Bad Publicity Embarasses WalMart Into Making An Exception To Policy For Brain-Damaged Woman

The New York Times today has an article "
Injured Woman Wins Wal-Mart Saga

about the positive effect extensive blogosphere publicity has had in embarassing WalMart out of taking the money that a brain injured woman had won in court after she had been hit by an inadequately insured truck..

As most of us probably already know, WalMart had a clause in its insurance policy that is incresingly common in corporate healthcare policies, that gave them as the right to "subrogation". This means to sue to seize any lawsuit awards won by insurees to reimburse the corporation for money they had spent for her medical care.

This second award was larger than what she had actually ended up with, leaving her both brain damaged, seriously injured and in need of extremely expensive care, and in debt.

A week after she lost her second court case - the lawsuit with WalMart, her son was killed in Iraq.

This evidently made her case unique, and news worthy.

MSNBC personality Keith Olbermann, outraged at WalMart - took on her case as an example of Walmart's infamous greed. Over the weeks, Olberman repeatedly brought the story up. Finally in April, there was an announcement from WalMart. Olbermann had apparently succeeded in embarassing WalMart into making an exception to their policy in Shank's case.

Deborah Shank, who was a shelf stocker at WalMart who had purchased company insurance - and later was hit by a truck while she was an employee, but was 'insured'. Her coverage included the now infamous clause, which WalMart claims is to protect their assets so that they can be used to help 'current employees'. Obviously, after she suffered severe brain damage when her car was hit by a truck, she could no longer work at WalMart. After fighting a long fight to get the money from the trucking company, winning a fraction of what she needed, and then being sued, by WalMart, fighting WalMart for it and losing, will get to keep the money to pay for at least some of her medical care.

(She still requires 24 hour medical care and will for the rest of her life.)

"The tactic, apparently, is not unusual. Many health plans include a "subrogation" policy that allows the plan to recover costs if a covered worker ever receives damages in a settlement related to the injury."

After they won the case, WalMart issued this statement:

    "This is a very sad case and we understand that people will naturally have an emotional and sympathetic reaction. While the Shank case involves a tragic situation, the reality is that the health plan is required to protect its assets so that it can pay the future claims of other associates and their family members. These plans are funded by associate premiums and company contributions. Any money recovered is returned to the health plan, not to the business. This is done out of fairness to everyone who contributes to and benefits from the plan. The Supreme Court recently declined to hear an appeal of the case, which concludes all litigation. While Wal-Mart's benefit plan was entitled to more than the amount that remained in the Shank trust, the plan only recovered the funds remaining in that trust."

Evidently, now, after Mr. Olbermann's repeatedly holding them up publicly as morally wrong in this situation, and after fighting her family for the money in court for several years, and now winning, WalMart has now decided, that even if they are legally 'within their rights' to recover what is left of her money, since they won the judgement, that the bad publicity in this case is bad for business. They will let Deborah Shank keep the $216,000 that remains to apply towards her future medical expenses and will not seek restitution of the over $250,000 she has already spent.

There's more...

MSNBC Obama Propaganda Exposed

Caveat:  This diary will be mostly a cut and paste job.  I am acknowledging that fact up front, so please do not feel the need to reference this fact in the comment section.

Caveat No. 2:  This diary quotes extensively from an article in The New Republic.  Hopefully however, regardless of your feelings towards the publication, you will read the article with an open mind.

Dangerous Liaison
by Isaac Chotiner
The pro-Obama case against MSNBC's pro-Obama political coverage.

Two weeks ago, on the night of Barack Obama's big win and narrow loss in the North Carolina and Indiana primaries, respectively, I turned my television set to MSNBC, as I normally do on election nights. It was early in the evening, and Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann were discussing the first exit polls that were trickling in. Considering that the exit polls in these contests have been--to say the least--a bit unreliable, I assumed that they weren't going to put much stock in the numbers. Just two weeks earlier, I had watched MSNBC's coverage of the Pennsylvania primary, where an excited Matthews practically gave the state to Obama, only to acknowledge later that Clinton had easily won. Surely, Matthews and company were not going to make the same mistake again.

