Daily Archives: September 8, 2009

Mr. Sheri Explains It All For You:

Dale City, Va.: I have seen some reports that a poll asking about approval of a “public Option choice” had 77 percent in favor of the public option being offered. Why doesn’t every health-care poll ask this question? Otherwise it is hard to tell if the people voting against health-care reform are voting against it because they don’t want reform or because they don’t think it is enough reform.

Howard Kurtz: I’d like to see the poll and how the question was worded. The health care legislation is so complicated that you can ask questions in different ways and get varying responses.”

Really? Well here ya go!

I’d like to see the poll and how the question was worded.: Here is the exact question from a Washington Post – ABC poll:
“Which would you prefer: the current health insurance system in the United States, in which most people get their health insurance from private employers, but some people have no insurance, OR, a universal health insurance program, in which everyone is covered under a program like Medicare that’s run by the government and financed by taxpayers?”
62 percent favored Medicare for All; 33 percent were opposed. That’s pretty decisive. A more recent NY Times poll had support at 72 percent. A Pew poll showed doctors supported it by 59 percent.
The insurance industry spends $1.4 million to get us to believe that single payer if “off the table”. Why has the media helped them?

Howard Kurtz: It’s not our job to help or not help one side or the other. The fact is, whatever the merits of single-payer, no congressional committee is going to pass it in 2009. That is the political reality. At the same time, Congress may well pass some version of the health reform legislation that Obama is pushing, and it could become the law of the land. While single-payer has gotten some media attention in the broader debate over how to fix the health care system, it makes sense for journalists to focus most of their firepower on the proposals that might actually pass. By the way, The Post had a terrific piece the other day on the health care system in Japan, where almost everyone is covered for about half the cost in the U.S., but where there are some drawbacks that might not be tolerated here. “

Simply brilliant! Open with “It’s not our job to help or not help one side or the other” and close with “By the way, The Post had a terrific piece the other day on the health care system in Japan, where almost everyone is covered for about half the cost in the U.S., but where there are some drawbacks that might not be tolerated here.”

Mr. Sheri sure knows how to help!

Re: “Numerous news organizations said flatly that this was a bogus charge, and yet, for a great many Americans, it didn’t matter.: I wonder if this points to a basic problem for “traditional” media — one that may not be easily solved. News organizations did point out that the “death panels” did not exist, but it took them a while. The first headlines said “Sarah Palin attacks Obama’s ‘death panels’”. Then, after there was time to investigate, the stories changed to “nothing in the proposed bills supports Palin’s accusations.” I’m paraphrasing, but that was the general idea, and it was too late. The story had already spread through the non-traditional media.

Howard Kurtz: I don’t think speed was the issue, as you’ll see in the timeline below. But the bogus “death panels” did seem to crowd out other coverage — in other words, even as journalists said and wrote that there were no such panels, they kept the controversy alive in a way that may have made some people say, hmmm.
From my column last month:
Less than seven hours after Palin posted her charge Aug. 7, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann called it an “absurd idea.” That might have been dismissed as a liberal slam, but the next day, ABC’s Bill Weir said on “Good Morning America”: “There is nothing like that anywhere in the pending legislation.”

And who supplies those “things that make you go ‘Hmmmm’?” ( crickets chirping )

On Aug. 9, Post reporter Ceci Connolly said flatly in an A-section story: “There are no such ‘death panels’ mentioned in any of the House bills.” That same day, on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks called Palin’s assertion “crazy.” CNN’s Jessica Yellin said on “State of the Union,” “That’s not an accurate assessment of what this panel is.” And on ABC’s “This Week,” George Stephanopoulos said: “Those phrases appear nowhere in the bill.”

But they appeared everywhere in the “Mainstream Media,” didn’t they now Mr. Sheri.

Sing us out Gertie.