Views from Southwest Virginia

Joan K

Joan K
Southwest, Virginia, USA
I'm a retired professor from Virginia Tech living the good life in the Appalachian mountains with my husband, a dog, and two cats along with lots of wildlife. I love reading, commenting and posting on Open Salon. Long live OS!


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SEPTEMBER 7, 2009 11:51AM

Media's Coverage of Health Care Debate Sucks!

Rate: 10 Flag

 It's all you read and hear--Obama's health care plan is in trouble.   His speech to Congress is his last ditch effort to save it.   The town halls on health care showed widespread opposition to health care reform.

 I don't buy it.  My reason is that I have some first hand experience of how the media isn's exactly reporting what's going on.

I wanted to get some of my own Last month, I attended a health care town hall  in Dublin Virginia hosted by VA Rep. Rick Boucher.  He voted against a health care reform bill in committe, making him a Blue Dog Democrats who supposedly isobstructing Obama.  However, he said he clearly wanted health care reform but wanted a more modest proposal with health care coops that have worked in other states.  

About 1200 people attened Boucher's town hall.   Judging by the signs, I estimated about 200 loudly (and rudely) against reform, about 200 for reform, with the rest there for information or to share their heart-breaking stories of problems.   

So, here we are in one of the most conservative parts of the south.   Sure, we had the protestors but most of the people were not there to oppose reform.  

Boucher Health Care Town HallBoucher speaking at Health Care Town Hall August  18 in Dublin Virginia 

Yet, when I submitted a story to Huffington Post, it was not published, nor did they publish this photo above.  Guess it was not as interesting as  the protestor signs.   

In fact, all of the photos published by Huffington Post of the Health Care Town Halls were of the protestors, not of anyone supporting health care reform.   

 Pro Health Care Reform Vigil

Pro Health Care Reform Vigil Sept. 3, 2009  Blacksburg, Virginia 

 Last week, over 60,000 people attended "We Can't Afford to Wait" vigils sponsored by     That's probably more people than are attending health care protests yet I haven't seen any media coverage. 

Blacksburg Virginia healthcare vigil

"We Can't Afford to Wait"--Blacksburg, VA 

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Nor did you see any coverage when several thousand people showed up on Capitol Hill last month to celebrate the 44th birthday of Medicare. "Liberal" media? Yeah, right.
Joan, it's a sad commentary on the media when they ignore stories that aren't sensationalist. It's unfortunate that even Huffington Post has slanted its coverage--you would think they would want to do the correct thing and show some enlightened coverage of the topic.
Yes, the media is largely to blame for this. Let's face it -- rude, violent protesters are simply sexier to the press than polite, serious people. They love this stuff. It's happening again to Obama's speech to school children -- you hear a lot of idiotic whining about it, but not a lot of sanity.

It's simple, control the messenger, control the message. When the media turned the news into a "for profit" business corporations swarmed in and bought it up. Insurance companies, HMOs and pharmaceutical corporations pay big bucks for advertising and threaten the media with the loss of revenue if they cover any support for health care reform.
I can hardly stand to see the big media right now Joan. i am so glad ZI don't have a TV. The coverage just sucks.
Hate breeds hate.
We seem to be a nation of haters right now.
Our country has paid the price.
Huffpo needs to get a life. I am very incensed they did not publish your stuff.
"It's simple, control the messenger, control the message."

Just like their doing in school districts with Obama's message to students. Just like FAUXnews is doing by refusing to air his address to Congress on Wednesday......and on and on and on......
I'm a grad student in journalism. My thesis is a news media discourse analysis. What I'm seeing is that a high number of news stories employ a conflict frame. Why use neutral words like "debate" when you can use loaded sports metaphors like "hammer" or "blitz." We all like conflict in films or on the playing field, but when it becomes our entire perception of the world, we start experiencing stress, so our tendency is to avoid reading the news. I've begun steering away from Huffington Post for that very reason.

What really gets me is all the news commentary about how Obama hasn't given the public enough information in support of reform. Isn't informing the public one of the responsibilities of the news media? When you have seniors at town hall meetings who don't realize Medicare is government-run, you'd think this would be a perfect opportunity for hometown newspapers, which the elderly subscribe to if for no other reason than to read the obits.

I've seen one really good Washington Post article that confronted several common myths about the inferiority of other countries' health care. Fortunately, some of the local papers carried it.
Thanks everyone for your comments--glad I am not the only one incensed by the coverage, or lack there of, of support for health care reform.
ocularnervosa--I hope you are not right about the news afraid to lose their advertising if they cover pro-healthcare reform rallies. But, it is curious that they did not.
Megan--yes, I can see the media likes conflict just like our local television station likes to cover every murder and traffic death for ratings. I have felt stress when watching the coverage of the health care reform---maybe that's why I watch less of the news lately.
::gah:: -- Correction: they're
Blue Roses--I see that all of the time-their instead of they're but at least you realized it!

I didn't realize Fox wasn't covering the Obama speech. That really shows bias.
when 'moveon' gets behind democracy, i'll take them more seriously. right now they are legitimizing the system that causes the trouble they say they are against.

i hope they are just dim, but saying 'please sir, may i have more' has never worked before, so i am inclined to think someone is making a living out of 'protesting', like greenwald and sirota.

a nation that has citizen initiative will soon have health care for all. they also will be able to fix running sores like the mic and recurrent looting of the economy.
We had a group here too. Thanks for the post!