Winning the Affordable Care Act anecdote war


Now that Republicans have failed to stop the Affordable Care Act, their next tactic is to battle the Act in an anecdote war. The mainstream television news media love anecdotes, because they are small shiny objects around which the media folks can get their short attention spans. We saw this anecdote tactic play out, for example, during the recent GOP shutdown, when the media reduced many big, important issues about government to a small sideshow dispute over the World War II Memorial.

In the case of the Affordable Care Act, we’ve already seen the anecdote war from opponents of the law, and, predictably, it has been parroted by the mainstream media. First it was examples, some of them made up, of people who supposedly are being hurt by the ACA. Now it’s stories about website glitches, which are especially ironic given that Republicans who voted to shut down the federal government didn’t want any part of government, let alone one website covering one government program, to function at all.

Therefore, it’s critical for Democrats and progressives to share anecdotes of the Affordable Care Act’s successes, and there have been many. For example, plenty of families are relieved to keep their kids on their healthcare plans up to age 26, and to have more protections for their children with pre-existing conditions such as autism. One famous ACA success story making the rounds is from Fox “News'” own opinion page, where Sally Kohn writes that her family will save over $ 5,400 per year on the new “Obamacare” exchange in her home state. Note how Sally fulfills Messaging Maxim #5: Make it Personal. Likewise, Organizing For Action (OFA) has been helping to spread positive anecdotes about the Affordable Care Act as well as helping Americans get coverage under the new law.

Thanksgiving isn’t too far off. Many of you will have an old Uncle Ralph at the table, that right wing blowhard who will inevitably interrupt your happy holiday dinner to spout off some negative anecdote about “Obamacare” that he heard on Fox. So do your part, and be ready to counter Uncle Ralph with positive anecdotes, and then pass them around on your favorite social networks, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or your office water cooler.



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