NBC Favors Rich Over Poor

November 15, 2010 05:18

Is there a reason other than liberal bias that explains NBC’s willingness to serve as an outlet for Obama Administration propaganda?

By Roger Aronoff

While NBC has once again put itself in the service of the Obama administration, this time on education, they are both unwittingly making the case for more choices for parents desperate to get their children out of dead-end public schools. But is there a reason other than liberal bias that explains NBC’s willingness to serve as an outlet for Obama Administration propaganda?

Could it have something to do with NBC parent company GE having been the beneficiary of federal largesse?

Obama took some time out from traveling around the country, bashing the Republicans for supposedly favoring the rich, so that he could sit down with NBC’s Matt Lauer and act concerned about poor students being stuck in failing public schools. He talked about his own “reform” initiatives, which consist of more federal money and control. Then, he accused Republicans of wanting to rein in federal spending by cutting funds to education. It was a political performance that did nothing to solve the problem about which he claims to be concerned.

NBC played along with the facade, calling its coverage “Education Nation,” while ignoring the fact that the Republicans are the ones who actually favor educational policies that benefit the poor by giving them a way out of the public schools through choice. On this issue, Obama is definitely not “pro-choice.”

An excellent commentary by Lindsey Burke in National Review Online pointed out that when Obama sat down with Matt Lauer on Monday’s “Today Show,” the one tough question came from the audience, when a woman asked the President whether his daughters could receive as good an education at a D.C. public school as they were currently getting at their elite private school.

“I’ll be blunt with you,” said Obama. “The answer’s ‘No’ right now.” He continued, “I’ll be very honest with you. Given my position, if I wanted to find a great public school for Malia and Sasha to be in, we could probably maneuver to do it. But the broader problem is: For a mom or a dad who are working hard but don’t have a bunch of connections, don’t have a choice in terms of where they live, they should be getting the same quality education as anybody else, and they don’t have that yet.”

As Burke pointed out, “no doubt unintentionally” the President had just delivered “a beautiful thesis on the necessity of school choice.”

She noted, however, that this was just rhetoric, and that the President has stood by “as Congress phases out the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program…which provides vouchers of up to $7,500 to low-income children to attend a private school of their choice,” and which “has been a lifeline out of the unsafe and underperforming D.C. public-school system.”

This is how Obama demonstrated that his priorities are with the union, rather than the children and their parents.

And while he “may invoke the language of school choice,” Burke said, the reality is that “last spring, 216 children in the nation’s capital had scholarships wrenched from their hands by the Department of Education, in some cases just days after receiving what was likely a life-changing letter of acceptance into the D.C. voucher program. The families of those children will certainly not be fooled by Obama’s newfound affinity for school choice.”

GE on the Federal Dole

So why did NBC decided to put itself at the service of the President and his phony educational “reform” policies at this time? Was it purely political and designed to give Obama a boost before critical mid-term elections? That seems to make sense. Or was there another reason?

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that GE had federal credit amounting to $126 billion from the government, and that it just negotiated some new terms from the federal government on issuing bonds and debt. When a company is dependent on the government, it makes sense for a company subsidiary to serve as a propaganda platform for the administration dispensing the money.

But there is another factor. According to Burke, “Perhaps the president is feeling pressure to adopt reform language because of the attention being paid to the new documentary Waiting for Superman, which charges education unions with the poor state of American education.” The film draws on the expertise of those with intimate knowledge of how teacher unions have prevented educational progress.

Burke points out that “These unions are, by a long shot, the largest contributors to members of Congress. The two major education unions, the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), make 95 percent of their political contributions to Democrats. And with a budget of more than $355 million, the NEA spends more on campaign contributions than ExxonMobil, Microsoft, Walmart, and the AFL-CIO combined.”

She concludes by arguing that “As long as the Obama administration continues to let unions set the high mark for reform, as was the case with the Race to the Top program, it will be difficult for families nationwide to gain access to a quality school. If the president wants to legitimize his school-choice rhetoric, he’ll need to start by standing up to education unions and standing for school choice in D.C.”

The left is clearly anti-choice when it comes to schools, and they defend that position by arguing that state or local funds given to families in the form of vouchers, which could then be redeemed at private schools, further weakens an already failing public school system. The question is, will the realization that the status quo is failing result in fundamental change, or just lead to throwing more money at the same failed system. In other words, is Obama’s “reform” agenda a fraud?

On Morning Joe on MSNBC, as part of the “education nation” propaganda offensive, a statistic was cited from the National Center for Education Statistics showing that 68% of 8th graders cannot read at grade level. What Joe Scarborough and his liberal colleagues failed to emphasize was that Obama’s “plan” to solve the problem is more of the same—more money for the public schools that created the problem in the first place.

It is time for GE’s talking heads in the media to look beyond the “solution” of more federal money and the interests of teachers unions and take into account the fate of parents and their children. It is time, in short, for NBC’s news personalities to truly take the side of the poor. That means not leaving it to the audience to grill Obama about why he has made sure that his own children don’t attend the D.C. public schools.

Spotlight on the Media

Phony “Watchdog” Group Tied to Partisan Agenda

The influential National Journal recently ran a story about Media Matters, the progressive “media watchdog” organization, and included a few critical comments from AIM editor Cliff Kincaid. Media Matters is a favorite source of research for the little-watched left-wing network MSNBC. For the record, Kincaid made the following points:

  • “Media Matters is an arm of the Democratic Party masquerading as a media watchdog organization. It has become part of the “noise machine” that its founder David Brock once decried. Brock is a former conservative who appears to hold a grudge over the fact that conservatives rejected his gay lifestyle.”
  • “When he was a ‘conservative,’ Brock used AIM’s research. He came to my office at AIM and I provided my research on the Christic Institute for a story about the left-wing group that he did for the Washington Times. In return, he promised to give me credit when his article appeared. He did not.  I knew at that time that he could not be trusted.”

Kincaid also went into detail about the significant number of Media Matters’ staffers who have come from the ranks of the Democratic Party and Democratic politicians. He cited Ari RabinHavt, Managing Director of the Media Matters Action Network, who used to work for Sen. Harry Reid, Al Gore and the Democratic National Committee.

Rabin-Havt surfaced on a purported list of controversial “JournoList”  journalists, along with Eric Alterman, who has also been affiliated with Media Matters. Since the “JournoList” group’s members and messages were technically “private” and we have had to rely on leaks about it, we do not know for sure who was on the list. However, “JournoList” came to light when David Weigel, a writer masquerading as a conservative who was supposed to be covering the conservative movement, quit his job under fire at the Washington Post. Weigel was an admitted member of “JournoList” and had made private critical comments about conservatives to that list.

Media Matters was originally established with money from supporters of Hillary Clinton but turned into a defender of Barack Obama once he won the nomination and Clinton became his secretary of state. The group was originally run out of the offices of the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress.

Roger Aronoff at AIM

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