Archive for the ‘health’ Category
Media Matters has posted a very interesting report that once again illustrates just how laughable the Fox News slogan “Fair and Balanced” really is. It seems the network’s Washington managing editor, Bill Sammon, sent around a memo instructing his staff not to the use the phrase “public option” because it was testing too well.
Instead, Sammon wrote, Fox’s reporters should use “government option” and similar phrases — wording that a top Republican pollster had recommended in order to turn public opinion against the Democrats’ reform efforts.
Journalists on the network’s flagship news program, Special Report with Bret Baier, appear to have followed Sammon’s directive in reporting on health care reform that evening.
Sources familiar with the situation in Fox’s Washington bureau have told Media Matters that Sammon uses his position as managing editor to “slant” Fox’s supposedly neutral news coverage to the right. Sammon’s “government option” email is the clearest evidence yet that Sammon is aggressively pushing Fox’s reporting to the right — in this case by issuing written orders to his staff.
Go read the whole report. It’s really very interesting – if not very surprising for those of us who have been casual viewers of Fox News for the past decade, or so. This kind of leak is helpful, however, because it provides empirical evidence straight from the Conservative horse’s mouth.
The report also confirms the popularity of the public option, and how it’s widespread positive polling had Conservatives running scared. Republican pollster Frank Luntz actually scolded Sean Hannity for using the term “public option.” He ordered Hannity to instead call it the “government option.”
Luntz argued that “if you call it a ‘public option,’ the American people are split,” but that “if you call it the ‘government option,’ the public is overwhelmingly against it.” Luntz explained that the program would be “sponsored by the government” and falsely claimed that it would also be “paid for by the government.”
“You know what,” Hannity replied, “it’s a great point, and from now on, I’m going to call it the government option.”
Of course, because Obama chose not to fight for the public option, Conservatives have since been able to frame the narrative as the public having “rejected” the public option. That simply isn’t the case. In fact, poll after poll after poll showed that a majority of the American people supported including a public option in the final health care bill.
That’s the danger of having a propaganda network like Fox News. This memo shows how the staff works to shape a Conservative narrative that they package as “What The American People Think.” Then Conservatives on the hill nod to Fox News as evidence that a Conservative agenda is What The American People Want, and that of course bolsters the whole fictional “America is a center-right country” bullshit fantasy Pat Buchanan jerks off to every evening.
Here’s a little mental exercise you can play at home: Imagine if Fox News got a hold of an MSNBC memo like this in which a network head was instructing his staff to refer to the Deficit Commission as the “Catfood Commission.” Can you imagine how fast Neil Cavuto or Megyn Kelly would rupture a lung screaming about the “liberal agenda?”
Back during the healthcare debate, certain Republicans claimed we didn’t need reform because when the existing healthcare system failed, private charity organizations would magically step in to fill the void.
Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) told an uninsured woman with growing tumors that she should seek “existing government programs” or find charity.
CHURCHILL: I have a very close relative, a woman in her early forties, who did have a wonderful, high-paying job, owns her own home and is a real contributing member of society. She lost her job. Just a couple of weeks ago, she found out that she has tumors in her belly and that she needs an operation. Her doctors told her that they are growing and that she needs to get this operation quickly. She has no insurance. [...]
CANTOR: First of all I guess I would ask what the situation is in terms of income eligibility and the existing programs that are out there. Because if we look at the uninsured that are out there right now, there is probably 23, 24% of the uninsured that is already eligible for an existing government program[...] Beyond that, I know that there are programs, there are charitable organizations, there are hospitals here who do provide charity care if there’s an instance of indigency and the individual is not eligible for existing programs that there can be some cooperative effort. No one in this country, given who we are, should be sitting without an option to be addressed.
Frum Forum’s Andrew Pavelyev also advocated the private charity approach, though he acknowledged the “let them beg” model of handling sick people might lose the GOP some support.
