Yesterday's New York Times:
For Mr. Obama, giving up on the public plan would have risks and rewards. The reward is that he could punch a hole in Republican arguments that he wants a "government takeover" of health care and possibly win some Republican votes.
Really? What indications are there that this would actually happen? Which Republicans have said that if the public plan is dropped, they'll sign on? What in the GOP's recent behavior towards Democratic Presidents -- say, over the past 40 years or so -- suggests they will abandon their "government takeover" arguments, much less sign on to health care reform that does not include a public plan but is still significant?
The Times, of course, doesn't address any of those questions. Several paragraphs later, it even acknowledges that "whether a co-operative would actually bring Republicans on board with Mr. Obama is unclear." The closest the article comes to providing any reason to think that might happen is a quote by Republican Senator Richard Shelby saying "we ought to look at" the idea of replacing the public plan with a co-op model.
For that matter, the article provides exactly zero evidence, no matter how weak, that dropping the public option would even win over conservative Democrats.
The notion that dropping the public plan will win the support of Republicans, and get them to drop their arguments about a "government takeover" is based on the assumption that conservatives are debating and negotiating in good faith. That's an assumption the media has little if any reason to make, and significant reasons to be skeptical of. But it regularly underlies media coverage of public policy debates despite the frequency with which it is shown to be baseless. This Times article is just an example -- and not even a particularly egregious one at that.
Menachem Rosensaft, Vice President of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants, writes at HuffPost:
One stark difference between Democrats and Republicans is that Democrats appear to be far more willing to confront and publicly denounce bigots and extremists in their own fold. This has been highlighted by the GOP leadership's failure to condemn Rush Limbaugh's divisive, race-baiting diatribes...
By tolerating and encouraging Limbaugh, the Republican leadership is fomenting racial and ethnic hatred that could have disastrous consequences for our country. Limbaugh's extremist rhetoric is transforming the Republican side of the American political discourse from one of legitimate political and ideological disagreement among fellow citizens into a demonization of the "other," that is, everyone who is non-white, non-fundamentalist Christian and non-conservative.
From the Drudge Report:
From the Fox Nation:
From a Google Images search for "white flag":
Last week, Media Matters reported on companies and organizations that have run ads in recent weeks on the hate- and conspiracy theory-filled programs of Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, and Rush Limbaugh despite appearing on a 2006 list of advertisers that reportedly didn't want their ads broadcast during Air America programs.
One of these companies is the Home Depot. As we reported, Home Depot has recently advertised on Limbaugh's show.
Media Matters has now received multiple emails from readers who say that they contacted Home Depot and received a reply asserting that Home Depot doesn't "support the Rush Limbaugh radio show." Here's the text of one such email:
Thank you for contacting The Home Depot Customer Care.
We appreciate you taking the time to forward your concerns.
In reference to your e-mail, we would like to inform you that the Home Depot do not support the Rush Limbaugh radio show.
We look forward to your continued patronage and assisting you with all of your home improvement needs.
Customer Care Research Team
Media Matters has the audio of a Home Depot ad that aired on New York's WABC-AM during the July 3 Rush Limbaugh Show at 12:49 p.m. ET.
Reader tips contributed to this post. Thanks, and keep them coming!
Washington Times editor John Solomon got some attention the other day by complaining that The New York Times, in an article explaining the origin of the false "death panel" claim, described his newspaper as "decidedly opposed" to President Obama. Solomon insisted in response that "Our news pages have no agenda except to accurately and fairly cover the news."
Solomon's whining paid off in the form of not just a correction stating that the article was "referring to its opinion pages, not to its news pages" but an apology from New York Times Washington editor Dean Baquet stating, "We did not mean to imply the Washington Times newsroom is biased or partisan."
Below are of Media Matters items on Obama-related news articles published by The Washington Times. Judge for yourself:
From an August 17 ColorofChange.org press release:
Eight more Glenn Beck advertisers, including Wal-Mart – the world's largest retailer – have confirmed to ColorOfChange.org that they pulled their ads from the controversial Fox News Channel broadcaster's eponymous show. Allergan (maker of Restasis), Ally Bank (a unit of GMAC Financial Services), Best Buy, Broadview Security, CVS, Re-Bath, Travelocity and Wal-Mart join the dozen other companies who previously distanced themselves from Beck.
Twenty companies have pulled their ads from Beck's show in just the last two weeks. The moves come after the Fox News host called President Obama a "racist" who "has a deep-seated hatred for white people" during an appearance on Fox & Friends. Previous companies who pulled their ads include ConAgra, GEICO, Lawyers.com, Men's Wearhouse, Procter & Gamble, Progressive Insurance, RadioShack, Roche, SC Johnson, Sanofi-Aventis, Sargento, and State Farm Insurance.
"We are heartened to see so many corporate citizens step up in support of our campaign against Glenn Beck," said James Rucker, executive director of ColorOfChange.org. "Their action sends a clear a message to Glenn Beck: Broadcasters shouldn't abuse the privilege they enjoy by spewing dangerous and racially charged hate language over the air. No matter their political affiliation, hate language doesn't belong in our national dialogue."
Reporting on the town hall forum hosted by Rep. David Wu (D., Ore.), the Journal includes this passing "death panel" reference in the second paragraph:
I think they're going to say to U.S. seniors, 'Sorry, it's the end of life and you don't get medical care,'" Dawn Robbins, a 69-year-old retired day-care provider, said at a Wu event in St. Helens on Friday.
Note that the Journal nowhere in the article points out that the idea that the federal government would soon be in the business of selecting killing old people has been completely debunked. Instead, the Journal sees its job as simply repeating whatever outlandish claims members of the anti-health care reform mini-mob are making.
Right-wing organizers hoped 15,000 people would attend a Centennial Olympic Park rally this weekend to yell and scream about health care reform. In the end, just one-fifth of that showed up.
From the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
Atlanta police estimated the crowd in Centennial Park at about 3,000 -- far short of organizers' goal to draw a crowd of 15,000
Yet in its write-up of the event, the Journal forgot to mention how the crowd was disappointingly thin. The Journal drew no inference from the fact that organizers failed so badly in bringing out a larger crowd. Instead, the Journal pretended the modest event was significant and, of course, newsworthy; that it was important to document how a relatively small crowd of Obama critics showed up in a park to wave signs.
It's funny, but back in 2003, I don't remember the Wall Street Journal's news team devoting stand-along articles when anti-war protesters gathered in small numbers (let alone large numbers) in cities across the country. Instead, I think the Journal's current coverage highlights a longtime newsroom edict: angry conservatives are newsworthy, angry liberals are annoying.
That's the word this morning from spokesperson Sue Mallino, who confirmed to Media Matters that the company recently pulled its ads off the Fox News program. Mallino would not comment on whether the move was made in response to Beck's claim that President Obama is a "racist," an allegation that sparked a grassroots campaign by ColorofChange.org to get advertisers to stop supporting Beck's program.
Mallino said only that the company has final say over which programs are "not appropriate" to advertise on, and that GMAC Financial Services will continue to advertise on Fox News. But she reiterated the company "has ceased advertising on the Glenn Beck program."
GMAC Financial Services joins a growing list of advertisers who have recently abandoned Beck's television show, including ConAgra, Roche, Sanofi-Aventis, RadioShack, Men's Wearhouse, State Farm Sargento, LexisNexis-owned Lawyers.com, Procter & Gamble, and Progressive Insurance.