Fast on the heels of a NC State 7th Senate District Town Hall meeting to promote ObamaCare, with highly favorable press coverage, now we have President Obama coming to Raleigh on Wednesday to promote ObamaCare.
I do not even know the Raleigh protest permit process, but I am doing everything I can to learn what it is so that I can at least try to attain one. I doubt, however, that even in the best of circumstances 48 hours is enough turnaround. However, we are working with all of the notice that WE received, and whether we are able to attain a permit from Raleigh or not in the brief two days we have to do so, and without specifying a time or a place; the people of America and of north Carolina have a clear First Amendment right to demonstrate opposition to President Obama’s healthcare plan when Obama comes into town, short notice or otherwise.
Short notice and no itinerary should not become an excuse for denying Americans their First Amendment guarantee.
Thursday July 23, Henderson North Carolina
Democratic Senator Doug Berger and Democratic Representative Lucy Allen held a Town Hall on Wednesday to rally the North Carolina public in favor of ObamaCare. Their purpose was to rally citizens to call their congressmen and Senators to support ObamaCare. They stated up front that this was one of the most heavily attened events they had held. They did not count on the heavy presence of polite opposition.
Friday July 24, Henderson North Carolina
The Henderson Daily Dispatch, Henderson’s paper of record, ran an article on the ObamaCare Town Hall in Henderson, and had extraordinarily lopsided coverage, as though the article were written by the producers of the event. I copied excerpts of their story below, and my responding letter to their editor (not yet sent). I do wonder if the press in every county touched by Doug Berger and Lucy Allen might want to hear about this?
By AL WHELESS
Jul 24, 2009
Local State Democratic legislators and area residents spoke Thursday night at a 7th Senatorial District Town Hall meeting in Henderson.
The session promoted President Barack Obama’s proposed public healthcare option that is being debated in Congress.
Berger wanted to hear “how we can effectively advocate for (the) U.S. Congress to expand health care coverage.”
The coalition that Searing has led since 1997 advocates health care reforms that address the needs of the uninsured and the under-insured.
It seeks more comprehensive and effective public health care programs on behalf of average consumers in the private market.
Health care costs are out of control, he said. “They have doubled in the last 10 years, and are expected to do the same without change over the next 10.”
Searing encouraged people to call their representatives in Congress toll free at 1-800- 828-0498 and ask them to support health reform.
Friday July 24, Henderson North Carolina
News is broken by ABC 11 and followed by the N&O that President Obama is coming into Raleigh on Wednesday, July 29th, to promote ObamaCare. Times and locations have not been announced. Glen Bradley seeks Raleigh protest permit process to demonstrate opposition to ObamaCare
Saturday July 25, Henderson North Carolina
To the Editor, Henderson Daily Dispatch
On Jul 24, 2009, Al Wheless of the Henderson Daily Dispatch published the following: “Meeting promotes healthcare option — Crowd urged to contact representatives in support of Obama’s plan”
A citizen responds:
I am writing in response to the Al Wheless coverage of the public healthcare Town Hall in Henderson, NC.
I notice your reporter’s article didn’t cover that there was a significant presence of opposition: the home health care groups were there on account of Senator Berger, and the conservatives were there to oppose nationalized healthcare. It should be relevant that the entire Q&A period provided was dominated by opposition, and that 1/3 of the story-time was composed of home healthcare people complaining that their funding had been taken away. These people simply did not mention Senator Berger’s vote to de-fund them by name, although it was referred to again and again.
Perhaps your reporter did not notice the opposition, because we were all basically polite? do we have to become rude before we actually get noticed? Maybe that’s why so many people think conservatives are rude, because that’s the only way we can get press coverage – so that maybe rude conservatives are the only ones you let the people see? Or perhaps this just escaped Mr Wheless’ rapier observation as a reporter.
I, for one, was sitting next to the Vance County GOP Chairman, who raised a question about the Congress and some government employees being given a superior taxpayer funded health coverage plan beyond and above the inferior taxpayer funded public option; and also I asked Senator Berger and Representative Allen if they would sponsor a North Carolina Healthcare Freedom Act, which would among other things, make it illegal under NC State Law for ANY government bureaucrat to suggest care decisions.
I find the pattern interesting, where the left says “the right does not have a plan, all they do is complain.” But then here we find in the press, that only our complaints get reported, and never our plans. So I can certainly understand why people would have this false impression that we have no plan, and I can even empathize with Al Wheless – given that this reporting problem is apparently industry-wide amongst the press. After all, when in Rome, right?
A reporter, however, should report the news present. A reporter should not just cherry pick the things they like out of a story when they want to promote a group or event, and a reporter should not just cherry pick the things they hate out of a story in order to demonize a group or an event. The citizen relies on the press for a straight and unbiased telling and description of events. When you only report half the story — and especially regarding something as big and important as the President’s healthcare plan — it leads me to question whether I can rely on you for news at all.
Please reassure me that efforts will be made to balance coverage of events like this one going forward. Thank you so much!