In the case of the Affordable Care Act, I mean that literally.
For years, the media has been force-feeding the American public a steady diet of half-truths and outright lies disguised as fact about the piece of legislation they began calling “Obamacare” even though it was frequently used as a pejorative rather than just a shorter, catchier way of referring to the Affordable Care Act.
Convincing the citizenry that fixing our very broken health care system was a bad thing was made easier by the
lousy nonexistent job the Democrats did on messaging about the benefits and educating about how it works.
It’s similar to how they blew it in the 2014 election cycle. Let the Republicans control the message. Occasionally respond to their narrative, but only by offering a watered-down version of the swill they’re trying to sell you. (And are continuing to do it today with Mary Landrieu and tonight’s scheduled Senate vote on the Keystone XL pipeline.)
The midterms came as millions of Americans had almost a year of insurance for the first time in a long time, if ever. If someone in a position of authority was telling them it was OK to be happy with the coverage they’re getting instead of acting as if it didn’t exist, perhaps more would come out of the Obamacare closet as fans. But the media wasn’t interested in helping to spread that message – they just keep repeating the polling info showing how much Americans HATE Obamacare instead of showing that people who have health insurance through the exchanges are, overall, happy with it!
Holy shit! People really are sort of happy with what they have.
Of course, there’s room for improvement (public option, single payer), which is what the numb nuts in Congress should be working on instead of their umpteenth time voting to repeal it.
But the mainstream, corporate media has been content with feeding the discontent. In fact, as Chuck Todd, now-host of Meet the Press – so eloquently told us, correcting the GOP lies about Obamacare isn’t his job!
During a segment on “Morning Joe,” former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) speculated that most opponents of the Affordable Care Act have been fed erroneous information about the law. Todd said that Republicans “have successfully messaged against it” but he disagrees with those who argue that the media should educate the public on the law. According to Todd, that’s President Barack Obama’s job.
“But more importantly, it would be stuff that Republicans have successfully messaged against it,” Todd told Rendell. “They don’t repeat the other stuff because they haven’t even heard the Democratic message. What I always love is people say, ‘Well, it’s you folks’ fault in the media.’ No, it’s the President of the United States’ fault for not selling it.”
Repeat a lie often enough and people believe it. That’s what the GOP does, the Democrats don’t push back, and the media doesn’t correct or even point out the lies.
I was in the car the other day and turned on Michaelangelo Signorele’s show on SiriusXM just in time to hear a someone trolling with concern about Jonathan Gruber. The caller began complaining about how the bill was rushed through, passed in the dead of night under a veil of secrecy, and I nearly drove off the road.
And when the host didn’t correct him, I turned him off and put on music. (I did consider calling in to correct him, but if SiriusXM wants someone who knows what she’s talking about, they can hire me.)
But that underscores the problem. Perception is reality and he with the best way of shaping that perception wins.
Wendell Potter understands that as well as anyone else. For two decades he was a corporate public relations executive working for the health insurance industry. He was on the propaganda promulgating front lines, developing the messaging and delivering it to the media for distribution to a gullible population.
Potter helped craft the attacks on Michael Moore’s character and credibility in advance of the release of Sicko (which merits another view)…
… until his conscience finally got the best of him. And then he began speaking out!
I was fortunate to interview Wendell Potter fairly often after he “came out” – just as the Affordable Care Act was being written and debated. Contrary to what the fact-challenged caller to that radio show said, the ACA was written in two different senate committees and eventually merged together. It was an arduous process that went on for months.
Wendell Potter told the whole tale in his book, Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans. What he wrote is the truth. In reviewing it again a few years later, it’s fascinating to see just how far the right has
stretched the truth rewritten history.
Potter then wrote an e-book – Obamacare- What’s in it for Me? – something that the Obama administration should have published and sent to every adult who might be eligible to purchase insurance through the exchanges. With so much disinformation out there, I highly recommend it to learn the facts about the law. Especially now, as we’re almost a year into implementation of the part of the law that actually provided benefits to people – and neither the Democrats who passed the law nor the media are telling about the good it’s done.
Wendell Potter joined me on the show this morning to talk about the Gruber mess, the technicality that’s the basis for a new challenge to the law that the Supreme Court will hear this term, and about the lies that do, indeed, kill.
It’s Tuesday, so GottaLaff joined me too, as she does every Tuesday in the second hour of the show.
We spoke a bit about the mess in Ferguson and the KKK, and the Keystone XL pipeline vote that’s supposed to happen tonight. And then I brought up the controversy surrounding Bill Cosby and the rape allegations resurfacing again thanks to a standup comedian named Hannibal Burress and a video that went viral.
It’s not an easy topic to discuss, but one that shouldn’t be covered up. So we talked about it. And I ended the show with Tori Amos song, “Me and A Gun,” about her rape. Tori Amos also went on to found the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, known as RAINN to help other survivors.
Tomorrow, with an eye on Ferguson, I’ll speak with Susie Madrak, and get an update on the TPP from Global Trade Watch’s Melinda St. Louis. Talk to you then, radio or not.