Health Care Media Mania – Just the Facts, Please

My Twitter feed was filled with anticipation of the Supreme Court decision on the President’s health plan yesterday morning. National reporters and bloggers that I follow were joking about who would “break the news first”. Then, it broke and my feed was a little lighter than I thought. First I tried the SCOTUS blog but I couldn’t get through. I actually left the computer and went to the reception area at the office to watch news channels. We have 6 mounted televisions so I figured I could gather better information.

Not one of those stations were reporting the same information. It was confusing. By now, we all know that Fox and CNN initially reported wrongly. My Twitter feed was now alight with the correct information and lots of people poking fun at CNN and Fox.

I ultimately realized that none of these sources were going to provide me with the real information I sought – a deeper understanding of the ruling. It is actually quite complex and while headlines raged “John Roberts rules with liberal judges”, I wasn’t convinced this was the case. So, I kept studying.

It is difficult to wade through today’s media mania to find factual information, especially on an issue as complex as this one. Twitter requires us to communicate in 140 characters or less and soundbites last an average of 10 seconds, before punditry kicks in to drive the story. There is no way to dissect a complex Constitutional interpretation within these parameters.

As the day progressed, I found myself searching for Legal scholars. Most of them were taking their time digesting the decision. Yet every media outlet had a lawyer pontificating on the meaning of the decision.

Frankly, I found the media mania on this issue frustrating. They were so driven to be first that major networks couldn’t even get the headline right. From there, the discussion deteriorated into one side versus the other and political punditry filled with vitriolic hatefulness ruled the day.

My favorite Tweet of the day was by a guy who said, “Wow, according to Twitter and Facebook, we now have 80,000+ Constitutional scholars out there.” Well put and I retweeted it.

One of the best places I have found to gain a deeper understanding of the Court’s ruling is here. SCOTUS Blog provides insightful information on a consistent basis regarding activities of the Supreme Court.

Best of luck to you as you muddle through “what does all this really mean to me?” May I encourage you to find that out before leaping to judgment created by political punditry.

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