Two thumbs down: ABC ObamaCare Special Turns Into Presidential Filibuster
President Obama uses network primetime special and overtime ‘Nightline’ coverage to talk for more than 45 minutes of combined 75-minute programs, revealing nothing new.
Call this a teachable moment, but even with ABC’s best-laid plans to kickstart the debate about health care reform and not allow the “Prescription for America” special to become an “infomercial,” as many have complained – the president spent more than twice as much time as his questioners vaguely answering or not answering the questions asked of him. But the network consistently presented the event as part of the need to fix a “broken system.” When asked, every one of the 164 hand-picked audience members said they felt that health care needed to be changed.
In fact, at one point, the president went on for four minutes and 33 seconds to answer a question about government interference, the “Big Brother fear” as the questioner put it and how it would be paid for. In the next segment Gibson pleaded with the president to keep his response to the next question shorter.
Timing is everything:
In addition to Obama’s longwinded responses, the ABC special left the most critical questions until the “Nightline” portion of the segment – after a 30-minute break for local news and likely fewer viewers.
The Obama Network’s idea of fair and balanced–attack the questioner:
One of the biggest points of contention opponents of government’s involvement in health care has been the threat that it would crowd out private health insurance providers by creating market forces they couldn’t compete with – or what Aetna Insurance president Ron Williams called it as part of the town hall: “introducing a new competitor that has rulemaking ability, the government would have.”
While William’s was introduced as an audience questioner he actually faced a question from Sawyer, which wound up being a populist rant critical of his industry and emphasizing the president’s claim that insurance companies need to be “kept honest.”
“If I could, I’m going to bring in Ron Williams from Aetna, CEO of Aetna, and if I can reverse the order a little bit Mr. President, I’d like to ask a question of him and then let you comment on his answer,” Sawyer said. “Mr. Williams, Aetna, to take one, an insurance company. We hear people all over the country people see their premiums going up 119 percent in the last several years. They see the profits of the insurance companies, the billions and billions of dollars, even in a lean year. They see profits in the billions of dollars. Is the President right – that you need to be kept honest?”
In other words, it went as you’d expect any state-controlled media event to go: all the government’s way.