When a friend on Facebook offered that the anti-[Obamacare] side “short circuited the [healthcare] debate with craziness,” I responded with a rhetorical question:
Did the anti-side short circuit the debate or did the media coverage of their opposition short circuit [it], given the media focus on [its] most extreme elements?
By reporting more on the process than the substance of the debate, the media have made it easier to focus on the zany protesters instead of the actual ideas many protesters, building on and echoing proposals put forward by intelligent editorialists, libertarian think tanks and reform-minded legislators, have presented. According to Washington Post Ombudsman Andrew Alexander:
In my examination of roughly 80 A-section stories on health-care reform since July 1, all but about a dozen focused on political maneuvering or protests. The Pew Foundation’s Project for Excellence in Journalism had a similar finding. Its recent month-long review of Post front pages found 72 percent of health-care stories were about politics, process or protests.
This skewed coverage, however, has done nothing to dampen the opposition to Obamacare and indeed has made independent voters “more sympathetic to the protesters’ views“. Given the growing opposition of independents to statist proposals to reform health care, Republicans would do themselves well to promote free-market reforms more forcefully, more publicly .
This will accomplish two things, frist show that Republicans are not just the party of “no,” that we do have actual solutions to the problems of the day. And second, show their renewed (restored?) commitment to smaller government and free-market principles.
The MSM may not cover these ideas, but with the various forms of new media, these ideas will out. We are already seeing how many Americans have succeeded in bypassing traditional news media to learn the details of Democratic proposals for healthcare reform–and free market alternatives.