Quote of the Day: Right Wing Media Lies Helped Save Obamacare

"They were told a bunch of crazy nonsense"
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The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf explains why the right wing media helped tank Trumpcare and the repeal of the ACA:

Over the last eight years, lots of responsibly written critiques of Obamacare have been published in numerous publications, and folks reading the aforementioned wonks, or Peter Suderman at Reason, or Yuval Levin, or Megan McArdle at Bloomberg, stayed reasonably grounded in actual shortcomings of Obamacare.

In contrast, Fox News viewers who watched entertainers like Glenn Beck, talk-radio listeners who tuned into hosts like Rush Limbaugh, and consumers of web journalism who turned to sites like Breitbart weren’t merely misled about health-care tradeoffs.

They were told a bunch of crazy nonsense....

Friedersdorf uses several examples of the crazy nonsense, including Sarah Palin's insane claim that "My parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's "death panel" so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their "level of productivity in society," whether they are worthy of health care." Friedersdorf continues: 

These aren’t just egregious, scare-mongering falsehoods that a few people uttered on a few occasions. They represent the tenor of coverage on right-wing TV and radio across scores of hours of broadcasting. This is the largely forgotten context that helps explain why my colleague David Frum could not have possibly succeeded in persuading elites on the right to work with Democrats to improve Obamacare (rather than guarantee that it would pass without any Republican input).

The coverage offered by right-wing media in those years also helps explain why elected Republicans never developed compelling arguments for why voters should prefer a different set of tradeoffs.

The lies told by Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and so on were never questioned by the right wing media, so viewers ended up believing Obamacare was a Stalinesque takeover of health care in America -- a ridiculous proposition given it was basically the government subsidizing private insurance companies. Obamacare was conservative healthcare, taking its core philosophy from Mitt Romney's Heritage Foundation based plan that he passed in Massachusetts. While their attempts to destroy Obamacare haven't ended, it is hard to see how they can come up with an alternative the American public will buy into given they have spent 7 years trashing their own health care plan. 

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