What Happened to Health Care?

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Every White House tries to control media narratives. They frequently succeed.

Early this week, for example, the CIA Inspector General’s report from 2004 was released, Attorney General Eric Holder announced a probe of detainee abuse, the White House announced its plan to create a special interrogation group for high-value detainees, the government released more Office of Legal Counsel memos from the Bush era, and Michael Jackson’s death was ruled a homicide. The administration can, and almost certainly did, plan those first four. The Jackson thing was a bonus for them.

You see, the health care debate wasn’t going well. The president’s poll numbers were falling, too much attention was being lavished on nutcases and liars, and there wasn’t anything Congress was going to do to move forward, since, well, they’re on vacation. There’s nothing like foreign policy, torture, and terrorism to swing the media’s attention away from domestic issues. A pretty solid rule of White House press strategy is that if something comes out on a Monday, they want you to be talking and writing about it. If it comes out on a Friday afternoon, they don’t. The Ben Bernanke news was planned, too, of course: he doesn’t have to be reappointed for months. But hey, it all worked: health care’s off the front pages, and the president can enjoy his vacation, at least for a few days. Thank whoever killed Michael Jackson. But you can also thank the White House press strategy team.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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