links for 2009-08-29
Herbert Hoover: A Working Class Hero Is Something to Be

New York Times Crashed-and-Burned-and-Smoking Watch

Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?

Dr. Steve B. thinks that lobbyists have a really easy time playing the New York Times's Kevin Sack

State of the Nation: [T]he same day as the ThinkProgress piece, which pointed out that even the Wall Street Journal had already previously reported that the insurance industry had actively mobilized 50,000 of it employees to work against health reform, we get a pathetic sob sister whine of what sounds like a public relations planted script... all those employees are being upset that they are being made out to be villains, just because they... go out of their way to defend [the health insurance system] against the barest minimum of civilized reform. Apparently Kevin Sack can't tell when he is being played by an organzied PR campaign...

He then praises ThinkProgress's Lee Fang--from whom you can learn infinitely more than you can learn from the New York Times's Kevin Sack, and who is writing the stories that Sack would be writing if Sack were in the inform-the-readers business:

State of the Nation: ThinkProgress has connected the specific dots between AHIP and their corporate lobbyist friends and the various channels and front groups and astroturfing that have been getting all the attention for the past several months. Much of it is connected to the corporate consulting firm "Democracy Data & Communications" which is a link, conduit, connector for much of the behind the scenes public relations media gaming and astroturf.  It is sort of a one-stop shopping for corporate badness....

One not so small thing that the invaluable (and therefore to be ignored by the mainstream media) ThinkProgress piece misses, is that it is not at all surprising that the insurance industry and the Chamber of Commerce are completely together on this.  As former and repentant head of corporate communications for CIGNA (the country’s fourth-largest insurer) Wendell Potter pointed out, at the lobbyist level they are all fronts working for each other.   In theory, the economic self interests of the insurance companies would seem to not necessarily be the same as those of the members of the Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business (small business lobby) and Business Roundtable (big business lobby), to say nothing of the tobacco industry.

Unfortunately in the real world it is not that simple.  For one thing inside the beltway, at the political and lobbying level, the interests of the actual grassroots membership of the organizations may not take priority. The people and major funding and control of the organizations is subject to the same sort of capture as we bemoan of some progressive organizations...