Fox News Takes a Sharp Left Turn
If any doubts remained that the Fox News channel is continuing to swerve hard left away from its conservative roots, they were erased on July 16, 2017 when Ezekiel (Zeke) Emanuel, M.D. appeared on the channel’s signature weekly program Fox News Sunday in his new role as a paid contributor. Dr. Emanuel was a principal architect of Obamacare and he is now speaking out widely in favor of its retention as the law of the land. He’s a very influential medical policy maker and also happens to be a life long, in-your-face spin doctor for the Democrat socialist left. During the Fox News program, the ever arrogant Emanuel jumped on the Resist Trump bandwagon and suggested that President Trump is worthy of being impeached. Hired last February by Fox News primarily as a health policy analyst (he is a prominent physician and professor, after all), Emanuel is now providing opinions not only on medical subjects but on political ones, as well.
The turning point in his role – and an indication of where Fox News is heading – was his appearance on the high-profile, politically-charged Fox News Sunday. In addition to the nation’s cable and satellite channels, Fox News Sunday is also broadcast on over 200 Fox network-owned or -affiliate terrestrial broadcast television stations around the country.
An excerpt from the July 16th program’s transcript provided by Fox News is illustrative:
CHRIS WALLACE [Fox News Sunday host]: Since you’re a panelist, I’m not going to call you Dr. Emanuel. I’m going to call you Zeke.
EZEKIEL EMANUEL, M.D. [Fox News Contributor]: That’s fine.
WALLACE: How far as a committed Democrat are you prepared to go? Because – I mean, we aren’t going to talk in specifics. But are you willing to see the country paralyzed for the next year? Are you willing – if – and I repeat – if more information comes out to see the president impeached, how far do we need to go on this?
EMANUEL: Well, we have – democracy is at stake here in America. Having our biggest enemy, Russia, come in and try to meddle and change our election that is the bedrock of democracy. That is the most important thing.
I do not want to see this country paralyzed, but I do not want to see our democracy undermined by having the president of the United States colluding and his officials colluding with Russia.
And, remember, there are – you know, when people go into government, they actually have to abide by the laws here. And one of the laws is you can't get anything of value, whether money or other things of value from a foreign country.
WALLACE: Let me just bring –
EMANUEL: Opposition research is true, it's of value. It may not be dollar value.
WALLACE: Well, I was going to say, you heard what [White House attorney] Jay Sekulow had to say about that. . .
EMANUEL: Democracy is a very fragile thing. We have seen in other countries, Turkey is a very good example of how someone can win an election and totally undermine democracy by taking down judicial independence, the press, and reelection.
I believe that Emanuel deserves the nickname “Death Panel Doc” because of his contention that no one should be allowed to live – or, perhaps more accurately, no one should expect or have the gall to want to live – after the age of 75 because it would adversely impact national health care costs, determined according to so-called global budgets, funded by the government. Almost two-thirds of the nation’s $3.2 trillion a year medical care costs are now paid for by the federal government.
Ezekiel Emanuel, M.D. in his office at the University of Pennsylvania
In a highly touted article titled “Why I Hope to Die at 75,” published in The Atlantic Monthly in October 2014, Emanuel, who is 60 or 61 but looks like he is fast closing in on 75, wrote “this manic desperation to endlessly extend life is misguided and potentially destructive.” A maximum lifespan of 75 years, he added, “forces each of us to ask whether our consumption is worth our contribution.” This, from a licensed medical doctor who presumably at some point may have taken the traditional, newly-minted doctors’ oath to “First do no harm.” In another irony, Emanuel is considered a leading bioethicist and is widely quoted as a reigning expert on medical ethics issues.
Emanuel goes on for over 5,100 words in the Atlantic Monthly article trying to make his case – for exactly what, one wonders after reading it. He doesn’t appear to advocate mass killings of everyone who reaches the age of 75 – including himself.
I’m neither asking for more time than is likely nor foreshortening my life. . . Nor am I talking about waking up one morning 18 years from now and ending my life through euthanasia or suicide. . . I am talking about how long I want to live and the kind and amount of health care I will consent to after 75.
So, without exactly spelling out his prescription for old age in the New Transformed America – that as a top advisor to President Obama he helped to usher in – the renowned bioethicist appears to be recommending in his lengthy screed no medical treatment for people older than 75 other than palliative or hospice care that would help to hasten or would not impede these unfortunate geriatrics on their road to a quick death.
Rationing on Steroids
In a number of his many other writings, Ezekiel has more clearly spelled out what he is advocating. It’s the “R” word, meaning in this case rationing of medical care and allocating limited health resources according to the criteria of age. In an article in The Lancet on January 31, 2009, when he was the head bioethicist at the National Institutes of Health, Ezekiel and two co-authors wrote:
Unlike allocation by sex or race, allocation by age is not invidious discrimination; every person lives through different life stages rather than being a single age. Even if 25-year-olds receive priority over 65-year-olds, everyone who is 65 years now was previously 25 years. Treating 65-yearolds differently because of stereotypes or falsehoods would be ageist; treating them differently because they have already had more life-years is not.
