This past Sunday, I was watching Meet the Press, and the host of this ostensibly non-partisan political show on the supposedly left-leaning network of NBC, David Gregory, said something that actually made me yell out loud at my television screen.
Gregory was speaking with the Director of the White House Office of Health Reform, Nancy Ann DeParle, about the health care reform legislation currently on the cusp of completion in Congress, and he said, "I'm asking where, where's the evidence that Americans don't want to wait, that they really want to move forward? The only protests you've seen publicly are on the right in opposition to the bill."
The only protests you've seen publicly are on the right in opposition to the bill, David Gregory said.
And I may, at that point, have channeled Congressman Joe Wilson.
The only health care reform protests we have seen have been in on the right opposition to the bill? Really, David Gregory? Really?
Because I was at a protest in support of health care reform legislation, right here in St. Louis, Missouri just a few months ago in September. It was a candlelight vigil, actually, to remember the tens of thousands of Americans who die each year because they cannot afford health insurance.
The protest was in a well-known historic city park called Tower Grove. Hundreds of people showed up. Many of those I spoke with had lost loved ones to substandard medical care, or were currently fighting with insurance companies to get access to medical care they or their spouses or their parents or their children desperately needed.
I took video and still photos at the pro- health care reform protest. I posted about it here at MOMocrats. I wrote about it on Twitter. My friends from the progressive political blog Show Me Progress were there, too. The St. Louis Activist Hub folks were there. And so were two news crews from local TV stations, with their cameras, filming segments for the evening news.
In other words, I did not hallucinate this event, David Gregory. It happened. It was even on television.
It turns out some of my fellow MOMocrats have been to protests in support of health care reform, too. Back in August, Cynematic found plenty of supporters of health care reform holding protests signs at her Congressman's town hall meeting in California. Melissa found a number of health care reform supporters at a town hall in Maryland, too.
Karoli went to a pro-HCR rally in Thousand Oaks, California where violence broke out between the pro-reform rally holders and some Tea Party counter-protesters. But that wasn't her first protest in support of reform. She says, "I have been on the streets, knocking on doors, educating, giving college lectures and speaking in favor of health care reform for well over a year. It's telling that the only vigil I attended that received any media attention was the one where physical violence was instigated by teabaggers and responded to in kind."
David Gregory, protests in favor of health care reform have happened. Big ones. In public. Thousands of times. If "we haven't heard" about protests in favor of health care reform as often as we have heard about conservative Tea Party protests opposed to health care reform, that is not because protests in favor of health care reform have not happened. It is because you and your colleagues in the mainstream media have chosen not to give protests in favor of health care reform equal time.
Maybe people waving guns and threatening secession and screaming incoherently about death panels and shouting slogans like "Keep government out of my Medicare!" make for more compelling b-roll than wives painting murals in honor of dead husbands, or mothers with children who need health care passing out pacifiers to members of Congress, or breast cancer survivors speaking at candlelight vigils.
But the fact that people like you, David Gregory, haven't granted as much air time to these more peaceful protests does not mean they did not happen.
Could the host of the nation's oldest and most respected Sunday morning political news show really, possibly just not know that there have been literally thousands of public, advertised, televised protests nationwide in support of health care reform?
The lies on Meet the Press are not supposed to come from the host.