Washington Check-In with Mara Liasson

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

National political correspondent for NPR Mara Liasson checks in on health care, banking reform and the latest from Washington.


Mara Liasson

Comments [27]

Carey from Hamilton Heights

Mara Liasson? You really couldn't find a better guest than her, Brian? Please refocus on bringing in journalists that have at least some modicum of integrity.

Mar. 05 2010 12:06 PM
Nate from Manhattan

ellen from ny

The reason she gets big bucks working at FOX is so FOX can say they include "liberal" perspectives (which also goes for Juan Williams who also works for both outlets).

Any review of what she says reveals how untrue this is.

She has also been criticized by the previous NPR ombudsman for things she has said on FOX (though the present one invariably makes excuses for ML's behavior even though she is in violation of NPR's own Code of Ethics and Practices.)

If you are interested, do a search of her name at They have documented many instances of her shoddy journalism.

Mar. 03 2010 10:24 PM
ellen from ny

I think many of the comments on this page are so astute and explanatory that they are the ones who should be given air time. How about reading some of them? I only caught a bit of mara--don't like her. I think these comments are more intelligent than the show. M.liasson's fox employment wasn't mentioned????? Wow! Thanks a lot brian lehrer for furthering the enlightenment of the npr public....Luckily most of us aren't the moronic automatons who uncritically absorb other commercial media. But brian...can I trust you now?
I wonder why she works for both fox and npr?

Mar. 03 2010 06:17 PM
jawbone from Parsippany

One benefit of comments not being posted with firt submission click: There's more time to proofread.

findgins - findings. Using "conclusions" or "points" or "arguments" might have made my point clearer....

Mar. 03 2010 12:59 PM
jawbone from Parsippany

In answer to my question about PNHP guests -- yes, there have been some.

But why, then, are their findgins never referenced on other programs?

Search found these programs (guest, comments, etc.):

Mar. 03 2010 12:43 PM
jawbone from Parsippany

Medicare (Improved!) for All comment cont'd: has the figures on the savings, from Harvard study.

Have PNHP people been on WNYC, btw? I don't catch every show, so don't know.

*robust -- Truth to tell, the BHIPs (Big Health Insurance Parasites) may not be so robust protit-wise if people are not forced to buy from them by the present lack of a government alternative or in the future if not forced by mandates enforced by the IRS to buy from them.

Corporate SHAKEDOWNS with Government MUSCLE.

Obama's plan is predicated on saving the BHIPs, keeping them highly profitable.

BHIP BAILOUTS? To go with the Bankster Bailouts, Auto Bailouts from their good friends, the Corporatist Dems and prez?

Mar. 03 2010 12:39 PM
jawbone from Parsippany

Medicare is known, it works, people like it (6 of 10 in WaPo recent poll, 60% in IA poll of 600 voters would like a government run plan -- and independents flipped totally from 61% against the current Senate/Hse mishmash to 60% in favor of a government run plan like Medicare).

Almost every working person is already signed up and paying for Medicare through taxes on wages, so the infrastructure is there to handle whatever monthly payments are decided on for putting everyone into Medicare (Improved!) for All...with a robust* private option.

It could be done NOW. That indeed would be a stimulus to the economy. People could make house payments with the savings (my insurer's premium is more than double my mortgage. I remember going into shock when it first cost MORE than my mortgage. When it reached almost triple my mortgage, I had to go to very high deductibles and copays; now I'm a good "health consumer," per Repubs, because I self deny recommended care: I couldn't manage copays for physical therapy 3 times a week for a minimum 6 weeks for a torn meniscus and pay the $1000 plus for the monthly premium -- guess I Cadillac insurance and old car care. I haven't filled the high cost cholesterol lowering prescription - just trying diet and exercise, which is harder with the bum knee.... Thus goes modern American health care.

The Improved! aspect of Medicare for All means comprehensive care, dental, vision, from dollar one -- and it would still save the nation $400B per year. Plus, save lives currently lost by people with no and junk insurance. Save medical bankruptcies. What's not to like?

Mar. 03 2010 12:34 PM
jawbone from Parsippany

Uh, did I miss in Brian's identification of his guest that Mara Liasson is not just of NPR, but ALSO FOX?

