Contessa Brewer

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  • MSNBC's Brewer adopts anti-gay rhetoric

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    I have frequently noted that, in addition to the three hours a day in which MSNBC is hosted by a former Republican congressman, the cable channel's daytime news reporters often adopt conservative framing. Here's an example, from anchor Contessa Brewer's introduction of a segment about Maine's repeal of a law allowing same-sex marriage:

    Contessa Brewer: "And today you can add Maine to a long line of states, about 30 so far, where voters have chosen to define marriage traditionally: The union between one man and one woman."

    "Define marriage traditionally" is straight out of the anti-gay movement's talking points. They work the phrase (and variations of it) into everything they say about the subject.

    And it isn't accurate or neutral language.

    It is telling that the construction "Define marriage traditionally" is a relatively new one. If you go back a decade, you'll be hard-pressed to find many uses of it (or variations of it) in the media. A Nexis search for "marriage w/5 tradition! w/5 defin!" returns only 317 hits from prior to the past 10 years.

    No, the phrase is new -- cooked-up by anti-gay activists, because they know "deny gay couples the right to marry" doesn't poll as well. So why is an MSNBC anchor adopting it?

    It's not like it's accurate. It wasn't too long ago, after all, when laws in America defined marriage as the union of one white man and one white woman, or of one black man and one black woman. That was the "traditional" definition of marriage in America, until people saw the light. Now they want you to believe marriage has always been defined the same way, so they can claim tradition is on their side. It isn't true -- but MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer parrots their rhetoric

    If Brewer had introduced the segment by saying that Maine voted to "discriminate against gays," you can be sure the Right would be apoplectic -- and other reporters would point to it as evidence that MSNBC is a left-wing channel.

    But that isn't what happened. What actually happened was that Brewer adopted anti-gay talking points as though they were neutral descriptions.

    And Howard Kurtz, Campbell Brown, Ruth Marcus, David Zurawick and the rest of the "MSNBC-is-the-liberal-Fox" crowd won't say a word about it.

  • MSNBC's Contessa Brewer shows how not to conduct an interview

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Earlier today, I noted that lousy media coverage of health care reform has played a significant role in the public's confusion about the issue. Like clockwork, MSNBC's Contessa Brewer just demonstrated how that works in an interview with Republican Senator Judd Gregg, in which Gregg offered up a barrage of misleading claims and outright falsehoods -- none of which were directly challenged by Brewer.

    Gregg began by claiming "I think most people understand that a government-forced insurance plan, or government takeover of insurance is basically going to be bad for them because it's going to put a bureaucrat between them and their doctor. People want to be able to choose their doctor, they want to be able to choose their health plan, they don't want to have government running health care."

    Now, basically none of that is true.

    The public option is not a "government-forced insurance plan" -- it's optional. It's right there in the name: "The public option."

    It's not "government takeover of insurance" -- private insurance companies will still exist, and most people will still use them.

    People will be able to choose their doctor, to choose their health plan. Government won't be running health insurance, much less "running health care."

    But Brewer didn't call Gregg on any of that. Nor did she ask Gregg to explain why it's worse to have a government "bureaucrat" between you and your doctor than to have a profit-driven insurance company bureaucrat between you and your doctor.

    In his next comment, Gregg claimed his opposition to a public option "isn't about protecting insurance companies, it's about giving individuals the capacity to make choices, and choose the doctors they want, choose the health care systems they want."

    Brewer didn't call Gregg on the seeming inconsistency of saying he's trying to give people the ability to choose the health care system they want by refusing to give them the ability to choose a public health insurance option.

    Instead, Brewer asked Gregg a nice, friendly softball: "If people are frustrated with what they are hearing right now in terms of this legislation, what can they do?"

    In response to that, Gregg implied that the Reid bill will not be scored by CBO before it comes to the floor. In fact, it's being scored by CBO right now. Brewer, of course, didn't mention that -- nor did she mention that previous versions of the public option scored by CBO have been cost-effective.

    Gregg went on to again characterize public option as "a national--takeover of the system by the government ... putting the government between you and your doctor." No pushback from Brewer.

    Then Gregg claimed Canada proves a public option will reduce the quality of care. No pushback from Brewer; no mention of the efficacy of public health care systems in other nations.

    Then Gregg suggested the government cannot possibly "get health care right" -- to which Brewer seemed to agree, rather than asking Gregg if he thinks the government should get out of the business of Medicare and providing veterans health care, too.

    Finally, Gregg insisted a public option would add to the deficit. To that, Brewer responded "I hear your skepticism." She did not point out that CBO scoring of other versions of health care reform including a public option find that this is not true.

    And MSNBC reporters wonder why people are confused about health care reform

  • Why is MSNBC taking cues from Betsy McCaughey?

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Looks like somebody has been reading Betsy McCaughey's awful column. MSNBC's Contessa Brewer adopts McCaughey's the-bill-is-too-long nonsense, complete with a highly misleading prop:

    That stack of paper sure is intimidating. But maybe Brewer should have let her viewers know that it's twice as high as it would be if legislation was printed the way pages are typically printed? After all, your twelve-year-old's Social Studies report can look intimidatingly long, too, if you print out one letter per page.

    Brewer's stunt with the printout of the bill was deeply dishonest -- the kind of demagoguery that is annoying but expected from partisans trying to kill a bill, but not from journalists.

    And Brewer's next step was just as bad. Since when does journalism consist of portraying complex issues as even more complex than they are, rather than explaining them?

    Maybe people would understand health care a little better if MSNBC explained it to them, rather than exaggerating how incomprehensible it is.

  • MSNBC ignores Galen Institute's reported health care industry ties

    ››› ››› MORGAN WEILAND

    MSNBC's Contessa Brewer hosted Galen Institute president Grace-Marie Turner to discuss a tax proposal to finance health care reform. But MSNBC did not note that Turner's group is reportedly funded in part by the pharmaceutical and medical industries, or that the group explicitly advocates free-market principles for the health care sector.