Black People Politics : Deleting Corporate Power: Dominant Media’s Superficial Coverage of Problems with Obamacare

Discussion in 'Black People Politics' started by RAPTOR, Dec 15, 2013.


    RAPTOR Well-Known Member MEMBER

    United States
    Sep 12, 2009
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    by Paul Street

    Corporate media criticism of ObamaCare is mainly limited to the failures of its website. But the whole machinery has been rotten from its conception in a right-wing think tank. ObamaCare “is dedicated to a vision of ‘change’ that leaves the corporate and financial oligarchy free to extort massive profits.” It is working quite well for the insurance giants, whose stocks are up by 200%-300%.

    This article previously appeared in Znet.

    The bill left the private insurance and drug corporations in parasitic, profit-extracting control of the nation’s absurdly expensive health care system.”

    One of the many ways in which corporate news media functions to serve concentrated wealth and power is to focus the coverage of current events on relatively superficial matters removed from core questions relating to the fundamental problem of who owns and rules society. Thus, “mainstream” election coverage and commentary deals mainly with the latest “horse race” details on which major party candidate seems to be winning, candidate gaffes and foibles, and numerous other bits of campaign trivia. It ignores the fundamental problem that all but a very few viable candidates are funded by the same “unelected dictatorship” of big corporate and financial money – an elite class that essentially owns and operates the electoral racetrack and invests in parties and candidates to receive profit-friendly policy outcomes from the winners.

    Nightly news crime reporting gives the latest grim facts on inner-city shootings and murder. It deletes the critical and related contexts of capitalist abandonment and societal racism that give rise to endemic despair, gang formation, and violence in the nation’s savagely de-industrialized and poverty-ridden ghettoes and barrios.

    The nightly news weather segment reports the latest unseasonably warm temperatures and forecasts and incidents of extreme weather. It makes no reference to the grave and underlying problem of anthropogenic global warming, rooted in contemporary capitalism’s addiction to fossil fuels and endless growth.

    News on American military action abroad focuses on killings and casualties, generally repeating Pentagon and White House talking points and ignoring the broader corporate interests being served and the deeper related imperial agenda guiding that action.

    Health Glitches Tarnish Obama”
    Economic and policy news, both foreign and domestic, is reported at a shallow level, without serious reference to the wealthy investor class and corporations that drive and direct market trends and government actions under the aforementioned dictatorship.

    An excellent example is found in “mainstream” media’s coverage of the so called Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as “Obamacare”) – U.S. President Barack Obama’s signature health insurance “reform” – in the fall of 2013. The narrow focus of the reigning coverage was epitomized by a front-page Wall Street Journal article in early November:

    “Health Glitches Tarnish Obama”
    “President Barack Obama, bogged down by problems with his signature health-care problem, is seeing both his approval and personal-favorability ratings with Americas sag.

    “During past turbulence in Washington, Americans’ approval of the job Mr. Obama is doings has dipped. But in those stretches, Mr. Obama was buoyed by voters’ general admiration for him as a person and by their trust in his credibility.

    “That has changed recently, particularly as thousands of Americans lose their insurance coverage under the health law’s rollout, despite the president’s pledge that anyone who liked their current plan could keep it.

    “The president has apologized to Americans about the insurance-cancellation notices, and he is taking other steps to shore up his political standing. But if his reservoir of personal goodwill continues to diminish, it could hamper him at a time when his administration tries to repair the insurance web site on which much of the Affordable Care Act rests, and as it considers administrative changes to better implement the health law.”

    “…only 41% of Americans viewed Mr. Obama in a late October Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, with 45% holding a negative impression of him….Obama’s all-time low as president – and the first time more people saw him negatively than positively…..[Still] Mr. Obama says he has retained the public’s confidence’ [and]….has asked supporters for time and patience: ‘Sometimes I worry, because everybody had such a fun experience in ’08, at least, that’s how it seemed in retrospect…And ‘yes we can’ and the posters, et cetera – sometimes I worry that people forget change in this country has always been hard.’” [1]

    Typical of the dominant mass media’s highly personalized “horse race” approach to current events, the Wall Street Journal focused on two technical and programmatic “glitches” in the ACA’s implementation – difficulties with the functioning of the bill’s insurance market web site and the cancellation of existing healthcare plans their holders did not wish to drop – and above all on the impact of those malfunctions on the president’s political standing.

    The Health Insurers Have Already Won” (August 2009)

    To be sure, Obamacare’s hitches and their political impact were and remain technically newsworthy. They are quite severe and practically scandalous in ways that are relevant both to Obama’s plummeting popularity and to the deadly distrust of government that has been instilled in the populace or many years. Still, there’s a much bigger story, intimately connected to the taboo question of who owns and rules society, hidden by the horserace journalism: the abjectly corporatist and undemocratic nature of the ACA, with or without glitches.
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