Thursday, July 30, 2009

Our Liberal Media

digby: Back In The Saddle
Brilliant political observers and Village savants, Chris Matthews, Charlie Cook and Chuck Todd say the country has lost confidence in Obama and that the Dems could very well lose the congress next time. It seems to be the fault of the tax 'n spend "redistributionist" liberal hippies and Obama needs to be much more responsive to the Blue Dogs, who hold the key to success if he will only seize it.

Cook says that Obama is already a failure because he didn't do health care in a bipartisan fashion and that not enacting malpractice reform was his biggest mistake.

And Matthews says that Obama was racial profiling when he defended Henry Louis Gates. Later in the show he got very self-righteous about Beck calling Obama a racist. (Self-awareness isn't Tweety's strong suit.)

They've turned. If it weren't for the Republicans acting like circus clowns, it would be even worse.

Update: Matthews also says that provisions that allow people to consult about living wills is a leftist plot (that has something to do with abortion, in his mind) and the right has good reason to object.

dday: Lois Romano Won't Be Invited Back On Hardball Again
Chris Matthews unsurprisingly opened his maw and had Betsy McCaughey spoonfed bullshit into it today, repeating almost word-for-word McCaughey's argument about end-of-life care in the health care bill.

MATTHEWS: Lois, your thoughts about this debate, it's a provision in the Energy and Commerce version of the health care bill, Energy and Commerce Committee. It was put in, this provision by Earl Blumenauer from Oregon, there it stands, it's a provision which allows you to get counseling every five years or so. I wonder what the hell this provision's doing in a bill that's aimed at people who are younger. It's not about Medicare recipients, people over 65. Why are you going to be visited every five years by somebody to talk about how you want to die. I think it's crazy this is in there, but your thoughts.

ROMANO: But it's not in there. I mean basically-

MATTHEWS: It is in there!


MATTHEWS: It's in the bill, it's in the-

ROMANO: It's a benefit! First of all, Chris, Chris. First of all, it's an extension of a 1999 bill that was enacted during the Bush Administration, and it's a self-determination, a patient's rights bill. And all it really says is that Medicare will pay if someone wants to go in and have a consultation. It doesn't say you have to have a consultation.

MATTHEWS: It's not about Medicare, Lois, this is, we already have that in Medicare. This is about people under 65, younger people. This is not about Medicare, we've got it in that coverage, you're saying that. This is about a health care bill to help people in their middle years, in their younger years. Why would you have this conversation with them?

I don't know, Chris, because young people don't have a force field around them, and sometimes they get stricken with terminal illness, and sometimes they get in car accidents, and sometimes they get in situations for end-of-life care comes into play, and they should be allowed to have a consultation about those issues covered by their health care plan.

Also fun: Matthews thinks this bill has nothing to do with Medicare, when major provisions include eliminating Medicare Advantage, the private insurers who charge individuals twice as much as the government and offer worse care to seniors; the IMAC provision to look at reimbursement rates in Medicare, Medicare internal cost savings, Medicaid coverage expansion, and about 20 other things to do with Medicare and Medicaid.

This goes on for about five minutes, with Tweety checking his crib sheet for Betsy McCaughey's lies, and Romano fruitlessly trying to debunk them. He talks about "consultations on a recurring basis" and she yells "It's not mandated!" and he says "Well, what's it doing in there," finally deciding that it was put in by a lobbyist (evil!). The Politico bobblehead chimes in with the kind of "teach the controversy" hands-off refereeing, saying that you see conservatives bringing this up because it "offers political fodder." Yes, I imagine lying about the policy does offer political fodder, especially if people like Chris Matthews swallow those lies whole. At the end he demands, "Why is it in this bill!" Because health care policy should not be included in a health care bill. ("You can't fight in here, this is the War Room!") Romano replies, "Why not?" Matthews: "Because we're talking about it."

Mission accomplished, Betsy McCaughey. The 90s are back!