Commenting on Ezekiel’s writings in 2009, Wesley J. Smith wrote:
A lot of people are frightened that someone who thinks like Emanuel is at the center of an administration [Barack Obama’s] seeking to remake the entire health care system. Having read these two articles, I think there is very real cause for concern.
A question arises: what is of more concern here? That Emanuel is one of the nation’s leading medical philosophers and health care policy makers and was a key architect of Obamacare? Or that he is now opining for dollars on Fox News? In addition to having been an oncologist (of all things) and a prominent “bioethicist,” Emanuel’s other credentials are substantial, detailed in his 92-page curriculum vitae. Some highlights: Harvard M.D., M.Sc. in biochemistry from Oxford University before that, member of the Council on Foreign Relations, top advisor to the federal government at too many levels to mention, member of President Bill Clinton’s 1993 Health Care Task Force (Hillarycare), noted academician, etc., etc. Last but definitely not least, Dr. Emanuel is also the brother of Chicago Democrat Mayor Rahm Emanuel (and already legendary Hollywood supertar agent Ari Emanuel).
For decades, judging by the content of his C.V., Zeke Emanuel has been one of the nation’s leading physicians and most influential medical policy wonks. Much of the work in that arcane area has been conducted behind the scenes, behind closed doors, relatively distant from public view – and with a notable lack of transparency as in the Hillarycare days. Now, it appears that we will have the benefit of seeing Emanuel often on Fox News, where his convoluted ideas can directly reach a new audience of millions. The channel is well-known for frequently presenting its highly paid contributors, some would say ad nauseum, on all of its platforms (the Fox News channel, FoxNews.com, the Fox Business Channel, Fox News Radio, and others).
Enter Jessica Tarlov and Exit the Political Insiders
An additional rusty nail in the Fox News channel coffin, perhaps not quite as notable or obnoxious as Ezekiel’s ascent to on-camera prominence, is the ever expanding role of another left wing Fox News contributor, Jessica “Jessie” Tarlov, the most recent chapter of which was also observed on July 16. On that Sunday evening, Tarlov made another of her weekly appearances on the channel at 7:30 PM ET in a segment with RINO and never-Trumper Evan Siegfried that lasted a painfully long 15 minutes. Tarlov, easier on the eyes than Emanuel (but not on the ears), is a screechy voiced leftist well-versed in the art of talking heads/talking points banter that dominates cable TV news. Smile, wear short skirts, show a lot of shapely leg and thigh – you get the picture. In addition to being actress and celebrity Mollie Tarlov’s sister, Jessica Tarlov’s current claim to fame is that she’s the senior director of research at Bustle.com. Bustle is a lightweight infotainment site aimed at PC Millennials who are looking for quick takes, designed for viewing on smart phones, on trendy topics like hookups, celebrities, shopping, and pink hair.
Jessica Tarlov in her pre-makeover days before Fox News, 2014 Skyping in to Newsmax
Jessica Tarlov, Fox News Contributor 2017
The irony here – and it’s an especially painful one for this viewer who longs for the good old days of 2011-2016 to return – is that this very time slot – Sundays at 7:30 PM ET, during the second half hour of Fox Report Weekend with Harris Faulkner – was the home for five years (2011-2016) of the Fox News Political Insiders. Comprised of independent-minded traditionally liberal Democrats Patrick Caddell and Doug Schoen (curiously, Tarlov’s mentor after she returned to the country from the UK circa 2012 after getting a Ph.D. at the London School of Economics with a thesis about a UK political scandal), and Republican John LeBoutillier, the weekly Political Insiders segment was appointment viewing for political junkies who were tired of the same old same old.
The Fox News Political Insiders July 10, 2016
L. to R.: John LeBoutillier, Patrick Caddell, and Doug Schoen
The Insiders, in fact, offered consistently probing expert analysis based on real polling and their uncanny ability to accurately assess the mood of the country that was ready to upend the political establishment and elect someone like Donald Trump. For at least two years prior to the 2016 election, Caddell, Schoen, and LeBoutillier were anticipating, alone among TV pundits, that someone unexpected would emerge and potentially ride a new wave to an electoral victory.
The Insiders were riding high on FNC for five years. On Saturday and Sunday, July 23 and 24, 2016, they even enjoyed a one hour prime time special program that aired at least three times over two days. At the time I thought that it might be a try-out for a regularly scheduled program of their very own.
But right after the November 2016 election, the Insiders’ weekly FNC segment on Sunday evenings disappeared without explanation, as did the group’s weekly Monday morning podcast on FoxNews.com. The Political Insiders’ Twitter page is still online, but it has not been updated in over eight months. Schoen occasionally pops up in appearances on Fox News, while Caddell and LeBoutillier appear rarely on Fox News. (LeBoutillier is doing a regular political Internet audio podcast “Revolution_The Podcast” with Arlene Bynon, linked from his site Boot’s Blasts.)
As a longtime fan of the Fox News channel, Sundays – and the Fox News channel itself – just aren’t the same anymore.
Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran journalist who writes about national politics, media, popular culture, and health care. His new Web site is AltMedNews.net. His July 13, 2017 one-hour interview on the Hagmann Report can be watched here.