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