Feb
14
2013

On Transgender Healthcare, NYT Reports Tree, Ignores Forest

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The New York Times reports that in the last few years, several elite U.S. universities have begun to cover sex reassignment surgery and/or hormones for transgender students. On the one hand, it's great that they're reporting news like this, and after years of extremely disrespectful coverage of transgender issues, it feels like a victory that their "balance" is limited to noting that "the idea still seems radical to plenty of people." On the other hand, not a single trans-identified person is quoted. But what I really want to highlight here is how this kind of article utterly fails to connect some […]

May
11
2011

Single-Payer Silenced, Again

I saw a press release yesterday announcing that Rep. Jim McDermott (D.-Wash) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I.-Vt.) were introducing a single-payer healthcare bill in both houses of Congress. Unless there was a drastic change in the corporate media, this news wasn't going to be, well, news. And it hasn't been so far. There were mentions in independent outlets like Democracy Now!, GritTV and the Nation. But in the corporate media, next to nothing– except for one brief mention on CNN, thanks to Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel: VANDEN HEUVEL: The progressive caucus, which put out a people's budget which is […]

Jan
20
2011

No Room in NYT for Single-Payer Doctors, but Right-Wing Cranks Are OK

When I saw the headline (1/19/11), "Vocal Physicians Group Renews Health Law Fight," I thought maybe–just maybe–the New York Times might be talking about Physicians for a National Health Program, the group comprised of "18,000 physicians, medical students and health professionals who support single-payer national health insurance." But no. The Times story is about the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons,a3,000-member organization that is on the far right of the healthcare debate, and is garnering coverage now because they support repeal of the new healthcare law. How far? These excerpts from the Times piece should give you some idea: Founded […]

Apr
23
2010

Action Alert: PBS Misrepresents Single-Payer Advocates

FAIR's latest Action Alert (4/23/10) concerns the Frontline program Obama's Deal, which not only didn't mention the single-payer proposal, but misrepresented single-payer advocates as proponents of a public option. You can leave copies of your messages to Frontline, or comments on the alert, in the comments thread of this post.

Apr
20
2010

Frontline Disguises Single-Payer Advocates as Public-Option Promoters

The PBS program Frontline on April 13 offered a look at the White House drive for healthcare reform titled Obama's Deal. Like a previous Frontline special about the U.S. healthcare system, the program failed to adequately include single-payer. But the way the show did it this time was remarkable. Margaret Flowers of Physicians for a National Health Programwas interviewed by Frontline–leading one to suspect thatthe show might include some discussion of truly universal healthcare systems like single-payer (aka Medicare for All). But the program was a major disappointment. As she wrote (Consortium News, 4/15/10) after it aired, "Curiously, just as […]

Aug
05
2009

Obama Has Sweets, but No Questions, for Helen Thomas

FAIR associate Sam Husseini has blogged his reaction (Husseini.org, 7/4/09) to a Barack "Obama Photo Op with Helen Thomas" in which the president "came with cupcakes to wish Helen Thomas a happy birthday": "Now, if only he'd take her questions." Obama claimed they have a "common birthday wish"–for a "real healthcare reform bill"–but Thomas is not in favor of Obama's plan, she's for single-payer. Last week I bumped into Helen Thomas at her stomping ground, Mama Ayesha's restaurant in Washington, D.C., and she stressed the single-payer failure on the part of Obama. I asked her if I was right, that […]

Jul
24
2009

Sands of Healthcare Truth Beneath 'Oceans of Media'

Noticing that "days ago, buried in a chart under the headline "How the Health Care Bills Compare," the New York Times provided some cogent yet cryptic information," Norman Solomon (Guernica, 7/23/09) has done some valuable decoding of a Senate committee bill's "public plan that would 'compete with private insurers,'" as "the Times chart explained on July 18": The public plan "would provide 'only the essential health benefits,' as defined by the bill, 'except in states that offer additional benefits.'" Meanwhile, the newspaper noted, "Democrats from three House committees are working on a single plan." Under that plan, "Different levels of […]

Jul
24
2009

Healthcare One of 'Two Human Rights We Lack'

David Swanson (OpEd News, 7/22/09) has "another name for 'what's called a single-payer system'"–namely: "healthcare as a human right, not a commodity to be purchased. Many humans have this right. They just aren't Americans." Of Barack Obama's July 22 news conference "mention of single-payer in passing, as something that would be better than anything else, but something that mysteriously lies out of reach," Swanson notes that the same view "is typical of the very few mentions of single-payer healthcare in the U.S. corporate media": I just did some searches in the Lexis Nexis databases of major U.S. and world publications, […]

Jul
15
2009

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. […]

Jul
07
2009

Big Media Love Health Industry Loopholes, Deceptions

"The lack of single-payer support by top politicians and elite media is striking" to veteran independent journalist Roger Bybee (Z Magazine, 7/09), who reminds us that "numerous surveys have shown the popularity of the single-payer approach." Bybee points out, for example, that "a January CBS/NY Times poll showed 59 percent for a single-payer system described in vague terms," Business Week, in 2005, "found '67 percent of all Americans think it's a good idea to guarantee health care for all U.S. citizens, as Canada and Britain do, with just 27 percent dissenting" and "in April 2008, a survey of 1,100 U.S. […]

Jul
02
2009

NPR's Single-Payer-Free Healthcare Reportage

Critiquing some more of National Public Radio's healthcare reportage, blogger Mytwords (NPR Check, 6/29/09) highlights Julie Rovner of Morning Edition "reporting this morning for the private health insurance lobby": "The healthcare cost debate pretty much comes down to this: 'You can't cut costs without hurting someone.'" Rovner then backs up her "analysis" with "a little Meet the Press sound-bite from Fred Thompson"–"The only way to really save cost is to have rationing or it can be done by a cram-down by the government and take it out of the hides of doctors, hospitals": Rovner's report mainly serves to highlight and […]

Jun
26
2009

Policing the Debate on Health Reform

ABC's Diane Sawyer claimed (CNN, 6/22/09) the network's June 24 forum on President Barack Obama's healthcare plan would feature "questions from every single vantage point." Yet, ignoring calls from FAIR (Action Alert, 6/22/09) and advocacy groups such as Health Care Now!, the special did not include a single question from an advocate of single-payer national health insurance–despite the fact that the single-payer option polls well with the public (New York Times/CBS, 1/11-15/09) and is seen by many experts as the best way of expanding coverage to the uninsured while also controlling costs. In the wake of well-publicized flak ABC received […]

Jun
20
2009

NPR Airs 'All Important [Underwritten] Views'

Linking to a Felice Pace piece of June 14 that connects the near-absence of single-payer-focused NPR reportage to millions of dollars in underwriting the broadcaster has received from insurance industry heavies, NPR Check's Mytwords (6/17/09) includes his own comment left under Weekend Edition Saturday's "Health Care Reform From The Insurer's Perspective" segment: Congratulations NPR–as a "public" news station you have done a great service by providing a voice to the voiceless: the health insurance industry, which lacks the funds and connections to get its message out. After yesterday's Republican slant on the public plan from [Mara] Liasson, [Julie] Rovner and […]