Ya gotta love BET… News!
BET News Presents ‘Critical Condition: What’s At Stake In Health Care Reform’
Guests on the show will include White House Director of Domestic Policy Melody Barnes; U.S. Congress members James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Maxine Waters (D-CA); BET News’ Pamela Gentry; filmmaker Michael Moore; Conservative Policy Expert Bob Parks, physician Sampson Davis of Newark’s “Three Pact” and more.
Sunday, Sept. 27, 2009 at 10pm/9C
Note all Democrats, and I was the only person labeled with a political adjective.
BTW — Michael Moore didn’t show. (Is he a racist?)
The taping began with a discussion between the host Jeff Johnson and Melody Barnes, in which she just recited the president’s pro-public option talking points.
There were no questions for Ms. Barnes requested from the panelists or the audience.
The following segment was a discussion between the host Jeff Johnson and Congressman James Clyburn in which he talked about how bad things were for black people back in the day and how many black people die today because we don’t have health care and just how bad things are regarding health care in the black community in general.
There were no questions for Congressman Clyburn requested from the panelists or the audience.
For the third segment, Congressmen Clyburn and the host were joined by Congresswoman Maxine Waters. They discussed the importance of the public option, the rudeness and lack of decorum illustrated by Congressman Joe Wilson and how he pulls those kinds of outbursts, evil insurance companies and obscene profits by CEOs, the racism demonstrated at the tea party protests… and then the host turned to me, mentioned that he knew I’d have something to say about this.
I asked about the lack of media discussion on the one thing the president makes no real mention of: tort reform. I mentioned the article where in Mississippi (where they have tort reform on the state level) insurance rates have been cut by a third, and the evil insurance companies are actually giving policyholders rebates. I said that tort reform was probably off the table because over $19 million have been given to Democrats by the trial lawyer lobby for the 2010 midterms.
The host quickly asked me my take on President Obama’s position on tort reform during his last address to Congress.
This is where I’ll probably look bad on video.
I honestly couldn’t remember what he’s ever said on the topic. I had no real answer. I don’t know if the two congresspersons had a prior agreement not to take questions, but Mr. Johnson quickly announced a commercial break. Congressman Clyburn left the set, some of the other quests took the stage, and Congresswoman Waters was seated next to me for the next segment. (She never acknowledged my presence.)
BET News’ Pamela Gentry told me in between segments that President Obama did make reference to tort reform during that address. He said he’d “consider it”. All of a few seconds, which is probably why I missed it.
After the next segment and the audience was shuffled again (people were leaving), a woman now seated next to me thanked me because she was happy to find a “like-minded” person on the roster. During the final segment, questions were taken from the audience to the last three onstage with the host.
The only problem is the people asking the questions were given note cards with the questions prior to, which is unfortunate because the questioners seemed like they could ask intelligent ones and I know the panelists could give intelligent answers. I guess BET just wanted to make sure the show stayed on message.
BET’s website is currently requesting Tweets on people’s concerns about health care…
Submit your question with your name and hometown below in the comments section. It might be used in Critical Condition, an upcoming BET News Special.
However, the Tweets responded to during the program were submitted prior to taping. (The above typo was cut and pasted from their site as of 9/23/09).
Later while I was waiting to leave, another older woman approached and also thanked me as she was an auditor general and a supporter of tort reform.
All in all, the BET producer and staff were very nice, as were the fellow panelists. Our elected officials said exactly what was expected: talking points from the administration with no opportunity for rebuttal.