SACRAMENTO, CA – As the California state government prepares to institute its ObamaCare exchange, it has hired a PR firm to help with promotion of the plan. Government has used the media for years to promote public programs, but this one is being done through less obvious and direct channels – the storylines of network TV shows.
Abby Goodnough of The New York Times reports:
“Realizing that much of the battle will be in the public relations realm, the exchange has poured significant resources into a detailed marketing plan — developed not by state health bureaucrats but by the global marketing powerhouse Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, which has an initial $900,000 contract with the exchange,” she wrote. Ogilvy’s plan is to tap major network TV shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Modern Family” to sell Americans on the health care law:
Hollywood, an industry whose major players have been supportive of President Obama and his agenda, will be tapped. Plans are being discussed to pitch a reality television show about “the trials and tribulations of families living without medical coverage,” according to the Ogilvy plan. The exchange will also seek to have prime-time television shows, like “Modern Family,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and Univision telenovelas, weave the health care law into their plots.
“I’d like to see 10 of the major TV shows, or telenovelas, have people talking about ‘that health insurance thing,’ ” said Peter V. Lee, the exchange’s executive director. “There are good story lines here.”
Although the exchange will not start advertising until next year, the California Endowment, a foundation that has spent $15 million promoting the law, is running newspaper and television ads, including one in which the television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz exhorts viewers to “get educated, get engaged, get enrolled.” That campaign has targeted Hispanics, who make up more than half of the state’s uninsured population.
Goodnough also reports that the California exchange is financing such efforts through federal grants that total $237 million. The majority of those millions are earmarked for consultants such as Accenture, to build and support the initial operation of the enrollment portal.
William A. Jacobson, Associate Clinical Professor at Cornell Law School, notes, “There are times it seems overwhelming how corrupted various aspects of society have become in the effort to impose Obamacare on the country … Instead of helping sell soap, television will help sell a political platform.”
The irony is that this is the same liberal media that vehemently protested when the federal government promoted the wars in Iraq. Likewise, liberal pundits were livid when the Department of Education hired Armstrong Williams to talk up Bush education programs on cable news. But when it comes to the use of popular TV shows to work Obamacare into their story lines, few are protesting.
It isn’t noteworthy that television producers are pushing their own liberal ideas and preferences, even if they more often than not align with the DNC platform. That is their 1st Amendment right as it is also the right of every viewer to refuse to watch whatever they want to. The significance here is that the script is basically being fed directly to them from the White House.
Equally disturbing is the fact that American taxpayers are footing the bill to push an agenda that a majority of them consistently are against.