Reporting Healthcare Wrong

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CNN reports on the public’s view of healthcare reform one year after passage:

CNN Poll: Time doesn’t change views on health care law

Thirty-seven percent of Americans support the measure, with 59 percent opposed. That’s basically unchanged from last March, when 39 percent supported the law and 59 percent opposed the measure.

I know I’m a partisan hack who wants to put the best lefty spin on healthcare stories, but this is just plain wrong. Dave Weigel looks at the internals, which show that of the 59% who “oppose” ACA, 13% wish that it went further, and rewrites CNN’s headline:

Poll: One Year On, Most Favor Health Care Law or Wish It Was More Liberal

Overall, [46] percent of people oppose the law because it’s “too liberal,” but 13 percent oppose it because it’s “not liberal enough.” So 50 percent of voters are either fine with the law or want a more liberal bill, to [46] percent who want it gone because it’s too socialistic.

The CNN story does acknowledge this in a weird, roundabout way a few paragraphs down, but an awful lot of people don’t read more than a few paragraphs and are going to come away with the impression that 59% of the population think national healthcare reform is a bad idea. And that’s wrong: only about 46% do. Half of Americans want either ACA or something more.

My take on this is that healthcare pollsters simply need to do away with their obsession with “favor” and “oppose.” You just can’t report poll results on ACA this way. You should report them in the very first paragraph as split between people who think ACA went too far, is about right, or doesn’t go far enough. Or something similar. It’s really the only way to fairly report this stuff.

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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