More musings on the politics of health care reform: Why are the mass media afraid of single payer?

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FAIR is a media watchdog, that, as described in its website, “has been has been offering well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986.”

Writers and researchers at FAIR “work to invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity in the press and by scrutinizing media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints.”

So, have you noticed any topic that has lately been marginalized in the major media, including, yet not limited to, ABC, MSNBC, and no other than the (liberal) New York Times?

Yep. You guessed it. Single payer! Times reporter David Leonhardt is  a real genius when it comes to ignoring single payer (have I said this before?). Maybe he hopes that just by ignoring it it will simply go away?

So once again, Leonhardt managed to take up one half (yes! ONE HALF!) of the front page of the Business section of the Wednesday July 29 edition of the Times to discuss the rising costs of health care and the likely failure of any legislature that fails to achieve cost control without even considering that single payer might just be the strategy we need to control costs without reducing services, or raising taxes. Yes! David even even mentioned the  T word several times! But not the S word. Isn’t he a genius? And you know what? He even sounds “academic”!

David, David, is it really that hard to liberate yourself from the intellectual (or economic?) grip of your boss? Could you not just consider that rather than worrying about how to raise those billions of dollars to pay the ridiculous, exorbitant prices we pay we might want to look at the obvious alternative, attack the source of high prices in the first place? Yes, David, Europeans do it, Canadians do it, even Taiwanese do it. Let’s do it!

My apologies. I digress. Anyway, at the FAIR Blog, Isabel Macdonald writes about an “ongoing petition demanding that mass media (specifically  TV networks, but they could include the New York Times!),  cover proposals for a single-payer or Medicare-for-all system”.

Thankfully, we can also tune into Democracy Now!–Amy Goodman could indeed teach a thing or two about journalism to David!–or into PBS‘ Bill Moyer’s Journal. Or into the on-line network Real News.

As Macdonald notes, “given that 59 percent of the public, and an equal percentage of physicians, support single-payer, according to recent polls, one would think that the inclusion of this proposal in the media debate would be a no-brainer. Not, apparently, for David. Or for ABC.

Indeed, when Mcdonald dared ask ABC‘s Senior VP of Communications Jeffrey Schneider about why the network had disinvited Obama’s longtime physician Dr. David Scheiner from its recent healthcare forum, where Dr. Scheiner was planning to ask the president a question about healthcare reform, it looks like the guy got offended.

(Watch FAIR’s video in which Scheiner stated that he believed that he’d been disinvited from the forum because ABC was “afraid” he would ask a question that was more “challenging” than what ABC wanted here, and Democracy Now‘s interview with Scheiner here)

He replied, “To draw some kind of nefarious conclusion is simply ridiculous” Wow! How’s that for an argument?

Nope. It’s not too late to sign onto FAIR’s petition, and help FAIR spread the word about it, before they deliver it to the other TV networks, which a FAIR study found have a similarly dismal record when it comes to stonewalling discussion of single-payer.

In fact, FAIR has already created quite a buzz about this corporate media’s “conspiracy of silence”: just yesterday, the LA Times wrote about their petition, acknowledging that single-payer represents a “gaping hole” in the media’s healthcare coverage, and that the media needs to “deepen the debate” about health care reform. Hey! Looks like they are getting it! 🙂

You can still join the over 13,000 signatures on the petition. FAIR wants to reach the 20,000.

Yes we can!

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