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Time for media to clarify the health care debate

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 09:42 AM
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Time for media to clarify the health care debate
Time for media to clarify the health care debate
August 07, 2009 8:28 am ET


Speaking about angry town hall attendees: Ignore them, too. A dozen people shouting at a town hall meeting -- even a dozen people shouting at each of a hundred town hall meetings -- just doesn't tell us anything meaningful about public opinion. It tells us that there are at least few thousand angry people, and that they're organized. We already know that.

Look: Sarah Palin drew big crowds last year -- and a lot of those people were angry. They yelled, they held up nasty signs, and they convinced a lot of the media there was some huge groundswell of opposition to Barack Obama. Then he went out and won North Carolina and Indiana.

Video of people yelling about health care may make for good television, but it makes for lousy journalism. It exaggerates the numbers and significance of the people who yell the loudest, whichever side they're on. (And this should go without saying, but a shaky cell-phone video that shows a half-dozen of the hundred people at a meeting, and that was provided by people who are trying to "artificially inflate" their numbers, is not a particularly reliable indication of what happened at that meeting.)

So, basically, there's no real value in reporting on polls or protests. How should news organizations cover health care reform?

Simple: Cover health care reform.

All those polls showing that people hold contradictory views and false -- or at least highly questionable -- beliefs about health care and efforts to reform it are a pretty good indication of what reporters should be doing: Reporting the truth, and doing it often. Giving people the facts about health care and about proposals to reform it.

When you see people yelling, "Keep your government hands off my Medicare," that's a pretty good indication that the public could use some solid facts. How many people do you think know that health care reform with a strong public option would cost taxpayers less than a plan without such an option? I would bet that a distressingly large number of members of Congress don't know that -- and that very, very few voters do.

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timeforpeace Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 10:48 AM
Response to Original message
1. Here's a crazy idea: let the sponsors and writers of the legislation do it instead!
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pansypoo53219 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 11:35 AM
Response to Original message
2. the gnews don't INFORM.
everything must be a left/right fight. inform? ae you kidding?
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