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Listening Post
The divide over healthcare reform
We discuss the media divide over Obama's proposal and media reporting in Afghanistan.
Last Modified: 18 Sep 2009 14:03 GMT



Watch part two

On the Listening Post this week, the US media divide over Obama's proposed healthcare reforms, and double standards for foreign and local journalists in Afghanistan.

We begin this week by taking a look at Barack Obama, the US president's healthcare reform debate that is still raging through The US airwaves.

It is less of a media debate than it is an all-out dogfight. The opposing views seem irreconcilable, the middle ground is shrinking to non-existent, and the mainstream media are not helping.

Buzzwords like death panels, government takeover and slippery slope to socialism are all over the corporate media – but where are the voices that helped get Obama elected and how are the big money lobbyists from the private health care interests and insurance companies using the media to get their views across?
And what of the American public, who are caught up – and confused – in the crossfire?

Same story different views

In part two Listening Post's Meenakshi Ravi reports on Afghanistan, and the dangers of reporting there, for journalists both foreign and local.

On September 9th, a NATO team rescued a New York Times correspondent, Stephen Farrell, from his Taliban kidnappers. Farrell's Afghan colleague, Sultan Munadi did not make it out live - and his body was abandoned by his would be rescuers.

The story has been reported two ways – in the west the focus was on the Times reporter and the British soldier who died in the shootout – in Afghanistan, the story was about the reporter who died and whether the military raid was a good idea.

In this week's Newsbytes: trust in the American news media has plunged to its lowest level in almost 30 years; 4 radio stations are taken off-air in Uganda; the President of the Republic of Guinea and his nightly TV show; the fight between media and politics in Argentina; and a test between broadband and a carrier pigeon in South Africa.

Mocking the healthcare skeptics 

Finally, here at the Listening Post we have been known to call out  media outlets when they over-simplify important  issues or blow arguments out of proportion.
So we need to take another quick look at what passes for the health care debate in the US mainstream media.

This viral video cartoon mocks conservative media's extreme distrust of President Obama's ideas, and like all good satire, contains some disturbing elements of truth. This video – like the president – is taking a lot of hits on the net. Watch it here.

This episode of The Listening Post can be seen from Friday, September 18, at the following times GMT: Friday: 1230; Saturday: 1030, 2230; Sunday: 0300, 1930; Monday: 0030; Tuesday: 0630, 1630; Wednesday: 0130, 1430; Thursday: 0330, 2330.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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