Yesterday, ABCNews responded to the RNC’s request for equal airtime for President Obama’s ‘townhall’ meeting with this letter. Here’s a part that I thought needed monitoring:
Second, ABC News prides itself on covering all sides of important issues and asking direct questions of all newsmakers, of all political persuasions, even when others have taken a more partisan approach and even in the face of criticism from extremes on both ends of the political spectrum. ABC News is looking for the most thoughtful and diverse voices on this issue. ABC News alone will select those who will be in the audience asking questions of the president. Like any programs we broadcast, ABC News will have complete editorial control. To suggest otherwise is quite unfair to both our journalists and our audience.
Saying that they’ll run an hourlong infomercial for the president, then deny the RNC time to have their say, is bad enough. To say that they’ll ask hard-hitting questions of President Obama was worse. This report suggests that ABCNews isn’t being honest:
ABC is refusing to air paid ads during its White House health care presentation, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned, including a paid-for alternative viewpoint!
The development comes a day after the network denied a request by the Republican National Committee to feature a representative of the party’s views during the Obama special.
Conservatives for Patients Rights requested the rates to buy a 60-second spot immediately preceding ‘Prescription for America’.
Statement from Rick Scott, chairman of Conservatives for Patients Rights:
“It is unfortunate, and unusual, that ABC is refusing to accept paid advertising that would present an alternative viewpoint for the White House health care event. Health care is an issue that touches every American and all potential pieces of legislation have carried a pricetag in excess of $1 trillion of taxpayers’ money. The American people deserve a healthy, robust debate on this issue and ABC’s decision, as of now, to exclude even paid advertisements that present an alternative view does a disservice to the public. Our organization is more than willing to purchase ad time on ABC to present an alternative viewpoint and our hope is that ABC will reconsider having such viewpoints be part of this crucial debate for the American people. We were surprised to hear that paid advertisements would not be accepted when we inquired and we would certainly be open to purchasing time if ABC would reconsider.”
This is nonsense. Saying that you’ll discuss all sides of the issue, then saying that you’re denying people the ability to buy time to air an opposing point of view, stinks to the high heavens.
What’s important to remember, though, is that the Democrats’ attempted takeover of the health care industry will fail. No amount of adoring press will change that. While it isn’t likely that Ted Kennedy and other single-payer advocates won’t give up without a fight, it’s equally true that the public option is a ‘dead man walking’ item. At this point, that option is essentially dead. It just hasn’t collapsed yet.
Conservatives shouldn’t whine about this not being fair, though it’s fine to highlight the fact that ABCNews isn’t being honest. Instead, conservatives should remind people that the Obama/Kennedy/Dodd monstrosity carries with it a hefty pricetag, perhaps as much as $4,000,000,000,000 over the next decade:
Health Systems Innovations Network, a consulting group, went ahead and estimated the full cost of a bill that included the subsidies and Medicaid expansion, and reduced the number of uninsured by 99 percent. With these assumptions, they estimated the cost at a staggering $4 trillion over 10 years, resulting in the shift of 79 million Americans to government-run health care. The report does not include possible tax increases or spending offsets, but notes that, “this would be a challenging proposal to finance with budget neutrality.”
Let’s also understand that the White House’s ABC infomercial is likely a last, desperate attempt to get something done:
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee postponed the markup of its healthcare reform bill by one day, to Wednesday. On the eve of that markup, the powerful U.S. Chamber of Commerce publicly ripped the bill.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) initially planned to release his bill Wednesday, but he has pushed back his timetable because of cost estimate concerns. â€œWill we have something out tomorrow? Not sure,â€ Baucus said Tuesday. â€œThursday or probably Friday,â€ he added.
Perhaps more importantly, the unity that Democrats touted earlier this year has cracked. As conservatives lambaste Democrats, liberal healthcare groups are not rushing to their defense because so many questions about the legislation have not been answered.
The split isn’t about ideology as much as it’s about survival. Generally speaking, congresscritters that occupy safe seats will vote their beliefs; congresscritters that were elected to swing districts will vote the way they think helps them get re-elected. There are exceptions but what I’ve written is the generally accepted rule.
What’s important in this fight is that ideas and specifics matter far more than the 2008 elections. The reality is that alot of Democrats are abandoning ship because they’re reading the writing on the wall. They’re seeing polls telling everyone that this gigantic bureaucratic mess is sinking like the Edmund Fitzgerald.
It’s important to note that politicians are always more worried about their next election than their last election. That’s why keeping the pressure on the Democrats right now is vitally important. They need to feel the heat of our displeasure. They need to hear in clear terms that we won’t tolerate another trillion dollar boondoggle that won’t fix this problem.
Finally, let’s remind ourselves that Democrats panic, too. That’s what they’re doing this instant. That’s why Democrats are questioning each other and offering scaled-back alternatives.
Cross-posted at California Conservative