The one-week anniversary of the near Default and the end of the Federal government shutdown has arrived, but it seems professional media outlets and commentators, especially the more conservative ones, have redoubled their efforts to bash Obamacare into the ground through unrelenting criticism. The opponents of the Affordable Care Act and the Obama Administration are positively thrilled by every news story that highlights the problems associated with healthcare.gov, as await another opportunity to further undermine the efforts of the President. Quite frankly, this is the reason people hate politics. Politics is supposed to be about recognizing and addressing the interests of a People, not gleefully cheering for the failure of someone who is trying to deal with a serious national issue and needs help address the hurdles that come with such endeavors.
Criticism is useful when it helps drive improvement. It is, however, harmful when it is used to undermine the efforts of others. At their best, so-called Conservatives are using the failings of the Obamacare website to push their ideological agenda for our long-standing healthcare issues, even though the vast majority of their solutions have already been eliminated as being even more faulted, have been integrated into the Affordable Care Act, or cannot be considered because the GOP will not seek honest reform efforts and the Democrats fear they are Trojan Horses. At their worst, those on the Right are simply using the faults of the Marketplace website to stir up support, so they can be win elections and force their political agenda onto the majority of the American People.
Furthermore, the professional media outlets need to stop reinforcing this type of political infighting. Instead of trying to help inform viewers of solutions and encourage our political leaders to work to solve problems, the headlines focus on what the government is doing wrong without an effort to highlight efforts to solve the problems. There is too much negative spin instead of positive spin when it comes to criticism. Looking at the present example, there is little the intensifying coverage of the Obamacare website debacle does that could help improve the situation; the problems with the website must be worked out over the next few weeks and continually calling it a disaster does nothing to help.
The only thing valuable that might come of this coverage would require a broader focus on how our contractors continually fail to deliver on goods and services. In the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, there were massive failings on behalf of contractors that cost the American People hundreds of billions of dollars. While this upset the American People and Congressional leaders, it received far too little, far too temporary coverage. Healthcare.gov just happens to be a website that a huge chunk of the American People need or want to use; otherwise, the controversy would quickly die out with only spotty media coverage at best.
Meanwhile, the Press should help focus the attention of the American People and our elected officials onto the National Budget and the National Debt. We need to discuss options like those outlined in the Gang of Six compromise and the Simpson-Bowles Commission’s report. Given the ADD of our Legislators, Obamacare is clearly taking over the conversations and the polarizing nature of the ongoing battle is certain to undermine Budget negotiations. The News once informed the populous and fostered civil discourse, but it has become far too much about entertainment. Obamacare may provide the drama the professional media outlets need to hold the attention of viewers, but focusing too much effort on such a narrow topic when the world is filled with critical issues, especially when the reporting and commenting offers no solutions, is driving bad politics.
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