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Friday, September 04, 2009

ABC Won't Air Anti-ObamaCare Ad, But a Double-Standard is in Play

ABC and NBC are refusing to air a commercial critical of Obama's vision to remake health care as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Uncle Sam, but ABC's reasons for doing so don't stand up to scrutiny.

The ad, created by the League of American Voters, features neurosurgeon Dr. Mark J. Cuffe warning about threats posed by government-run health care such as rationing and limits on medical innovation. The commercial can be viewed above or by clicking here.

For reasons of full disclosure, be advised that League executive director Bob Adams is a former National Center for Public Policy Research employee. He did not, however, solicit this posting and my discovery of his link to the organization came after I was already appalled by ABC's duplicity.

According to a report posted on FoxNews.com, both ABC and NBC are refusing to run the ad nationally in its present form. In particular, ABC spokeswoman Susan Sewell said in a statement: "The ABC Television Network has a long-standing policy that we do not sell time for advertising that presents a partisan position on a controversial public issue... Just to be clear, this is a policy for the entire network, not just ABC News." NBC might accept a revised version of the ad.

The ad is running on local affiliates of ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox.

Former Clinton Administration political advisor Dick Morris, who is now helping out the League of American Voters, disputed ABC's assertion of impartiality. He said: "It's the ultimate act of chutzpah because ABC is the network that turned itself over completely to Obama for a daylong propaganda fest about health care reform... For them to be pious and say they will not accept advertising on health care shuts their viewers out from any possible understanding of both sides of this issue."

In fact, during ABC's June 24 White House event in which Obama was able to lay out his health care agenda with virtually no opposition from a small and select audience, the network did air an ad from PhRMA - the pharmaceutical lobby group that is a strong proponent of ObamaCare. It also ran an ad from Health Economy Now, a coalition made up of PhRMA, labor unions and special interest groups that is also backing ObamaCare.

It seems there is a double-standard at ABC as to what constituted partisan activity. And yet they insist they are being objective.

The National Center has been tracking national advertisers of ABC's daily "World News" program all summer as well as its specials on health care and oil. You can find a list of these sponsors and their contact information here. Write or call those sponsors. Tell them what you think of a network that restricts the ability of both sides of an issue to make their case.

In the commercial, Dr. Cuffe warned that what he feared might happen here under Obamacare is already happening in places such as Canada and England. The National Center recently published a compilation of stories of people denied proper and efficient care under government-run health care schemes abroad that can be downloaded for free by going here.

This post was written by David Almasi, executive director of the National Center for Public Policy Research. Write the author at [email protected]. As we occasionally reprint letters on the blog, please note if you prefer that your correspondence be kept private, or only published anonymously.

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Posted by David W. Almasi at 10:24 PM

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