Rodriguez agreed and touted Democratic Party talking points on ObamaCare: "Right. And also, if you ask the Obama administration, they'll tell you maybe people will see the few health care changes that are taking effect immediately and actually like them and it'll turn the tide of public opinion."
"That certainly is the hope," Dickerson replied, but then lamented: "The polling right now does not give the Obama administration a lot of encouragement on that front." He explained that the American public was simply afraid of change: "The problem is that people are nervous about change and this is an enormous change in their lives....people really just don't believe it yet."
At the top of the show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "Health care reform is a done deal after Democrats in Congress make final changes to the historic legislation." In the later report by correspondent Nancy Cordes, an on-screen headline read: "Done Deal; Obama Health Care Plan Gets Final Approval From Congress."
Cordes played a clip of Democratic Congressman Robert Andrews giving a glowing description of the bill: "Tonight the underdogs won. The people who have been abused by their insurance companies, turned down because they had asthma, or had their policies canceled because they got cancer, they won." She framed the GOP as against helping such people: "Republican opposition in the House and Senate was unanimous."
At the top of Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez proclaimed: "The health care debate gets ugly as Democrats who voted for reform report violence and death threats." In a report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes promoted left-wing talking points blaming the GOP: "Democrats accuse Republicans of stoking the anger with violent rhetoric and imagery."
As one example of the threats against Democrats, Cordes played phone messages left for Michigan Congressman Bart Stupak: "You and your family are scum....We think you're a devil....I hope you die." However, the Early Show failed to mention any of the threatening phone calls made to Stupak last week, by liberals upset over the pro-life Democrat still being on the fence over the abortion language in ObamaCare. As NewsBusters' Tim Graham pointed out, CBS's own Political Hotsheet blog reported: "Stupak...says his life has become a 'living hell' because of the debate....'All the phones are unplugged at our house – tired of the obscene calls and threats,' Stupak said in an interview with The Hill."
Citing more examples, Cordes noted that Democrats "point to Sarah Palin's Facebook page, which uses cross hairs to denote districts where vulnerable Democrats voted for health care reform. 'Don't retreat, instead, reload,' Palin told fellow conservatives on Twitter." In addition, a picture of the Republican National Committee website appeared on screen, which featured an image of Nancy Pelosi surrounded by flames and the words 'Fire Pelosi'. On Tuesday, Rodriguez asked RNC Chair Michael Steele if such imagery was "a little bit extreme."
Sounding more like MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann than impartial newscasts, ABC, CBS and NBC all led Wednesday night by legitimizing Democratic talking points meant to discredit critics of the just-passed health care bill. “Opposition to health care turns menacing,” ABC’s Diane Sawyer warned. CBS teased with audio clips -- “Baby-murdering scumbag,”“You are a dirtbag” and “I hope you die” -- as fill-in anchor Maggie Rodriguez cited “threats of violence against Democrats who voted for health care reform, even as public support for the plan is growing.”
On NBC, Brian Williams teased: “It's getting ugly as anger over health care reform erupts into some over-the-top rhetoric, including threats now against members of Congress.” He opened by declaring: “It can now be said that the debate over health care reform has gone too far. It's now veered into threats of violence.” Reporter Kelly O’Donnell relayed how “Democrats accuse Republicans of stirring a hostile mood” before Savannah Guthrie rued “Washington's epic 14-month battle over health care has exposed an angry side of America.” She recounted:
Wrapped around the brick that smashed the door of Democratic party headquarters in Rochester, New York, a note with the Barry Goldwater quote: ‘Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice.’ On Twitter, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin told followers, ‘Don't retreat, reload.’ While an Alabama man advocated armed uprising....At a conservative Tea Party protest at the Capitol this weekend, some demonstrators hurled racially and sexually-charged insults at members of the Congress.
CBS’s Nancy Cordes dutifully reported “Democrats accuse their GOP colleagues of inciting such acts with inflammatory rhetoric” as “Democrats complain Sarah Palin is also using violent words and imagery. On Twitter, she urges conservatives: ‘Don't retreat. Instead, reload.’ And the Web site of her political action committee posts bull's-eyes on districts of vulnerable Democrats.”
Rodriguez referred to an interview that her fellow co-host Harry Smith had just concluded with White House advisor David Axelrod and asked: "What if, as David Axelrod suggests, now that it's a reality and people start to see the benefits, they actually like it?" Steele replied: "David Axelrod didn't talk about the $506 billion that's being taken out of Medicare....He didn't talk about the $500 billion in new taxes that are going to be imposed on those small businesses....there's a lot in this bill that have yet to be revealed to the American people. And when it's further revealed, it'll be less – less liked."
After Steele's response, Rodriguez felt the need to incredulously repeat: "If it turns out to be the catastrophe that you are predicting." She then criticized the RNC for being too "extreme" in its opposition: "I looked on the RNC website this morning. I have to say, I was surprised by what I saw. The home page shows a big photograph of Nancy Pelosi and in huge block letters it says 'Fire Pelosi' and she is against a backdrop of flames....Isn't this a little bit extreme?...What can you accomplish with this?" A still shot of the RNC website appeared on screen (see picture below). Rodriguez failed to point that in the latest CBS News poll, Nancy Pelosi only has an 11% approval rating.
