It comes as no surprise to those of us who have taken the time to learn at least the rudiments of what the ACA, aka Obamacare actually is and what it will actually do, that there are many people who not only do not know what it does, they think that it will do many things that it will not do. This is in part due to a vigorous campaign of misinformation and disinformation on the part of the law’s detractors.
With the opening of the healthcare exchanges next week looming, the far right has redoubled their efforts to disseminate false information with the full cooperation of the folks at Faux News’ Fox and Friends. After an encounter on his show with TEApublican Representative Renee Ellmers during which the Congresswoman displayed a total ignorance of the law, Chris Hayes decided to create a tutorial for his colleagues at Faux News and those on the fringe right who they serve.
Representative Ellmers said on the show that, “Those who are now uninsured will remain uninsured, those who have insurance right now will lose their insurance.” After playing the clip of the Congresswoman’s remarks Hayes began his tutorial with a background graphic resembling the “For Dummies” books entitled, “Obamacare For Fox and Friends.”
In response to a clip of Steve Doocy bemoaning the fact that the small business exchanges, which will do for small business owners what the public exchanges will do for the rest of us, will be delayed until the first of November, Hayes pointed out that the law does not take effect until the first of January and that the delay, while not ideal, was far from the end of the world, there is still plenty of time. In fact small businesses will still be able to enroll next month, just not online.
He finishes up by pointing out the obvious. Any law is complex and this law is no exception, and it is the duty of the news media to sort through the details and get the information out to the people in a form that they can understand. He admonishes his friends at Fox and Friends to stand up and do their job rather than further contribute to the confusion.
Unfortunately, there are those even in the mainstream media, those who the TEApublicans deride as the liberal media who do not think that it is their responsibility to get the truth out. Chuck Todd, NBC News Political Director and Chief White House Correspondent, last week on a segment of Morning Joe told Ed Rendell (D), former Pennsylvania Governor, that it is not the fault of the media that the TEApublican inaccuracies have not been exposed by fact checking by the press. He said, “They don’t repeat the other stuff because they haven’t even heard the Democratic message.
It is not one side or the other that holds the entire blame for the proliferation of bad “information” about the law circulating among the population, there is plenty of blame to go around but Chris is right on this one and Chuck is dead wrong. The main job of the press is to root out falsehood and deception from our elected officials and to make sure that we have full and accurate information about the laws that are pending and, after enactment, those that are about to take effect.
Watch Hayes deliver a proper smackdown here: