Local Stories, Events
Ref. : Civic Events
Ref. : Arts & Education Events
Ref. : Public Service Notices
Books, Films, Arts & Education
Ref. : Letters to the editor
Health Care & Environment
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
09.23 MARYLAND GOVERNOR REBUFFS CALL FOR CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION INTO BRETT KAVANAUGH ATTEMPTED RAPE ALLEGATIONS [Republicans above the law...]
09.19 'Killing a generation': one million more children at risk from famine in Yemen [Does America's government have empathy? Does it understand the concept of morality? The Saudi Air Force would be ineffective without U.S. military assistance...]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
International & Futurism
09.18 Racist rioting in Chemnitz has reopened Germany’s east-west split [After 10,000 generations, we are all mixed-race. So let's become friends with our cousins instead!]
Tell ABC: Include Single-Payer in Healthcare Debate
Network says June 24 special will cover 'all sides'
Originally published 22 June 2009
Polls show single-payer is favored by a majority of both the public and physicians. However, corporate media have demonstrated a profound aversion to talking about single-payer.
ABC News is preparing for a day of in-depth of coverage on President Barack Obama's healthcare proposal on June 24, broadcasting from the White House and including an interview with Obama on Good Morning America and an hour-long Primetime "town hall" discussion featuring Obama and questions from audience members. Concerns have been raised about whether ABC's special programming will convey a full spectrum of opinion on the healthcare reform debate--but the views perhaps most likely to be left out have so far gotten little attention.
Complaints from the right about ABC's plans have gotten widespread play. The Republican National Committee, which attempted to buy ad time during the specials and was rejected, condemned "ABC's astonishing decision to exclude opposing voices on this critical issue" (Real Clear Politics, 6/17/09).
ABC said that its policy against advocacy ads was longstanding (FoxNews.com, 6/18/09); in a statement on ABCNews.com (6/16/09), the network declared: "ABC News prides itself on covering all sides of important issues.... In the end, no one watching, listening to, or reading ABC News will lack for an understanding of all sides of these important questions."
FAIR certainly hopes ABC stands by its claims and covers all sides of the healthcare debate--and there is little doubt that the network will bring up the complaints about a "government-run healthcare system" that the GOP has made.
More likely to be excluded is any discussion of a single-payer healthcare plan, which polls show is favored by a majority of both the public and physicians. However, corporate media have demonstrated a profound aversion to talking about single-payer.
A recent FAIR study (3/6/09) showed that of hundreds of newspaper and broadcast stories on healthcare reform in the week leading up to Obama's March 5 healthcare summit, only five included the views of single-payer advocates; none of those appeared on television. A Nexis search of all ABC News transcripts for the past six months shows that single-payer has been mentioned only four times, three of them by opponents dismissing the idea (3/5/09, 6/14/09, 6/14/09) and once in a reference to Medicare by liberal economist Paul Krugman (5/31/09).
The New York Times (6/19/09) recently illustrated the general media sentiment about single-payer and the healthcare debate:
Of course, the decision to marginalize single-payer is a decision to avoid playing between the 40-yard lines. The Times and the rest of the corporate media are the ones who have decided that single-payer doesn't have "broad popular support," regardless of what their polling tells them (FAIR Blog, 6/19/09). And that makes healthcare "reform" more possible than it was under the Clinton administration, explains CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen (3/5/09; FAIR Action Alert, 3/12/09):
According to an ABC press release (Note, 6/15/09), the town hall discussion will be moderated by Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer, but also taking part will be ABC medical editor Dr. Timothy Johnson, who "will focus on different ideas for how to fix the system and how proposed changes will impact our already fragile economy."
In the past (ABC, 10/21/03), Johnson has provided insightful coverage of single-payer, debunking myths and explaining its broad support and benefits. ABC and Johnson should be sure to include such insight in their coverage of Obama's healthcare plan on June 24.
ACTION: Urge ABC to include a discussion of the single-payer plan in its coverage of the healthcare debate on June 24.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Republished in the Chronicle with permission from F.A.I.R.
Copyright © 2008 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.
Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.
Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.
This story was published on June 23, 2009.