• Media madness, ACA edition – ctd.

    Remember my post from yesterday? Remember how I said I smelled BS? Guess what:

    “It was 100 percent false,” said Bill Schwarz, a spokesman for the state’s Department of Health. “Of course, everyone is covered in the family policy.”

    Here’s more about the Kelly family:

    Kelly, who in 2011 ran and lost on the Conservative Party line for a seat on the Suffolk County legislature, said he was told three times by different state representatives that his toddler would require a separate insurance plan, and that his daughter would have to turn 2 before she could be covered under a family plan.

    The mixup appears to have been rooted in Kelly’s application, which originally listed only three of his children even though he has four. When the clerical error was discovered, it was corrected, Schwarz said.

    So – AGAIN – an apocryphal story about Obamacare turns out to be false. Again, the media fails to uncover the truth before airing the piece. Again, they don’t tell any positive news; they broadcast a crazy anecdote about how the law is madness. And then that story turns out to be untrue.

    Aren’t reporters supposed to fact check stuff? Am I crazy here? Is there no accountability?


    • Accountability would be liberal bias – of course.

    • http://theincidentaleconomist.com/wordpress/media-madness-aca-edition-ctd/#comments

      “Families USA (FUSA) — an organization that describes itself as a “national nonprofit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the achievement of high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans” — was given a $1.1 million grant by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on October 4, 2013, to gather “success stories” of Americans dealing with Obamacare and distribute them to the media who often refer to them as an “independent” group. This is part of a greater upcoming effort to bolster the perception of the lowly health care law.”

      “As Lachlan Markay of the Washington Free Beacon noted, they are credited with crafting President Obama’s, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it” message”

      “Anne Filipic, the person listed on the grant for Enroll America, formerly served as Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. Before this, she was the Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.”

      • ” to gather “success stories” of Americans dealing with Obamacare and distribute them to the media ”

        There’s nothing wrong with a partisan group collecting what it claims is valid information and giving it to the media.

        There _IS_ something wrong if the media uses those stories without checking them. That’s the media’s job, and what we’re complaining about here is that the media’s not doing it’s job in all these claimed ACA horror stories that turn out to not be horror stories at all.

      • David, you have a point. There is ” nothing wrong with a partisan group collecting what it claims is valid information”. But, isn’t Families USA a non profit, non-partisan group?

        • ” But, isn’t Families USA a non profit, non-partisan group?”

          Hmm. I should have said “advocacy group”, not “partisan group”.

          But, really. Families USA has an axe to grind and is up front about it. Faux News has axes to grind, too. If you are a (real) news organization, you have a good idea about the quality of information, about the probability of it being true, of the probability of there being problems, and the likelihood of the direction of the problems.

          Still, getting a million bucks to find “success stories” has to be a rather easy job, I’d think. I mean, there’s a lot of people with preexisting conditions who couldn’t get health insurance pre-ACA. That’s a zillion “success stories” right there.

          • Good term, ‘advocacy group’. I wonder if such groups should receive tax free status?

            I am not sure what you are referring to when you say Faux News has axes to grind. Faux news is all around. We can even take the New York Times and take note how they have distorted the news by editorializing on their front page and sometimes distorting the news. I don’t trust any news source.

            [Example in History: The Time’s Pulitzer Prize for 1932 was a sop piece whitewashing Stalin. The Time’s own historian was extremely critical of the piece as were many journalists. The prize should have been returned. Another, the Jayson Blair fiasco where news reports were blatantly made up. Almost every day one can spot at least one problem with their news. Editorials belong on the editorial page.]

            I don’t just want to pick on the New York Times, but by showing how badly a premier paper has acted demonstrates that all news media are subject to the same type of shenanigans.

            The ACA should be able to stand on its own two feet which is what it seems you are saying. If it needs forced positive publicity then the chances are it is not working.

          • True there’s plenty of success stories. But.

            Actually gettting the media to cover them is ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE. I send stories of individuals who write at dailykos daily to Wonkblog but they never feature any succcesses. So it is understandable that the executive branch needs to buy their way through the obstacle.

            Romneycare spent money to advertize at sports stadiums etc, but it didn’t have the powerful and well funded opposition the ACA has had.

