In a shocking turn of events, the tireless minders at Media Matters are upset with Fox News. The reason? They have uncovered an email memo in which the network’s Washington managing editor, Bill Sammon, told staff to refer to the proposed public option in the health care bill as “government-run health insurance” or the “government option.”
What’s the problem? Apparently Frank Luntz says that calling the public option government-run insurance makes it poll worse, and heavens-to-Murdoch we sure wouldn’t want any media organization using language that might possibly make the public skeptical of a government initiative. Towards the bottom of the post, Media Matters also quotes an upset anonymous source from within Fox, who comments: “People are allowed to have opinions when they espouse opinions. But when news is being tampered with, you have to worry.”
You can quit worrying already. Opinion doesn’t have anything to do with Sammon's memo. Indeed, Media Matters doesn’t even make any attempt to prove that Sammon’s preferred label is inaccurate. Granted, that would be hard to do, because in fact the public option is a form of government-run insurance. But obviously we can’t let anyone in the media actually say this.