Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Maybe you were still asleep this morning. Maybe you didn't hear NPR's Steve Innskeep bring an exec with the health insurance industry on Morning Edition and let him froth on and on about why the nation shouldn't have a public insurance option as part of health care reform.

Steve Innskeep, are you serious? Did you just forget to include an opposing point of view?

Since when is this balanced journalism? Since when does NPR do PR for business? Since when is it right to let an apologist for a huge corporate interest moan and groan about how horrible Medicare is because reimbursement rates aren't as high as they are under private insurance?

Your listening audience deserves far better.

At a moment when the nation is poised to try to revamp a health care system that is in total shambles, we need our public radio station to do justice to the debate. We need you to do far better journalism than this poor excuse for a story.

How ironic that it would be the public radio network making this extraordinary gaffe.

How would it be, NPR, if we let an opponent of public radio come on the air -- unopposed -- and let him whine about why all federal funding for public radio should be eliminated?

The health care debate is as hot right now here in DC as the sidewalks running through the nation's capitol. The papers and airwaves are full of stories about whether the legislation will come out of the Senate and House by the end of July, before the recess (as the President is urging.)

And in the middle of all this, NPR does a segment like this?

Do it over. This time, bring in somebody from the opposing point of view. Bring in somebody who knows about the benefits of the public option and let her/him have at it with your PR type.

The President has said it is essential we have a public option to keep the private health insurance industry honest. It's essential to give consumers an alternative to private insurance, which has our backs up against the wall, always denying claims, or delaying payment, or dropping people from their rolls when they get too sick.

Curious that the person Innskeep brought on is the doctor whose job it is at WellPoint -- the nation's biggest insurance company -- to set up the rules for the company about denying coverage. Ah, so the docs now become the industry bureaucrats. How reassuring is THAT?

Maybe, Steve, that's the real story you should have done early this morning. And you know what? It isn't too late to do it, right, this afternoon or tomorrow!


Anonymous said...

Thanks. I missed this segment. I realize that NPR listeners/broadcasters will have a broad range of views. I do, however, expect to receive balanced coverage on issues. I am wondering how this segment managed to get on the air. Hmm...
Anonymous because I can't remember the user name/password--sorry

david seth michaels said...

I heard that this morning. My reaction was less reasoned but no less intense. You're right. There needs to be a Mulligan on this, and it needs to be done properly. And an apology, also.