Thursday, October 31, 2013

"Reporting" shouldn't just be parroting

At the LA Times, Michael Hiltzik looks at a woman whose health care plan was cut and who's been on a lot of tv news shows complaining about it.

Surprise! (Not really.) He finds that if she doesn't accept what Anthem Blue Cross tells her, she can in fact replace her pretty crappy, definitely sub-standard plan with a much better one for a small increase over her current premiums, and a somewhat better one for less than her current cost.

It wasn't hard for him to go to California's health exchange and find that out for her.
When she told Channel 4 that "for the first time in my whole life, I will be without insurance," it's hard to understand what she was talking about. (Channel 4 didn't ask.) Better plans than she has now are available for her to purchase today, some of them for less money.

The sad truth is that Cavallaro has been very poorly served by the health insurance industry and the news media. It seems that Anthem didn't adequately explain her options for 2014 when it disclosed that her current plan is being canceled. If her insurance brokers told her what she says they did, they failed her. And the reporters who interviewed her without getting all the facts produced inexcusably shoddy work -- from Maria Bartiromo on down. They not only did her a disservice, but failed the rest of us too.
Exactly. The story - here or about WMD or civil rights or anything - isn't "what this person says". Because "this person" is often wrong.

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At 8:42 AM, October 31, 2013 Anonymous Mark P had this to say...

Unfortunately, this is pretty much standard operating procedure for the media. The story has to meet certain criteria. One is that it is consistent with what everyone else is saying. The story has to fit within a short and simple capsule. Perhaps the most important is that it has to be easy to do and easy for the reporter to understand.

At 9:48 AM, October 31, 2013 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

Yep. "Give both sides, don't take one" - but that is contingent on both sides being roughly equivalent. As Asimov once said, "...when people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together. "


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