Monday, April 22, 2013

Obamacare Implementation Media Sources
The medium is the message.
Marshall Herbert McLuhan (1911-1980), Understanding Media (1964)

The media – TV, social media, newspapers – will heavily influence Obamacare’s fate and the outcome of the 2014 elections.   The Obama administration knows this,  That is why it is investing $1.3 million in a media campaign to sell the health law to the public.   
The conservative media knows the stakes too,  as evidenced by a WSJ columnist John Fund in today’s National Review “Putting Lipstick on the Obamacare Pig” and a  front page article in the Sunday New York Times  “Conservative Koch Brothers Turning Focus to Newspapers."
The Times piece tells  the story of how the Koch brothers, heads of the $115billion Koch Industries in Wichita, Kansas, might try to buy the Tribune Company’s eight regional newspapers, which include Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune,  Baltimore Sun,   Orlando Sentinel,  Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale., and Hartford Courant . 
What nervous  liberals fear is that acquisition of these newspapers will give conservatives a broader voice in politically important states and regions that could swing elections. This fear may not be  justified.  Voters are smart enough to consider the source of what they read.
I consider the  source when judging  the success or failure of Obamacare.  Obamacare will be a central issue that may determine the outcome of the November 2014 election and President Obama’s legacy.    As things now stand,  polls indicate only 37% to 45% of voters approve of Obamacare, and one of its architects,  Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana,  warns Obamacare may be a “train wreck.” Whether it comes off the rails may depend on the strengths of the liberal and conservative messages.

Here are the media sources  to which I turn first when interpreting what goes on.

·         Real Clear Politics  - Balanced.  Contains a regular section called “Obamacare Implementation.”  Lists about 20 news items from each side of ideologue spectrum. 

·         New York Times – Predictably liberal and pro-Obamacare.  Op-Ed more partisan than regular reportage.  Robert Pear especially good when reporting from Washington on Medicare developments.

·         Wall Street Journal – Consistently conservative.  Editors would like to see Obamacare repealed.   Reporters more balanced than editorialists.  Contains solid  anti-Obamacare Op-Ed pieces

·         Washington Post -  Liberal but nervous about fate of Obamacare.  Charles Krauthammer one of its few predictably conservative voices.  Other voices, such as Ezra Klein, adamantly and unapologetically favor the health law.

·         New England Journal of Medicine – Runs four or five articles each week in its Perspective section.  Articles well researched. Generally its  top-down from liberal Harvard connected lawyers or academic establishment,  support but are sometimes critical of Obamacare. 

·         Kaiser Health News – Editorially independent.  Cites multiple sources each day and runs  longer more analytic  pieces.   Encourages readers to use their material. A reliable sources of day-to-day developments.
·         HealthLeaders Media -  Addressed primarily to hospital and integrated hospital systems executive  audience.  Sensitive about physician issues, since hospitals cannot live without physicians.  Good material.   Has one  useful sections citing reports from other news sources.

·         Fox -  Conservative,  but  not as extreme as portrayed by liberal critics.  Marc Siegel, M.D., a New York City internist, is good critic on negative effects of Obamacare on doctors and patients.   Fox News  has much greater market share than competing cable networks.
  • Investors Business Daily -   Conservative.  Especially important because it reflects solidarity of busnesses, large and small, in resisting Obamacare by its actions in discontinuing coverage,  not hiring,  reducing  workers to 30 hours,  and turning to self-funding to avoid burdensome Obamacare provisions.
Tweet:   Liberal, conservative, and government media outlets will influence fate of Obamacare and 2014 elections.

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