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Michael Moore, Chris Matthews and “Buckraking”

06-23-matthews-inside.jpgWhen Michael Moore made his appearance on Hardball this week, Tweety got his feathers ruffled by a questioner who asked about Big Pharma’s influence over the media:

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, Michael. I‘m Mark Kohler (ph) from Penn State University. I have a quick question for you. What do you think it‘s going to take to remove the pharmaceutical industry‘s influence over the media and politicians in general?

MATTHEWS: What‘s the influence over the media, first off, buddy? What‘s the influence over me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you watched the nightly news ever once? The amount of advertisements for any kind of pharmaceutical drug is so prevalent, especially during the dinner hour –


MATTHEWS: Do you have any evidence that the nightly news producers are affected by the advertising?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not in my pocket.

MATTHEWS: You do have some evidence? What‘s the evidence.

Tweety ought to be reading Kos. On that very same day, nyeve had a diary up about the relationship between several prominent journalists and the AHIP:

Nancy Snyderman, MD, the health corresponded for NBC News, Robert Bazell another NBC news health correspondent and very sadly, Susan Dentzer of the News Hour all participate on the AHIP Speakers Network.

For those of you new to their racket, AHIP (America’s Health Insurance Plans) is the trade association which represents the for-profit insurance industry in the United States.

Now the insurance lobby isn’t technically Big Pharma but they both represent enormous institutional roadblocks to serious health care reform in this country, and it is via mechanisms like the AHIP Speakers Network that money is funneled to journalists (“buckraking”) and it sure ain’t because they’re out there swinging for the fences on behalf of single payer.

As Eve points out in her diary, one of the “facts” presented on the AHIP website is that “[a]ll the talk about creating universal coverage has obscured the fact that most voters already have insurance.”


Media Matters is reporting today that after Eve’s blog post went up, the three journalists were removed from AHIP’s list of speakers, though their bios remain elsewhere on the site.

When people ask about the value of amateurs in the blogosphere versus “professional journalist” I think this particular example is worth pointing to. Using publicly available materials Eve whipped Matthews’ ass. His high dudgeon was shockingly misplaced, and if this is an example of his level of sophistication on the matter he needs to do some serious research before he wades into these waters again.

It’s that kind of ignorance that renders Our Elite Media a bunch of hand-wringing toadies mindlessly repeating special interest talking points with no awareness that they’re acting like complete tools.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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