posts about or somewhat related to ‘healthcare’

Committing Acts of Journalism
Via the Huffington Post:

CNN’s Soledad O’Brien did something which is extremely rare in television news these days: she actually did her job…
…The action took place Tuesday afternoon, as O’Brien was interviewing former New Hampshire governor and George W. Bush Chief of Staff John Sununu. With the actual documents in hand, O’Brien pointed out the striking similarities between the Medicare plans of Mitt Romney and his controversial vice presidential running mate Paul Ryan, who seeks to change the government guaranteed health care program into a voucher system.
"But it’s very different," Sununu insisted. "For example, when Obama gutted Medicare by taking $717 billion out of it, the Romney plan does not do that. The Ryan plan mimicked part of the Obama package there, the Romney plan does not. That’s a big difference."
O’Brien essentially accused him of lying:
"I understand that this is a Republican talking point because I’ve heard it repeated over and over again. These numbers have been debunked, as you know, by the Congressional Budget Office. … I can tell you what it says. It (Obama’s Medicare plan) cuts a reduction in the expected rate of growth, which you know, not cutting budgets to the elderly. Benefits will be improved."
At this point Sununu, clearly agitated, became nasty and indignant, angered by O’Brien’s insistence on fact over fiction:
"Soledad, stop this!" Sununu replied, raising his voice. "All you’re doing is mimicking the stuff that comes out of the White House and gets repeated on the Democratic blog boards out there."
O’Brien continued reading from the Romney and Obama plans verbatim, and cited Factcheck.org, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office and CNN’s own independent analysis in refuting Sununu’s deceptive rhetoric.

Read through for the rest of the exchange. The video’s available as well.

Committing Acts of Journalism

Via the Huffington Post:

CNN’s Soledad O’Brien did something which is extremely rare in television news these days: she actually did her job…

…The action took place Tuesday afternoon, as O’Brien was interviewing former New Hampshire governor and George W. Bush Chief of Staff John Sununu. With the actual documents in hand, O’Brien pointed out the striking similarities between the Medicare plans of Mitt Romney and his controversial vice presidential running mate Paul Ryan, who seeks to change the government guaranteed health care program into a voucher system.

"But it’s very different," Sununu insisted. "For example, when Obama gutted Medicare by taking $717 billion out of it, the Romney plan does not do that. The Ryan plan mimicked part of the Obama package there, the Romney plan does not. That’s a big difference."

O’Brien essentially accused him of lying:

"I understand that this is a Republican talking point because I’ve heard it repeated over and over again. These numbers have been debunked, as you know, by the Congressional Budget Office. … I can tell you what it says. It (Obama’s Medicare plan) cuts a reduction in the expected rate of growth, which you know, not cutting budgets to the elderly. Benefits will be improved."

At this point Sununu, clearly agitated, became nasty and indignant, angered by O’Brien’s insistence on fact over fiction:

"Soledad, stop this!" Sununu replied, raising his voice. "All you’re doing is mimicking the stuff that comes out of the White House and gets repeated on the Democratic blog boards out there."

O’Brien continued reading from the Romney and Obama plans verbatim, and cited Factcheck.org, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office and CNN’s own independent analysis in refuting Sununu’s deceptive rhetoric.

Read through for the rest of the exchange. The video’s available as well.

Sources, Attribution and Transparency: It's an Ethics Thing →

After the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, a common story that’s appeared is what “ordinary” Americans think of the decision.

Both NPR and NBC canvased the country to get insight. And both, somehow, end up interviewing a New Jersey man named Joe Olivo. In each report, he’s presented as a small business owner who says that the Affordable Care Act will either prevent him from hiring more people or force him to stop offering health insurance at all.

What neither report mentions is that Olivo is a member of the National Federation of Independent Business, a group that opposes the Affordable Care Act, has testified in congressional hearings against the act and has appeared numerous times on television stating the same.

Via Balloon Juice:

Wow — two news organizations covering the same story scoured the nation for a random small business owner to comment on that story — and they both found the same one! How’d that happen? What are the odds?

Well, as it turns out, Joe Olivo of Perfect Printing turns up quite a bit in public discussions of this and other issues. Here he is testifying against the health care law before House and Senate committees in January 2011. Here he is on the Fox Business Network around the same time, discussing the same subject. Here he is a few days ago, also on Fox Business, talking to John Stossel about the law. Here he is discussing the same subject on a New Jersey Fox affiliate.

And here he is in July 2010 discussing small business hiring with Neil Cavuto on Fox News. Here he is opposing an increase in the minimum wage in an MSNBC debate a couple of weeks ago.

Go to many of these links and you find out something about Joe Olivo that NPR and NBC didn’t tell you: he’s a member of the National Federation of Independent Business. NFIB’s site and YouTube page promote many of Olivo’s public appearances. He was the subject of an NFIB “My Voice in Washington” online video in 2011.

