If It Bleeds, It Leads (part 2)

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

That was the journalism meme; “if it bleeds, it leads”.  It was all about sensationalism, nothing more, nothing less.  Well, in America, there is a sensational story; the crisis that is health care.

Is it being covered?  How is it being covered?  And how is corporate media treating this national crisis?

(Part 1 is here)

The Boston Globe wrote on Page 1:

Health costs to rise again

Insurers to boost rates about 10%; Shift of expenses to workers likely

The state’s major health insurers plan to raise premiums by about 10 percent next year, prompting many employers to reduce benefits and shift additional costs to workers.

Increases will range from 7 to 12 percent, capping a decade of consecutive double-digit premium increases, according to a Globe survey of the state’s top health insurers. Actual rates for 2010 will depend on the size of the employer and the type of coverage, with small businesses and individuals expected to be hit hardest. Overall, premiums are more than twice as high as they were 10 years ago.

The higher insurance costs undermine a key tenet of the state’s landmark health care law passed two years ago, as well as President Obama’s effort to overhaul health care. In addition to mandating insurance for most residents, the Massachusetts bill sought to rein in health care costs. With Washington looking to the Massachusetts experience, fears about higher costs have become a stumbling block to passing a national health care bill.

“It’s all about medical costs going up,” said Brian Pagliaro, senior vice president at Tufts Health Plan in Watertown, which predicts an average increase of 9.5 percent for 2010. “The dollar you’re paying now will be $1.09 for the same service next year.”

Amazingly, that is all the Boston Globe did; report the story.  The opinion pages?  Not a mention of the increase in premiums that will affect the people of the state.

How about that liberal L.A. Times?  The top story:

Obama takes heat from other side of immigrant healthcare debate

Reporting from Washington –  Trying to quell a conservative uproar over his healthcare agenda, President Obama has proposed barring illegal immigrants from a possible government-arranged health insurance marketplace — even if the immigrants pay with their own money.

The move has surprised some of Obama’s fellow Democrats and infuriated immigrant advocates, who on Tuesday attacked the position as political pandering and bad policy.

The White House revealed its stance Friday, after a renewed debate over illegal immigration that was triggered when Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) heckled Obama on the issue during the president’s televised address to Congress.

Wilson yelled out, “You lie!” when Obama said that illegal immigrants would receive no benefit from his healthcare proposals.

But some on the political left say that the White House — wary of more damaging battles with the right — has given in to Wilson and other conservatives.

The L.A. Times turns health care into a “he said/she said” story of mudslinging.  The opinion pages?  Well, it isn’t very pretty to start, but, gets better over time.  

Nothing on the front page of the New York Times about health care, but, Maureen Dowd sure wanted to discuss Rep. Wilson.

How bad is it when Rolling Stone magazine, and Matt Taibbi, do one of the hardest hitting pieces of journalism concerning health care?

America’s disastrous health care system is responsible for incalculable amounts of illness, death, lost productivity and federal deficit – not to mention anxiety, anger and disgrace. And it’s not going to get fixed, writes Matt Taibbi in the new issue of Rolling Stone, because it’s encased in another failed system: the U.S. government. Rather than attempt to remedy the problem this summer, our government sat down and demonstrated its dizzying ineptitude. “We might look back on this summer someday and think of it as the moment when our government lost us for good,” writes Taibbi. “It was that bad.”

Taibbi breaks down the five steps Congress took to be sure no bill would pass – aiming low, gutting the public option, packing it with loopholes, providing no leadership and blowing the math – in his story, which is available on stands now. In a series of video interviews for RollingStone.com, Taibbi explores one of our system’s most severe flaws, explains how the government wedged itself into an awkwardly damning position, and looks at how the proposed bill would change the ordinary American’s life.

It would be rhetorical to ask how a media that failed the people so utterly before the invasion of Iraq can be so uninterested in its reporting on the crisis that is our national health care.  It is rhetorical because the answer is obvious: the corporate owners wish it that way.

Who remembers when Rupert Murdoch bought the Wall Street Journal and pledged, promised, that he would not touch the editorial staff?  Who still reads the opinion page of the WSJ after Murdoch took control?  Anyone under 65?  Anyone who doesn’t watch Fox News?

Who remembers when George W. Bush was running for re-election in 2004 that the story about his National Guard service was off-limits?  And, who remembers when Dan Rather decided to go with a story he had on it?

CBS News anchor Dan Rather apologized yesterday for a “mistake in judgment” in relying on apparently bogus documents for a “60 Minutes” report charging that President Bush received favorable treatment in the National Guard, ending a nearly two-week-long defense of the network’s journalistic conduct that media analysts say has badly hurt its credibility.

CBS also acknowledged for the first time that its source was retired Texas National Guard official Bill Burkett, who Rather said in an interview had “misled” and “lied to” the network in describing how he obtained the purported 30-year-old memos said to have been signed by Bush’s late squadron commander.

That one story ended Dan Rather’s career.  Yet, at the time, only Dan Rather wanted to pursue that story.  A conspiracy theorist might even think that Rather was fed bogus documents just to discredit him, because frankly, he was the only real journalist left and the only one interested in a story that could have damaged Bush’s re-election.

Where, today, are the Walter Cronkite’s, the Edward Murrow’s, the Dan Rather’s that we remember?  I watch Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, but, they simply aren’t in the same league as those I mentioned.  Why?  The answer is ideology.

Being right doesn’t mean being non-partisan.  And let’s face it, all three journalists I mentioned were non-partisan reporters who reported the facts, told us the truth, and we could depend them to give it to us without worrying about a political slant.  It is that very reason that Walter Cronkite was voted the “most trusted man in America.”

Today, we get partisan talk shows, with partisan talk show hosts/hostess’s.  Whether or not they report the truth, we understand that this news is given to us by a partisan.  That is why we rely on the other media, newspapers and news organizations, to give us the facts without filter.  But, that media, too, was infiltrated.

It was infiltrated for the very fact that they were non-partisan, and thus, “trusted” by the public.  By the time that the public figured this out, it was too late.  We had already invaded Iraq, we had already re-elected George W. Bush, and, the damage that the Republican’s did to our country was complete.  Newspapers could no longer influence the elections, as we saw in 2006 and 2008.

Democrat’s won the House and Senate.  When the majorities were not enough, Democrat’s were voted overwhelming majorities and handed the keys to the White House.

So, what went wrong?

How can the majority of the public be in favor of health care reform with a public option, yet, our government work to kill that option?

How can a President campaign on the promise to bring health care reform with a public option, then, dump it so quickly?


    • Heather on September 20, 2009 at 16:21

    It has been squeezed into something that creates less harm to the Uniquely American Insurance Industry.  

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