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07.21 Greta Thunberg: ‘They see us as a threat because we’re having an impact’ [We love a sane smarty-pants! Trump, you won't understand any of this, so just go off and tweet or chant, or whatever...]

07.20 Until Emissions Drop, Nothing Has Been Accomplished: The Climate Resistance Handbook Is Here. [Trump can't be bothered as the world turns into a large cinder. His laser focus is on personal greed.]

07.20 Cargo ships are emitting boatloads of carbon, and nobody wants to take the blame [1:19 video; Governments must commission to fight deadly shipping emissions, previously omitted in climate summit agreements....]

07.20 Babies Born Near Oil and Gas Wells Are Up to 70% More Likely to Have Congenital Heart Defects, New Study Shows

07.20 Giving 'Upper Hand to Corporate Polluters,' EPA Drops Surprise Inspections

07.20 With Petition to Congress, 100,000+ People Demand Green New Deal 'That Fixes Our Food System' [Realtime proactive response to reality—now and threatening—doesn't get attention in this greed focused administration]

07.19 Trump administration won't ban pesticide tied to childhood brain damage [There is no truth to the persistent rumor that chlorpyrifos pesticide was heavily used at Trump's childhood home in Queens]

07.19 'Unprecedented' Decline of Plants and Animals as Global 'Red List' Reveals Nearly One-Third of Assessed Species Under Threat

07.17 ‘Off-the-charts’ heat to affect millions in U.S. in coming decades

07.17 Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen forced out by board [Given that states have lost abortion rights on political grounds recently, Wen's philosophical approach to protect abortion rights based on ‘health care’ was smarter – therefore it was that smarter strategy that was killed at the secret meeting.]

07.17 Billions of air pollution particles found in hearts of city dwellers

07.17 What is happening in America's Cancertown is tragic, immoral and evil [Niggardly white government policies could change to produce better students, better jobs and net revenue instead of costs. But it seems they enjoy more cruelty—like Trump.]

07.16 US aid cuts to UN agency will hurt vulnerable women and children, critics say

07.16 Trump abortion restrictions in effect for taxpayer-funded clinics

07.15 The response to DRC’s Ebola crisis isn’t working. Here’s what we need to do

07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]

07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]

News Media Matters

07.19 Fox News’s star names excuse the inexcusable after Trump's latest racist attack

07.18 In Sinclair's New 'Must-Run' Segment, Former Trump Adviser Tries to Defend Racist Attacks on 'the Squad'

Daily: FAIR Blog
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US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

07.21 Of course Donald Trump is a racist – and his Wall Street enablers know it

07.21 A court ruled it was legal for guards to strip search female inmates and force them to remove their tampons in front of male officers for a 'training exercise' [The frequency and degree of immorality and degradation being reported in the media is very disturbing, as if society has been reprogrammed overnight to be more like the worst behavior of Nazi Germany]

07.21 THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS GETTING CRUSHED IN FUNDRAISING: “THEY NEED TO GET THEIR SHIT TOGETHER” [Since so-called moderate Democrats will prostitute themselves in many conceivable ways (offering that special quid pro quo) they have effectively become competitively ANTI-PUBLIC, like Republicans. Whereas progressive Democrats must promise not to take corporate donations at all as an effective litmus-test. The DNC refuses to raise funds for moderate and progressives separately, and thus donations fall short. Which is it to be: 1) Will the DNC change? or 2) Must progressive Democrats become corporate whores too? or 3) Maybe you don't need corporate contributions at all if your policies are fantastic?]

07.21 State and Local Taxes Are Worsening Inequality

07.21 State and Local Taxes Are Worsening Inequality

07.21 We're no longer in Brave New World. We're back in 1984. [1:35 video; Our despicable President is at it again]

07.21 BALTIMORE'S FILTHIEST HOODS [7:38 video. Ask your governments, why are our cities so much worse than Europe's? Why is our healthcare worse and so much more expensive? And why are our Billionaires so much richer? Ask if those results of bad government are all related, and why? Are they all caused by a power-elite with greed-obsessed immorality?]

07.21 Nancy Pelosi's Dem Socialist Challenger Shahid Buttar: "We're Gonna Win" | Full Interview [5:43 video]

07.21 Jon Stewart goes viral excoriating Rand Paul after blocking vote [9:02 video]

07.21 Nicolle Wallace Refuses to Broadcast Trump Live [5:43 video]

07.21 Sassy Bernie Sanders Sh*ts on Jeff Bezos on His Home Turf... Numerous Times [17:22 video]

07.20 Puerto Rico: top US politicians join chorus calling for governor's resignation

07.20 Fact check: Trump says Puerto Rico got $92 billion. They've seen only a fraction [If he opens his mouth, Trump's lying.]