            • Anecdotal success stories aren’t going to cut it. This is a major program and involves 16%+ of our economy. The President has to demonstrate where the ACA has been successful nationwide or at least for large groups of people that were targeted to be helped by the ACA. There have been many promises. There have also been many failures. The administration has to concentrate on the policy successes of the ACA, but to date the rhetoric either hasn’t been effective or the program has yet to have an adequate degree of success.

    • It is well know that reality has a liberal bias.

    • You mistake, of course, was to consider Fox to be a news media outlet.

      • Media outlet definition: ” A publication or broadcast program that provides news and feature stories to the public through various distribution channels. Media outlets include newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and the Internet.”

        How does Fox news not fit the definition?

        • News exists to educate the public. The public’s civic duty is to be informed and to vote upon that information to further the democratic process.

          News must be transparent so that the reader is consciously aware of what he/she is reading. It is not the duty of the journalist to provide all sides of a story as a sort of “white knight” of The Truth. No human can ever be expected to do that. The insistence on balance is a disturbing journalistic trend both in that is what the reader automatically expects and what most news outlets try to deliver.

          A preferable style is to report facts, first and foremost, but to be open about perspective. Balance, solely for the sake of balance, does more harm than good.

          How does this tie back to Fox News? Quite easy – they immediately fail any sort of test of journalistic integrity with their tag line. Fair and Balanced. They are a subversive entity that aren’t honest with themselves or the reader/viewer. They are closer to propaganda than they are news because of how badly they mislead their consumers.

          • “they immediately fail any sort of test of journalistic integrity with their tag line. Fair and Balanced.”

            That doesn’t sound rationale. Your complaint is about promotion and not substance. Moreover the idea of what is fair and balanced (promotional) is in the eyes of the individual not the group. I guess you have just made a bigger case against the New York Times… “All the news that’s fit to print.” That tag line has been around a lot longer.

            “They are a subversive entity”

            That is pretty strong language. Their actual news is pretty good. I suppose you are criticizing their commentary especially since when the words ‘fair and balanced” are used most think of Bill O’Reilly’s show. That show is labelled as commentary and admittedly so by Bill O’Reilly. It adds some opposing and concurring viewpoints, but one can’t call it a news show. News relates to the facts and not the interpretation unless the journalist is quoting the ideas of others since ideas can be newsworthy.

            “closer to propaganda than they are news because of how badly they mislead their consumers.”

            I guess one could accuse the New York Times, Breitbart, The Post, The Los Angeles Times and every other news organization of being propagandists for they all have opinions that can “mislead” consumers.

            • I’m using strong words because it’s completely warranted. In this particular case, they used the NYPost to quote a factually inaccurate “news” article which then re-posted it on their own outlet. Both are owned by Ruport Murdoch.

              That particular case is outrageous. Not only is it wrong on the facts but the agenda couldn’t be clearer. Had it a shred of truth to it, it still should have been in an editorial.

              I also used Fox News as an example, not because they fit my argument perfectly but rather because you brought them up. Yes, other media outlets are equally as guilty. Yes, to an extent – marketing is anathema to journalism. I don’t really think journalism as a medium for news particularly exists anymore. It’s all “entertainment”. If anything is going to save the profession as a ethical ideal, it’s going to be institutions like this website.

              Personally, I find the British tabloids a far better example of the kind of transparent journalism I support. At least they aren’t shy about admitting bias.

    • After 3+ years, I am weary of fighting the blatant falsehoods and misrepresentations of the ACA.by the right wing. It seems every time one corrects the false charge, the right just moves on to another until the rebutted one is recycled (death panels are back).at some point in the future.

    • What does citing Families USA have to do with reporters doing a little fact-checking?

      Re: Comments. Advocate for whatever you want but at least do it with facts.

      These Obamacare stories are meant to sway public opinion not convey complete and accurate information.

      And that is the germane point.

    • “it’s completely warranted.”

      Don’t you think you are being a bit partisan. I understand you don’t like Rupert Murdock and thus Fox News and the Post. I included the Post and New York Times together to make sure that we had a balance of left and right.

      The New York Times is as guilty as the Post. For a quick example look up the Jayson Blair scandal. Look up the 1932 Pulitzer Prize scandal that demonstrates how long this type of reporting has been going on. If you wish to judge guilt or innocence based upon your own political views go ahead, but then your opinions are ideologically driven and I will stay out of your discussion.

