WH press secretary scolds journos on "noise" reporting on health care reform

AP reports on news and talk show coverage of the contentious town hall meetings legislators are holding across the country. Excerpt:

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, in Air Force One on the trip to New Hampshire, criticized news organizations for their preoccupation with the contentious meetings.

"You cover noise and heat and light, but I think what people in America want to know is how is this reform going to help them or how is it going to affect them."

How will history reflect on this summer's discussion - or lack thereof?

Another AP excerpt:

"The loud public debates have been a tonic for cable news networks during normally quiet August. The audience for Fox's Bill O'Reilly last Thursday was a half-million more than on a typical evening this year, and he credited his network's willingness to listen to health care reform opponents for helping bring in viewers.

The cable networks all covered a much livelier forum held Tuesday morning by Sen. Arlen Specter in Lebanon, Pa. One woman, nearly shaking in anger, stood directly in front of Specter and said the reform bill "is about the systematic dismantling of our country."

CNN called it a "town hell."

The loud protests have dominated coverage and put the White House on the defensive. Nearly 60 percent of the time on cable and radio talk shows last week was spent on health care, much of that time debating whether the angry protests were genuine or orchestrated, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism."

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This page contains a single entry by Gary Schwitzer published on August 12, 2009 11:18 AM.

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