Is the Miami Herald Useless?

It looks like a good article — Hialeah and Weston: A tale of two cities, one health crisis but don't look too carefully.

The key facts reported appear in paragraphs four and five (after a back-in lead humanizing the statistics):

More than half of Hialeah adults aged 18-64 — 53.1 percent — lack health insurance, according to Census data released last week. That's almost three times the national average and the highest rate in South Florida. The lowest — 13.8 percent — is in Weston.

That disparity “could certainly be a poster child about the need for reform,'' says Robert Berenson, a physician who is a health policy expert at the Urban Institute.

So far, so good. But then the Herald chickens out in paragraph six.

The congressmen for the two cities — Republican Lincoln Diaz-Balart for Hialeah and Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz for Weston — agree reform is needed, but have completely different ideas on what should be done.

And the we don't learn a thing about what they (or others) think should be done…until paragraphs 23-26, the final graphs of the article:

In an e-mail to The Miami Herald, Diaz-Balart wrote that something needed to be done, in particular to help small businesses. He proposes allowing them to “to pool together to negotiate and purchase health insurance, across state lines,'' which should drop premium prices through leveraged buying and increased competition.

“Individuals who are self-employed should receive tax credits to help them purchase health insurance'' across state lines, the Republican wrote.

Wasserman Schultz sent an e-mail saying the contrast between the cities “show clearly the need for health insurance reform.'' She strongly supports a public option and strict controls on private insurers so that they can't reject applicants for preexisting conditions. She also advocates subsidies for people who can't afford coverage.

“Whether it is 13 percent or 53 percent, Americans need to have the stability and security that come from having quality, affordable, health insurance choices,'' the Democrat wrote.

Yes, that's it. Not one word on whether either or both of those plans would address the problem. Hint: Diaz-Ballard's “plan” is not going to do much about small businesses that feel they can't afford to give people health care or the low wages that make it unaffordable plus going accross state lines will weaken enforcement efforts. Waserman Schultz's “subsidies” might, depending how big they are and how they are targeted, but it's a fairly meaningless idea unless it is connected to a realistic proposal now on the Hill — is it? And if not, what if anything does Waserman Schultz, a power in the Democratic Party, intend to do about it?

In short, the Herald ducked everything complicated, important, and interesting about this story. It failed to help readers figure out which if any of their representatives were actively engaged in doing anything meaningful about the problem. And this on one of the leading political controversies in the country, one which the House will be voting on soon.

And it's not as if the Herald can't find or is afraid to quote experts — they put one in paragraph five (quoted above) after all.

Epic fail.

I am as loyal a reader and lover of newspapers as you will find anywhere, but more and more wonder why I keep my Herald subscription as the paper gets thinner and duller.

I used to say I got the Herald for the local news, but we've now had not one, but two days of opinion columns and one news story telling us that the recent arrests of politicians in Broward were no surprise. Well, it certainly was a surprise to readers of the Herald, as I doubt there was ever a hint of this in its pages…

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7 Responses to Is the Miami Herald Useless?

  1. canes0021 says:

    wonderful title.

    the answer is yes.

    do articles concerning Cuba and Jamaica constitute local news?

  2. joe says:

    Not that long ago, I could see a viable financial plan ahead for the newspapers. It would’ve started out with an honest understanding of just what it is that people have been historically willing to pay for.

    But, at this point, I won’t bore you with the details. Even if I could convince you —with references to work by reputable scholars— it still wouldn’t matter. The media executives can’t be convinced.

    So just cancel your newspaper subscription.

    Spend the money on something else. Or save it up for the future.

    Cancel the subscription.

  3. JMT says:

    Of course the Republicans want health insurance to be available “across state lines.”

    Remember when there were usury laws in America? Then banking “reform” permitted issuing credit cards “across state lines.” This led to a concentration of credit card issuers in the states that provided the least regulation, and the current insanely unfavorable terms upon which we all accept credit cards.

    Health insurance “reform” that simply opens up health insurance to interstate “competition” will simply simply lead to a similar stamped to some Deleware or Mississippi or other state offering no regulation, and will effectively wipe out whatever regulation of health insurance presently exists on a state by state basis.

    And of course we all recall how well the absence of banking and insurance regulation worked out for us all, don’t we? Perhaps I can corner the market in blood pressure default sweeps.

  4. jacksmith says:

    ATTENTION!! Senators Jay Rockefeller and Charles Schumer fight for the American people and the Public Option Tuesday Sep 29, 2009 http://bit.ly/Y2PRK SPREAD THE WORD!

    Congress Has The Votes Needed To Pass A Public Option – TODAY http://bit.ly/TCq7O

    Why A Strong Public Option Is Essential – By jacksmith – Working Class

    Robert Reich explains the pubic option: http://bit.ly/dDYSJ

    Hollywood Supports The Public Option :-) http://bit.ly/3XLwPi

    It’s not just because more than two thirds of the American people want a single payer health care system. And if they cant have a single payer system 77% of all Americans want a strong government-run public option on day one (86% of democrats, 75% of independents, and 72% republicans). Basically everyone.

