The next time you get ready to pull out a tiny violin for a Fox Newsie who whines about the unfair treatment Donald Trump gets from the so-called “liberal media,” you can also point to Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s disgraceful attempt to bully and humiliate Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the architect of Obamacare, while pretending to be a legitimate interviewer.
Carlson’s non-journalistic goal of disparaging Emanuel, rather than providing viewers with his knowledgable perspective couldn't have been clearer. The heck with the millions who got health insurance thanks to Obamacare and how the rate of uninsured has plummeted in the U.S. Carlson wasn’t interested in any of the data Emanuel tried to put forward, either, such as how Obamacare has lowered health insurance expenditures per employee.
In my own life, I am all too familiar with the problems and frustrations of Obamacare. But Republicans are obsessed with using it as a political football while the health and well-being of ordinary Americans is just collateral damage.
Carlson proved in this discussion that he’s all in on the politicization as well as serving as a mouthpiece for Republicans. And why shouldn’t he be? He comes from wealth and privilege, so probably knows nothing about what it’s like to be denied health insurance or to have trouble affording it, and he’s got a new anchor spot at Fox News.
Still, Carlson should have paid attention when Emanuel said this:
EMANUEL: The only provision that scores under 50% (public approval) is the mandate and people haven’t understood that if you want no pre-existing disease, condition exclusion, you have to have a mandate. Those are inextricably linked.
This is an extremely important point given that Republicans are suddenly interested in what was a huge problem before Obamacare and are now making noises about keeping the pre-existing condition ban but without the mandate – and without regard for how premiums will probably soar for sick people as a result.
But Carlson didn’t care. He had either done no research and had no idea whether Emanuel’s point was legit (it is). Or else Carlson knew Emanuel was right and deliberately hid that from viewers. Instead of responding to what Emanuel said, Carlson interrupted to change the subject with an obvious aim of discrediting him – while cloaking himself in a mantle of concern about struggling young people.
CARLSON: The poorest segment of our society is young people. In fact, this generation is the poorest generation of its age in three generations. They’re the poorest. And yet, we’re forcing them to buy into the system to subsidize the health care of the old and the sick and also the richest segment of our population. Why is that fair and why would you expect me to like it?
EMANUEL: Well, first of all, young kids are subsidized in the Obamacare plan. If they don’t make 100% of poverty, they go on Medicaid and they get almost cost-free health care and if they are on the low end of income, they are very heavily subsidized to get health insurance. They’re not spending a lot of money for peace of mind and protection. And I think that is a good deal.
Also, young people will almost certainly get old and get sick at some point so they will reap the benefits later.
But Carlson interrupted to say that young people don’t think it’s a good deal so why should they be forced into something they don’t want? That's a fair point, but Emanuel's response deserved a listen.
EMANUEL: A lot of them haven’t explored what the deal is. They’ve heard your rhetoric that it’s not a good deal and they haven’t actually seen. … I do think we can actually make the deal better. I’ve made proposals out there how to adjust it.
The fact that Carlson didn’t ask what those proposals are speaks volumes about what he was up to.
Emanuel went on to say that any business that launched a major initiative would revise it as unexpected consequences arose. “The problem here is, Congress hasn’t allowed us to make those mid-course adjustments for six years and that’s a serious problem,” he added.
Carlson interrupted at “adjustments” because, apparently, assigning any blame for Obamacare problems to Republicans was a no-no. He changed the subject again, this time to blame President Obama for, supposedly, saying Obamacare was perfect when it launched (which Emanuel disputed). As if that had any bearing on Obamacare's situation now.
At that point, the conversation devolved. Carlson threw aside any pretense of professionalism: “Nobody believes you, doctor,” Carlson sneered, then proceeded to lecture Emanuel. Carlson even had the nerve to say, “This is sad, I would expect more from someone who’s an eminent doctor, honestly.”
Then, after putting up a slide Emanuel had prepared showing employers’ health care costs on a downward trajectory, Carlson ignored the data to jeer condescendingly, “It doesn’t mask your demagoguery, doctor, and you just blamed the Republicans who had not one thing to do with this legislation, as you know, and you discredit yourself by doing that.”
So no, Tucker, you are the one who discredited yourself as a legitimate interviewer. And this post should serve as a reminder to anyone who may forget.
Watch the BS Carlson tried to pass off as news analysis below, from the newly-minted Tucker Carlson Tonight show.
Crossposted at News Hounds.
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