Today, The New York Times released the latest in a series of articles on health care that slants language and propagates unsubstantiated facts to create the perception that Americans oppose fixing our broken health care system.
Today's article, "For Public, Obama Didn't Fill in Health Blanks," repeated an unsubstantiated claim that the paper made yesterday that America is growing "increasingly anxious" about a public plan option and meaningful health care reform. The article doesn't cite any poll numbers, instead, it bases its conclusions on interviews with a handful of people.
Yesterday's article, "Obama
Moves to Reclaim the Debate on Health Care." made the top of the Times webpage along with this teaser: "President Obama sought
to convince an increasingly
skeptical American public that proposed changes to the health care
system would benefit them and strengthen the economy."
"Increasingly skeptical." "Increasingly anxious." You see a pattern? The articles suggest that public sentiment is shifting in the wind; suddenly a wind-sock in the Gulf of Mexico is blowing the horrifyingly wrong direction. Barometric pressure is dropping at an alarming rate. Do you feel your pulse beginning to quicken? If so, you've been had by the same paper that rewarded Judith Miller with a massage, manicure and martini the day she got out of jail and after publishing a bunch of bogus articles about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before the invasion.
Don't doubt the danger of this manipulation. Articles like these create a false reality that leads to an actual change in public perception. All of these Americans that the New York Times is claiming are increasingly skeptical about fixing the costs and perils of health care, read articles like this and begin to wonder if they are alone in supporting strong health care reform. Then, they decide to follow the example of their neighbors and oppose health care reform--except their neighbors were never skeptical either before reading a slew of articles like this. Works perfectly for the insurance and health care industry.
If anything, since polls released in June proved that over 75 percent of
Americans support the same public plan option and radical meaningful reform
supported by the "most liberal" (read, the only members of Congress
not corrupted by special interest money) members of Congress, the divisions
among the Republicans' supposedly core constituencies like business owners, are
growing at an alarming rate for the GOP.
The Washington Post recently reported that small and medium business owners in Maine, a key battle-ground state, are strongly supportive of a strong public plan option and overhaul.
Scan through the articles on health care coming from the New York Times and a and a different reality is portrayed. The articles are written with the same overblown, gasping language one could expect to find in a trashy romance novel with a half-naked girl on the cover in the arms of a blond long-haired Favio-type with a bared chest and a billowing white button-up shirt.
In an article published last week entitled, "Governors Fear Medicaid Cost in Health Plan," the Times reported: "The governors' backlash creates yet another health care headache for the Obama administration, which has tried to recruit state leaders to pressure members of Congress to wrap up their fitful negotiations."
Notice that the "headache" is hyperlinked, so the gloom and doom drumbeat of the Times can resound on another page. The theme persists: things are falling apart for President Obama and health care reform. It is pointless for the reader to hope for reform while the world is ending.
Perfect for "K Street," the street made infamous by special interest lobbyists like the sick pathetic sellouts working for the insurance and health care industries. The health provider and insurer industries want to dash the hopes of America that they can ever rise up against the power on K Street and expect something better. We are burdened with a $2.5 trillion health care economy, it's rising toward 40 percent of our GDP, it's muzzling businesses, tearing apart families and destroying the fabric of our society, but they want you to feel hopeless.
The Times also printed this article: "Health Bill Might Direct Tax Money to Abortion." Why make this headline news? Why? Because an aide to the president wouldn't rule it out. First sentence: "An Obama administration official refused Sunday to rule out the possibility that federal tax money might be used to pay for abortions under proposed health care legislation."
If an Obama administration official failed to rule out that cows might fly someday, would the Times print an article with such a provocative headline that is clearly going to have the effect of sounding alarm bells in the anti-abortion community? "Health Bill Might Allow Cows to Fly, Prepare Your Umbrellas."
No source of information is impermeable to the influence of K Street money. Don't be fooled by the New York Times branding of liberal-bias. Insurance and health industry lobbyists would love to meet with the Times editors and lobby hard against the "liberal" (read un-corrupted) versions of health care reform under consideration in the House and Senate. The Times needs money. Lots of money. Look at the Boston Globe and the cuts the Times was forced to make there. If anything, the Times is more in need of currying favor with pharmaceutical giants, private insurers and health industry providers now than ever before.
Could the Times be cutting advertising deals with these industries a year in advance? If the paper was saturated with Blue Cross and Anthem ads right now, the conflict of interest would be apparent, but can we expect to see these types of ads explode in the paper a year from now after the Times helps to defeat health care reform? Stay tuned.