I like KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids. I think they are a pretty good local station with generally solid journalistic standards in an otherwise wobbly media environment. They are much better than the Sinclair Broadcasting-owned KGAN in eastern Iowa.
So I clicked on the KCRG website page to read a story entitled, “Replace and Repeal Opponents Still Unsatisfied.” When I got there, I began reading the text while listening to the on-air report. After the intro, the text was verbatim with what the reporter was saying. At least that’s how it appeared at first until I came to the part where the text said, “Indivisible Iowa has a specific issue with Blum whom they say refuses to meet with them to discuss issues important to them.” Simultaneously, I heard the reporter’s voice on the on-air report deviate from the text saying, “One group at the rally has a personal vendetta with Blum whom they say refuses to meet with them to discuss issues important to them.” What is going on here? They were obviously talking about Indivisible Iowa, getting a comment from Cindy Garlocke who was shown on the screen and who they had already identified as “of Indivisible Iowa.”
So who told the reporter that Indivisible Iowa has a “personal vendetta” against Blum? I’m guessing Blum’s office did. If so, why not mention who said it? If not, where did they get this idea?
I happen to know from personal experience that elected officials do sometimes pressure local media about content. I think an explanation from KCRG is in order. What was the rationale for changing “specific issue” to “personal vendetta?” By what process was this decision made, and by whom?
Just for the record, and I think it goes without saying, “specific issue” is the more accurate journalistic phrasing than the unsubstantiated and inflammatory “personal vendetta.” Indivisible Iowa is working hard to fight for good public policy in a civil manner. It is in no way appropriate to frame their efforts to meet with their congressman to share their views as constituents as a “personal vendetta.”
I contacted KCRG on Monday July 31 by e-mail asking the above questions and sharing my concerns. I have not heard back from the station at the time of this writing.
Here is the link to the on-air report and accompanying text.
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) – A rally in Cedar Rapids Saturday aimed to protect the Affordable Care Act.
Republicans are in disarray after an attempt to even partially repeal the affordable care act, failed.
The GOP is trying to figure out what to do after the Senate voted against the so called “skinny bill” Thursday night.
While you might think those opposed to repeal and replace would be celebrating the bill’s recent defeat– some were not. Health Care advocates did celebrate a little bit, but say there’s still a lot of work to do.
There may not have been that many people at the rally, but the organizers and speakers say they still feel like they got their message out there.
“There’s enough of us here to get a message out to say ‘hey this needs improving we can fix things instead of just breaking things,” veteran attending the rally Joe Stutler said, “If my car breaks down I don’t just take a sledgehammer to it, I fix the problem so that my car keeps running. Healthcare should be no different.”
Saturday president Donald Trump tweeted that if a new health care bill is not approved, bailouts for insurance companies and members of Congress would end soon. He then tweeted a few hours later that repeal and replace is not dead, and asked senators to demand another vote.
Iowa’s Republican Congressmen, Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley, as well as Representative Rod Blum, have all supported repealing and replacing the ACA. They argue that 72,000 Iowans that buy their own health insurance through the marketplace could lose it next year if the last remaining carrier, Medica pulls out.
“Joni Ernst, Chuck Grassley, and Rod Blum need to represent the people of Iowa,” Cindy Garlock of Indivisible Iowa said.
Indivisible Iowa has a specific issue with Blum whom they say refuses to meet with them to discuss issues important to them.
On Saturday, they found a unique way to try and get his attention – high in the sky, a banner pulled by a plane flew around Cedar Rapids. Saying “Rep. Blum: We are health care voters.”
“Our work is not done we need to remain vigilant we need to remain in touch with our representatives we need to hear from people who are being decisions are being made,” Garlock said.
The event was one of six rallies around the state. That’s on top of others held across the country.