Networks news ignores Obama’s health care push, but loved the part about the kid who skipped school

Health care is becoming the dominant issue being debated in the country. Americans understand there is a problem. The President took his campaign to pass real health care reform to Green Bay, Wisconsin yesterday. Via the US News Political Bulletin, we get an overview of the coverage by the traditional media:

President Obama promoted healthcare reform in Green Bay, WI, yesterday. Obama’s healthcare message was not covered by the networks, though it did gather some coverage on cable and local TV broadcasts as well as print outlets around the country. Most reports cast the President’s trip as an effort to build up public pressure on lawmakers to act, and note that Obama linked his healthcare push to the economy.

But, not all news outlets noticed. Despite all the attention being paid to this health care discussion, the network news shows ignored the health care part:

On the network newscasts, the coverage of the President’s visit to Wisconsin focused not on his remarks on healthcare, but rather on his exchange with the father of a 10-year-old who attended the event. The man, ABC World News “let his daughter skip school to attend.” Obama wrote, “To Kennedy’s teacher, please excuse Kennedy’s absence. She’s with me. Barack Obama.” On the CBS Evening News , Katie Couric said about running footage of the exchange, “Pretty cool.” NBC Nightly News also noted the “interesting moment.”

If I had to guess, I’d say Katie, Brian Williams and Charlie Gibson don’t spend a lot of time worrying about co-pays and hitting their prescription drug cap. They live in a bubble. And, their ratings suck anyway. But, it’s just another indicator that news isn’t news. Kate and Jon, Carrie Prejean and that guy with the kid in Brazil — that’s news.

For the rest of us, health care reform is real news.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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