OP-ED: The Zero-Blame Game
The media pandering on behalf of the Obama re-election camp already is astonishing. During the George W. Bush years, everything bad that happened in America somehow was connected to the malignant reign of “The Decider.” Last year, CBS even sought out journalist Sally Quinn to claim that Bush’s victory in 2000 could be blamed for unraveling Al Gore’s marriage 10 years later.
God knows, and so, too, do most Americans, that the state of the union is a mess. But in the Obama era, nothing that goes wrong can be traced back to the Democrats in power.
A savvy viewer would have been shocked watching the June 30 “CBS Evening News” with a story on “cuts” to the Medicaid program in California, and one puts “cuts” in quotes because overall Medicaid spending never goes down, even if limitations in service or fee increases happen. CBS reporter Bill Whitaker reported from California on some poor people who might eventually be hurt by Medicaid changes. But two names never came up in this CBS piece: Barack Obama and the new/old Democratic governor of California, Jerry Brown.
“We met Sharon Brown and her 10-year-old daughter, Rosa, at the Arroyo Vista family health center,” proclaimed Whitaker, “where Rosa came for strep throat. With a family income below the federal poverty line of $18,310 a year, Rosa’s treatment and Sharon’s checkup cost just a dollar each.”
But since the “temporary infusion of federal funds to Medicaid” is running out, “California is taking a $4.8 billion hit. So, like most states, California is scrambling to reduce costs, cutting services, cutting doctors’ payments, raising patients’ co-payments. Five dollars for office visits, $50 for emergency rooms, $100 to $200 a day for hospital stays. You might think that’s not much.”
Sharon Brown helpfully batted that down: “But you know what? You’re wrong. You’re so wrong. Because people do need it. People count on it.” She proceeded to complain that they’ve had to rent out more than half their house, and they still struggle to pay their bills since she was laid off.
Whitaker concluded: “California already is struggling with a budget crisis of its own and doesn’t have the funds to make up for the federal cuts to Medicaid. With unemployment here near 12 percent — among the highest in the country — the Arroyo Vista clinic and others like it don’t expect to see any reduction in need.”
That’s a standard liberal media sob story, requiring federal funding, with one very weird exception: blame. CBS made no attempt to notice it is Jerry Brown and not just the faceless entity “California” that’s overseeing this effort to cut subsidies and raise payments on the poor. What of Obama’s $900 billion “stimulus” jobs program? Neither was cited.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that California received about $12.4 billion of the $90 billion of the “stimulus” the Obama administration injected into Medicaid programs — as if increased government welfare spending stimulates the economy. The extra subsidies meant the federal government matched California at 62 cents on the dollar instead of 50 cents. The “stimulus” hasn’t petered out, yet CBS is already banging a can for more taxpayer “investment.”
The state government of California has become infamous for overspending under governors of both parties, but somehow CBS can never manage to get beyond the ever-demanding needs of its televised victims to consider the fate of the entire state, or the fate of the entire American economy, if no one ever cuts (or just limits) spending on anything.
That same CBS newscast began with anchorman Scott Pelley in high dudgeon: “Tonight, what we’ve learned about a stunning lapse in security. A man flies across country with no ticket, no valid boarding pass and no matching ID. Bob Orr on the multiple failures of U.S. airport screening.” Orr was shocked that Transportation Security Agency screeners had failed to prevent a Nigerian national named Olajide Noibi from boarding a Virgin America flight from New York to Los Angeles. Noibi was taken into custody later in Los Angeles after he showed up at the airport and tried to fly to Atlanta carrying more than 10 outdated boarding passes.
Guess who was never seriously challenged by CBS for this security lapse, despite the near-tragedy of the Nigerian Christmas Day bomber of 2009: the entire Obama administration, from Obama to Homeland Security boss Janet Napolitano to TSA Chief John Pistole. Do you think Team Bush would have escaped this kind of scrutiny? The bias by omission among these national media outlets is astounding, and it’s much worse than their relentless pounding of Bush. The media are screening Obama with less caution than the TSA mustered for Noibi.
And the campaign hasn’t even started.
L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. To find out more about Brent Bozell III, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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