Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Media Matters Daily Summary 08-18-09

Health care mobs = Swift Boat Vets. And the press plays dumb, again
Here we go again. Read More

Steyn falsely claims half the country approved of Bush
Conservative commentator Mark Steyn said on Fox News' Hannity that President Obama's "supposedly discredited predecessor" was a "50-50 president." However, President Bush left office with an approval rating ranging from 24 percent to 34 percent in major polls and had not seen a 50-percent approval rating in these polls since mid-2005. Read More

Conservative media follow GOP talking point, declare co-ops identical to public plan
Conservative media figures including Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Ralph Reed, and Mark Steyn have advanced the GOP talking point that health care cooperatives are, in Hannity's words, "basically the same thing" as the public option "with a new packaging." But mischaracterizing cooperatives as identical to the public option ignores numerous economists who have argued that cooperatives will be less effective than a public option. Read More

Ignoring language in bills, Dick Morris repeatedly claims health reform plans will cover "illegal immigrants"
Fox News contributor Dick Morris has repeatedly claimed that Democratic plans for health care reform will cover "illegal immigrants" while denying medical care to American citizens, particularly the elderly. However, both the House tri-committee bill and the Senate HELP committee bill explicitly prohibit undocumented immigrants from receiving federal payments to purchase insurance. Read More

Fox News VP Sammon claims poll shows people "don't want the public option" -- but poll shows the opposite
On the August 18 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, after co-host Bill Hemmer noted the results of an Ipsos/McClatchy poll question -- which he incorrectly said was an ABC News poll question -- asking if the public option would provide better care than private plans, Fox News vice president for news and Washington managing editor Bill Sammon claimed that "people are saying they don't want the public option, as that poll demonstrates." However, when the Ipsos/McClatchy poll specifically asked respondents if they believed "it is necessary to create a public health insurance plan," 52 percent of respondents agreed. Numerous other recent polls also show that a majority of Americans support a public option. Read More

AP uncritically quoted McConnell's claims that health reform means "massive cuts to Medicare," "taxes on small business"
In an August 18 Associated Press article, David Espo quoted Sen. Mitch McConnell's claim that health reform proposals will be paid for "through massive cuts to Medicare," without pointing out, as FactCheck.org did, that "[t]he claim that Obama and Congress are cutting seniors' Medicare benefits to pay for the health care overhaul is outright false." Additionally, Espo quoted McConnell's assertion that health reform will be funded through "taxes on small business," without noting that according to House Democrats, the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation concluded that only 4.1 percent of small businesses would be affected by the surtax in the House Democrats' health reform bill or that the Senate HELP bill provides credits to help small businesses comply with the mandated coverage provisions. Read More

Media reports on AARP membership losses due to health reform support ignore relevant details
On August 18, several media figures -- including MSNBC host Dr. Nancy Snyderman, Fox Business Network host Connell McShane, and NBC correspondent Savannah Guthrie -- reported that 60,000 senior citizens have canceled their AARP membership since July 1 because of the organization's support for health care reform. But those media figures did not note that the Associated Press reported the previous day that, according to an AARP spokesman, the organization regularly loses 300,000 members a month and has gained 400,000 new members in the same period. Read More

Now they tell us: ABC finally cites "health care experts" saying public option would keep costs down
After reporting on August 17 that "there are signs that the administration may be backing off the so-called public option," ABC's World News host Charles Gibson went on to cite "experts" who said, in Gibson's words, "[I]f you take out the public option in terms of insurance, there's going to be no restraints on the cost of insurance." But in the three months prior, World News has never cited any health experts making that point; rather, correspondents only reported that the intention of the public plan was to drive down costs or cited Democrats making that claim. Read More

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