This was how the right put a pleasant face on the movement to abandon sick people. Yes, Cantor was just regurgitating the same “public, bad, private, good!” mantra dribbling from the Republicans since Reagan, but by tacking on “charity” to the end of his abandonment plan, Cantor was able to shield himself in a cloak of altruism…if only for a little while…at least until people noticed his plan was ultimately, “Hope a nice person takes pity upon you, and can heal tumors. Thanks for the tax money!”
Listen to the interviews here.
Citizen Radio interviews Congressman Alan Grayson about standing up to Republicans (including describing the GOP healthcare plan as “Don’t get sick, and if you do, die quickly,”) Wall Street, party opposition – even from his fellow Democrats, and what makes him happy.
Next, blogger Marcy Wheeler AKA Emptywheel talks about the
role of bloggers, and her groundbreaking article on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed that forced the establishment press to acknowledge the important roles bloggers can play in journalism.
Marcy, along with many other excellent bloggers, writes at Firedoglake, so check out that site.
W. Kamau Bell returns with his segment “I’m Sorry, Black People” in which he highlights yet another injustice inflicted upon black people. This week’s subject is Shirley Sherrod.
Washington has repeatedly demonstrated its inability to cope with more than one big issue at a time. As a result, the broken healthcare system is in danger of slipping off the radar even though millions of Americans still suffer the terrible fate of the un- and underinsured.
Lindsey Graham demonstrated the epic freakout disguised as political calculation that has become the standard response of politicians asked to cope with more than one issue at a time. Climate change and immigration? Cut to: Little Lindsey, storming home with his Tonka truck.
In the midst of the meshugas surrounding Arizona’s fascist anti-immigration bill, and the teabagger rallies, healthcare reform is already being depicted as a done deal – something that is part of the nation’s collective past. Yet, the reform was never presented as an instant panacea to Americans’ suffering. Most of the major reform won’t kick in until 2014, and in the meantime, the masses continue to suffer.
A free health clinic opened its doors today to thousands of patients clamoring for dental, vision and medical care.
The Los Angeles Sports Arena has been transformed into a health clinic that will run through May 3, with its floor lined with more than 100 dentist chairs and 40 medical examination areas to treat patients.
Patients registered in advance to see doctors at the event, which is being run by the Tennessee-based nonprofit group Remote Area Medical. The clinic expects to serve about 1,200 patients a day.
Harold Pollack went out on a limb, and unfortunately fell off the edge, when he suggested that healthcare reform was the “best-covered news story, ever.” Not even Pollack himself seems to really believe that premise as he peppers caveats throughout the article, and ultimately cites a few genuine examples of good journalism that occurred during healthcare reform. Ultimately, however, Pollack only manages to convince that citizens may have been able to hunt down some good nuggets of genuine journalism…if they knew where to look…which most citizens didn’t.
Right out the gate, Pollack attempts to amend his thesis.
It’s certainly easy to find examples of shoddy journalism and public ignorance to bolster this charge. Every night, one could watch cable TV screamers trafficking in untruths about death panels, or commentators offering with certitude political predictions that (a) were generally wrong and (b) generally detracted from discussing the actual substance of a hugely important piece of legislation.
Pollack cites the Wall Street Journal (circulation 2 million), Fox News (the highest rated basic cable channel in primetime), and Investor’s Business Daily (circulation 210,000) as a few examples of the “bad journalism” which peddled the worst kinds of healthcare miseducation nonsense. He’s absolutely correct that these forums engaged in shoddy journalism, but their low-quality gutter-dredging techniques successfully brainwashed millions of readers and viewers. That’s a big “FAIL” for the state of journalism right there. The worst journalmalism reached the most people.
Charles Blow points out the obvious. The Tea Party is home to a dwindling demographic: the white, Evangelical Christian, who is “less educated … than the average Joe and Jane Six-Pack” according to a Quinnipiac University poll released this week.
As Blow points out, these voters are anachronistic to the country’s demographics.
the country is becoming more diverse (some demographers believe that 2010 could be the first year that most children born in the country will be nonwhite), less doctrinally dogmatic, and college enrollment is through the roof. The Tea Party, my friends, is not the future.
