Ben Johnson

MSNBC "News" Lie Smears Anti-Socialist Doctors

Posted on September 29 2009 10:04 am
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Click to watch Ed's latest nationally televised lie.

Click to watch Ed's latest nationally televised lie.

“Now they’re resorting to sneaky tactics.” — Ed Schultz.

On last night’s edition of MSNBC’s “The Ed Show,” Ed Schultz and his guest “exposed” a shocking scandal: the National Republican Congressional Committee is harrassing doctors and placing their names on ads opposing Democratic health care reform against their will. An NRCC group called the Physicians Council for Responsible Reform, they claimed, is listing random physicians on their propaganda without their knowledge or consent, “because they want to deceive the public.” In typical MSNBC/Ed Schultz “reporting” style, it is a false smear designed to discredit the physicians who oppose ObamaCare, which can be arrived at only by ignoring the facts and inverting the evidence its own segment presents.

Schultz interviewed Dr. Barry Kaufman, an Indiana ophthamologist who said he received a FAX asking him to help finance the PCRR’s ad campaign against socialized medicine. It also asked for permission to add his name to an advertisement opposing socialized medicine. Schultz said callers to his radio show were surprised to learn this was run by the Republican Party, although the FAX in question (which he showed in a full-screen shot) and the bottom of the PCRR webpage (in all caps) states clearly: “PAID FOR BY THE NATIONAL REPUBLICAN CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE.”


Dr. Kaufman insisted after receiving the FAX, “I had to call a number, an 800 number, to approve or disapprove of having my name in this advertisement.” This is false for numerous reasons. The most obvious is seen by zooming in on the screen print of Kaufman’s FAX itself, where we see:


It says, “Please call with approval to include your name ASAP.” Doctors do not have to call to offer a disapproval, and if they taken no action, their names do not appear in any ad.

The FAX is nothing more than a Republican fundraiser. It implores the physician’s “help” to place this ad in local media, and for a donation, his name will be included, as in the mock-up. The PCRR could neither be more clear about its beliefs nor its intended goal: no one gets mentioned in any ad unless (s)he makes at least a $50 donation, preferably more. Receiving this FAX is rather like reciving a letter from that other rotund Ed — McMahon — stating, “You May Have Already Won Ten Million Dollars!” In fact, you have not won anything and will not even be entered into the contest unless you return the entry form. Don’t want to participate? Throw it away. Evidently this was too complex for the Indiana-based M.D. and Big Ed.

Incredibly, Ed Schultz twists these facts to the opposite of their logical conclusion, and when the doctor corrects him, both agree to stick with the smear:

Ed: So…had you not caught it, your name would’ve ended up there [in the print ad] without your consent, correct?

Kaufman: …I talked to the NRCC, a supervisor there, and they assured me my name appeared only on my own FAX, and every other name on this was health care professionals that support the Physicians Council for Responsible Reform.

Ed: So, we should alert our audience tonight that just because you get one of these things from the Republicans and you’ve got a bunch of doctors’s names on there doesn’t mean that these doctors are supporting what the Republicans are doing. Can we cut to the chase on that? Is that where we are?

Kaufman: Absolutely! They’re just putting names, they’re taking them out a hat…because they want to deceive the public, because on the website for this PCRR, they say that 73 percent of patients polled trust their doctors as the major source for health care reform. So, they’re extrapolating that by using doctors’ names to deceive their patients.

Ed: Oh gosh, you’ve gotta watch them at every corner, don’t ya, folks?

There’s no telling if Ed and his guest were guilty of willful deception, journalistic malpractice, or invincible ignorance, but this entire “news segment” was a lie all the same — albeit apparently a successful one. Ed stated, “I have, on my radio show, received numerous phone calls and e-mails from doctors all over the country who are furious about this tactic.” If physicians are really having their names used to promote a political party against their will, why hasn’t the federal government prosecuted the NRCC under the  “truth in advertising” clause? The Obama administration would be only too happy to bust that “deception” in a heartbeat. They haven’t, because it doesn’t exist. Ed and his guest lied to their audience, and something more than a weak “clarification” is in order this time.

Ed Schultz is becoming an unmitigated disaster for MSNBC: its lowest rated show, Schultz has been caught lying about 9/12 protest signs (which he also produced in full-screen shot but lied about), invited a U.S. Congresswoman to slit her wrist on his show, ranted Republicans “want to see you dead…They kinda like it when” women get cancer, and suggested Sen. Olympia Snowe allow cancer to spread through her body two weeks before seeing a doctor — all since the first of the month.

This time, Ed Schultz succeeded in poisoning the well against the PCRR and the thousands of physicians across the country who oppose socialized medicine, who donated money to have their names appear in a political advertisement that reflects their strongly held beliefs. Schultz smeared an advertising campaign — and he and Dr. Kaufman silenced the voices of his colleagues who dared to speak out against Obama’s trillion dollar rationing scheme.

All because Ed Schultz has an axe to grind, and the good doctor doesn’t know how to deal with junk mail.

MSNBC and “The Ed Show” must correct the lie Schultz reported to their viewers; apologize to the PCRR, NRCC, and its member physicians for trying to sabotage their right to free expression; and underscore that all physicians whose names appear in these ads appeared voluntarily. MSNBC might also wish to consider if it wants to continue employing a seething, serial embarrassment posing as a “news” host who cannot understand basic logic.

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