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Real News Network - August 2019

Story Transcript

TAYA GRAHAM: Welcome to The Real News Network. My name is Taya Graham and I’m joined by my reporting partner, Stephen Janis.

Today we’re going to be debuting a new show focused around a single topic, the country’s growing income inequality. You might have noticed watching the Democratic debates, how rarely this topic comes up. In fact, if Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren weren’t in the race, it would’ve probably never surfaced. Part of that is simply because mainstream media is as much coopted by inequality as they are defined by it. Seriously, how do you expect anchors making millions of dollars a year to question a system that enriches them? But it goes deeper than simply a media narrative. It is clear that the growing concentration of wealth in this country is one of the greatest existential threats to humanity, and informs much of the destructive policy, as well as making inflammatory rhetoric that is tearing our country apart.

After all, the current occupant of the White House is a billionaire, and his policy embodies all the worst aspects of the aforementioned crisis and more. To tackle this issue in a way that is both new and productive, we’re going to take a twofold approach here. That’s because part of our mission at The Real News is to use our platform that is donor-funded without corporate advertising to tell uncomfortable truths, and provide context to topics that would otherwise be lacking. Stephen, do you want to give us an overview of how we are going to be approaching this?

STEPHEN JANIS: Well, what we always want to do here at The Real News is use the fact that we’re in one of cities that is probably one of the best examples of how income inequality is fostered by rich billionaires, and by what has often been called the pathology of capitalism. We see here we are ground zero, especially now that Donald Trump has tried to cite this as an example of dysfunction and trying to make it seem like it’s purely political, but it’s also a function of inequality. We have some of the worst income inequality. Then secondly, we are going to tie these to the national issues and the national debate that often doesn’t have context, because a lot of times you will hear these arguments from people like Trump and not realize that many of these policies come and originate exactly from this problem. The problem that there is heightened income inequality, which changes all the dynamics, both political, social, and even the rhetorical debate. That’s what we’re going to try to do.

TAYA GRAHAM: Our first topic is aimed at pointing out a moment of the debate that the mainstream media glossed over and to reveal the imperative behind that oversight. To us, it was one of the most critical moments of the entire slog, but receives little attention. Let’s watch.


SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: …Issues together, we can get less expensive drugs.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN NEWS: [crosstalk] Senator Sanders – I’m going to Senator Sanders, then Senator Warren because you both were mentioned. Senator Sanders?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: As the author of the Medicare bill, let me clear up one thing. If people talk about having insurance, there are millions of people who have insurance, they can’t go to the doctor, and when they come out of the hospital, they go bankrupt. All right? What I am talking about and others up here are talking about is no deductibles and no co-payments. And, Jake, your question is a Republican talking point. At the end of the day, and by the way – and by the way – by the way – the healthcare industry will be advertising tonight on this program.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN NEWS: Thank you, Senator. Senator Warren, it’s your turn.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Oh, can I complete that, please?

JAKE TAPPER, CNN NEWS: Your time is up. Thirty seconds.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: They will be advertising tonight with that talking point.

TAYA GRAHAM: Stephen, Bernie is called out for asking a question that, essentially, Jake Tapper oversimplifies.


TAYA GRAHAM: Essentially, isn’t he using Republican talking points when he’s pushing back on Bernie’s healthcare ideas?

STEPHEN JANIS: It’s deeper than that. What he’s using is a talking point to the healthcare companies that support CNN.


STEPHEN JANIS: Because the question is incredibly simplistic. Everybody knows that if you have Medicare for All, you’re not going to be paying health insurance premiums at all, which is one of the biggest rising parts of a worker’s paycheck. Instead of saying that, or talking about the balance or the trade off, he’s saying, “Are you going to raise taxes?” Which where do we remember that from? Remember George Bush 25/30 years ago, “Read my lips, no new taxes.” Taxes is the anthem of the billionaire class. They use it to scare middle-class people from benefits that would help them. That question was inane. It was insulting, over simplified, and totally did not reflect the complexity or even the benefits. You could have asked, “What are the trade-offs of Medicare for All?”

TAYA GRAHAM: Certainly.

STEPHEN JANIS: Something like that, and why? Bernie points out and says quite adroitly, “Well, there’s going to be a pharmaceutical advertising, right?”

TAYA GRAHAM: Right. Doesn’t Otezla advertise at around a million dollars a year?

STEPHEN JANIS: Top three out of ten advertisers in the most recent quarter for CNN are health care providers. Anybody who watches that channel, it’s healthcare advertising-driven.

TAYA GRAHAM: Prescription advertising driven. Humira, Otezla— things like that.

STEPHEN JANIS: Instead of Jake Tapper addressing that and being transparent and saying, “You have a point and I understand what you’re saying.” He did the BS stuff that they do in the mainstream media, which is just gloss over it because he has the power to do that, but it’s apparent, right? Why—It just didn’t make any sense. That question to me was written by a publicist from the healthcare company or as Salon said, an intern at the Heritage Foundation, which of course is a conservative foundation.

TAYA GRAHAM: Now, isn’t it true that raising taxes is kind of a red herring?

STEPHEN JANIS: Absolutely.

TAYA GRAHAM: Won’t the amount of money that people save on their health care premiums actually offset any sort of tax increase?

STEPHEN JANIS: Yeah, think about it. We pay incredible amounts of money to fund this incredibly inefficient healthcare company insurance, which is BS anyway because insurance is supposed to plan for exceptional events, not for something that’s going to happen, which we all need healthcare. ...
See full transcript at Real News Network