07.20 "Trump Says Go Home, Ilhan's Community Says Welcome Home": Rep. Omar Greeted With Cheers of Love and Support in Return to Minnesota

07.20 WATCH: Amid Extreme Anti-Refugee Push, Trump Displays Neither Interest Nor Knowledge of Asylum Seekers' Plight in Oval Office Meeting

07.20 Trump Denies Being at North Carolina Rally [Not sure if Trump supporters 'get' satire, but here goes....]

07.19 Are progressives working on a climate plan for 2021? You bet.

07.19 House Democrats demand Hope Hicks clarify testimony after Cohen document dump

07.19 The 51 most outrageous lines from Donald Trump's repugnant North Carolina rally

07.19 The Real Meaning of ‘Send Her Back!’

07.18 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Breaking up Homeland Security

Justice Matters

07.19 UN urged to act over 'purge' of Turkey's lawyers by Erdogan

07.19 DOJ Releases Strong Evidence of Trump’s Campaign Finance Violations But No Explanation of No Charges [The statement]

High Crimes vs. Human Rights

07.19 Conscientious objectors of first world war – their untold tales [The record proves they were morally right by avoiding violent early deaths of their cousins and themselves]

Economics & Corrupt Capitalism

07.18 Corporate tax cuts blocked at least 15,000 affordable homes in California. Here’s how

International & Futurism

07.21 Millions face hardship as Zimbabwe comes close to ‘meltdown’

07.21 Spain set for socialist-led government after Iglesias deal [Some loaded drama going on here...]

07.20 US to deploy troops to Saudi Arabia in face of 'credible' regional threats [Working with Osama bin Laden's godfathers, Trump wants to profit like Erik Prince (for-profit education secretary Betsy DeVos' brother) of Blackwater infamy (hurriedly renamed ‘Academi’), the U.S. taxpayer to pay inflated costs while Trump siphons off long-term emolument largesse]

07.20 Iran on 'dangerous path' with seizure of Stena Impero, says UK [Which is this, a tit or a tat?]

07.20 'Dark satanic mills': Tony Abbott continues his crusade against wind turbines [Too much CO2 air pollution makes you stupid, and turns your country into an “Idiocracy” (1:36 video clip)]

07.20 Bolsonaro declares 'the Amazon is ours' and calls deforestation data 'lies' [Lazy and willfully stupid whenever it serves his purpose, just like Trump. “And the rest of you can all go to hell.” Again, just like Trump. Has your country turned into an “Idiocracy”? (1:36 video clip)]

07.19 U.N.'s Bachelet says Congresswomen opposing Trump are 'fantastic'

07.19 Iran makes 'substantial' nuclear offer in return for US lifting sanctions [Was barbaric Saudi Arabia—whose citizens were more involved in the 9-11 attacks—the wrong ally all along?]

07.19 “The Task Ahead Is Enormous, and There Is Not Much Time” [Read this and learn. Or read Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) | Twitter and/or President Trump (@POTUS) | Twitter. Are you serious? Or are you in hideously criminal denial?]

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  Frontline Responds on Sick Around America
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PUBLIC BROADCASTING HAS BEEN CORRUPTED:

Frontline Responds on Sick Around America

PBS show treats mandatory for-profit insurance as the only alternative

SOURCE: Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)
9 April 2009
Misleading the public about global healthcare systems and failing to explore any of the publicly funded alternatives to America's private insurance system, is a strange way indeed of demonstrating commitment to "fair and nuanced reporting."
In the wake of a FAIR Action Alert (4/6/09), Frontline has responded to critics of its documentary Sick Around America, defending the film's focus on mandatory private health insurance and its exclusion of the single-payer option. (Frontline's full response follows.)

In an email response to FAIR (4/7/09), Frontline characterized FAIR's charge that the documentary presented mandatory for-profit healthcare as the only alternative to the current U.S. healthcare system as "untrue" because the film's narrator acknowledged that "other developed countries bar health insurance companies from making profits on basic care and cap their administrative costs."

While it's true that FAIR's alert had not cited that statement, it did note that this point had been made in the film by a source. As FAIR's Action Alert explained, though, "the only alternative to the current U.S. healthcare system that was examined in any depth in Sick Around America was Massachusetts' system of mandating that people buy insurance from for-profit health insurance companies."

