Between the Lines executive producer Scott Harris (8/14/09) has a new Q & A featuring FAIR's own Peter Hart discussing how "Media Coverage of Healthcare Debate Emphasizes Drama Over Substance."
Asked to assess "corporate media's coverage of the U.S. healthcare reform debate and conservative activists' disruption of congressional town hall meetings," Hart replies:
You wonder where the media got this sudden interest in listening to and amplifying grassroots concerns. I've never known this to be very, very typical of the corporate media to care so much about what protesters think. But suddenly they've found protesters here, I think, that been able to flesh out a story line that the media want to tell, and that is that there are passions that are running hot on both sides of this issue.
On the one side, the pro-reform campaign with the White House, with the congressional Democrats; on the other side, these folks who are–whatever their motivation–going to these Town Hall meetings, and disrupting them, shouting, comparing the White House efforts to Nazi Germany and so on….
This is, I think, a situation where the media, whatever their motivation is… are wildly overplaying these folks as a testament to real legitimate public concern. You look at the public opinion on the healthcare effort, the majority are with the White House and the majority would go much further than the White House and the congressional Democrats are going.
"That perspective is almost never heard," though, says Hart, "but what you do hear a lot are these naysayers who are a minority of the population." Read some quite logical reasons why that might be in the new issue of FAIR's magazine Extra!: "Single-Payer & Interlocking Directorates: The Corporate Ties Between Insurers and Media Companies" (August 2009) by Kate Murphy.