So whenever a teabagger screeches that they want “their country back,” what they mean to say is they want the country to be an Aryan nation.
The most frequent dissent I received in response to my post about Tea Party bigotry is that racist teabaggers are a small part of the Republican Party, and they do not represent the party at large.
But there has been a shocking lack of condemnation on the part of Republican leadership in the wake of these vicious and bigoted attacks on Democratic lawmakers. Not only has there been a lack of castigation, but in some cases, Republican leadership have encouraged this emotive climate.
Color of Change called upon Republican leadership to stop inciting and supporting hate, citing that the RNC endorsed the rallies in which teabaggers carried signs that announced “Obama’s Plan: White Slavery,” “The American Taxpayers are the Jews for Obama’s Oven,” and “Guns Tomorrow.”
When reports of the signs surfaced, Michael Steele did nothing to distance his party from the fear-mongering. In fact, he embraced the radicals by saying he’d be “out there with the tea partiers” if — ya’ know — he wasn’t already chairman of the RNC.
Color of Change adds that Republican governors — far from denouncing their radical fringe — wanted to instead plan a “Tea Party 2.0.”
This behavior escalated over the summer.
In honor of the vote on healthcare reform, I think it’s a good idea to keep some perspective and remember what the Republican obstructionists and some of their lovely anti-choice Democrat friends will be voting against today.
I wrote about the blatant hypocrisy of the anti-choice crowd yesterday, and how — if they were truly serious about protecting the sanctity of life — they would be the first bloc voting for reform.
Millions of children are uninsured, or under-insured in this country. Additionally, many single women opt for abortions simply because the average price tag of delivering a baby (that is delivery only, and not adding in the cost of raising a child) is $25,000.
Now, a new report from Amnesty International notes that nearly two women die every day from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth, and sadly, many of these deaths could have been prevented.
Opponents of a woman’s right to choose — let’s call them Stupakites — claim they scream at a clinic-bound, terrified teenage rape victim for the sake of her fertilized egg. They’re cellular sentinels, so to speak.
But if these embryo enthusiasts were really serious about saving the children, they should be the loudest cheerleaders for healthcare reform. The US is currently experiencing an uninsured and under-insured epidemic affecting millions of children.
struggling with a projected $2.6 billion budget shortfall, took the drastic step of scrapping its Children’s Health Insurance Program. That left nearly 47,000 low-income children with no coverage at all. Gov. Jan Brewer is also calling for an increase in the sales tax. She said, “Arizona is navigating its way through the largest state budget deficit in its long history.”
One fourth of the adult and children population of California have no access to insurance.
UCLA Researchers also found that among the population over 18 nearly one third had no insurance for part or whole of 2009. When all adults and children under the age of 65 were taken into consideration 24.3% were found to have no insurance or whole or art of 2009.
The trend continues in Pennsylvania, Oregon, and so on. These children are being left behind, and yet Republican obstructionists, and certain Catholic Democratic allies, couldn’t seem to care less about these grown-up fetuses.
It’s easy to get swept up in the stupid meaninglessness of a public event like Obama’s healthcare summit and lose perspective of what’s really at stake in all of this reform business. The media is more preoccupied with who is “winning” or “losing” this particular PR stunt without taking time to discuss the real matters of life and death.
Back in September, I asked Trudy Lieberman, a veteran healthcare journalist, to grade the media’s performance in explaining reform to the American people.
The horse race coverage of the healthcare reform debate does not impress Lieberman. The “Who’s up; who’s down? Who’s winning today? Does Pelosi have the votes? What’s going to be the game-changer? What should Baucus do because he can’t get the votes out of his committee? That chatter doesn’t inform citizens, she says. “That kind of coverage certainly wouldn’t rate very high — probably C-, but I tend to be a very tough grader.”
Nothing has changed since then. Sticking with the horse race theme, the media has covered the summit in terms of who’s “winning” and who’s “losing.” Dylan Ratigan played with marionette puppets. It was a strange time. (The Daily Show lampoons the media’s coverage of the summit here, starting at around 9:10).