Hhhhmmmmm...this is a favorite bugaboo of Media Matters, that the MCM (Mainstream Corporate Media) picks and chooses how it ID's guests. Guess it's not just for corporate media, maybe included in corporate funded media?
Still, a problem submitting comment...always with this problem. They're working on it -- are there listeners who donate time to fix this? I sure can't.

Mar. 03 2010 11:46 AM
Lenore from Upper West Side, NYC


Bunning pitched a PERFECT GAME for the Phillies against the Mets on Father's Day 1964, not a no-hitter. They are very different. A perfect game includes no errors or walks. There are only about 20 of them in all of baseball history, as opposed to the far more common no-hitters. I was at Shea Stadium that day and I am a Phillie fan. So I can say it was the last good thing that Bunning ever did.

Mar. 03 2010 11:32 AM
Susan Burger from Upper West Side

It is preposterous to think that taxing health insurance will do anything but increase costs. My husband and I are both self employed. This means we have to pay the highest rates for health insurance because we have no competitive advantage compared to large corporations. We also ARE taxed on our health insurance. Our $18,000 health insurance plan refused to pay for casting my broken arm unless it was casted in the emergency room (which costs considerably more than an in-office procedure in an orthopedists office). The emergency room that saw me initially won't cast a broken arm because the swelling that ensues in the next few days can cause compartmentalization which puts the arm at risk for amputation. The health insurance company therefore refuses to cover the cost of casting because it is not an emergency. If I were to not cast the arm, this would lead to more health problems. If I extrapolate this out to more severe problems, the escalation of costs for insisting on emergency care over the lower cost preventive treatments is ridiculous.

As a nutritionist with training in epidemiology, I have a huge problem with the whole so-called science of economics that relies on "association" to predict outcome, when the first rule of epidemiology is that association does NOT prove causation.

Mar. 03 2010 11:10 AM
Josh from Brooklyn

I rarely agree with Mary Matalin but in this case (as quoted by Ms. Liasson), she's right on target. There is a basic philosophical divide between the GOP's social Darwinism and the Democrats' ideology of a common good. Obama is making the same mistake that the Democrats have made for decades -- seeking some sort of bipartisanship. What we really need is for both sides to explain clearly and forcefully what they stand for and let the voters decide. If the US opts for a Bunningesque society where the poor starve and the sick die, we'll have the government that we deserve.

Mar. 03 2010 11:07 AM
Nate from Manhattan

Again, the discussion focuses on the politics.

In other words, the people who are receiving contributions from those who have the loudest voices (the industries themselves) are being allowed to not only hog the vast majority of the broadcast time, but frame the debate to begin with. Thus most alternatives that would really solve the problems are marginalized and ultimately sacrificed at the altar of "not politically viable". And why they are not politically viable is largely ignored. That BOTH sides have vested interests in being obstructionist to populist solutions and friendly to industry solutions is obvious by how much Mr. Obama gave up even before negotiations began and the Republican call for going back to square one.

By having the "political reality" be more important than real solutions, the media (and you specifically Brian) are complicit in the solutions being more industry-friendly than populace-friendly.

BTW, I do think you are brilliant on politics Brian. I feel you let it dictate the discussion to much too great a degree.

Mar. 03 2010 11:05 AM
lynne from CT

As a practice, ask all commentators/politicians/people running for office where they get their healthcare.

How many (retired) Republicans have some sort of tax-payer funded health care? Would they be willing to drop for smaller govt/deficit reduction? If Newt is really getting healthcare on our dime?.

How much do taxpayers spend on congress' healthcare? (not career fed employees, but the representatives that make policy)

I'm self-employed and have a very, very hard, and expensive time getting health insurance.

Mar. 03 2010 11:02 AM
Susan Burger from Upper West Side

I'd like to team up with Hugh and propose a new grassroots movement to take away health insurance and benefits from all those governmental officials that are proposing reducing our benefits and blocking heath insurance reform. They should also be taxed for the insurance that they will then need to purchase. While we're at it, we can also work to make sure all the tea party members don't receive any governmental services such as police and fire department protection, the ability to drive on governmentally maintained roads, etc -- since they do not believe in paying taxes for governmental services.

Mar. 03 2010 10:55 AM
Jill from east village

Do Republicans really believe, as Mara Liasson just stated, that European style healthcare would make the US less competitive? Does anyone think we are actually competitive now? Japan has a thriving auto industry, we obviously don't. Japanese workers are covered with government benefits, which means the auto industry there doesn't have to cover them. The result is obvious, why would anyone cling to the idea that socialized medicine would make us *less* competitive?

