Tuesday, January 12, 2010

An Absent GOP Reduces Public Debate on Healthcare Reform

During the presidential campaign of 2008, then-candidate Obama said he would make sure that "healthcare negotiations" were televised, so Americans could see who was making arguments for proposed changes (and who was voicing the concerns of business). But there has been a problem with that promise --

" ...
since no Republican voted for either the House or Senate versions, the legislation has become purely a Democratic creation for Democrats to shape (and to take the credit or blame).

So, the first hurdle for C-SPAN’s cameras is that there will be no public conference meetings to record."

However, there has been much coverage on C-SPAN of the discussions and decisions regarding healthcare changes:

Legislation is on the Web for all to read, and reporters will be working their sources. Nor is it the last chance for citizen input, as members still have to vote on the bill. Ultimately, voters will hold lawmakers accountable.To date, C-SPAN has televised hundreds of hours of committee hearings, markups, and floor debates on healthcare. That’s been a useful window into the process, but at the same time, the cameras have not stopped the flow of lobbying dollars or the intense partisanship surrounding healthcare legislation."

So what is making the media wheels spin today?

As Southern Beale writes, mostly celebrity gossip:

This morning’s news has all been about Simon Cowell leaving American Idol, Mark McGuire using steroids, the Jay Leno-Conan O’Brien story, and Sarah Palin getting a show on Fox. None of which is actual news. I guess the assumption is that we’re getting our information about the world from somewhere, leaving the media to cover itself the rest of the time. Very odd."

Or just stories about where Tiger Woods is not, who is or isn't his lover.

Or, in Knoxville, lots of talk about a proposed sperm bank/music center in Sequoyah Hills has comments sure to make you laugh.

Meanwhile, Tennessee's legislature still refuses to enact rules to improve voting reliability and confidence two years after the measure passed. So, today, members are giving reasons why they are refusing to enforce their own laws and will likely vote to delay action on improving voting standards for as long as possible. Mary Mancini at Liberadio has been tracking this story -- the state's mainstream media outlets, however, barely mention the events in Nashville.

If the state media had applied one-tenth of the amount of coverage about cold weather to voting standards and hypocrisy in the legislature, then voters might understand what the legislature is doing.

1 comment:

  1. OXYMORON12:14 PM

    Southern Beales comment on the news coverage of HC reform reminds me of the arguement I like to make that Clinton's first term attempts at HC reform and other initiatives was undermined by the Tonya Harding scandal and O.J. Simpson murder trial. For all practical purposes Clinton's presidency, except for the White Water investigation, simply disappeared. Even more so, any positive value of what Clinton was trying to achieve.
    As for the Repugs involvement in HC reform and their vote in lockstep to defeat it, no one is saying that a successful presidency of a Black, Progressive, nee' Liberal President who leads American through its darkest hours is a nightmare for the Repuglican party; for the Democrats to install a figure in public myth who might eclipse Reagan as a, ahem, White Knight who rides in to ward off disaster. This is even more important to the Republicans since the Bush's now occupy the dank cellar of opinion once reserved for Jimmy Carter. A successful Obama presidency is their worst nightmare; more than a Great Depression, Lost Wars, Terrorist Attacks or any other damage to America.