NFIB, you will not be surprised to learn, is linked to the ALEC and Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, and to the usual rogues’ gallery of right-wing zillionaires.

So Joe Olivo isn’t just some random business owner — he’s dispatched by NFIB whenever there’s a need for someone to play a random small business owner on TV.

Thanks, NPR and NBC — you asked us to smell the grass, and you didn’t even notice it was Astroturf. Or you noticed, but you didn’t want us to.

Is it wrong for NPR and NBC to use Olivo as a source in their reporting? Most certainly not. Is it wrong for neither of them to mention that Olivo has opposed health care reform and is a member of a national organization actively opposing it as well? Absolutely.

Basically, it’s a matter of identifying sources in their entirety so that the public can make its judgement on the reliability of his or her statements. And if that sounds like something from the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, it should. It’s item number three.

Or, as NPR writes in its ethics handbook:

If it is important for listeners or readers to know, for example, what political party the source is from, we report that information. If it is important to know what agency the source is from, we report that. If it is important to know which side of an issue the source represents, we report that.

Unfortunately, this is how reporting often works. A small case this, but remember the 2008 New York Times investigation that examined the role “military experts” play on TV. In that article we learned that “most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air,” and that those affiliations were seldom, if ever, disclosed to the public.

Bonus: The Pew Center Project for Excellence in Journalism’s link list to ethics guidelines of news organizations around the world.

Everyone Slow Down, Redux Edition

This is an update to our post earlier this morning about slowing down, digesting and getting things right before rushing to report.

CNN didn’t and instead ran banner headlines on its site about the Supreme Court striking down the individual mandate.

Fox too but, well, somehow that’s less surprising.

Everyone Slow Down

With the Supreme Court ruling this morning on the Affordable Care Act, it’s important to remember Dan Gillmor’s call for a slow news movement:

Like many other people who’ve been burned by believing too quickly, I’ve learned to put almost all of what journalists call “breaking news” into the categories of gossip or, in the words of a scientist friend, “interesting if true.” That is, even though I gobble up “the latest” from a variety of sources, the closer the information is in time to the actual event, the more I assume it’s unreliable if not false…

…Rapid-fire news is about speed, which has two main purposes for the provider. The first is human competitiveness, the desire to be first. In journalism newsrooms, scoops are a coin of the realm.

The second imperative is audience. Being first draws a crowd. Crowds can be turned into influence, money or both. Witness cable news channels’ desperate hunt for “the latest” when big events are under way, even though the latest is so often the rankest garbage.

This applies not just to raw information (often wrong, remember) that’s the basis for breaking news. It’s also the case, for example, for the blogger who offers up the first sensible-sounding commentary that puts the “news” into perspective. The winners in the online commentary derby — which is just as competitive, though for lower financial stakes, as — are the quick and deft writers who tell us what it means. That they’re often basing these perspectives on lies or well-meaning falsehoods seems to matter less than being early to comment.

I’m not arguing here against human nature. We all want to know what’s going on, and the bigger the calamity the more we want to know. Nothing is going to change that, and nothing should…

…It comes down to this: The faster the news accelerates, the slower I’m inclined to believe anything I hear — and the harder I look for the coverage that pulls together the most facts with the most clarity about what’s known and what’s speculation.

Call it slow news. Call it critical thinking. Call it anything you want. Give some thought to adopting it for at least some of your media consumption, and creation.

Takeaway: Before you cheer, gnash teeth or otherwise, take some time, reflect, and find yourself reflective analysis of what’s going on. Newsrooms should do the same.

horaciogaray:

While the United States Supreme Court might not approve of social media during its proceedings, thousands of people have taken to Twitter to talk about the legal battle surrounding the Affordable Care Act, including top Republicans and Democrats. The two parties are now engaged in an all-out digital war to get more support for their side of the health care argument.

horaciogaray:

While the United States Supreme Court might not approve of social media during its proceedings, thousands of people have taken to Twitter to talk about the legal battle surrounding the Affordable Care Act, including top Republicans and Democrats. The two parties are now engaged in an all-out digital war to get more support for their side of the health care argument.

(Source: Mashable, via horaciogaray)

You’re a good friend to the ladies, Dad.

Email to Garry Trudeau from his daughter about this week’s Doonesbury comic strip in which Trudeau tackles ultrasound mandates that states like such as Texas are proposing for women seeking abortions.

The strip has been pulled from a number of newspapers’ comics pages.

Via an interview with Emily Bazelon on Slate.

Supply, Demand, Debt and Hospitals

American Public Media’s Marketplace animates an economic issue plaguing US cities and states: as municipalities compete for jobs across industries by offering tax breaks and other incentives, most are bound to lose and end up finding themselves further in debt.

Here, senior health care reporter Gregory Warner and illustrator Andy Cole take on hospital over expansion.

H/T: The Society Pages.