July 23, 2009
There's a showdown at the House Energy and Commerce Committee corral. Seven Blue Dog Democrat members are banding together, and if they don't get their way, they can gun down the healthcare bill.
The Blue Dog Seven are spooked by pressure from their constituents and recent polls that show American's approval of Obama's healthcare initiative has dropped below 50 percent for the first time.
Drive across the seven states they represent: Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Ohio, Tennessee, and Utah, turn on your car radio, and you'll know why public opinion has changed. According to Pew research, 22 percent of Americans get their news from talk radio. And conservative talkers have been lying to their listeners about what's in the healthcare bill.
Lies from Sean Hannity like, "If you don't have private insurance the year that this bill is passed, you can't get that later on from your employer." Lies from Rush Limbaugh that the bill would "outlaw individual private coverage." Lies provided in talking points from the Republican National Committee like "Democrats are proposing a government controlled health insurance system, which will control care, treatments, medicines and even what doctors a patient may see."
Tell a lie often enough, and people will believe it.
And there is nobody there to call them on their lies. Nobody there to set the record straight. Nobody to push back against the propaganda that corporate radio promotes in its own political self interest. In the Blue Dog Seven states, just three stations broadcast any kind of progressive talk. Three progressive radio stations in seven entire states. But Sean Hannity "freely" prevaricates on dozens of radio stations; Rush Limbaugh deceives people on 98 in those seven states alone. 98 publicly owned frequencies where public debate comes second to selling ads for Snapple.
Special assistant to the President for Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy, Susan Crawford told Broadcasting and Cable magazine, "The administration understands the important role traditional terrestrial broadcasting continues to play."
Maybe they should be listening to FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, who says in "Broadcast Blues," "If you're concerned about health care or you're concerned about the environment as your number one issue, fine, but a piece of advice from me, is you better make media reform your number two issue, because you won't get anywhere on number one without media reform."
Former Republican Senator Trent Lott had it right when he said Conservative Talk Radio is running the country. There needs to be a showdown, but it's the 1996 Telecommunications Act that should be gunned down.