Monday, November 2, 2009

Covering the Coverage (Episode 1)

“Thus the stakes are greater than when we began to chronicle this story four years ago, for another failure almost certainly will lead to greater public disgust and political turmoil.”

That’s the final sentence of the forward to the paperback edition of The System: The Way of American Politics at the Breaking Point, written in January 1997, by two of Washington’s savviest political journalists, Haynes Johnson and David Broder. The book tells, in great detail, the story of the epic failure of Bill Clinton’s attempt to pass health care reform in 1993 and 1994.

We’ve been rereading the book in light of Barack Obama’s attempt to finish the job, and we highly recommend it.

We’re a non-partisan bunch at PCG. So, rather than dwell on the details of health care policy, this seems like a good time to take a look at the first draft of history that’s still being written on the subject.

With Johnson’s and Broder’s “chronicle” still fresh in our minds, we present the first in a regular series looking at political journalism through our PR lens. Here are our five favorite links from the health-care battles of the summer and early fall, each using a different public relations approach (from personal connections to the flash-mob style of the Tea Partiers):

The summer what was - The Town Halls of August

When the political is personal - “How American Health Care Killed My Father”

Sound analysis of both the policies and politics in play – “The Treatment” blog at The New Republic

What do the CBO’s numbers really mean? – “…those numbers are just numbers”

A recent look at how an actual bill might pass both houses – “End Game”

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