      “I also used Fox News as an example, not because they fit my argument perfectly but rather because you brought them up.”

      Just to set the record straight I didn’t bring up Fox News. I responded to another individual by providing a definition of “media outlet and asking him how fox news didn’t fit in since he stated they weren’t a news media outlet.

      I don’t think any further discussion is necessary.

      • Um… Jayson Blair was 10 years ago. So what you’re suggesting is that the New York Times is just as guilty of not fact-checking their articles as the New York Post and Fox News… even though NYP/Fox has reported several Obamacare failures in the last 60 days that turned out to be highly misleading or false upon fact-checking by outside observers… while citing an example of NYT doing “the same thing” once in 10 years. There seems to be a much higher incidence of not checking the facts on one side vs. the other… but in your view, it’s all the same. Interesting conclusion.


        • We have errors and inclusion of editorial content in the front page news of the New York Times on a regular basis. I don’t mean to exclude Fox News or any other news service from the blame. I just wish to make it clear that if one calls Fox News the devil they ought to call the New York Times the devil as well.

          By the way the Jayson Blair scandal was of extreme importance since it demonstrated how the Times had lost a lot of its journalistic integrity. Your fact check observers might be the common observers that have their own political bias and that reflects how they report or don’t report news media integrity. I think you look at one side of the coin. Since I don’t like either party and have a deep distrust of all media I don’t simply accept one opinion or a group of opinions that have the same bias rather I look at the actual documentation of the news.

          Do you remember the Duke LaCrosse Case? The New York Times crucified three innocent college students in a very large lead story. The ongoing crucifixion continued even after proof was gathered of the students innocence. The Times was not equally transparent when all the facts came out and the students were found to be innocent. The prosecutor was jailed and disbarred. Just the other day Chrystal Magnum (the accuser in the rape case) was found guilty of murder. I am not sure how much the Times wrote about this or if they bothered to bring up the LaCrosse Case, but this came across my desk just the other day. “There were no Duke-accuser updates at ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR, PBS, USA Today, or The Washington Post.”

          I bring the past up, because we have better understanding of the past than the present. I am sure Fox News commentators spin things the way you and I don’t like, but that is not lying. The Duke LaCrosse Case editorialization and many other examples placed in the News section of the New York Times is very disturbing. Why? Because the New York Times used to have a reputation and is still considered by some to provide only the news in the news section which is totally false.

    • Interesting discussion. As much as I love the *hard* health policy analysis on TIE, I especially appreciate when things go slightly off topic and into the broader policy landscape.

      Mark, Brian, and Dave:

      I think you guys are all on the right track, but are missing something thats hiding right in the open: NYT, NYP, Fox, MSNBC are all part of the same “establishment” media superstructure*, and all serve to reinforce the “left v. right” paradigm through which most** political discourse is filtered. This dynamic engages the viewer not according to the traditional Jounalistic purpose of finding and engaging with “the truth-as-facts” but rather demands that the viewer sort him or herself into one or the other side.

      By framing all public debates by this dichotomy, they (the media) ensure that there can be no agreeable truth. The lack of an agreeable truth (to which most of the voting public assents), makes impossible any kind of organization by that voting public to challenge the status quo, by which I mean the establishment interests embodied by these legacy media outlets and the two legacy Parties. What I’m suggesting is not necessarily a conspiracy, but rather a (perhaps unconscious) means for those in power to maintain their grip. Or, to put it more succinctly:

      Left v. Right is how the Top divides the Bottom.


      *by superstructure, I mean that the owners/controllers of these entities all attend the same schools, belong to the same social clubs, live in the same cities, have the same economic (and therefore political) interests, and sometimes intermarry.

      **When I say “most” I’m excluding such wonderful forums as TIE and its peers. They truly are the vangaurd of what’s left of real journalism.

    • what is it with people like you and Brad Delong ?
      You are like teenagers discovering sex; you can’t imagine that your elders would do something that cool

      The media are pretty much what they were in 2000, or 1990, or 1980, or…
      I mean, are you and Brad really that naive ? and ignorant of media history ?
      Doesn’t the term yellow press or jingoism or penny dreadful mean anything to you ?

      PS: never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity or lazyness