    It’s not just because according to a new AARP POLL: 86 percent of seniors want universal healthcare security for All, including 93% of Democrats, 87% of Independents, and 78% of Republicans. With 79% of seniors supporting creating a new strong Government-run public option plan, available immediately. Including 89% of Democrats, 80% of Independents, and 61% of Republicans, STUNNING!!

    It’s not just because it will lower cost. Because a strong public option will dramatically lower cost for everyone. And dramatically improved the quality of care everyone receives in America and around the World. Rich, middle class, and poor a like.

    It’s not just because it will save trillions of dollars and prevent the needless deaths of millions more of YOU, caused by a rush to profit by the DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX!

    It’s not just because every expert in every field, including economist, and Nobel laureates all agree that free market based healthcare systems don’t work. Never have and never will. The US has the only truly free market based healthcare system in the World. And as you all know now, IT IS A DISASTER!

    It’s not just because providing or denying medically necessary care for profit motivations is wrong. Because it is WRONG! It’s professionally, ethically, and morally REPUGNANT!, Animalistic, VILE and EVIL.

    THE REASON THE PUBLIC OPTION IS ESSENTIAL:

    The public option is ESSENTIAL because over 200 million of you are trapped in the forest of the wolves. Which is the forest of the DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX! With no way out except through needless inhumane suffering, and DEATH. While the wolves tear at your flesh, and rip you limb from lib. Then feast on your lifeless bodies like a dead carcase for transplant parts.

    At the most vulnerable times of your lives (when you were sick and hurting), millions of you have had to fight and loose cruel, but heroic battles. Fighting against the big guns of the DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX! in the forest of the wolves. All because you have no place else to go. You have no other CHOICE!

    But the PUBLIC OPTION will give you someplace safe to go. And it will give us someplace safe to take you. The public option will be your refugium (your refuge). Where the wolves cannot get at you when your down, hurting, and vulnerable. Where everyone who needs it can find rest, security, comfort and the care they need. Protected by the BIG GUNS of We The People Of The United States. THE MOST POWERFUL PEOPLE AND COUNTRY ON EARTH.

    This is why it is so critical that we do not lead another 50 million vulnerable, uninsured Americans into the forest of the wolves, without the protections of a Strong Government-run public option. We The People Of The United States MUST NOT LET THAT HAPPEN to any more of our fellow Americans. If healthcare reform does not contain a strong public option on day one. YOU MUST! KILL IT. Or you will do far more harm than good. And millions more will die needlessly. Rich, middle class, and poor a like.

    To those who would continue to obstruct good and true healthcare reform for the American people, and who seek to trap millions more vulnerable Americans in the forest of the wolves. We will continue to fight you. We are prepared to wage all out war against you, and will eagerly DESTROY! you. Time…is…UP! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! No Co-op’s! No Triggers! NO INDIVIDUAL MANDATES! without a Strong public option on day one.

    Healthcare reform can be the GREATEST! Accomplishment of our time and century. A time when future generations may say of us, that we were all, AMERICAS GREATEST GENERATIONS.

    BUT WE MUST ACT!

    I therefore call on all my fellow Americans and the peoples of the World. To join us in this fight so that we may finish becoming the better America that we aspire to be for everyone.

    SPREAD THE WORD!

    I have been privileged to be witness as many of you fought, and struggled to take your first breath, and your last breath on this earth. Rich, middle class, and poor a like. Life is precious.

    Whatever the cost. WE! MUST SUCCEED.

    God Bless You My Fellow Human Beings

    jacksmith – Working Class

    Things You Can Do To Help NOW! http://www.everydaycitizen.com/2009/09/tired_of_watching_people_die_n.html

    No Triggers! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jason-rosenbaum/a-trigger-for-the-public_b_277910.html

    Triggers http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-sirota/weve-seen-these-triggers_b_283583.html

    Krugman on heathcare (http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/25/why-markets-cant-cure-healthcare/)

    Senator Bernie Sanders on healthcare (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSM8t_cLZgk&feature=player_embedded)

    John Garamendi on the Public Option and the Grassroots: http://bit.ly/TJMty

    Howard Dean on the Public Option http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SKfW2dUnow&feature=player_embedded

    We’re Number 37! in quality of health care http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVgOl3cETb4&feature=player_embedded

    Twitter search (#welovethenhs #NHS #hc09 #hcr #healthcar #obama #p2 #topprog #) Check it out.

  5. Exactly, that’s where I stopped reading, paragraph 6. And to be noted in the category of misleading headlines is in today’s online Herald, where it says FHP reports 131 cars involved in 3 Interstate crashes. Turns out it was crashes on 3 Interstate highways, not 3 crashes. http://www.miamiherald.com/news/breaking-news/story/1255740.html

  6. Patrick (G) says:

    My wife cut our newspaper subscription from 7 days a week to 3 because she was incensed at it’s ever shrinking content, and she told ‘em so when she changed the subscription.

    Upside: less paper to recycle.
    Downside: No continuity with the comic strips.

  7. Rhodo Zeb says:

    Patrick:

    Get your comics fix online. Comics curmudgeon recommends the Houston Chronicle:

    http://www.chron.com/apps/comics/showComics.mpl

    You can build your own customized comics page if you would like.

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