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We Are a Part of an Indoctri-Nation

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

With apologies to Janet Jackson, America’s rhythm nation is so 1989. Now it’s an Indoctri-nation. The mainstream media don’t tell us what’s going on; they tell us what to think. Today’s example is nationalized health care. It will be the topic tomorrow, the next day and the next. But June 24 more than most.

On June 24, a major news outlet appears to be throwing away any pretense of being neutral in the national health care debate.

Take it away ABC. Tell America what to think about health care with “Questions for the President: Prescription for America.” It’s an extravaganza of coverage as the network vows to “moderate a conversation” with the president. To give an idea of how committed ABC is, “‘Good Morning America,’ ‘World News,’ ‘Nightline,’ and’s ‘Top Line’ will all feature special programming on the president’s health care agenda.” Add in a Tuesday love bomb session with Michelle Obama focusing on eating healthy and it’s a network that looks like it’s working for the White House.

That doesn’t sound exactly balanced, does it? You don’t see them doing a special on the GOP’s health care agenda. And though they now are downplaying it, Medical Editor Dr. Tim Johnson is part of the program and he has been pro-nationalized health care since Hillarycare in the 1990s.

ABC has caught enough heat about the special to cause real global warming and the network meekly responded with a letter claiming it would do a good job, just like the job it’s already done on health care.

Kerry Smith, a network senior vice president said “we've already had many critics of the President's health care proposals on the air.” But that’s far from correct (another preview of ABC’s special). Since Obama took office, the network has favored supporters of Obama’s health care plan – either the president or other experts promoting his plan – by a 3-to-1 margin over critics. So if by “many,” Smith meant one-fourth of the total, she’d have been accurate.

Still, the network may fear the infomercial approach because it’s already been so heavily criticized. Viewers might even get fair coverage – for a day.

Digging deeper on reveals another problem not just for ABC, but with the Obama plan and the media’s pathetic coverage of it. One of Obama’s Big Ideas sounds more like Big Brother and has privacy advocates terrified – the switch to computerized medical records. As Obama put it, computerizing those records will fix everything but the Iranian election. (That’s already been fixed.) “We've already made investments in health IT, that's information technologies and electronic medical records that will reduce medical errors, save lives, save money, and still ensure privacy,” he said recently.

On the ABC site, those electronic medical records are hailed as being able to “save $” and even “can save your life.” That’s when those records are used properly – often not the case. Ask a parade of newsmakers, celebrities and outright superstars from George Clooney to Rush Limbaugh how it feels to have your medical records exposed to any scumbag with computer access at a hospital or doctor’s office.

Look at Farrah Fawcett. Truly a beauty who defined a generation. Women tried desperately for Farrah’s epic mane of hair while the two-dimensional Farrah in poster form adorned walls for teenage boys across America. Unfortunately, such stardom is no defense against electronic medical records. The “Charlie’s Angels” beauty had her most personal medical information leaked to tabloids as she fought a terrifying cancer.

Imagine that, to be in a fight for your life only to have your privacy invaded as well. ABC News reported that a former employee of UCLA Medical Center pled guilty to selling Farrah’s medical records, along with those of Britney Spears and other celebrities to the National Enquirer. In all nearly 1,000 people had their records invaded.

It’s really nothing new. Palm Beach County, Florida officials seized Rush Limbaugh’s media records in a Big Government fashion. Other snooping incidents have impacted California First Lady Maria Shriver and even Octomom Nadya Suleman.

The problem isn’t just with medical records, it’s electronic records of all kinds. All three final presidential candidates – Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain – had data invasions through the State Department. Obama questioner Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher had someone dig through his Ohio records. And someone else broke into VP candidate Sarah Palin’s e-mail.

Feeling better about the savings from electronic medical records? Maybe until you realize your dental assistant can check your psychiatric records or until you realize government will soon know all of your personal medical information.

This is how Obama plans to “save” money, by exposing your entire life to every disgruntled minimum-wage office worker in the entire health-care monstrosity. Electronic data breaches will no longer be confined to just the location of an office. People will be able to snoop nationwide. And the media are virtually silent about this danger.

At least supporters are right about one aspect of our new Indoctri-nation, it does have the word “doc” in it, and that’s about as close as it comes to being about improving health care.

Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. His column appears each week on The Fox Forum and he can be seen each Thursday on’s “Strategy Room.”

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