Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Snow Job

So it's official, Tony Snow is moving from Fox News to the White House briefing room. I suppose now he'll have to tone down the Pro-Bush rhetoric a little and maybe even do a little fence mending, since at times, he has been rather unkind to his new boss on the air:

"No president has looked this impotent this long when it comes to defending presidential powers and prerogatives." - 9/30/05

“George Bush has become something of an embarrassment.” - 11/11/05

“George W. Bush and his colleagues have become not merely the custodians of the largest government in the history of humankind, but also exponents of its vigorous expansion.” - 3/17/06

Well, it seems that the Crawford Cowboy isn't enough of a right-winger for Tony's liking, but I'm sure he and Dick will get along great.

Speaking of Dick, Tony Snow is yet another inheritance from the G.H.W. Bush administration. In his pre-Fox News career, he was a speechwriter for George's dad. I just hope that this will forever put to rest the illusion that Fox is or ever was "Fair and Balanced", if they still even bother using that slogan.

At least Fox News' right-wing bias is blatently obvious and primarily stems from the ideology of the top man, Rupert Murdoch and his pit bull in charge of Fox News, Roger Ailes. However, the bias of many other news outlets, is much more subtle and therefore, I believe, much more dangerous.

My typical Sunday morning viewing is Chris Matthews, Tim Russert and John McLaughlin. I've always respected John McLaughlin since I started watching him around 1988. He does seem to be fairly even-handed in his pompous poo-pooing of political philanderers, as he might say himself. His "McLaughlin Group" broadcast on April 23rd, was a 'special topic' show focusing on the healthcare crisis without the usual four pundit panel. His four 'special' panel members were as follows:
Hank McKinnell - CEO, Pfizer Corp. - He runs a gigantic Pharmaceutical company.
Jay Crosson - Executive Director, Permanente Federation - He runs a huge HMO and also admitted to sitting on a federal "Medicare payment advisory committee".
Susan Dentzer - Healthcare reporter for the 'Newshour' on PBS
and finally,
Mike Leavitt - Bush's Secretary of Health and Human Services - Need I say more...

The name Hank McKinnell may sound familiar, since he stars in some of the television commercials that Pfizer - and most other big pharma companies - waste hundreds of millions of dollars on every year. But I'll get to that later.

Well, as you might expect, even with all those great healthcare minds on the panel, the question of why we spend 16% of our GDP on healthcare while the other industrialized nations spend an average of 8%, was never figured out. At one point, Mike Leavitt very theatrically held up a ballpoint pen and tried to blame the extra $1 trillion dollars on paperwork. Wow! That sure is a lot of paper, Mike! I think if they actually had a consumer healthcare advocate or an economist on the panel who's devoted their life to analyzing this kind of stuff that the answer would be fairly obvious. That being, that the rest of the industrialized world has universal coverage, therefore has pushed the profit incentive out of providing healthcare. Poor quality you say? I guess that's why these nations have higher average lifespans than ours.

Why was this panel packed with corprate healthcare big-wigs? As they say, "follow the money" and in T.V. that usually leads to the advertisements. There were no Pfizer ads. To have Hank's kindly face on the "News" show and also on the commercials paying for the "News" show would've been a little too obvious. However, if you click the link to the show site above, the Pfizer logo is there, alongside Kaiser Permanente's and others. God bless journalistic integrity! There were at least 3 ads that I counted during the broadcast for Kaiser Permanente. Interestingly, I never remember seeing a Kaiser Permanente ad during the "McLaughlin Group" prior to this show. Interesting indeed.... Was Mr. Crosson invited on the panel and then his company all the sudden decided to buy ad-time for the show, or was it the other way around? We'll never know. I suppose that the hypothetical consumer advocate or economist just couldn't pay the price of admission.

Keep in mind, examples like this are only the tip of the iceberg. It's obvious that even the veil of the illusion of propriety has been thrown off.

We do know that Mike Leavitt's employer didn't need to buy any ad-time - after all, he has his own news network.

1 comment:

R2K said...

: )