by Ben Cohen
Matt Taibbi picks up on the interesting theme that the media elite are conforming to the exact model Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman laid out in ‘Manufacturing Consent’ in regards to the healthcare debate.
Chomsky and Herman predict that in a corporate capitalist model, the commercial media will skew debate to reflect its interests by only allowing an extremely narrow range of opposing views (is private health insurance really, really good, or is it just good?), and dismissing alternative opinion as being ‘way out of the mainstream’.
Taibbi points out that we are seeing just that with centrist liberal pundits decrying the massive popularity of the public insurance option for being an unnecessary sticking point in ‘real healthcare reform’. He writes:
There were a few voices arguing that the public option is the bare
minimum “reform” that the public should tolerate, and a few who argued
that if it is not in the final version, progressives should reject the
But overwhelmingly the pundits went the route predicted by Manufacturing Consent.
The most prominent voices in the last two days have mostly chosen one
of two sides to argue. Many attacked the public uproar over the White
House’s apparent surrender, blasting the public option as an
unrealistic and meaningless affectation, a policy kewpie doll for
unrealistic liberals who “don’t want to be bothered with the real-life
dynamics of the health care market,” as the Washington Post’s Steven Pearlstein put it…
I read with interest Joe Klein’s recent Time Magazine article that slammed the GOP for its complete inability to present a meaningful alternative to the Democratic healthcare plan. It was a well reasoned article, until Joe (a ‘professional White House apologist’ as Taibbi so eloquently describes him) stated the following:
This year, the liberal insistence on a marginally relevant public
option has been a tactical mistake that has enabled the right’s
“government takeover” disinformation jihad.
This type of snivelling subservience to corporate America has almost killed the Democratic Party, and is the reason a single payer system (adopted by most other civilized countries on the planet) wasn’t even on the table. The Republicans would have raised hell no matter what plan the Democrats put forward, so why Klein beleives a fully privatized system should have been the starting place for negotiation is beyond comprehension.
Centrist corporate shills like Klein make a fine living ensuring public debate doesn’t effect his position in society (no European style taxes on his income please), and he’ll always be invited to the CNN round table discussions as long as he has lots to say about relatively little.
The fact that a public insurance plan is in danger is a testament to the centrists ability to ignore the will of the public, and help frame the debate to make everyone believe it wasn’t possible in the first place.
And if we listen to them, we get what they want, and not what we do.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.