’s description) Cato Institute were saying:
“The question is, does the health care industry need a federal law to make these changes continue? Many say no.
‘All the innovations that Obamacare is trying to impose in a top-down sort of way already exist in the marketplace,’ says Michael Cannon of the libertarian Cato Institute.
“Cannon, like Romney, says real cost control can come only from the private sector.
“’Giving patients the money is going to encourage them to be more cost-conscious consumers and force prices down in a way that government has proven itself unable to do.’
“The problem is, no one knows which (Obamacare or repealing it) would work better because neither has really been tried. So the choice is to let the new law continue to play out, or repeal it and see whether Congress can pass something else. That is, if it doesn’t take Congress another generation to reach another compromise.”
All of that is pure b.s. of course, including the false equivalency between Democrats and Republicans canard. Would anybody like to share what their monthly health insurance premiums and out of pocket costs were pre-ACA? Would you further like to share–if you or a family member have a serious and chronic illness or condition–what your out-of-pocket costs have been after you reached your annual or lifetime insurance coverage payments cap–which is not extinct under Obamacare? Notice how NPR again takes the easy and simplistic way out by blaming ALL of Congress for taking so long to compromise?
The second instance of NPR simplicity of reporting on the fallacy of energy independence:
“Energy independence does not mean cheaper gasoline. It doesn’t even mean that prices are more stable. Gas prices in Canada went up this summer just like they did in the United States. Prices in Canada are sensitive to conflict in the Middle East, or increased demand from China. There is a global market for oil. That means there is basically one price, whether you are a net exporter (Canada) or the world’s biggest importer (the U.S.).”
The fact is the global price of oil is fixed by Big Oil with the assistance of oil speculators. Don’t believe me?
The difference being I don’t claim “petrol” prices MIGHT have fixed; I assure you, the fix is in. But NPR likes to keep things nice and simple and “no one’s to blame”, cherry picking oil-industry connected experts to prove it. FAIR just happened to report on this same story this morning:
What scares me is that I am on the same side of an issue as the Republicans: I am not happy that NPR (and PBS for that matter) uses my own federal tax dollars to propagandize me. I say end federal funding of public broadcasting and let them propagandize using donations from members like you.