CBS promotes fabricated controversy over White House health care emails

Blog ››› ››› TERRY KREPEL

Earlier this week, we highlighted a Newsmax column by Richard Grenell, in which he ranted that a health care reform plan to permit coverage of dependents on their parents' insurance up to age 26 means those youths will be "enticed to continue slacking, without a job, well past college graduation," adding that "ski bums everywhere are cheering the news."

Imagine our surprise to learn that within a week, Grenell -- "spokesman for the last four U.S. Ambassadors to the United Nations: Zalmay Khalilzad, John Bolton, John Danforth and John Negroponte" -- had somehow graduated from Newsmax to CBS News.

Yes, CBSNews.com has published an "opinion" column by Grenell. He manages to avoid maligning slackers this time; rather, he accuses White House Office of Health Reform Director Nancy-Ann DeParle of sending "annoying and partisan emails" to federal employees promoting health care reform. Grenell claims that some federal employees "feel threatened" by the emails and suggests there will be "retribution" if "the federal employee doesn't act in the way The White House is suggesting." Grenell goes on to ponder: "Has The White House requested that another federal agency monitor who is acting on behalf of Obama's health reform bill and who is not?"

Grenell's column is pure speculation -- he provides no evidence whatsoever that any retribution has or will taken place. He also doesn't provide any quotes -- even anonymous quotes -- from federal employees.

In fact, despite Grenell's claim that the emails are being sent "unsolicited" to federal employees, it appears they are sent out to everyone on the whitehouse.gov mailing list. Further, versions of them are also posted on the White House website. One email's request to "help raise awareness by sharing this email with your friends, family and online networks" is not specifically targeted at federal employees, as Grenell implies -- it's to everyone who got a copy. If Grenell was on the White House's email list, he would presumably have gotten the same message.

Grenell's complete lack of substance, of course, didn't keep Fox Nation from promoting his column at the top of its front page:

fngrenell

Who's Grenell's agent? We'd like to meet the guy who allowed Grenell to bust down the doors of CBS News with such empty speculation.

Posted In
Health Care, Health Care Reform
Network/Outlet
CBSNews.com
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