FAIR's alert also pointed out that Sick Around America misrepresented the findings of Frontline's earlier documentary, Sick Around the World (4/15/08). In response to a statement by a spokesperson for health insurance trade group America's Health Insurance Plans that her industry could offer universal coverage if the government mandated all citizens to have insurance, the film's narrator stated, "That's what other developed countries do."

Frontline's editors have denied that this was misleading, emphasizing in a letter responding to an article by Corporate Crime Reporter's Russell Mokhiber (4/2/09) that "America's Health Insurance Plans represents both for-profit and non-profit companies." (The Frontline editors' full response is at the bottom of this email.)

It's true that this industry lobby group represents some non-profit companies, but the narrator's claim is still misleading. Most of the health insurance companies represented by America's Health Insurance Plans are for-profit--while, as FAIR's alert pointed out, no developed country other than the United States relies primarily on a system of for-profit insurance. Frontline's report conveyed the opposite impression.

Frontline's editors have also been dismissing the fallout between Frontline and journalist T. R. Reid. Reid had worked on Sick Around the World and told Mokhiber that he left the production of Sick Around America because he felt that it contradicted the earlier film, which had emphasized that no other countries used for-profit health insurance and had examined the models of Taiwan's and Britain's publicly funded healthcare systems.

The editors stated, "Frontline believes the dispute centered on a conflict between Frontline's journalistic commitment to fair and nuanced reporting and its aversion to policy advocacy and Mr. Reid's commitment to advocacy for specific healthcare policy reforms, for positions he apparently advocates in his forthcoming book."

Misleading the public about global healthcare systems and failing to explore any of the publicly funded alternatives to America's private insurance system, is a strange way indeed of demonstrating commitment to "fair and nuanced reporting."

***
From: Jessica Smith
Sent: Tuesday, April 07, 2009
To: Jim Naureckas, FAIR
Subject: FRONTLINE responds to "Something is Rotten at PBS"

Jim,
I'm writing in response to a FAIR Action Alert surrounding the FRONTLINE documentary "Sick Around America." The initial Action Alert cited Russell Mokhiber's article from Corporate Crime Reporter "Something is Rotten at PBS." Mr. Mokhiber's story falsely characterized the film's reporting and the nature of the disagreement between the series and T.R. Reid.

Attached is FRONTLINE's response to the Mokhiber story. I see that the FAIR Action Alert has already been amended--and no longer cite's Mr. Mokhiber's story--but it continues to promote the claim that "Sick Around America" "...presented mandatory for-profit healthcare as the only alternative to the current U.S. healthcare system" when this is, in fact, untrue. As you will read on the attached, the film's narrator explicitly says that, "Other developed countries bar health insurance companies from making profits on basic care and cap their administrative costs."

We believe that your readers at FAIR would benefit from hearing from both of the parties involved, not just Mr. Reid's and Mr. Mokhiber's account. We also encourage you to watch the film in its entirety on FRONTLINE's Web site at pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sickaroundamerica/view/ .

Sincerely,
Jessica Smith
Marketing Communications Manager
FRONTLINE

***
FRONTLINE’s editors respond to “Something is Rotten at PBS
April 7, 2009

FRONTLINE takes a strongly different view of the characterization of its editorial disagreement with T.R. Reid as presented by Mr. Reid and Russell Mokhiber in the recent blog entry, “Something is Rotten at PBS” (Counter Punch, April 2, 2009).

That blog entry describes the dispute about FRONTLINE’s “Sick Around America” as a disagreement about the correct health care policy for the United States and says that FRONTLINE “had a point of view — they wanted to keep the for-profit health insurance companies in the game.” Those claims are not true and falsely characterize the reporting in the film.

“Sick Around America,” in fact, made no assertions about the path health care reform should take, but simply reported on the current state of health insurance in the country, focusing primarily on how inadequacies in the current private health insurance system, both for-profit and non-profit companies, were negatively impacting many Americans. Our reporting revealed that both non-profit and for-profit insurance companies were concerned with keeping costs down and maximizing their market share. As a result both write policies that can be changed yearly based on the experience of the particular business in the case of employer-based coverage and both use medical underwriting (in all but five states) to reduce the number of sick or potentially sick individuals they cover. Both employ the practice of rescission, as we reported.

