The New American
Taxpayers are funding a “public relations” marketing contract to promote ObamaCare worth almost $1 million so far that will include working with Hollywood to promote the controversial federal healthcare takeover in popular TV shows. Critics blasted the deal as an effort to use propaganda to drum up support for Obama’s deeply unpopular signature statute, which polls show a majority of Americans hope to repeal.
According to the New York Times, which first reported on the scheme, California officials overseeing the implementation of the ObamaCare-mandated “healthcare exchange” know that much of the battle will involve public opinion. So as other state governments work to nullify the federal power grab, authorities in the Golden State are pouring federal and state tax dollars into an expensive “marketing plan.”
Already famous for slavish support of big government and President Obama, Hollywood and the entertainment industry will apparently be one of the main targets of the pro-ObamaCare propaganda scheme. According to the marketing plan cited by the Times, among the ideas being discussed is a so-called “reality TV show” surrounding “the trials and tribulations of families living without medical coverage.”
On top of that, the taxpayer-funded “marketing” scheme will aim to have prime-time television shows such as Modern Family and Grey’s Anatomy promoting ObamaCare in their plots. Spanish-language “telenovelas” run by Univision will also be targeted in the public relations effort, the Times reported.
“I’d like to see 10 of the major TV shows, or telenovelas, have people talking about ‘that health insurance thing,’” California health exchange Executive Director Peter V. Lee was quoted as saying. “There are good story lines here.”
The initial $900,000 contract for “public relations” services — analysts largely consider the term a synonym for propaganda — was awarded to Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide. The company, which has a long history of working with government, touts a new “global behavior change practice” on its website — a tool that apparently prods people into doing what clients want.
Other elements of the scheme include massive advertising campaigns in dozens of languages. Some of the examples cited by theTimes: advertising on coffee cup sleeves at community colleges and buying ads at professional soccer matches to reach young Hispanic men.
In addition to the taxpayer-financed propaganda blitz — the exchange is funded with “grants” from the U.S. government and by already-strapped state taxpayers — a health insurance industry-linked foundation known as the California Endowment has already spent around $15 million touting ObamaCare. The tax-funded ads will not start until next year.
Critics of the propaganda scheme, however, are up in arms. “Remember that the liberal media was furious that the federal government would promote the war in Iraq inside Iraq, and furious that the Department of Education would hire PR flacks like Armstrong Williams to talk up Bush education programs on cable news,” noted Tim Graham, the director of media analysis at the Media Research Center. “So where is their outrage at the idea that federal grants would promote ObamaCare advertising inside network TV entertainment programs?”