History Commons Groups

October 11, 2009

Recent Focus — Your Thoughts?

In recent weeks, we’ve been featuring two projects in addition to the 9/11 project: the Prisoner Abuse and the US Health Care projects. The Prisoner Abuse project is currently focusing on issues centering around the recent Justice Department documents released by the Obama administration and the Senate Armed Service Committee’s recent report. The US Health Care, in conjunction with the Domestic Propaganda project, is focusing on the recent health care debate. (We’re also moving forward with other projects as well, particularly the War in Afghanistan and Kosovar Albanian projects.)

What are your thoughts? Would you like to see more extensive coverage of these topics? Would you rather see other projects focused on and these given less attention? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Update: I’m “stickying” this post to the top of the page. I see this as a key element of the evolution towards HC 2.0. So folks, let your voice be heard.


  1. The healthcare “information” is so one-sided that it, ironically, makes the discussion of Domestic Propaganda into propaganda. I wouild like to see the site focus more narrowly on terrorism (or what is labeled “terrorism”), affairs in Afghanistan and Pakistan and gleanings from examination of the 9/11 Commission documents.
    Once researchers get involved in domestic political areas, their biases show through and we get propaganda and about propaganda. If you would like to look into something on the domestic political front, an examination of the well-founded allegations (by Cashill and Andersen) that Bill Ayers wrote DREAMS FROM MY FATHER is a fertile field.

    Comment by Wallace Milam — October 13, 2009 @ 12:09 pm | Reply

  2. The way I understand it, HC does not decide what to feature, it just provides a forum where contributors can publish entries in timelines HC enables them to contribute to. So any apparent focus on a project is simply a reflection of what contributors happened to have submitted a couple of weeks ago (because it takes a while to go through the edit process), rather than a conscious decision by anybody.

    Comment by kevinfenton — October 14, 2009 @ 1:16 am | Reply

  3. With healthcare, the thing that is not being said often enough is that there are lots of local monopolies in the US for health insurance companies and the administration is not doing much about it (and neither did any previous administration). The local monopolies prevent the markets from working efficiently, as there is no competition and therefore no downward pressure on prices.

    Instead of applying the usual antitrust laws that have been around in the US for decades, the administration came up with the health care exchange and the public option. I’m not sure how anyone things the exchange is going to make much of a difference – if a potential policyholder in Maine finds a competitively-priced plan offered by an insurer with contracts with doctors in Arkansas, what good is it to him? It might make a difference in states with some competition on the health insurance market, but that number is shrinking.

    The public option was then dropped, apparently over industry fears that it would harm private insurance companies. Remember that these private insurance companies think the government is inefficient and private enterprise better, so what are they afraid of? They should surely think that they would wipe the floor with the public option and IMHO they may well do so in the medium-term. One of the scandals here is that, to an extent, the Democrats are influenced by the corporations that fund them.

    Then we had an outcry over the dropping of the public option, which completely missed the point it was a strategy being proposed in lieu of the tried-and-tested antitrust route. So you have one group of people talking about death panels and another about the public option, and neither of them has noticed what the real problem is.

    Just my two cents.

    Comment by kevinfenton — October 14, 2009 @ 1:37 am | Reply

  4. Here you go:


    Antitrust laws don’t apply to health care insurance. No wonder the market is inefficient.

    Comment by kevinfenton — October 14, 2009 @ 1:47 am | Reply

  5. History Commons is doing a great job. I think the branching out into other areas is good and should continue. The health care timeline is especially important, considering all the propaganda being put out by the Establishment and their media, which has given almost no coverage (and even less honest coverage) to the single-payer option, which most industrialized countries are using, and spending less money while having better outcomes in general.

    Comment by Erik Larson — October 26, 2009 @ 1:59 pm | Reply

  6. There are a lot of good points in here. I’d like to see this discussion become more active; maybe I’ll figure out how to “sticky” it.

    I have contributed almost all of the recent health-care and propaganda coverage. I am committed to giving this subject extensive coverage, so that fits in with Kevin’s caveat that “HC does not decide what to feature, it just provides a forum where contributors can publish entries in timelines HC enables them to contribute to.” I find allegations of those entries themselves as “propaganda” hard to support. The entries are thoroughly and properly sourced; when on rare occasions less “mainstream” sources are used, they are identified in the entry itself and labeled as “conservative blog,” “liberal advocacy organization,” and so forth. Every entry has been vetted by at least two other project managers for accuracy and compliance with HC guidelines.

    On September 30, I did a “quick and dirty” analysis of the various entries filed under the Obama health care debate category in US Health Care to check myself for bias. Here are the results that I came up with:

    Conservatives and/or anti-health care protesters cited as main thrust of article: 50 (76%)
    Progressives cited as main thrust of article (including White House): 25 (38%)
    Non-partisans cited as main thrust of article: 7 (11%)
    Conservatives and/or anti-health care protesters criticisms/rebuttals: 8 (13%)
    Progressive criticisms/rebuttals (including White House): 17 (26%)
    Non-partisan criticism/rebuttals: 5 (8%)

    Totals: Conservatives are represented 58 times (89%). Progressives are represented 42 times (49%). Non-partisans are represented 12 times (19%).

    20 of those entries — 30% — are conservatives saying or doing things with no rebuttals whatsoever. 7 of those entries — 11% — are progressives saying or doing things with no rebuttals, and 4 of the 7 are statements and speeches by either Obama, Pelosi, or Durbin.

    Based on those numbers, conservatives are receiving the lion’s share of coverage, and almost a third of the time, are presented as saying or doing things with no rebuttals from liberal/progressive sources. The numbers, I believe, speak for themselves. Entries added after September 30 are not reflected in this analysis.

    We welcome contributions from people who would like to see HC focus on different topics. Each new contributor’s viewpoint expands and broadens HC’s coverage. Those who want to see more focus on terrorism, say, or the events in Afghanistan are warmly invited to become contributors.

    Eric, thanks for your comment. I appreciate the kind words. As an HC contributor who also wears an “admin” hat, I’m not interested in countering anti-Establishment propaganda, or supporting government positions, for or against single payer, public option, individual mandate, or anything. I’m trying as best I can to document the discussion and the issues that surround the health care reform debate, sorting wheat from chaff and trying to bring more light to the matter without taking any particular side. My interest is more in the propaganda and media aspect of the health care issue than the actual nuts and bolts of what comprises health care reform and the various proposals and offerings therein, so that’s where I’ve been focusing. I would love for someone to write a series of articles detailing the various Democratic, Republican, conservative, liberal/progressive, industry, and consumer-based proposals to reform health care in the US.

    Keep it rolling, folks!

    Comment by Max — October 26, 2009 @ 5:40 pm | Reply

  7. This post has not been commented upon for two weeks or more, so I’m unstickying it.

    Comment by Max — November 11, 2009 @ 10:59 pm | Reply

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