Sunday, June 28, 2009
HEALTH CARE, GOV. SANFORD & KING OF POP
By Ivan G. Goldman
Wouldn't it be terrific if the mainstream media gave us such extensive, blockbuster coverage of the travels of Gov. Mark Sanford and the death of Michael Jackson because all the important problems were solved? Wouldn't it be nice if the frivolity of what passes for news meant that we’ve managed to raise Americans' longevity and instant mortality statistics above Third World status?
But no, that's not at all what it means.
Nor does it mean that the global economic meltdown is a problem that's been licked or that we don't have 200,000 troops sitting in the bleakness and danger of the Iraq and Afghanistan war zones.
What it means is that the mass media have become bored with corruption, ineptitude, families thrown in the street, dead babies, endless wars, and related issues. Because these circumstances have become more or less permanent, stories about them are of little consequence to the media gatekeepers. They’re much like the no-longer-so-new White House dog. Learn a new trick or get to the end of the news report where you belong.
Such are the rules of pack journalism, whose methods and results ensured that we couldn’t possibly be tipped off before the banking crisis that wrecked the world economy. Mainstream media don't check out stories like that until it's too late. Did you hear them asking back in 2002 why it was so necessary to kick the U.N. inspectors out of Iraq so we could replace them with a shooting war and an endless occupation that drains our resources and weakens our country?
Reporters and their bosses are still out there chasing each others' tails looking for the next O.J. or Nicole Smith. What's the latest hot story eating up thousands of reporter-hours as we speak? The possibility that John Edwards and his mistress made a sex tape. If it doesn't turn up, they'll just go back to their endless follow-ups on Sanford and Jackson.
“The big question,” I heard one of the CNN buffoons say as I fished through channels, “is whether the Sanfords will reconcile.” I asked my wife, “Is that really the big question? Can’t CNN find bigger questions than that?” But she was already heading to the living room to turn on some music and sit down with a book.
Meanwhile, as real news goes unreported, President Obama is day by day worn down by the “moderate” wing of the Democratic Congress (that is, Republicans with a D after their names) who work in tandem with the relig-o-crat greedhead crazies on the Republican side of the aisle. Who's representing the American public, 72 percent of whom want a government alternative to private health insurance and its deranged pre-existing conditions clauses? You tell me.
Sen. Diane Feinstein and her pals have already proclaimed that health care reform would cost $1.7 trillion over the next ten years. So, they say, its goals and methods must be vastly reduced. They get away with repeating this lying horror story because they and their bribe-master corporations know that mainstream media won't check it out.
So let's just look at the hypothetical case of a child running a high fever whose parents are out of jobs, savings, and luck. The parents can’t afford health insurance or a family physician so they take her to a hospital emergency room because by law it must treat her. There she’s diagnosed with swine flu and treated with Tamiflu. But she had to wait ten hours to be treated, and therefore many more patients and their families were needlessly exposed.
In a civilized country she’d have waited less than an hour at a clinic or physician’s office and been properly treated for approximately $200. That $200 is part of Feinstein’s scary story, part of the phantom $1.7 trillion because after all, the government just spent it to help the child. Feinstein doesn’t mention the $1,200 saved by having a rational system in place instead. Nor is this ever mentioned by the insurance or pharmaceutical companies, the AMA, or any of the other powerful lobbies feeding inaccuracies and perverted statistics to the mainstream media. Nor is it mentioned by CNN or Fox, MSNBC, etc., etc. Meanwhile what passes for U.S. health care takes up one-sixth of our gross domestic product while our health statistics are beneath those of Morocco.
Obama, faced with the real math of the “moderate-conservative” coalition in Congress, will most likely agree to water down a health plan to something that Congress's bribe-masters can live with, and we’ll continue suffering under a health care non-system designed to please the corporations that profit from it. And so it goes.
You know something? Maybe it is a better idea to follow the Jackson and Sanford stories. They’re not nearly as depressing.