They didn't--but only because the exit polls, predicting a good night for Obama, happened to be right; the coverage itself was exactly the same. And this was only the latest example of the network's undeniable Obama favoritism. David Shuster's comment about the Clintons' "pimping out" their daughter, Chelsea, was clearly boneheaded, but, as Clinton campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson pointed out, it caused such a stir among Clintonites because it highlighted the rest of the network's anti-Hillary coverage. Now, that's not to say that their slant has been bad for business; to the contrary. And it has certainly made for some enjoyable television--Matthews is often supremely engaging (who, after all, does not enjoy watching someone exclaim that seeing Obama speak gives him a "thrill going up my leg"), and however withering he can be, Olbermann is frequently hilarious. But the network's coverage has helped create a bubble around Obama supporters that in the end is neither healthy nor desirable.


And even if you think (as I do) that the Clintons have made too big of a deal out of the "sexist" and "unfair" portrayal their candidate has received in the press, if you watch enough MSNBC, you realize that their claim isn't without truth. How could you believe otherwise when Olbermann, with his trademark hauteur, told Hillary that "voluntarily or inadvertently, you are still awash in this filth [of the campaign]," or when Matthews took such self-evident glee in trouncing Clinton in between the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary? Similarly now, by mocking Clinton's decision to stay in the race, Olbermann has only bolstered her argument that "the boys" are trying to push her out. And finally, on a number of primary nights, but most notably in Pennsylvania and Ohio/Texas, MSNBC has become so excited by early exit polls that it has raised expectations that Obama ultimately could not live up to.


I increasingly started watching the channel last year because of its political focus, and for the novelty of seeing outspoken liberals on television. How often does one hear a news anchor rant against the corruption of Bush's Washington, after all? As the campaign progressed, however, it became clear that neither Matthews nor Olbermann could stand Hillary Clinton. This, I must admit, I found appealing, too--especially because I agreed with the hosts that some of the Clinton campaign's tactics have been either ridiculous or dirty or both.

Still, a downside quickly surfaced. Shuster's "pimping" remark and Matthews's crude (even if somewhat accurate) comment about the Monica Lewinsky scandal being a boon for Hillary's political career were notable precisely because they had nothing to do with policy or ideology. It wasn't as if Shuster and Matthews and Olbermann were siding with Obama on the issue of individual mandates. Rather, by giving "the personal" precedence over "the political," the network was using Hillary Hatred to fuel its coverage in a similar fashion to how Fox News uses Democrat Hatred to excite its viewers. But there is a distinction here that makes MSNBC's agenda almost more disquieting than Fox's. With Fox, I have to believe that most people know they're watching something that approximates GOP talking points (seeing an analyst like Paul Begala spin for Hillary on CNN doesn't really stick, either; everyone knows he's an apparatchik). With MSNBC, however, the bias is much harder to pin down. Does it stem from a personal vendetta? Sexism? Corporate diktat? Who knows? (snip) Conservatives have ably chipped away at the press's credibility these past few years, with disturbing results; now--consciously or not--with their aggressive, intra-Democrat side-taking, MSNBC is doing the same thing.

Dangerously, too, MSNBC's coverage can lead to a perverse sort of cognitive dissonance in viewers like, well, me. Throughout the primary process, I often found myself much more bullish on the Illinois Senator's chances after watching MSNBC than I had any reason to be. After Obama's Iowa victory, for instance, I remember hearing Matthews' description of a giant "wave" of Obamamania sweeping across the nation; surely, the race was over. Likewise, during the month of February, when Obama won eleven straight primaries, I recall watching the network and occasionally convincing myself that Clinton was certain to drop out before Texas and Ohio because her chances had become so diminished. The problem here is that when supposedly "straight" news anchors phrase questions in leading ways, and report one campaign's spin as if it were fact, it distorts what is actually going on in the campaign--even for those of us who make a living obsessing over and writing about politics. And when anchormen themselves shill for Obama, the distinction between his talking points and the truth grows even blurrier still. So, as much as I find MSNBC entertaining, their creation of a parallel, pro-Obama universe is the type of thing I'd expect of Fox. That's when I know it's time to change the channel.

There's more...

