The American cable news channels are in full parallel-universe mode today, Saturday.
MSNBC had President Barack Obama, campaigning for health care reform in Minnesota. MSNBC televised the president’s speech in its entirety to a crowd of thousands. MSNBC’s cameras showed wide-angle views of the packed arena, people cheering wildly.
When the president explained the problems facing health care in America, someone in the audience shouted, “We’ve got to do something!” Mr. Obama agreed, “We’ve got to do something.” It was a long way from Washington, where a congressman shouted at the president this week, “You lie.”
President Obama said he’s not going to waste any more time with cynical politicians who are clearly committed to defeating health care and destroying his presidency.
The crowd in Minnesota was “Fired up!” and “Ready to go!”
Meanwhile, over at FOX News, they were covering an anti-health care rally on the Mall back in Washington. The FOX News camera focused in tightly on a knot of demonstrators (two dozen? a hundred?) and one unknown speaker ranting about the First Amendment and “uniform taxation.” One thing you have to give the health-care opponents, they’re not a single-interest group. No indeed, they’ve got a gunny sack full of gripes. (Correction: Later in the day I learned that there were a lot more than a hundred demonstrators in Washington. There were thousands and thousands. See note from Lizzi in Comments below.)
FOX was in Texas, too, providing air time to some Texan who was complaining about health care for everyone. What an un-American concept! Health care for all, even the unemployed, even the poor, even people with pre-existing conditions.
The Texan said the government ought to stay out of health care, because the government has no experience running such a program. Umm . . . What about Medicare? Senior citizens seem quite fond of Medicare. Who do you think runs Medicare? What about Social Security, which has one-percent administrative costs? Who do you think runs Social Security?
And so it goes. MSNBC and FOX News, two professional cable news channels, reporting live from parallel universes.