As everyone has noticed by now there is a new health care advocacy group popping up in North Carolina every week — Americans for Prosperity, Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, Healthcare Leadership Council, Health Care for America Now!.
News organizations sometimes identify these new groups as “liberal” or “conservative.” Instead, reporters should ask who is paying the bills.
A recent lengthy article about a health care rally hosted by Americans for Prosperity never mentions that the organization is industry funded. The reporter never pushes the group on whether or not it gets insurance or drug industry money. That’s a pretty important detail for readers when they are trying to sort out bias.
And on a recent WRAL show about President Obama’s health care plan the only two guests were introduced as representing the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease and the Healthcare Leadership Council. At no time did the reporters describe those groups. The Partnership is partially funded by drug and insurance companies. And the Healthcare Leadership Council consists of the nation’s largest pharmaceutical and insurance companies.
I don’t think the press should ignore these groups that have a legitimate stake in the health care debate. But reporters should ask tougher questions — readers have a right to know.