The media are falling down on the job lately. Simply put, they seem to be ignoring the really important stuff like, oh, how the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee recently passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act 15 to 7 or the fact that Obamacare is going to be causing some major drops in healthcare insurance premiums.
To begin with, the HELP Committee’s passage of ENDA on 10 July generated absolutely no coverage on FOX News or CNN. MSNBC produced a couple of segments on the bill’s progress, but little beyond that. Instead, they devoted their coverage to the impending birth of Queen Elizabeth II’s great-grandchild.
The vote got the bill the furthest it’s been in seventeen years in the Senate even though it is unlikely to pass the House. Unfortunately, this lack of media coverage has meant something really bad for ENDA and for people’s understandings of the issues of workplace discrimination for LGBT people. In fact, currently, nine in ten Americans believe that an ENDA-like law already exists on the books, at least according to the Center for American Progress.
Unfortunately, this dearth of media attention to the issue means that Americans are not going to be ready to push for the bill to go through.
Meanwhile, this past week, the House Republicans voted again on trying to tinker with the Affordable Care Act. Namely, they wanted to vote to delay the employer and individual mandates. Meanwhile, New York announced that the new law will mean a plummet of about 50% in the cost of healthcare premiums.
So, guess which story got the most attention- the House’s futile attempts to tinker with the ACA. ThinkProgress noted that “ Of the 147 segments identified by media program Critical Mention to include “Obamacare,” almost all or 120 mentioned the House vote, while just 71 — or less than half — discussed the lower premium rates.”
Beyond the fact that it means that the Administration will have a hard time getting the word out about their success, it also means that the news media has become less about information and informing the public than they have about infotainment. In the end, it ends up spreading a lot of ignorance.