In his blog entry, Mr. Mokhiber makes this erroneous critique of one portion of the film:

During that segment, about halfway through Sick Around America, the moderator introduces Karen Ignagni, president of America's Health Insurance Plans, the lead health insurance lobby in the United States.

Moderator: Other developed countries guarantee coverage for everyone. We asked Karen Ignagni why it can’t work here.

Karen Ignagni: Well, it would work if we did what other countries do, which is have a mandate that everybody participate. And if everybody is in, it's quite reasonable to ask our industry to do guarantee issue, to get everybody in. So, the answer to your question is we can, and the public here will have to agree to do what the public in other countries have done, which is a consensus that everybody should be in.

Moderator: That's what other developed countries do. They make insurers cover everyone, and they make all citizens buy insurance. And the poor are subsidized.

But the hard reality, as presented by Reid in Sick Around the World, is quite different than Ignagni and the moderator claim.

Other countries do not require citizens buy health insurance from for-profit health insurance companies – the kind that Karen Ignagni represents.

But Mr. Mokhiber made a factual error that seriously undercuts this critique. His argument rests on the assumption that Ms. Ignagni represents only for profit health insurance companies. In fact, her organization, America’s Health Insurance Plans, represents both for-profit and non-profit companies. FRONTLINE rejects Mr. Mokhiber’s assertion that we were misleading viewers in this section of the film.

In fact, in a later section of the film the narrator explicitly says that other developed countries require health insurance companies operate on a non-profit basis:

Narrator: Other developed countries bar health insurance companies from making profits on basic care and cap their administrative costs.

FRONTLINE sees the dispute with Mr. Reid as one not about for-profit vs. non-profit health insurance or health care policy, but instead about journalism. The dispute with Mr. Reid centered on a decision to include a section on the recent attempts by Massachusetts to reform its health care system. Mr. Reid objected to the inclusion of Massachusetts, the only state to require its citizens to purchase health insurance, and to require insurance companies to sell them policies with an adequate standard of coverage.

Reid repeatedly told FRONTLINE that including Massachusetts in the program at all, was to advocate for that kind of reform as opposed to Reid’s preference of a “Medicare for all,” one payer system for the entire country. FRONTLINE’s position was that simply reporting on the state’s plan was not advocacy and, in fact, our reporting would focus not only on the benefits, but also on the problems with the Massachusetts plan. We think any objective viewing of that sequence in “Sick around America” will confirm FRONTLINE’s view that it was a piece of reporting not advocacy.

Editorial disagreements are common in the making of documentary films, but for more than twenty five years, FRONTLINE has been able to find a way to resolve those differences with a wide variety of producing and reporting teams. We were surprised to be unable to find consensus with Mr. Reid and found him resistant to working through the problems with us. He refused to travel to Boston conduct a critical interview with the Massachusetts Secretary of Health or to have requested face-to-face meetings on his editorial differences with the FRONTLINE team. Instead, Mr. Reid demanded that he be completely removed from the film and FRONTLINE reluctantly honored his request.

We would also note that on March 17, just three weeks after he asked to be removed from the film, a Denver magazine reported that T.R. Reid said he was interested it being appointed to a vacant seat in the Colorado House of Representatives, citing that his concerns about health care reform in the U.S. were “enough to push him from the reporting side over to the policy-making side. And he thinks Colorado would be a perfect testing ground.” FRONTLINE’s editorial guidelines explicitly state that “when working on any politically controversial programs the producer should engage in no personal political activities...and should not lobby for or against any specific piece of legislation.”

In the end, FRONTLINE believes the dispute centered on a conflict between FRONTLINE’s journalistic commitment to fair and nuanced reporting and its aversion to policy advocacy and Mr. Reid’s commitment to advocacy for specific health care policy reforms, for positions he apparently advocates in his forthcoming book.

One last point: Mr. Mokhiber writes that Mr. Reid “did the reporting for the film.” In fact, as is true in most FRONTLINE films, virtually all of the detailed reporting for “Sick Around America” was conducted by the film’s producer, Jon Palfreman, and his co-producer, Kate McMahon. Mr. Reid consulted with Mr. Palfreman and conducted some of the interviews. However, Mr. Palfreman conducted many of the other interviews in the film. As is always the case, this was a collaborative journalistic effort. We regret that the collaboration had such an unfortunate conclusion.


Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting is a nonpartisan media watchdog organization. Visit http://fair.org for more information, or share your opinion about this story by writing to fair@fair.org. Republished in the Chronicle with permission from F.A.I.R.


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This story was published on April 10, 2009.

 

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