NBC & Meet the Press: Don't Air Rick Scott's Phony "Documentary"

This Sunday, following Meet the Press, a 30-minute advertisement attacking health care reform is set to air on NBC in Washington, DC. The ad is by former hospital CEO Rick Scott and his group "Conservatives for Patients' Rights."

Rick Scott has a track record of deceit. Scott's previous ads contained blatantly false statements and misleading excerpts of interviews with health care professionals. Join us in telling NBC not to run this phony "documentary" this Sunday.

If Scott's 30-minute "documentary" contains any falsehoods, NBC could very well find themselves with an FCC violation. Furthermore, Meet the Press needs to know that they're being used by Rick Scott, and will be tarnished by his swiftboating.

Below is Mr. Rick Scott's previous advertisement, which is likely to be included in Sunday's 30-minute fake "documentary" advertisement against health care reform:

Below is a quick fact-check from Media Matters Action Network:

Below are the reasons we are asking for this ad to be taken down:Your news network is scheduled to run a thirty-minute "documentary" advertisement sponsored by Conservatives for Patients' Rights which based on previous advertisements will be demonstrably false and maliciously mislead viewers with its statements and edited video content.  Based on excerpts from their website, potential significant errors and falsehoods make this ad unfit to air.  In the public interest, you should closely review the ad and cease plans on airing it immediately.  

SEIU calls your attention to just two of the major falsities likely to appear in this advertisement, outlined in greater detail in the attached document, are:

  • Rick Scott will likely continue to mislead viewers about the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research, a newly-created entity by the economic recovery package signed into law by President Obama in February. Mr. Scott will likely make a specific claim: "not only could a government board deny your choice in doctors, but it can control life and death for some patients." This statement is demonstrably false. In reality, the powers of this so-called "government board" are clearly defined and cannot do what Mr. Scott claims. The statutory authority of the Council specifically excludes the power "to mandate coverage, reimbursement, or other policies for any public or private payer." It is worth noting that even under President Bush, the National Institutes of Health already had an annual budget of $355 million to conduct precisely this type of research. Plainly, this has not led to the sort of catastrophic consequences in America that Mr. Scott warns against.
  • The advertisement will likely deceive viewers by blatantly misrepresenting the positions of two physicians. While the advertisement paints both as opponents of any role for government in health care reform, in reality, just the opposite is true. Both physicians are in fact supporters of universal health care. What they are opposed to is the U.S. ‘two-tiered' system that already rations health care based on the ability to pay. In fact, Mr. Scott misrepresented Dr. Day's comments, and Dr. Day openly mocked the ineffectiveness of the U.S. health care system. What Dr. Day is opposed to is Canada's outdated funding model, not Canada's healthcare system. Dr. Day actually advocates reform of the funding structure to preserve Canada's healthcare system, not dismantle it.
We're not the only organization that has raised serious questions about Rick Scott and CPR's credibility.  The highly-respected website www.factcheck.org, run by the non-partisan Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, has labeled CPR's prior advertisement as "very misleading."

CPR's weak rebuttal to these criticisms should give NBC even greater pause before airing its latest iteration of these advertisements.  Essentially, it concedes that it is painting a scenario that has not been proposed by President Obama and Democratic Congressional leaders and, indeed, Factcheck.org labeled CPR's response as "nonsense."

Based on Conservatives for Patient Rights record, this 30-minute fake "documentary" will be false, deceitful, and a distortion. We request that you cease plans to air it on Sunday, May 31st.