A television commercial airing in the greater-LA viewing area for the last week depicts a middle-aged woman – not a senior; a tad zaftig; with dark salt-and-pepper hair – lauds Obamacare as the reason she is alive today. Her story involves having a preexisting condition, which prevented her from getting private insurance.
From the standpoint of actual truth, of course, the condition would not have prevented her from having access to Medicaid or to California’s medical assistance programs. And, what Medicaid does or doesn’t cover is the government’s fault, and could be changed (or exchanges for clients with preexisting conditions created) without implementing Obamacare.
At any rate, I don’t know if this transparent propaganda is airing elsewhere. I have been unable to locate any information about it on the web. I believe I recall seeing it on The Weather Channel, but have probably also seen it elsewhere, e.g., HGTV, the afternoon news on the local ABC affiliate (ABC-7), and possibly during a sappy Hallmark Channel movie. I don’t recall seeing it all during the Thanksgiving weekend football marathon. Its target audience is presumably women.
So, Californians, if you have seen this commercial, please let me know anything you have identified about it. My goal is to figure out who produced it. I’m sure we know who paid for it – the American taxpayer – but there’s so much crony-ish revolving-door-ism going on with advertising agencies and the Obama administration that it would really be nice to know who’s responsible for this ad.
Placing propaganda in entertainment
Many readers are no doubt aware of the millions in taxpayer dollars that the Obama administration has contracted out to PR firms for the purpose of hawking Obamacare to a reluctant public. Quite a few readers probably also know that California has contracted with Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide to sell its state insurance exchange – and all the benefits of wholly-government-managed “health care” – to skeptical, resistant, or simply exhausted Californians. A key product of this enterprise is the notorious bright idea of getting Hollywood to include Obamacare themes in the story lines of popular TV series:
And Hollywood, an industry whose major players have been supportive of President Obama and his agenda, will be tapped. Plans are being discussed to pitch a reality television show about “the trials and tribulations of families living without medical coverage,” according to the Ogilvy plan. The exchange will also seek to have prime-time television shows, like “Modern Family,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and Univision telenovelas, weave the health care law into their plots.
“I’d like to see 10 of the major TV shows, or telenovelas, have people talking about ‘that health insurance thing,’ ” said Peter V. Lee, the [California insurance] exchange’s executive director. “There are good story lines here.”
A cozy industry hits the government jackpot
What fewer readers may be aware of is the multitude of connections between the PR firms, advocacy groups with a financial interest in Obamacare, and the Obama administration. For example, the advertising firm Porter Novelli, which was awarded the $20 million contract from HHS to urge Obamacare on American taxpayers, was founded by William D. Novelli, who was later the CEO of AARP – a major advocate of Obamacare – from 2001 to 2009. (Novelli’s successor at AARP, Barry Rand, was a big Obama donor in 2008.)
As numerous news outlets noted at the time the $20 million contract was awarded, Catherine “Kiki” McLean was a senior partner and managing director of Porter Novelli. McLean is a Democratic Party operative who worked for the campaigns of Al Gore, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton, as well as the 2008 presidential campaign of Barack Obama. McLean was hired by Porter Novelli in June 2009. Since 2010, Porter Novelli has been awarded $49 million in HHS contracts.
In October 2012, meanwhile, Susan Hayes, Porter Novelli’s “global head of healthcare” – their senior executive responsible for health care PR, brands, advertising, etc – left the firm to work for Obama for America, the president’s reelection campaign. This departure was reported 20 days before the 6 November election, although it is not clear exactly when Ms. Hayes left Porter Novelli. Apparently, she was able to log at least three weeks on the job.
J. E. Dyer