CBS EN Fails to ID Dem Gov in Medicaid Budget Battle That Could 'Kill People'

May 11th, 2018 3:00 PM

On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, in a report on Louisiana's budget battle which the piece suggested could "kill people" with cuts to Medicaid, correspondent David Begnaud seemed to think it was only important to identify the party affiliation of the Republican state legislators involved, even though the governor whom he also spoke with, John Bel Edwards, is a Democrat.



Anchor Jeff Glor teased the report by recalling that tens of thousands "could soon lose their Medicaid benefits" because of a budget shortfall, and that eviction notices could be sent out to some nursing home residents.

Begnaud began his pre-recorded report by speaking with an 89-year-old who survived polio, and received a notice that she could be evicted from the nursing home she lives in by July 1, and then noted that she is "one of about 37,000 people in the state who will lose their Medicaid eligibility if the state doesn't balance its budget."

The CBS correspondent then turned to Jim Tucker, whom he described as overseeing eight nursing homes, and posed: "This has the potential to scare the hell out of a lot of people." Tucker responded: "It has the potential to kill people."

The piece then switched to a clip of Governor Edwards declaring, "I'm not scaring anybody by design. This is not a tactic." Begnaud clarified: "That's the governor -- John Bel Edwards."

After a clip of Edwards blaming the state legislature for the problem, the CBS correspondent then switched to a scene with a state legislator whom he immediately identified as a Republican. Begnaud: "Republican J. Cameron Henry is head of the appropriations committee in the Louisiana House."

State Rep. Henry was then seen giving his view: "I think what the GOP wants from the governor is a budget that is sustainable long-term, to not have to come back every year with scare tactics."

Begnaud added: "Henry told us Republicans may be willing to pass the tax the governor wants, but it would be another band-aid on the state's long-term financial wound."

Due to the absence of a label of the governor, viewers were left to merely guess that he was more likely to be a Democrat if he was in conflict with Republican legislators -- although it is not unprecedented for members of the same party to battle each other on such matters. By Thursday morning, when another report by Begnaud appeared on CBS This Morning, it had apparently occurred to someone that the Democratic governor should also receive a label in another report on the matter in which Governor Edwards was finally identified as a Democrat.