Countdown: Special Comment on Hillary's RFK Reference

Hillary Clinton today:

My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary, somewhere in the middle of June, right?  We all remember, Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California, I don't understand it.

Hillary Clinton to Time Magazine, March 6:

Primary contests used to last a lot longer.  We all remember the great tragedy of Bobby Kennedy being assassinated in June in L.A.  My husband didn;t wrap up the nomination in 1992 until June, also in California...  We will see how it unfolds as we go forward over the next three to four months.

Hillary Clinton at a fundraiser, May 7:

Sometimes you gotta calm people down a little bit.  But if you look at successful presidential campaigns, my husband did not get the nomination until June of 1992.  I remember tragically when Senator Kennedy won California near the end of that process.

Hillary Clinton in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, May 7:

You know, I remember very well what happened in the California primary in 1968 as, you know, Senator Kennedy won that primary.

Olbermann's response to Clinton's "non-apology" today:

Not a word about the inappropriateness of referencing assassination.

Not a word about the inappropriateness of implying -- whether it was intended or not -- that she was hanging around waiting for somebody to try something terrible.

Not a word about Senator Obama.

Not a word about Senator McCain.

Not "I'm sorry."

Not "I apologize."

Not "I blew it."

Not "Please forgive me."

God knows, Senator, in this campaign, this nation has had to forgive you, early and often.  And despite your now traditional position of the offended victim, the nation has forgiven you.

We have forgiven you your insistence that there have been widespread calls for you to end your campaign, when such calls had been few.

We have forgiven you your misspeaking about Martin Luther King's relative importance to the Civil Rights movement.

We have forgiven you your misspeaking about your under-fire landing in Bosnia.

We have forgiven you insisting Michigan's vote wouldn't count and then claiming those who would not count it were undemocratic.

We have forgiven you pledging to not campaign in Florida and thus disenfranchise voters there, and then claim those who stuck to those rules were as wrong as those who defended slavery or denied women the vote.

We have forgiven you the photos of Osama Bin Laden in an anti-Obama ad.

We have forgiven you fawning over the fairness of Fox News while they were still calling you a murderer.

We have forgiven you accepting Richard Mellon Scaife's endorsement and then laughing as you described his "deathbed conversion."

We have forgiven you quoting the electoral predictions of Boss Karl Rove.

We have forgiven you the 3 AM Phone Call commercial.

We have forgiven you President Clinton's disparaging comparison of the Obama candidacy to Jesse Jackson's.

We have forgiven you Geraldine Ferraro's national radio interview suggesting Obama would not still be in the race had he been a white man.

We have forgiven you the dozen changing metrics and the endless self-contradictions of your insistence that your nomination is mathematically probable rather than a statistical impossibility.

We have forgiven you your declaration of some primary states as counting and some as not.

We have forgiven you exploiting Jeremiah Wright in front of the editorial board of the lunatic-fringe Pittsburgh Tribune Review.

We have forgiven you exploiting William Ayers in the debate on ABC.

We have forgiven you for boasting of your "support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans."

We have even forgiven you repeatedly praising Senator McCain at Senator Obama's expense, and your own expense, and the Democratic ticket's expense.

But Senator, we cannot forgive you this.

You got that right, friend.

There's more...

Keith the Silly Hypocrite.

Cross posted at Orange Camp Obama

How many times can you repeat the word assassination, Keith? Why don't you lend this meme more energy in the media--and in the mass consciousness?

In this article ifestyle/chi-fempower-0518may18,0,433371 4.column the author listed all the death imagery in the MSM about Hillary. You're referenced in the article, Keith, as having said you hope "somebody will take her into a room--and only he comes out." Interesting, our dear hypocrite, no?

Did you watch the whole interview, Keith? It was a long DRONE on policy, and for the older ones of us, RFK's tragedy was specifically June 68. (As MLK's was in April). And she referenced June re Bill and that other CA primary--and now you ride it. Yes, it was a thoughtless reference but clearly, if you watched the interview, was not of malicious intent.

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Special Comment - Clinton, Tonight

Keith Olbermann will do a special comment on Senator Clinton tonight after her major gaffe involving the assassination of Robert Francis Kennedy.

I'm on the fence but I thought I'd throw a heads up.

There's more...


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