Brent Baker: NBC Exploits Kennedy to Push ObamaCare: 'National Sorrow Has Created Political Momentum Before'





[Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center.]

Proffering how “national sorrow has created political momentum before,” Wednesday's NBC Nightly News devoted a story to the hope of Democrats that Senator Ted Kennedy's passing will propel ObamaCare to victory. Noting how Kennedy was “passionate” about more government in health care, from Hyannis anchor Brian Williams proposed “ironically, the fact that he did not live long enough to see a possible overhaul of the system” raises the question: “Will this be the very thing that might break the log jam over getting it done? Or not?” With “final Fight” as the on-screen heading, reporter Kelly O'Donnell asserted that “looking forward, the emotional impact of Kennedy's passing could become a factor now” as “Democrats are saying respect for Kennedy could change minds now.” Leading into a clip of President Lyndon Johnson using President John Kennedy's assassination to push for civil rights legislation, O'Donnell delivered the “national sorrow has created political momentum before” formulation, recalling:

Within months the Civil Rights Act passed with young Senator Kennedy's help. Today, a similar suggestion from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “Ted Kennedy's dream of quality health care for all Americans will be made real this year because of his leadership and his inspiration.” And outside groups were even more direct. The seniors lobby, AARP, wrote: “As Congress seems poised to act this fall, Senator Kennedy will no doubt be watching.” And the service workers union said: “Let us continue his cause. Let us take action this year to pass health care reform.”

O'Donnell's piece aired in the second half hour of the special hour-long NBC Nightly News, a half hour Williams opened by describing Kennedy as “the final link really to Camelot” and ended by setting up a story:

We thought one way to look at his life might be the way some people looked at him today, the way filmmaker Frank Capra might have looked at life: What would it have been like without a Ted Kennedy?

Kevin Tibbles concluded with how “many say Ted Kennedy's passion was people and tonight they have lost a champion.”...


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