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Is "Public Option" a Fair and Balanced Term?

11:58 AM, Dec 9, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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'Aha!' cry Media Matters and Jonathan Chait.

Is "Public Option" a Fair and Balanced Term?

Fox News Washington editor Bill Sammon sent out an email last year telling reporters not to use the term "public option." Proof of Fox News's bias, as Chait and Media Matters claim, or proof of good editing? I think the latter, for the simple reason that "public option" is a ridiculously vague term that means nothing to most Americans. Public option? Huh? What is it I get to opt for? 

The word "public" polls better than "government-run," so it's understandable that supporters of the health care bill preferred the former term and opponents the latter. But isn’t it more accurate to call it "public health insurance" or "government-run health insurance"?

Update: Time's health care correspondent Kate Pickert stands up for clarity in journalism.

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