White House Web Site Launched To Battle Health Reform Rumors
USA Today reports in The Oval blog that "the White House has rolled out its newest weapon in the cyberwars over health care: A website called Reality Check." The site seeks to debunk "some common myths" about reform proposals and also provides readers with online tools and content to share within their social networks. But a spokesman for Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is skeptical "the new website will turn around public opinion on Obama's vision for health care. 'Do people really want to watch videos of people they don't know telling them how great a program is that they already disagree with?'" he said (Jackson, 8/10).
The Associated Press: "The White House has turned to its favorite tool - the Internet" to "directly counter what it calls myths" about reform proposals backed by President Obama. The site includes video clips of top administration aides responding to criticisms.
Fox News Politics: "The Web site... uses the same set-up as the 'Fight the Smears' page the Obama campaign maintained last year to battle rumors seen as potentially damaging to his candidacy." Among the specific claims White House aides dispute are assertions that "health care reform will lead to 'rationing'" and "the idea that reform would lead to euthanasia for seniors." Fox notes that it is not clear if these claims are the result of last week's effort "to gather 'fishy' e-mails," which triggered "charges that the administration was gathering information on health care reform critics, something the White House denies." The new site includes a 'We Want to Hear From You' section which urges readers to send in "myths" (8/10).
Additionally, The Wall Street Journal reports in its Washington Wire that "seeking to combat the negative message on health care coming out of town hall meetings across the nation this August, President Barack Obama's political arm sent an e-mail to supporters over the weekend urging supporters to visit local congressional offices over the break in favor of the health care overhaul" (Davis, 8/10).
Reuters: "Liberal religious groups announced on Monday they are teaming up with President Barack Obama in a national campaign to counter the surprisingly vehement conservative opposition to his plan for overhaul of the U.S. healthcare industry this year." The campaign, "organized by liberal-leaning evangelicals, some mainline Protestant clergy, and some Catholic groups," will involve an Aug. 19 Internet-streamed call-in program with religious leaders featuring President Obama. Also on tap are prayer meetings and nationwide TV ads. "The groups behind the effort include Faith in Public Life, Faithful America and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good" (Stoddard, 8/10).
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