Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All
Saturday, November 02, 2013
As healthcare.gov Glitches Vanish Media Outlets Megaphoning Glitch Stories Collectively Yawn
USAToday reports that load times at healthcare.gov have already improved by 80%. Nevertheless, complaints about the website that no longer reflect the facts are still given saturation coverage, and yet improvements are not yet being reported on NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, CNN, NPR, or are being treated as loose "promises" rather than accomplished results. Instead, the media outlets have turned to the even more conspicuous misinformation effort of reporting without fact-checking palpably untrue and fantastically non-representative horror stories about cancelled coverage and skyrocketing costs from Fox-indoctrinated yahoos who simply want to destroy the program. Even the most sympathetic coverage has tended to misidentify the Affordable Care Act with the opening day glitches of its web portal in a profoundly misleading way. Few have even mentioned the basic and blatant irrationality of the loudest critics of the program who actually shut down the government to prevent people from accessing the ACA and then somehow were supposed to be scoring points by howling about how the website was preventing people from accessing the ACA. What possible use is served by pundits offering up what amounts to fashion advice on the Administration's "sloppy messaging" or even go so far as to call or imply that the President is a liar for saying people could keep their insurance if they liked it just because he didn't anticipate that some people would be so stupid or so brainwashed that they would claim still to "like" paying for insurance revealed not to insure them? Look, the problems with the damn website are being fixed well before they interfere with any of the deadlines mandated by the law, meanwhile the five percent or so of the population on the private market who may indeed find their insurance costs rising a bit without subsidies to compensate them or who already had excellent coverage that is not much improved by the regulations of the market implemented by the ACA are soon going to be swamped by the overwhelming majority of people who are finding their coverage either vastly improved (including millions of the long catastrophically uninsured poor and abused exploited citizens with what were once deemed "pre-existing conditions") or more or less unchanged, and the share of rising healthcare costs in driving the federal deficit and causing personal bankruptcies will fall ever more conspicuously (as has already begun to happen) with each year. The Republican Party which has been unified the last few years by little more than its monolithic hostility to the ACA will have to learn to sing a new tune, but the media should do some serious soul-searching as well as it realizes that there were a host of real checkable facts for them to report most of which they disdained to provide instead an endless mic for liars and ignoramuses to testify to their groundless fears and displaced frustrations to the benefit of literally no one in the end.