PR Successfully Sicced on ‘Sicko’

Former PR agent Wendell Potter’s stories of how he helped the health insurance’s industry’s campaign “to discredit Michael Moore and his film Sicko” calls to mind just how successful that campaign was. Corporate media coverage of the debate raised by the film’s expose of the for-profit insurance system went out of its way to demonize Moore. USA Today ran an editorial tied to the film against a single-payer healthcare plan, which was paired with an “Opposing View” from an insurance executive that denounced single-payer even more harshly. CBS News‘ Jeff Greenfield distinguished himself with his (inaccurate) claim that the U.S. doesn’t have public funding for healthcare because “Americans are just different.” And reviewing CNN‘s report on Sicko can only make one relieved that Sanjay Gupta turned down the job of surgeon general.

If you’d like to see an end to this kind of insurance industry PR masquerading as journalism, you can sign FAIR’s petition calling for the inclusion of the single-payer option in coverage of the healthcare reform debate.

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.