Tina Brown Compares People Seeking 'Free' Health Care to Katrina Victims

On MSNBC’s August 13 “Morning Joe,” Daily Beast editor-in-chief Tina Brown tried to shift focus away from the many Americans showing up at health care town halls across the country by highlighting a free clinic in California that drew thousands.

Brown described the crowd of people seeking care as “third world,” and Hurricane Katrina victims.

“I also do think that as powerful and sort of disturbing as all this stuff is in these town halls, actually a more powerful image to me was the image today actually on the cover of The New York Times,” Brown said.

“Thousands of people in Inglewood, Calif. showing up at this Forum to get free health care and it really does look like the third world. This looks like again Hurricane Katrina all over again,” Brown continued, calling it “just incredible” that 21st century Americans were flocking to get tooth extractions and other medical work done.

“I think it speaks more powerfully than these town halls,” Brown concluded.

The Times story Brown cited also used the Inglewood crowd to undercut the outrage at the town halls, calling the thousands attending the free clinic “a stark corollary” to the “hundreds of Americans who have filled town-hall-style meetings throughout the country, angrily expressing their fear of the Obama administration’s proposed changes to the nation’s health care system.”

Brown didn’t explore the fact that anything “free” will draw many people or the possibility of California being an extreme example. The Times pointed out California’s unique problems saying the turnout “reflected” the high unemployment, Medicaid reductions and high deductibles for employer coverage.

Neither Brown nor the Times mentioned that the uninsured on average receive $1,500 of medical care per year.

Many in the news media have been trying to discredit the furor at health care town halls by focusing on the “debate about the debate” and calling the crowds “orchestrated” or staged, rather than seeking real answers to what a health care reform package could mean for people.

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