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Study: Media Blackout on Single-Payer Healthcare
New Study on Media & Healthcare Reform
Proponents of popular policy shut out of debate
NEW YORK CITY - March 6 - A timely new study
documents a significant gap in recent media coverage of healthcare reform.
Major newspaper, broadcast and cable stories mentioning healthcare reform in the week leading up to President Barack Obama's March 5 healthcare summit rarely mentioned the idea of a single-payer national health insurance program, according to a study by the media watch group FAIR. And advocates of such a system--two of whom participated in yesterday's summit--were almost entirely shut out, FAIR found. This despite the fact that single-payer polls well with the public, who preferred it 59-to-32 over a privatized system in a recent survey (New York Times/CBS, 1/11-15/09).
Of the hundreds of major newspaper, broadcast and cable stories mentioning healthcare reform on NBC News, ABC News, CBS News, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, NPR and PBS's NewsHour With Jim Lehrer, the study found that:
-All but 18 stories made no mention of "single-payer" (or synonyms commonly used by its proponents, such as "Medicare for all," or the proposed single-payer bill, H.R. 676)
-Only five stories included the views of advocates of single-payer--none of which appeared on television.
-A media consumer in the week leading up to the summit was more likely to read about single-payer from the hostile perspective of conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer than see an op-ed by a single-payer advocate in a major U.S. newspaper. Of a total of 10 newspaper columns FAIR found that mentioned single-payer, Krauthammer's syndicated column critical of the concept, accounted for five instances, while only three columns in the study period advocated for a single-payer system.
-The FAIR study turned up only three mentions of single-payer on the TV outlets surveyed, and two of those references were by TV guests who expressed strong disapproval of it.
full summary of the study's findings is available at: http://www.fair.org/index.php?