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A Media Research Center Special Report
September 19, 2002

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When Congress Failed to Spend, Network Reporters Booed and Hissed

     Network reporters resolutely portrayed the prescription drug entitlement as such a policy no-brainer that back-room corruption must have been a factor in its demise. On the July 23 CBS Evening News, correspondent Bob Schieffer blamed the “powerful drug lobby” for thwarting reform: “Drugs have become so expensive, seniors can go to places like Mexico and buy American-made drugs cheaper than they can buy them at home. Changing that is complicated because the drug lobby is a powerful force, and real relief is expensive.”

     Referring to the Senate’s continued debate on the issue, Schieffer was anything but neutral: “They say they’ll keep trying, but don’t bet on them getting far. Instead, expect Democrats to blame Republicans, Republicans to blame Democrats, and the White House to blame Congress. Seniors, in the meanwhile, just get the shaft.”

     Eight days later, after Senators ended efforts to reach a deal, CNN’s Daryn Kagan expressed exactly the same sentiment as Schieffer. Speaking from CNN’s anchor desk in Atlanta, Kagan declared, “Shame on all of them. They’re sitting there playing politics in Washington. I know we have a lot of viewers at home, a lot of older people who their simple, simple request is just to be able to afford the drugs that they need.” Co-anchor Leon Harris chimed in: “Don’t forget us young folks who will be pitching in to help our grandparents.”

     When journalists like Schieffer and Kagan are booing anyone who disagrees with them about such an important policy debate, how can viewers expect balanced coverage?







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