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SENTRY JOURNAL » Avastin, Bill Clinton, Eric Cantor, George H.W. Bush, george w. bush, homelessness, National Institutes of Health, NIH, pharmaceutical companies, Roche Holding, Ronald Reagan, Washington Post » The New Front

The New Front

by RightHandMan

I remember being a young man and reading a chapter in Bernard Goldberg’s ground breaking book “Bias” called “How Bill Clinton Cured Homelessness”. The chapter showed how reporters for the major news networks purposely reported the homeless problem in America during the years when America had a republican president and then instantly stopped during the Clinton years. For instance, in 1990 when Bush was in office there were 71 stories done on the homeless on the four major news networks. In 1995, under Clinton, there were nine. During the Reagan years the number of homeless reported on these networks was outrageously exaggerated. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated 230,000 homeless. Those numbers didn’t stop CNN’s Candy Crowley to report 3 million, or NBC’s Jackie Nespral from reporting 5 million.

The point of the chapter (and the rest of the book) was to point out how the media can and does pick stories and “facts” in order to shape the topics for debate or to form opinions. Clinton didn’t end homelessness in America or even do much to improve the numbers just as Reagan didn’t do anything to create homelessness. That didn’t stop the media from creating the foundations to support such arguments.

Fast forward to today. The GOP has won big in the House and has taken back a good bit of the Senate. State legislatures and governors’ mansions are being filled with men and women who have an (R ) next to their name. None of these individuals have actually taken office yet but the Washington Post is already reporting their calamities.

The Washington Post decided to run a story regarding cuts the GOP has discussed and the devastation that they will cause the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and their drug research funding. According to Rep. Eric Cantor the GOP is going to try and make a $1.3 billion cut to the NIH’s $30.8 billion annual budget. The director of the NIH claims that this will be “very devastating” and demoralize drug companies from developing new drugs. The story goes so far as to name various NIH-funded research led drugs that may have fallen victim to such cuts had the cuts come earlier. Among these drugs was Avastin by Roche Holding.

People, this is laughable! In August The Washington Post ran a story on Avastin. The story was about the FDA’s consideration on revoking approval of Avastin for breast cancer. Why would the FDA consider revoking the drug? Is it because it doesn’t work? Is it because of the side effects? Is it because people don’t want it? No…it’s because it is too expensive.

Avastin is the best-selling cancer drug on the market, with global sales of $5.8 billion; making it the top selling product for Roche Holding – the potential victim had their NIH research funding been cut off. The drug is expensive (around $8,000/month), but people are buying it more than anything else. Why are people buying it? Because it is a drug that can potentially prolong life. Leave it to this government to tell individuals that they can’t buy a drug because they feel the effects don’t warrant the cost.

Since when did The Washington Post start aligning with poor pharmaceutical companies? In 2001 the Washington Post was demonizing the drug companies for making too much profit and spending more money on advertisement than they did research and development (R&D). They went so far as to say, “Far from being an exemplar of the free market, the pharmaceutical industry enjoys many government protections and subsidies. In addition to benefiting from publicly funded research, drug companies have low tax rates, because they can deduct their marketing expenses as well as their research and development costs.”

This is absurd. On one hand we have these poor deprived pharmaceutical companies who won’t be able to fund research for new drugs if the GOP cuts their public funding, and on the other hand we have evil corporations who take advantage of public subsidies and turn them into huge profits. Which is it? Well, that depends on who is in power.

The hinge to this swaying door is power and it only opens to fear. The fear has traditionally been that of cost. The left has always attempted to align the pharmaceutical companies with the GOP and imply that the GOP creates an environment for high profits in exchange for campaign funding. There is some truth to this – except that it is hardly partisan.

The new fear campaign is so boldly contrary to liberal canon that one must question the motivation. The idea that liberals would openly come to the defense of pharmaceutical companies is unheard of, but it makes sense given the climate.

Who cares how much drugs are? The democrats have already taken care of that. Individuals won’t be buying drugs, the government will. With price being of no concern, availability becomes paramount. Who would cap availability? Those evil republicans who want to stop funding health care. See where this is going?

Just three weeks after George W. Bush took office ABC and CNN started reporting the rise in homelessness. Only a week after this election the media has already started a new political theme. This isn’t going to stop, it is only the beginning. Welcome to your new battlefield. Every time the GOP opposes any funding for the health care bill, a primary goal for the new House, we are going to have stories printed that equate fiscal stances with anti-health stances.

It is vital that we continue to focus on the fiscal issues and combat this new hypocrisy. A new theme is coming to Washington and the left knows it. They will do everything they can to form the debate where we are playing defense. Times have changed in the media. The American people have the ability to form the arguments now. We must take a firm offensive stand on this issue without waver. If we fault on any front we will lose.


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Filed under: Avastin, Bill Clinton, Eric Cantor, George H.W. Bush, george w. bush, homelessness, National Institutes of Health, NIH, pharmaceutical companies, Roche Holding, Ronald Reagan, Washington Post

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