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Media Matters: press 'has failed' to cover 'Obamacare' properly

Media Matters for America

Like MSNBC's Ed Schultz, Media Matters Senior Fellow Eric Boehlert is of the mindset that the mainstream media is doing an inadequate job in explaining how "Obamacare" will, in the longterm, actually benefit Americans who are losing their current insurance under the law.

Media Matters for America

"So, What's their excuse?" Boehlert writes:

The truth is, the Beltway press rarely bothers to explain, let alone cover, public policy any more. With a media model that almost uniformly revolves around the political process of Washington (who's winning, who's losing?), journalists have distanced themselves from the grungy facts of governance, especially in terms of how government programs work and how they effect the citizenry.

But explaining is the job of journalism. It's one of the crucial roles that newsrooms play in a democracy. And in the recent case of Obamacare, the press has failed badly in its role. Worse, it has actively misinformed about the new health law and routinely highlighted consumers unhappy with Obamacare, while ignoring those who praise it.

Laziness of the press aside, it's not accurate that the national media ignored "Obamacare" proponents who praised the law. They tried covering such cases and ended up with Chad Henderson, the 21-year-old supporter of President Obama who said he signed up for health insurance using (the Obamacare website). It turned out he wasn't telling the truth. He hadn't signed up.

Furthermore, also like Schultz, Boehlert argues that the press should inform Americans whose insurance is canceled that they may qualify for a better policy (even if it costs more) under Obamacare. But it's not the news media's job to persuade anyone that their old policy, which they may have liked, is inferior.

For what it's worth, Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren on Tuesday actually did explain the potential benefits one person might receive after her insurance was canceled.


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