Mar. 03 2010 10:55 AM
mc from Brooklyn

RLEwis: Supply & Demand gets turned on its head in health care. Instead of more supply driving down demand, more supply drives up demand. More CT scanners=more CT scans. Check out the Dartmouth Atlas.

Mar. 03 2010 10:54 AM
Nate from Manhattan

Did Ms. Liasson really say (in her objecting to the four points include by Mr. Obama not being "central" to the Republican plan) that a Republican central point is to NOT pass a comprehensive health care plan at all?

Mar. 03 2010 10:51 AM
RLewis from bowery

Why aren't we discussing Supply & Demand? How does Health Care respond to market forces? What is the limit that a father would pay to keep his sick child alive? Capitalism will never work with health care, because market forces do not work. Any one of us would pay any amount do not die. It must be run by the government - every other govt already learned this way before this country was founded.

Mar. 03 2010 10:50 AM
jawbone from Parsippany

Mark Brown @ 4 -- Repubs blocking single payer? Obama took it off the table from the gitgo -- and the MCM (Mainstream Corporate Media) went along with that in barely discussing the pros (hardly ever) or cons (they found lots of those somehow).

So, is Obama our first fully DINO (Democrat In Name Only) president?

(All my comments have had the "problem submitting" message so far this morning; 3, in case the IT person/people at WNYC are counting).

Mar. 03 2010 10:50 AM
Ed H. from Larchmont, NY

President Obama's bill funds abortion more than the Senate bill. If they dropped abortion funding, they might pass the house, but they won't.

Mar. 03 2010 10:48 AM
Nate from Manhattan

Why does Mara Liasson's introduction not include her work at FOX news? And why does her NPR bio not include the FOX work either?

After all, Brian, you yourself yesterday mention that FOX needs to go down its obligatory list of bashing Obama.

Is Ms. Liasson's work at FOX not germaine to how we take in her views on health care? Don't we have a right to know? Why hide it?

Mar. 03 2010 10:47 AM
lynne from CT


If health care is about responsibility, is there a responsibility to carry health ins?

If not, what about repealing the law that requires emergency room to treat all-comers? If Reps believe this, why do they support the taxpayer/other rate payers covering uninsured?

Mar. 03 2010 10:47 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

Newt Gingrich should talk. As a former paid mouthpiece of health insurers (and defense contractors and banksters) in Congress, Gingrich receives very nearly his full salary as a pension. His health care is FULLY covered for the rest of his life. Doesn't matter whether he works or not. Congress voted itself one of the best -- and most expensive -- health plans to be found anywhere.

Mar. 03 2010 10:46 AM
mark brown from

Speaking of the HEATHCARE,

I also proposed several years ago we need a SINGLE payer, program, phased in over 5-20 years by using the existing system and then having them bid to absorb new users

My last comment on healthcare?

I said this for the past 3 years.

it''s the REPUBLICAN's blocking health care folks, be honest and admit it!

Mar. 03 2010 10:42 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

Mara Liasson is simply wrong on Medicare -- not surprising that she is a Fox liar in addition to an NPR propagandist.

On a per capita basis, Medicare is FAR LESS expensive than private insurance in the US. And, unlike private insurance, Medicare customers are overwhelming satisfied.

Mar. 03 2010 10:41 AM
mark brown from

TO (deliberately?) misquote JRR Tolkein, Politics corrupts, Absolute power corrupts, absolutely.

Here's the problem (and I've said it for over 3-4 years now BRIAN!--on my blog!)

We need political reform.

1) political donation/campaign reform.
No more then a (say) $250 per candidate contribution, VIA a website... per person...

2) NATIONWIDE Political reform and term limits.

a) a single six year presidency (no releection campaigns!!!)
b) three senate (18 years) AND 9 House re-elections (also 18 years) seats.

c) Governor/state/local term limits.
I think the 3 term limit (12 years) is a good start.

And the key to this is TRANSPARENCY.

It's the political GREASE that is paid by corporations that causes this stuff.

markb in Westfield

Mar. 03 2010 10:37 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

Well, here's an idea for saving some money to pay for unemployment compensation -- close a few military bases in Kentucky. Is Fort Knox still going? It's not as if we face the Soviets attacking through Kentucky any more (as if we ever did).

Mar. 03 2010 10:33 AM

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