Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Media Matters Daily Summary 08-26-09

Mitchell puts words in Cheney's mouth, overstates his remarks on CIA interrogation memos
On NBC's Nightly News, Andrea Mitchell falsely suggested that Dick Cheney said one of two recently released CIA memos on detainee interrogation proved that enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) "saved lives and prevented terrorist attacks." In fact, Cheney did not go that far, saying only that the documents show that "the individuals subjected to Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" provided intelligence that "saved lives and prevented terrorist attacks"; moreover, the memos do not address the effectiveness of any specific interrogation techniques. Read More

NPR's Cornish ignored CBO's much lower estimate of health care bill's cost
On August 25, NPR's Audie Cornish reported that the House Democrats' health care reform proposal "is estimated to cost a trillion dollars over the next 10 years," without noting that the Congressional Budget Office has concluded that this cost would be largely offset by the savings and revenue increases in the bill. Taking these provisions into account, CBO estimated that the House bill would increase the deficit by $239 billion over 10 years, less than a quarter of the cost Cornish reported. Read More

Luntz falsely suggests health reform legislation reduces physician payments
GOP pollster Frank Luntz claimed on Fox News' Hannity that Democratic health reform proposals would "cut Medicare reimbursement," which would lead to "denial of coverage" because "[i]f you don't give doctors the money, they won't do the procedures." However, the House tri-committee health reform bill actually increases projected physician reimbursements by $245 billion compared to current law. Read More

Beck calls Senate-confirmed Orszag a "czar"
In the "Know Your Czars" segment of his August 26 radio show, Glenn Beck singled out Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag as his latest example of an Obama administration "czar" -- officials he has previously complained are "advising our president" but "don't go through a confirmation process" and "don't answer to the legislative branch." However, Orszag, whom Beck called "our budget czar," "the proud Enron of czars" and said is "handy with a calculator," was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in January. Read More

Politico forwards spin that GOP would support health reform if Kennedy had been active in Senate
In an obituary for Sen. Edward Kennedy, the Politico repeated the Republican claim that Kennedy's absence from the health care debate prevented lawmakers from reaching a bipartisan compromise, reporting that "Republicans complained that without Kennedy, Democrats were less willing to make the concessions needed for true compromise." Several progressive commentators have identified this talking point as GOP spin intended to disguise Republicans' obstructionism, with's Joan Walsh, for example, stating that "absolutely no evidence supports that point of view," and blogger Ezra Klein noting that Kennedy's committee has already reported out a bill. Read More

NY Times' Seelye falsely suggests Medicare payments to doctors would be lower under House bill than current law*
In a post on The New York Times' Prescriptions blog, Katharine Seelye wrote that the House tri-committee health care reform bill "would cut a combined $500 billion from Medicare and Medicaid over 10 years by limiting increases in payments to doctors and hospitals." However, Seelye's suggestion that the bill finds these savings in doctors' payments is refuted by CBO's conclusion that spending for doctors services would increase by about $245 billion over 10 years compared to what would occur under current law. Read More

CNN's Sylvester advances McCain's claim that reconciliation "would be a drastic change in the way" the Senate "does business"
On Lou Dobbs Tonight, guest host Lisa Sylvester advanced the claim that reconciliation is an "obscure Senate rule" that would be, in Sen. John McCain's words, "a drastic change in the way that the United States Senate does business." In fact, Congress has repeatedly used the budget reconciliation process to enact changes to the nation's health care policy, and Senate Republicans have used or attempted to use reconciliation to pass President Bush's tax cuts, an increase in the Medicare eligibility age, and welfare reform. Read More

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