The traditional media continues to assume that we are passive consumers of whatever news they spit out. They aren't taking into account how easy it is to check any "fact", quote or source with Google and Wikipedia, not to mention sites like Media Matters. If you do this regularly, you can get a different spin on articles.
In the latest example, I was reading an article in Bloomberg News that is syndicated on many newspaper sites, "Health Policies Canceled in Latest Hurdle for Obamacare". Aside from quotes from Washington politicians and pundits, there is a story about Ian Hodge and his wife Sara, both 63.
For Ian Hodge, 63, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the issue is all about getting the same care from the same doctors. When he learned his policy was canceled his reaction was “surprise and disgust,” he said.So, this is just an average Joe getting screwed over by Obamacare. Or is he? Let's do some digging on the Google.
Hodge said he tried 10 times to get information about a new policy on Oct. 1, the day the online federal exchange went live. He’s still trying to figure out his options, he said in a telephone interview.
“The website is not very clear,” Hodge said. “I’m concerned about being able to get affordable health care that’s at least as good as what I had previously.”
Hodge and his wife Sara, who also is 63, paid $1,041.85 a month for a plan offered by Highmark, he said. They like the care, their hospital and the doctors, and they worry they won’t be able to keep them under a new plan.
“I had heard the repeated assurances by the president and people who work for him that if you have health insurance, don’t worry, you’ll be able to keep your health insurance,” Hodge said in a telephone interview. “Well, that’s clearly not true. I wasn’t allowed to keep my health insurance.”
The first thing I find is a LinkedIn profile describing Ian as an Independent Financial Professional with a degree in Political Science from Penn. OK, a degree in Political Science doesn't necessarily mean you aren't an average Joe.
The next thing I see is information about Ian's home, valued at $481,500 on a three acre lot. That's nice, but nothing extraordinary.
Next, I found an article from 2012 about a political flap about Ian's appointment to the township planning commission.
Manheim Township Commissioner J. Michael Flanagan wondered out loud during Monday's meeting whether the appointment of township resident Ian Hodge to Manheim Township's planning commission was politically motivated.and later,
Flanagan said during Monday's meeting that Hodge, a frequent critic of township spending in recent years, donated money to Heck and Kling's campaign last year, when the duo were running for commissioners' seats as a team.Ok, it seems like Ian is politically active. That doesn't mean he can't be an average Joe.
Then I found a website of the Republican Committee of Lancaster County. On this page are listed the 2013 Republican Committee endorsed candidates. And near the bottom is our friend Ian, now running for Manheim Township Commissioner.
Ian is not an average Joe. Ian is a Republican candidate for local office. That has some relevance to Ian's quotes in the Bloomberg article. I don't know about the facts Ian quotes, but his surprise, disgust, concern and worry could be politically motivated, don't you think? Couldn't Ian's run for office have been mentioned in the Bloomberg story? This is journalism missing the mark, at the very least.
But, then I kept looking. This isn't the first time Ian has been quoted in a news article. In Lancaster Online from September 24, "Thousands of Highmark insurance customers in Central Pa. face cancellationsManheim Township man must shop for new policy
Hodge, of Manheim Township, said the letter surprised him.That article doesn't mention his run for office either, even though it is a local media outlet.
"They're canceling my policy," he said. "That's not something that was supposed to happen under Obamacare."
One could naively think that Mr. Hodge just happened to be contacted by two media outlets for his views. I like to think Mr. Hodge has been contacting reporters, pushing his story. Evidently, when a reporter is offered a money quote out of the blue, he or she may just run with it. And that's why I like to Google news articles.