As we've just detailed, CNSNews.com has developed a disturbing habit of refusing to tell the whole story. Here's another example.
A May 13 CNS article by Matt Cover purports to cite criticisms by "Big Labor" -- that is, SEIU -- who "accuses the group Conservatives for Patients’ Rights (CPR) of 'swift-boating' President Obama’s health-care agenda in new ads which highlight what CPR says are the downsides of government involvement in health care." But Cover fails to explain the full nature of SEIU's criticisms.
The union accused Scott and CPR of mischaracterizing the views of two doctors, Dr. Brian Day, president of the Canadian Medical Association, and British oncologist Dr. Karol Sikora. SEIU claims that neither man is opposed to universal health care, stating that CPR twisted the doctors’ words in its ad campaign.
“The advertisement further deceives viewers by blatantly misrepresenting the positions of two physicians,” the SEIU states in a letter to stations airing the ads. “While the advertisement paints both as opponents of any role for government in health care reform, in reality, just the opposite is true.”
But according to the SEIU action alert Cover is presumbaly citing, SEIU issued a more detailed criticism that Cover doesn't acknowledge:
The advertisement further deceives viewers by blatantly misrepresenting the positions of two physicians. While the advertisement paints both as opponents of any role for government in health care reform, in reality, just the opposite is true. Both physicians are in fact supporters of universal health care. What they are opposed to is the U.S.'two-tiered' system that already rations health care based on the ability to pay. In fact, Mr. Scott misrepresented Dr. Day's comments, and Dr. Day openly mocked the ineffectiveness of the U.S. health care system. What Dr. Day is opposed to is Canada's outdated funding model, not Canada's healthcare system. Dr. Day actually advocates reform of the funding structure to preserve Canada's healthcare system, not dismantle it.
Cover then allowed Scott to issue a parsed response:
But Scott said the Conservatives for Patients' Rights ad never suggested the doctors did oppose government health-care -- it portrayed the comments only as being those of British and Canadian doctors and patients discussing, in their own words, their experience with government-run health-care systems.
Scott said his ad does not oppose “any role for government,” but does say any proposed reform which would give government control over health care decisions– “the first step,” he said, “towards socialized medicine.”
Cover did the same thing with another SEIU claim:
The labor union also accuses CPR of “misleading” television viewers about a new federal council created as part of congressional Democrats’ $787 billion stimulus spending bill – the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research.
“Mr. Scott makes a specific claim: ‘Not only could a government board deny your choice in doctors, but it can control life and death for some patients.’ This statement is demonstrably false,” the union said.
But the full claim reads:
Mr. Scott makes a specific claim: "not only could a government board deny your choice in doctors, but it can control life and death for some patients." This statement is demonstrably false. In reality, the powers of this so-called "government board" are clearly defined and cannot do what Mr. Scott claims. The statutory authority of the Council specifically excludes the power "to mandate coverage, reimbursement, or other policies for any public or private payer." It is worth noting that even under President Bush, the National Institute of Health already had an annual budget of $355 million to conduct precisely this type of research. Plainly, this has not led to the sort of catastrophic consequences in America that Mr. Scott warns against.
Cover allows Scott to give a similarly parsed response:
Scott, meanwhile, said his ad discusses the potential effects of the establishment of a government health board, saying the Comparative Effectiveness Council is “the first step in government health care” -- not that it would control health decisions.
Specifically, the ad states: “It’s (the Council is) not so innocent, it’s the first step in government control over your health-care choices,” Scott says in the ad. “Not only could a government board deny your choice in doctors, but it can control life and death for some patients.”
Nowhere do Cover or Scott acknowledge SEIU's claim that the health board is specifically barred from mandating coverage or health decisions.
Meanwhile, Cover describes Scott as a "former Columbia/HCA Healthcare Association CEO" but failed to note that Scott was ousted from the company in 1997 over accuastions that Columbia/HCA overbilled state and federal health programs, for whcih t he company eventually paid a $1.7 billion fine. Cover alsofails to explain while SEIU referred to the ads by Scott's group as "swift-boating": it hired the same conservative PR firm that aided Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.