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What The Media Tell Americans About Free Enterprise

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January 1996


Sesno Challenges Rivlin, Daschle

Many in the media have accepted, and passed on as fact, the Democrats' party line that Republicans were out to cut and even destroy Medicare. CNN's Frank Sesno, on the December 17 Late Edition, set the record straight.

He first interviewed President Clinton's budget director, Alice Rivlin. Sesno confronted Rivlin with the facts: "Take Medicare, for example. You said, the President, rather, yesterday said, `They would let Medicare wither on the vine into a second class citizen.' Now, you don't really believe that the Republicans are going to let Medicare wither on the vine? They're not talking about that. And as you well know, and as they say as many times as they are able, even with their cuts in the rate of growth of the program, it still grows into an ever larger piece of the pie."

When Rivlin balked at such an analysis, Sesno remained adamant. "In the interest of truth in advertising here, do you really believe that the Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader of the Senate want to destroy Medicare?" he asked. "Isn't this part of the Mediscare debate that your critics accuse you of engaging in?"

After Rivlin, Sesno interviewed Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (along with GOP Senator Trent Lott). He pointed out to Daschle that "in the health care reform debate, of not very long ago, of which you were a part, there was a great deal of talk that expenses had to be controlled. You had something called global budgeting. I mean you were going to hold everybody down. So why is it unfair to do that in the case of Medicare?"

Later, when Senator Daschle called the Republican plan to slow Medicare's growth "the biggest cuts in the history of Medicare. Biggest by far. Three times more than has ever been proposed." Sesno corrected him: "Biggest cuts in the rate of growth of Medicare, not absolute cuts."

Kudos to Sesno for giving Democratic rhetoric the same scrutiny reporters usually reserve for Republicans.


Rich Noyes




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