Media Coverage of Health Care Debate Emphasizes Drama Over Substance
Interview with Peter Hart, activism director with Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, conducted by Scott Harris
Conservative groups opposed to health care reform being pushed by President Obama and the Democratic- controlled Congress have succeeded in distracting the national media's attention away from a substantive debate on the issues and toward a litany of false and bizarre accusations. Among the irresponsible claims being made by right-wing activists affiliated with corporate-sponsored organizations are that Democratic party-supported health care reform legislation will force the euthanasia of senior citizens, mandate abortions for handicapped fetuses and abolish the nation's private insurance companies. Echoing the rants of conservative radio talk show hosts, some activists compare President Barack Obama with Adolph Hitler and his health care plan to the Holocaust.
While much of the U.S. corporate media is eager to amplify these crude lies, most of the coverage fails to dig deeper to reveal the groups behind the campaign to misinform the public and disrupt congressional town hall meetings. Among these groups are Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks. Freedom Works' chairman is former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey, a senior policy advisor with the law firm DLA Piper, which represents major energy corporations and the pharmaceutical industry. FreedomWorks is funded by the right-wing Koch, Scaife, Bradley and Olin foundations.
Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Peter Hart, activism director with the media-watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting or FAIR. Hart assesses the corporate media's coverage of the U.S. healthcare reform debate and conservative activists' disruption of congressional town hall meetings.
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