--2 Health Care Town Hall: Where The Haters At? (Updated)
Sept. 25, 2017

Health Care Town Hall: Where The Haters At? (Updated)

August 18, 2009, 12:00 am
By Corey Pein
Update Aug. 18: Well, that's interesting. With the exception of KQRE, which struck something of a false balance with its coverage of last night's health care town hall, most of the local press got the lead right.

Look for SFR's story on how the existing health care system affects locals and small businesses. (Here's more coverage from the Santa Fe New Mexican, the Journal North, KOB, KSFR and bloggers NMFBIHOP and Sheriff Greg Solano.)

As promised, here are some pictures and audio clips from last night's event.

Los Alamos-based physician Tyler Taylor compared health insurance companies (on "some days") to the mafia. Listen:

More after the cut.

US Rep. Ben Ray Luján snuck in the through the back door. The church filled to capacity (about 180 people) well before the scheduled start of the event; another capacity crowd waited outside in line for two hours.

City and state police came expecting trouble, but found none.

Health Action New Mexico board president Lydia Pendley made a moral case for the urgency of health care reform, saying now is when we decide whether to remain a society of "fear" and "scarcity."


I'll update this post tomorrow, with pictures and audio, but here's the main thing you need to know about tonight's health care town hall at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Santa Fe:

It was nothing like what you've seen on television. No hecklers. No guns (well, maybe outside in the cop cars). No crazy pro-assasination picket signs.

If the lead of tonight and tomorrow's stories is anything but "overcapacity crowd at town hall appears to overwhelmingly support public option health care reform," then you'll know the reporters had to scramble to find examples to fit the "death panel" narrative that's been established by the cable news channels (with an assist from outrageous-yet-quotable folks like Sarah Palin).

Indeed, some of the local media seemed a little disappointed by the placidness of it all. I watched one TV crew chase out the night's most likely heckler, a guy in a camo vest with a cane, out of the room when he hobbled out, grumbling about CNN and MSNBC (but not Fox News). As I left for the evening, another TV reporter was doing her stand up, talking about how "some" people were upset that organizers required questions to be submitted in writing. That's true, but critical questions from the dozen-odd anti-reform folks in the crowd still got through.

Anyway, like I said: Check here for more tomorrow. And remember, as you watch the local news tonight: If they turn what was a surprisingly thoughtful policy discussion into a story about conflict, they're reaching.


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