Apr
10
2009

PBS Ombud Sides with Frontline Critics

PBS ombud Michael Getler is siding with critics of a Frontline documentary that failed to examine single-payer national health insurance as a possible alternative to the U.S. healthcare system.

Citing FAIR's study "Media Blackout on Single-Payer Healthcare," which documented that single-payer advocates were all but shut out of the media discussion about healthcare reform, Getler stated:

I find myself in agreement with those who wrote initially and who felt it was a missed opportunity by Frontline to shed some light on where this specific idea - clearly telegraphed in the previous program about how other countries do it, enjoying some level of popular and professional support and formalized in a bill before Congress - stood in today's political environment.

The only alternative to the current U.S. healthcare system that was examined in any depth in Sick Around America was Massachusetts' system of mandating that people buy insurance from for-profit health insurance companies. FAIR had criticized the film for misrepresenting the findings of Frontline's earlier documentary, Sick Around the World (4/15/08), which had emphasized that all other countries ban insurance companies from making a profit on basic care, and had discussed single payer alternatives including Taiwan's healthcare system.

Today, FAIR's radio program CounterSpin airs an interview with T. R. Reid--a Frontline reporter for Sick Around the World who quit the production of Sick Around America because it contradicted the earlier Frontline documentary.(Audio file available at: http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=3758).

FAIR, the national media watch group, has been offering well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986.

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