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. […]


On Sanjay Gupta’s ‘Breathless’ Gullibility

Stating that “a lot of funny things can happen when the media translate science for the public,” science writer Chris Mooney (Nation, 3/6/09) looks over more evidence that the U.S. public got really lucky when CNN‘s Sanjay Gupta was not made Obama’s surgeon general. Mooney’s list of Gupta “approaching medical coverage through ‘one the one hand, on the other hand’ equivocation, the selling of medical entertainment, following the pack or simply getting it wrong” clearly illustrates “what always made Gupta’s nomination worrisome”: Consider a few of Gupta’s journalistic missteps. In late December 2002–a slow news week after Christmas–an outfit named […]


CNN’s Resident Drug Pusher

Los Angeles Times reporter Mike Dorning has some important information (3/6/09) absent from coverage of Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s recent surgeon general candidacy–“For several years, Gupta has been co-anchor of a CNN-produced healthcare show distributed monthly via flat-screen TVs provided free to doctor’s offices”: The show is sponsored by healthcare, consumer and pharmaceutical companies that want to get their message directly to patients, according to the website of AccentHealth, a privately held company that distributes the programs and sells them to advertisers. Dr. Quentin Young–who heads Physicians for a National Health Program, a group that advocates for single-payer, Canadian-style national health […]


Sanjay Gupta Wrong on Pot, Too

Another problem with getting your surgeon general pick from corporate media is that they’re likely to have corporate media’s typical biases against marijuana.