Mahar: media spreading misinformation about health care reform

Journalist Maggie Mahar blogs:

“I fear that the way the media has been reporting on reform has played a significant role in shaping the public’s perception of both the president and what some like to call “ObamaCare,” personalizing the issue, as if reform were merely the president’s favorite hobby-horse.

Begin with coverage of health care reform. In recent weeks, Media Matters has done an excellent job of tracking how “the media continues to spread conservative misinformation on health care reform.” Here are just a few examples:

? “Despite clear progress, media declare health care reform nearing “life support”

? “On health care reform, networks highlight perceived setbacks far more than progress” July 22

? “Politico ignores contradictions in calls by “moderates” for lower costs, limits on public plan” July 20

? “CBS’ Smith advanced falsehood that Dems are taxing small businesses to fund health bill” July 19

? “NY Times ignores House health bill’s exemption protecting small businesses”

? “Wash. Post column cites inapplicable CBO assessment to claim public plan option has ‘huge cost, minor benefit'” July 07

? “ joins Republican fear-mongering about Canadian-style health care” July 07

And here I’m not even including the over-the-top distortions of the truth that have become regular fare on Fox News, and in the pages of some decidedly conservative newspapers.”

There’s much more on her blog.

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JR Minkel

July 30, 2009 at 6:02 pm

Having just read Lakoff’s “don’t think of an elephant!”, I’m inclined to read the above as evidence of health journalists not having articulated the ethical frame for the policies they endorse, hence utter confusion. My advice to them all: take six months off. Start fresh.

Raymond Foulkes

August 1, 2009 at 8:03 pm

I travel to the USA at least once a year on business and i have always been struck by the lack of vital information in the media, If you want to get a clear and unbiassed view of what is going on in American politics you should come over her (to England) and watch the BBC news, Panorama, Hard Talk, Horrizon and other documentaries and debates. It seems that the American Government wants to keep its citizens in the dark as much as possible!

Madeleine McBride

August 25, 2009 at 5:42 pm

Part of the reason that US news services do not report the REAL news is because they are departments within the Entertainment Division of their companies. As such, they must be aware of the risk of losing advertiser support. Who are the advertisers? Many are large health insurance companies who don’t want to dilute their 400% profit margin by having government-run health care.
Hopefully, our elected representatives will realize that the American people elected Obama largely due to his stance on publicly provided health care. And hopefully, our voting population will use their power (write to your congressional leaders!) to inform the elected leaders of what we really want.
The fear of public health care which exists in this country is the simple result of the fact that so, so many of our citizenry have never ventured outside the U.S. They are unaware that medical care in every other first world country in the world is superb and government sponsored.