CBS's John Dickerson Downplays Obama Aide's Private Investor Meetings: 'Wouldn't Necessarily Have to Be Sinister'
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, John Dickerson spun a front
page scoop from the Washington Post that spotlighted the several private
meetings that a top Obama health care adviser had with investment firms
on the future implementation of ObamaCare: "It's a little hard to see what those investment firms got that wasn't already publicly available."
The liberal CBS political director brushed aside concerns that "some traders are gaining access to information that is not available to investors in general or the wider public", as Post writer Tom Hamburger outlined in his Sunday article. Dickerson asserted, "There's a lot of information exchange that wouldn't necessarily have to be sinister."
Anchor Norah O'Donnell raised Hamburger's article halfway through a
segment with the former Time magazine correspondent: "John, what about
this Washington Post report over the weekend that a top policy aide to
President Obama met with a number of these health care investment
Dickerson led with his "it's a little hard to see" line, and continued that "it shows one of the important things about this law, in all of its complexities: everybody is trying to get an angle on exactly what it's going to look like....a lot of companies that can make business decisions based on this, or trade based on health care companies, are trying to get every little piece of new information they can get."
O'Donnell then seconded her colleague's take: "That was my sense...about that story, too, is that there are many – not just investment firms, but businesses who really have no idea how the law's going to be implemented. So, [they] were just looking for information."
Near the end of the segment, co-anchor Charlie Rose wondered if "this kind of meeting is a regular course of business, in terms of this kind of mammoth legislation." Dickerson answered by repeating his initial point and concluded with his "wouldn't necessarily have to be sinister" line.
Another component of the continuing political debate over ObamaCare that the CBS political director didn't mention was the fact that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius "made multiple phone calls to health industry executives, community organizations and church groups" to pressure them to contribute to non-profit groups that are "working to enroll uninsured Americans and increase awareness" of the Affordable Care Act, as reported by the Post's Sarah Kliff on May 10.
It should be pointed out that Dickerson had mentioned this detail on the May 19, 2013 edition of Face the Nation. This was the only time that a Big Three network mentioned Kliff's scoop during the 10 days that followed its publication.
The transcript of the relevant portion of the John Dickerson segment from Tuesday's CBS This Morning: