Friday, November 30, 2007

Republican Debate Ignores Health Care Elephant

The Republican presidential candidate debate was a union of traditional and new media as CNN and YouTube joined forces. This should have been a major step forward in the political process, allowing the public to directly engage potential U.S. presidential candidates. It was certainly colorful and interesting, but troubling as well.

You see, despite repeated studies (like this one from the Washington Post) that place health care as one of the three topics of most concern to American voters, there was absolutely no mention of it in the debate. This lack of attention to an issue of such wide reaching importance already has people typing away on the subject, blogging about the omission.

Roger Simon at Politico.Com minces no words:

One of those woes, by the way, is not a lack of affordable, dependable, effective health insurance that you can retain for life.

Americans must already have that. Because not a single question was asked about it in the entire two hour-plus debate.
The disbelief is spreading across the web as the pundits and bloggers ponder this puzzling omission. The Daily KOS enters the fray with a brief post from nyceve:
I waited.

And waited.

And kept waiting.

But a single question about the plight of 47 million uninsured Americans, or the rest of us who have to wage an unending true holy war against the for-profit insurance industry, just didn't make the CNN cut.
Joe Brewer, a fellow of the Rockridge Institute, has a written a response to this oversight that is being syndicated in a variety of places across the web. Here is a sampling:
It certainly begs the question of why CNN chose to overlook all 40 YouTube questions about health care. Is it perhaps because they know that the Republican candidates don't have much to say about health care? After all, every general Democratic debate has included discussions of candidate plans.

Even CNN was on the ball when the same moderator for both debates, Anderson Cooper, introduced health care at the earlier Democratic YouTube debate with "One of the most popular topics that we got questions on was health care. We, frankly, were overwhelmed with videos on health care, so we put several of them together."

Why did he let the Republicans off the hook?

Think about it. We are in the midst of a health care crisis and a major media source leaves us in the dark about the views of presidential hopefuls who, presumably, will represent all Americans in the White House if they are elected.
I am sure that monitoring the mainstream media, the pundits and the bloggers in the near future will yield a wide variety of comments and conjectures on this subject. The one thing that everyone can agree on, however, is that health care was not a topic in the debates.

SOURCE: "GOP debate Misses The Mark"11/29/07
SOURCE: "I Guess CNN Must Think Healthcare is a "Gotcha" Question" 11/28/07
SOURCE: "Joe Brewer: Where's the Healthy Debate, CNN?" 11/29/07
photo courtesy of irrational_cat, used under this Creative Commons license

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