Media Pre-Spins Healthcare Summit

Mainstream print and broadcast media alike warned of staunch Republican resistance to President Obama’s new efforts to enact health care reform, in anticipation Thursday’s upcoming health care summit.

The Associated Press — which used to be the gold standard for quick, accurate reporting before it went into the tank for BO — characterized the future summit as between “President Obama and his Republican arch foes.”

“Without a no-nonsense referee to slam the gavel on mind-fogging jargon, not to mention apocalyptic rhetoric, some viewers might wish Judge Judy was presiding,” the AP wrote in a report titled “Bottom Line at the Health Summit: Lots of Smoke.”

The Media Research Center reported Harry Smith’s remarks on Monday’s CBS Early Show, asking a GOP strategist if the Republicans were better off “just saying let the Democrats burn in hell with this, we’re going to stay on the sidelines and win the House back this fall?”

Some media pundits spoke a little more harshly of the Republicans entering Thursday’s health care summit in Washington.

Ed Schultz of MSNBC, on his Tuesday cable news show, read aloud the list of Republican attendees and remarked that it was “certainly not a diverse outfit.”

“May I be bold enough to point out: they are all rich. They’re all white. There are no women. And it’s certainly not a diverse outfit that’s going to be supposedly sticking up for the American people in this big conversation that’s going to be televised on Thursday.”

Schultz added later that he favored the Democrats carrying out reconciliation in the legislating process. When asked why he was attacking the Republicans on the issue, he answered, “Because all year long, the Republicans have refused to work with this president on anything.” Republican filibusters, he added, are “standard operating procedure.”

Schultz added that the Republicans oppose, for the American people, the same health care former Vice President Dick Cheney received for his recent heart attack.

“Here’s what I would like to see Thursday,” Schultz said. “I would like to see the Republicans stand up to this event and say that the American people don’t deserve the kind of health care that Dick Cheney has gotten in the last 48 hours.”

MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews expressed his frustration with Republican resistance to Democrat-sponsored legislation Tuesday afternoon. “Every damn bill that goes before the United States Senate now, they’re going to pull the filibuster number.”

“And isn’t this or couldn’t this be an object lesson to the American people, if you want American elections to count for president, if you want your vote to count, why are you sitting around and letting the Republican minority say every time an issue comes up you’re going to take 60 votes to get it done? I’m just asking.”

MSNBC’s dolt laureate Keith Olbermann referred to House Minority Leader John Boehner as “Goldilocks,” for his three separate comments referring to the health care bill as too long, too short, and then that America was simply better off without health care legislation.
“I mean, didn’t Mom Boehner read him that nursery rhyme when he was a kid? You know, snuggle up, ready to go to sleep in his bed — his tanning bed?” Olbermann remarked.

Rachel Maddow also attacked  Boehner for his various opinions on health care reform. She commented on his opinion of the bill’s size, which he issued after the release of Speaker Pelosi’s 1,990 page legislation.

“Now, tell me how we’re going to fix our health care system with 1,990 pages of bureaucracy,” Boehner stated.

“See, what’s on those pages just doesn’t matter,” Maddow interpreted Boehner’s quote. “The horrible truth is just how many pages there are. This has not just been a rogue John Boehner complaint, though. This has been a tried and true Republican talking point all along.”

Maddow also implied that the White House may have been too lenient in the health care debate. “Do you think the White House is conceding too much by framing the debate the way that they have been?” she asked guest Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.).

She also lambasted Rep. Bart Stupak (R-Mich.) for his efforts to oppose the bill on the grounds that pro-abortion language be removed. “If you are Congressman Bart Stupak from Michigan, health reform, thus far, has been about trying to make abortion illegal—or at least trying to make it impossible to get,” Maddow stated.

Sheryl Gay of the New York Times criticized both parties in the face of what she opined as “gentle White House nudges” on legislative matters.

“Ever since his days as a young community organizer in Chicago, Mr. Obama has held fast to the belief that by listening carefully and appealing to reason he can bring people together to get results,” Gay wrote, “an approach that in Washington has often come up short.”

President Obama, she said, “is facing perhaps the toughest test yet of his powers of persuasion: winning the votes he needs, in the face of unified Republican opposition and a deteriorating climate for Democrats, to push his health care measure through a skittish Congress.”

Another Times article was titled “G.O.P. Expects Little From Health Forum.”

In another Times article about the summit, David Leonhardt, writing for the Times’s “Economic Scene,” said the summit is “mostly” for show. It still matters because what the “White House and many Democrats really want is a major bill to pass, and the Republicans really don’t.”

Though bipartisan compromises may be in play, Leonhardt continued, “Republicans have shown little interest in negotiating a big compromise.”

Chris Matthews gave his opinion on the possible outcome of Thursday’s summit.

“Thursday afternoon, we’ll know what happened at the summit. Thursday by 5:00, I think we’ll see a press conference from the president to tell us what happened in his terms. And then I think we’ll see an up or down fight in the Senate on health care. I think it’s going to actually come to a head.”

The “summit” is supposed to be over at 4 pm today.  And we’ll have a lot more on the post-summit spin tomorrow morning.