Multimedia StoryTelling

By the students of MCJ300 at The University of Southern Mississippi

Obamacare rollout is bad enough, even without Fox News’s lies

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It’s no secret that Obamacare has had some problems. While much of the media attention surrounding the rollout of the state healthcare exchanges has focused on the failures of the flagship reform website healthcare.gov, stories abound about the how the law will negatively affect individuals and businesses who may now have to purchase insurance or change their current plans. Conservative media have been using these anecdotes to support the larger narrative that healthcare reform is bad for the economy, which may or may not be true. But the infuriating thing about some of the conservative media reports is their blatant and gratuitous inaccuracies.

Fox_News_Channel.svgWriting for Salon, liberal politico Eric Stern has taken the broadcast behemoth to task in two separate articles, researching the plight of the guests on two different Fox News segments who claimed the law would have negative effects on their lives. In the first article, Stern calls up all three couples featured on “Hannity,” each of whom had an Obamacare “horror story.” I won’t describe their individual stories here, but I can safely summarize that the couples’ “problems” all stemmed from either their misunderstanding of the law or their refusal to comply with it. With just basic questioning from producers, Fox could have avoided the embarrassment

In the second piece, Stern addresses the case of a Texas business owner who told Megyn Kelly that Obamacare was causing him to go out of business. Long story short, Stern calls him up and discovers numerous other reasons, from burdensome taxes and fees to the personal stress of managing a business. Most telling was the fact that Stern found out the business owner had been in talks with a venture capital firm for years (even before the Affordable Care Act was passed), and therefore has been considering selling his business for a while. Stern reasons that while complying with the law would have taken a cut out of the business’s bottom line, the new investors saw enough value in the business to offer the current owner a satisfactory payment.

It’s one thing to interpret facts in different ways, but it’s an entirely different thing to purposefully withhold relevant information and skew a story into something that it’s not. Hopefully these articles, which have been widely circulated, can send a message to Fox that at least some media consumers value facts. Given the news giant’s troubled history, though, I have little faith the message will be received.

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Written by jarodkeith

November 23, 2013 at 9:21 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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