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Greta Van Susteren Shows Her Bias With The Lawsuits Over Health Care Reform

Reported by Ellen - April 9, 2010 -

Despite what Rupert Murdoch said recently, that Greta Van Susteren is “close to the Democratic Party” but “doesn't do many political stories,” Van Susteren has spent nearly every night covering the Attorneys General of various states who are suing or who plan to sue the federal government over the just-passed health care reform legislation. Wednesday night (4/7/10), Van Susteren had on Missouri’s Republican Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder who is suing without the aid of the state’s Attorney General. Predictably, Van Susteren was quiet and unchallenging of Kinder. That was quite a contrast to her argumentative stance with Democratic Governor Ed Rendell whose Attorney General is suing against Rendell's wishes. With video.

Van Susteren politely waited as Kinder enumerated his objections to the law and why he wants to sue. Her only challenge to Kinder was to ask whether he had the authority to sue on his own.

Although I have seen her tentatively raise the issue with other guests, Van Susteren did not mention how unlikely these lawsuits are to be successful and that some experts think them a waste of time and taxpayer dollars (as Rendell later said). And her mild, previous challenges paled in comparison to the enthusiasm with which she took on Rendell.

Even Van Susteren’s introduction to Rendell was biased. “Check out Pennsylvania!” she gushed, as she explained that that state’s Attorney General had “jumped into the lawsuit” which was “not sitting well” with Rendell. Once again, she failed to mention that the suits have little chance of success and take up time and resources of the states that could go to more productive uses.

Rendell, who is a savvy Fox News guest, did bring it up. “It’s a waste of time,” Rendell said, and cited Ronald Reagan’s solicitor general who, Rendell said, called the lawsuits “absurd.” Actually, the man in question, Charles Fried said, “One is left speechless by the absurdity of it… Anybody who proposes something like this is either ignorant I mean, deeply ignorant or just grandstanding in a preposterous way.”

“This is a lawsuit that has no foundation. It’s a total waste of the taxpayer’s money,” Rendell said, before adding that he thought it was backfiring and noted that Republicans in Congress were now talking about amending the bill not repealing it.

But as Rendell listed some of the immediate benefits in the bill, and asked, “Why would you want to void that bill?” Van Susteren decided she needed to “balance” Rendell in a way she never did with Kinder.

“Most people want health care reform,” Van Susteren said. “I think that the people who don’t like this particular bill just want it to be done a different way and perhaps make different provisions… I think a lot of people were dissatisfied that their representatives were voting perhaps according to their conscience but not necessarily the way that the people wanted them to vote.”

The discussion got somewhat heated after that, with Van Susteren saying about Democrats who voted for the bill, “Sometimes you can take it a little bit extreme and people think that you’re arrogant and not listening and I think the best example probably is what happened in Massachusetts. Because I don’t think that the people… necessarily felt they were being listened.”

Van Susteren took it a step further by defending the AGs' legal positions for them with Rendell. Then, after Rendell again called the suits a waste of time, she argued that since there would not be any witnesses, only legal briefs, that would not be the case. “Does it hurt the State of Pennsylvania to be included in that process?” She was obviously suggesting that it would not.

But Rendell said it would because two or three staff members would be required to monitor all the filings in the suit and to strategize as it moved along. Rendell added that the AG would be “taking attorneys’ time that could be used on other things that are far more important to the taxpayers and the citizens of Pennsylvania.”

Van Susteren ended the inteview agreeably, asking Rendell to return to discuss the matter and added that she liked "sparring" with him.