Posted by: ethurman | August 5, 2009

Fox coverage of town hall meetings

This is a very interesting report from Media Matters on Fox’s coverage of recent town hall meetings regarding the new health care bill.  In an effort to remain (somewhat) unbiased, I watched the video before reading the Media Matters commentary so that I could interpret what I saw for myself.  It’s difficult to criticize people for wanting to speak directly with their congress person and a town hall meeting can be a very useful way for citizens to become more involved with politics.  However, the issue I took with the people who spoke at the town hall meetings highlighted in the video is that they assume that they are more informed about the health care plan and the current situation of health care in the US than Congress is.  They argue that the members of Congress are uninformed on the issue but what makes an average citizen an expert?  One of the men interviewed commented that he had a pace maker and was concerned about the future of his medical coverage.  This is a legitimate concern but having a medical condition does not make you an expert on health care and there are thousands of people who aren’t able to get any sort of medical help because they are uninsured.  As a young person, the comment that most annoyed me was made by one of the men who spoke out at a town hall meeting (at 10:18 in the video) and said that he doubted that there were as many uninsured people in the country as Congress claims.  The figure he was given at the meeting by Sen. Arlen Specter was 47 million (and you can hear someone shout out “that’s a lie” as soon as he says it).  The Fox guest said that he doubted this was an accurate number as it includs illegal immigrants.  Now, immigration is a whole different debate so maybe he can be given some legitimacy for that claim.  However, he then said that also included in that number were many young people who “don’t want or don’t need health insurance.”  Now, I may be mistaken but just because you’re young does not mean to you are impervious to injury or have no need for health insurance.  The fact that this man, an older man I might add, was claiming to speak for young people on their desire to have health insurance makes me very suspicious of pretty much everything else he says.

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