He did the same thing in the role of abortion policy in the health insurance exchanges, where he stumbled into something he knew absolutely nothing about, decided that offering the same reproductive coverage on a public option as is offered in 90% of all private plans was illegal under the Hyde Amendment, even though the public plan is self-sufficient and doesn't access public funds, and decided that dirty liberals were ruining a good bill by throwing a "lefty wish list" into it and driving good solid moderates like him crazy.

Chris Matthews is a deeply stupid person. He knows absolutely nothing about policy, and picks up scraps from The Weekly Standard and people from the Hudson Institute and cocktail parties and fits it into his dishonest everyman pose. For every day he takes down a Birther there are 20 or 30 instances like this where he actively works to deny progress for America.

If most of our media didn't exist, I'd have to say at this point people would be better informed.

...Rachel Maddow is very deliberately going through the Betsy McCaughey smear right now, calling her out as the head of a medical device company and part of a think tank funded by drugmakers, and said "Welcome to 1993." Two hours earlier this dumbass Chris Matthews bought every word of it.

By the way, I want to take this opportunity to thank Andrew Sullivan, who edited The New Republic in 1993 and 1994 and was most responsible for giving Betsy McCaughey's smears legitimacy, to our collective detriment to this day. Hey, appreciate it, Andrew!
  • sgwhiteinfla adds:
    I don't know if there is another political commentator on Tee Vee who is as frustrating to watch as Chris Matthews. When he gets it or when he actually knows the subject matter the guy is a virtuoso at beating people up with their own words and actions. But when he isn't familiar with the issue the guy will just go off the rails at the drop of a dime.

    Today was especially aggravating because not only did he not know what the hell he was talking about, he decided to act like he DID know and berated one of the guests about something in the health care bill when she was right and he was absolutely wrong. Make it so bad, THAT GUY is supposed to be a liberal according to right wing talkers. So now he helps to further the right wing smear about euthanasia being in the bill instead of debunking something that every fact checking website has already said is a pile of crap.

    Gee thanks Tweety!
atrios on Wanting Women To Die
I know asking our TV pundits to consider the actual impacts of policy, instead of the theater and aesthetics, is really asking too much. But just in case.
dday: The Reductio Ad Absurdum
Simply put, this is the kind of world that Chris Matthews privileges when he goes on television and says that we have to get "subsidized abortions" out of the health care bill (there's about 100 ways in which that isn't true, which I've described consistently over the last few weeks, but put that aside for a moment):
Nicaragua's total ban on abortion is a violation of human rights and is killing a growing number of women and children, Amnesty International said Monday in launching a campaign to have the measure repealed.

In a report released in Mexico City, the international human rights organization said Nicaragua's law, which went into effect in late 2006, puts the Central American country among the 3% of the world's nations that do not allow abortion under any circumstance.

Citing statistics from the Nicaraguan Health Ministry, the report says 33 women and girls died from pregnancy complications in the first 19 weeks of this year, compared with 20 in the same period last year. It also says the real numbers are probably much higher.

Nicaragua has one of Latin America's highest rates of sexual violence, with the abuse often perpetrated by fathers, uncles or other relatives.

At least 50% of reported rapes are of girls under the age of 18, and most of those who get pregnant are under 15, the report says.

Women and girls who have been impregnated by rapists or whose lives or health is at risk are not allowed to abort.
Lindsay Beyerstein has more.

Matthews would say that he simply doesn't want to sully the health care debate with all that icky abortion talk. Well, it is icky when women and girls die because they cannot access medical care. But that's not a reason to give in to anti-choice demands. Conservatives don't just want to prevent "government-funded abortions" (again, not true, just using their language), they want any plan inside the insurance exchange, including private plans, not to cover abortion services. That's the entire individual market, under this vision of health care reform. And Medicaid is already banned from covering reproductive rights. And Medicare is irrelevant. So we chip, chip, chip away at reproductive choice, preventing insurance from covering it, making it more expensive, less attractive for doctors to perform to people who may not be able to afford it, and essentially more difficult. The extreme version of where Matthews is being led can be found in Nicaragua, where women are dying for no reason.

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