Censored by ABC, Obama's Doc Speaks Out

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CommonDreams.org

Censored by ABC, Obama's Doc Speaks Out

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Isabel MacDonald

In the wake of Republican charges that ABC was attempting to "exclude opposing viewpoints" from its June 24 forum on healthcare reform, the media was awash in concerns that the "town hall" would not allow for challenging questions to President Barack Obama.

Conservative talk-show host Sean Hannity proclaimed that "Journalism in America is dead." Meanwhile, Washington Post columnist Howard Kurtz expressed concern that the forum would marginalize "stakeholders" such as private insurance companies and pharmaceutical corporations.

As it turned out, Republican talking points and corporate interests were really very well represented at the forum.

The same cannot be said of the 59 percent of the public, and equal percentage of physicians, who, according to recent polls, support single-payer national health insurance. Not a single question about single-payer was posed by either ABC's hand-selected forum guests or by hosts Diane Sawyer and Charles Gibson. (Watch FAIR's video on ABC's single-payer blackout.)

And now it has emerged that Barack Obama's own longtime personal physician -- a single-payer advocate -- was censored by ABC.

Dr. David Scheiner, who served as Obama's personal physician for 22 years, speaks out in a new FAIR video about how he was disinvited from the town-hall just two days before the prime-time forum.

He believes ABC was "afraid" because the question he was planning to ask the president -- a question about single-payer -- was "more troublesome" than ABC wanted.

There have been no single-payer advocates on ABC all year. And a recent FAIR study found single-payer was equally shut out on CBS and NBC.

Dr. Scheiner is one of thousands of signatories of a FAIR petition demanding that the networks include single-payer in the health care debate, along with Harvard medical professors Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein, Dr. Quentin Young of Physicians for a National Health Program, Donna Smith of the California Nurses Association, filmmaker Michael Moore, former MSNBC host Phil Donahue and actor Mike Farrell.

Isabel Macdonald

Isabel Macdonald is a Montreal-based freelance journalist and the former communications director of the media watch group FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting). She can be reached at isabelmacdonald1 at gmail.com Follow her on Twitter: www.twitter.com/isabelmacdo

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