Doctors, Media Critics Demand Broader TV Debate on Healthcare

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Steve Rendall
srendall@fair.org
Tel: 212-633-6700 x13

Doctors, Media Critics Demand Broader TV Debate on Healthcare

NEW YORK CITY - At
12:30 EST, the national media watch group FAIR and local healthcare
advocacy groups will deliver a petition signed by over 12,000 people
demanding that the TV networks include the single-payer proposal in
their coverage of the national healthcare debate. The petition's
signatories include Obama's longtime physician, Dr. David Scheiner;
filmmaker Michael Moore; former MSNBC host Phil Donahue; actors Mike
Farrell, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon; and doctors Quentin Young,
Stephanie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein of Physicians for a
National Health Program.

The petition will be
presented to a representative of ABC News, which disinvited Dr.
Scheiner from its recent forum on healthcare reform, where he'd been
planning to ask Obama a question about single-payer.

FAIR, Physicians for a National Health Program, Healthcare Now!, the
Private Health Insurance Must Go Coalition, Code Pink and the Raging
Grannies are taking part in the petition delivery. In addition to the
petition, the groups will be presenting a giant prescription--for a
broader healthcare debate--to a representative of ABC News at the
network's NYC headquarters at 77 West 66th Street.

FAIR communications director Isabel Macdonald commented, "When 59
percent of the public and an equal percentage of physicians say they
want a Medicare-for-all type of plan, and that perspective has not been
covered at all this year on a major TV network like ABC, one has to
wonder what kind of journalism that is."

FAIR's petition, which is available at http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/592/t/9039/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=1993 , reads as follows:

Many
experts see single-payer national health insurance as the most sensible
solution to expand coverage to the uninsured and to reduce costs.

This proposal polls well with the public, who preferred it two-to-one
over a privatized system in a recent survey (New York Times/CBS,
1/11-15/09). It is also preferred by 59 percent of physicians,
according to a recent study published in the Annals of Internal
Medicine (4/1/08).

Yet a recent study by FAIR found that of hundreds of stories about
health care in major outlets earlier this year, only five stories
included the views of advocates of single-payer--none of which appeared
on the television networks.

The insurance lobbies and many politicians may not want to talk about
single-payer. But that makes it all the more important that the media
do.

Please cover single-payer healthcare proposals, and stop silencing their advocates.

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FAIR, the national media watch group, has been offering well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986. We work to invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity in the press and by scrutinizing media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints.

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