Lying Media Bastards

June 30, 2007

Propaganda Placement

I probably don’t have to tell y’all that the new Michael Moore “American healthcare system is evil” movie Sicko comes out this weekend. Of course, the health care industry has been scared shitless about this for months, and we can see many members of the conservative and mainstream media lining up to demonize the film, demonize Moore, or in a soft sell version, argue that Moore’s proposal to fix the problem by switching to single-payer socialized medicine, like in Canada or the UK, just isn’t the right solution to the problem.

Of course, none of this is “public relation” or “propaganda” or “lies”, the industry is simply “rebutting” Moore’s “one-sided message”, and “educating the public” about what Moore’s movie “left out.”

One of the sleazier efforts comes from omniscient search enginge Google. Google sells space to advertisers that would make their ads appear on pages of search results that are related to the topic being searched for. The Google ads division is now actively courting members of the health care industry to put their propaganda on search result pages relating to Sicko. So even making an attempt to find out where the movie is playing near you could result in getting smacked with industry propaganda.

And this would be a good time to ask: any readers in the UK, Canada, or any other country with a national health care program, could you write a little bit about your experiences here? It is the party line here that socialized medicine would be a disaster, resulting in worse care, long lines, and government bureacrats controlling what doctor you see (unlike the private, for-profit system with moderate care, long lines, and corporate bureacrats controlling what doctor you see). Just anecdotally, I don’t know anyone who has national health care who would swap it for the American system, but I don’t know the scoop. Share your knowledge, folks.

Of course, part of the massive, anti-Sicko PR campaign probably includes agents who will post lies and distortions on blogs and messageboards and all, so maybe I’m just inviting disaster here.

Posted by Jake on June 30, 2007 2:55 pm

4 Comments »

  1. Nice work. That bit on Google is maddening. I’m going to monitor their search ads to see if they were successful in selling ads for propaganda.

    Comment by Mark @ News Corpse — June 30, 2007 @ 7:06 pm

  2. Jack, you’re quite right. I lived in UK and France for a while, and yes, you feel much safer there than in the US. Actually, in these countries, you know that if accidents happen to you (hit by a car, fall on an icy street, cut your hand or fingers while cutting the turkey), you’ll be taken care of and won’t have to choose which finger to repair.

    Whereas in the US, you hope that nothing like that happen. And if it does, you first worry about what’s covered and what’s not. And then you worry about the bill you’ll receive (or not).

    As Moore pointed out (and some British MP), by keeping us frightened and weak and unhealthy, we won’t fight the government. In the US, people fear the govt. Elsewhere, it’s the opposite.

    Comment by Stephen — July 3, 2007 @ 10:42 am

  3. Here in Australia we have one of the best public health systems in the world, which is not saying that much, but it sure beats the US system which seems designed merely to enrich pharmaceutical and insurance companies. It is expensive to run, and getting more expensive, but it is well worth it and costs much less per capita than the US system.

    Good on Moore for tackling this issue, though it seems improbable that anything will come of it. Didn’t Hillary spend 8 years trying to reform health care already?

    Unfortunately, with a radical conservative government in the pocket of the Bushites, we are heading down the road to adopting, not just US health care policy, but the entirety of the free-market, small government, capitalist system. Saints preserve us.

    Comment by loadedog — July 3, 2007 @ 2:01 pm

  4. I also lived in France where I worked as a language assistant in 2005-2006. Just a few days prior to my departure, I had come down with bronchitis. Instead of visiting a doctor in the states, I decided to wait until arriving in France since I’d heard something about health care being cheaper.

    I arrived on a Friday evening, so I originally hoped to tough it out as Americans would, but the relentless cough kept me awake for the entirety of the first night, despite being jet lagged and not having slept in over a day and a half.

    So instead of waiting until Monday, I called the doctor on Saturday, and less than an hour later, there was a knock on the door. The doctor told me I had bronchitis. Since my contract wasn’t due to start for another week, I had no health coverage whatsoever. So for the weekend emergency doctor visit I had to front the grand total of…forty bucks. (Does anyone by any chance know how much this service would cost in the USA?)

    After my contract had begun, I then had coverage. I went to the doctor once; the visit cost a dollar and I was reimbursed 99% for medication. Later on I had my teeth cleaned, x-rayed, a wisdom tooth extracted along with prescribed pain killers and a filling - all, in four different visits, for a grand total of about five dollars fifty cents.

    After watching Moore’s film, I asked my Canadian friends about the health care system. They said it wasn’t 100% free and complained about sometimes paying as much as $10-15 for prescribed medication.

    Comment by Steve — July 4, 2007 @ 4:52 pm

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