Steele dismissed Rodriguez's characterization: "Actually, I tamed it down. You know, the reality of it is I don't know why you're surprised. Nancy Pelosi is the architect of the demise, in my view, of one-sixth of our economy. She should be fired for her failure to serve the interests of the American people."
Co-host Maggie Rodriguez later introduced a report on the legislation by remarking that Smith, who was pleased with his NCAA March Madness bracket picks, was "not the only one who's happy this morning. So is President Obama." She went on to declare: "We begin with Congress's historic passage of health care reform late last night." Rodriguez recited ObamaCare talking points: "Now under this law...insurance companies will not be allowed to drop your coverage if you get sick. There will be no cap on lifetime insurance benefits and you can keep your children on your health insurance through the age of 26. Also, coverage will be available for uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions."
In the report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes began by describing the "sense of relief for Democrats," in the wake of the bill's passage. The on-screen headline read: "Historic Vote; Health Care Reform Passes; Heads to Obama's Desk."
In a report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes gave a fully positive description of the legislation: "The final bill would extend coverage to 32 million Americans who are currently uninsured. It would close the gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage for seniors by the year 2020 and it would penalize businesses with more than 50 workers if they don't offer insurance."
After Cordes's report, Rodriguez spoke with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who praised CBS's adherence to the Democratic Party line: "Maggie, what I think is that we have seen yesterday very important information from the Congressional Budget Office, which as you indicate and Nancy indicated, shows that we are doing exactly what we said we would do."
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith underwent a live colonoscopy in order to raise awareness of colon cancer. Hosting the momentous occasion was CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric, who dressed the part, wearing green scrubs, a white lab coat, and a stethoscope around her neck as if she was a medical doctor. (Click on photo for larger size)
Couric famously taped herself undergoing the same procedure in 2000, while still co-host of NBC's Today, in the wake of her husband, Jay Monahan, dying of colon cancer in 1998.
In the Early Show segment, Couric stood by Smith's bedside as they discussed the procedure and later dressed in full surgical garb as the colonoscopy was being performed.
Co-host Maggie Rodriguez led the coverage by touting the "Couric effect" of Americans getting colonoscopies in wake of Couric's televised exam and hoped for a similar "Smith effect."
See more photos of Couric playing doctor after the jump.
White House correspondent Bill Plante followed up Rodriguez's fawning intro by reporting: "It did indeed look like a campaign. I'll tell you, the President is racing hard to get across the finish line with health care reform. He's trying to convince the public to ignore what he calls 'Washington's obsession with keeping score in politics.'" An on-screen headline read: "Obama on the Offensive; Attacks Insurers In Latest Push for Reform."
Plante ignored the Obama administration's constant political score-keeping and instead lamented how despite the President "taking on the pundits and the political establishment...polls show Mr. Obama has an uphill battle." Plante cited a recent Gallup poll showing 49% of Americans oppose ObamaCare, though failed to point out that only 42% of respondents in that poll favored the plan.
On Thursday, the Early Show claimed that ObamaCare was on the "fast-track" to being passed.
At the top of the show, co-host Harry Smith had similarly declared: "President Obama says the health care debate is over. He wants a reform bill on his desk in the next few weeks." A Headline on screen read: "Health Care Fast-Track."
White House correspondent Bill Plante reported on the so-called "fast-track" plan: "The President yesterday rejected Republican calls to start over, saying that it is time to make a decision on health care....he made it clear that he's willing to get this done with a legislative maneuver requiring no Republican support." At the end of his report, Plante acknowledged things weren't quite so simple: "this is by no means a done deal....Republicans united in opposition, Democrats wavering because of elections this fall."
Co-host Maggie Rodriguez began the segment by explaining that Bunning had stopped blocking the legislation and asked Schieffer: "Isn't this just another example of why it takes so long to get things done in Congress?" Schieffer agreed, claiming: "it's another example...of why there is so much anger and disillusionment out in the country about Congress."
Schieffer went on to dismiss the Kentucky Senator's concerns over the rising deficit: "[He] claimed he was doing this because he was trying to get the Senate to go along with the Republican principle and that is pay things...before they approve them but this was emergency legislation." In reality, Democrats, not Republicans, just passed pay-as-you-go legislation last week, mandating that all new spending being paid for before passage. As for the "emergency" nature of the bill, on Tuesday's Early Show, CBS White House correspondent Chip Reid claimed it was simply "routine legislation."
Rodriguez asked about Mrs. Obama's reaction to criticism of her husband: "How often do you have to bite your tongue?" The First Lady explained: "You can't go into this if you're thin-skinned or you're worrying about your husband being criticized or you being criticized." Rodriguez remarked, "And criticize they do," and played clips of Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin as examples of the "frustrating partisan attacks" being launched against the President.
Later, Rodriguez asked about the Obama daughters, Malia and Sasha, and how they deal with the "poisonous environment" of Washington: "Do they not hear the attacks?" Mrs. Obama replied: "Everyone in this country cares about those girls....we have been pleasantly surprised that our children have experienced that kind of good naturedness of this country."