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White House using social media to debunk 'myths' about healthcare reform

August 10, 2009 |  6:17 pm


As right-wing pundits blanket the airwaves, relentlessly poking holes into every soft and squishy part of the Obama administration's healthcare reform program, the White House is picking up a different megaphone -- the Internet. And it's doing a bang-up job of getting that message out.

The administration has launched a Web page called Health Insurance Reform: Reality Check that disputes popular criticisms of the new policies. The media-rich, well-designed site contains video testimony from advisers and experts.

The White House blasted links to the package out to more than 300,000 fans on Facebook and more than 900,000 on Twitter today. It also sent an e-mail acknowledging "scare tactics" being used to bash the programs. A few hours later, users of the social news site Digg voted Reality Check to the site's homepage. That potentially exposes Reality Check to millions of eyeballs.

The Digg post carries a rather audacious headline -- "Real facts about health care reform from" We had to look twice to make sure this wasn't one of those newfangled "sponsored posts" that the company has been talking about. Nope, it's apparently a legitimate submission by a former Navy submarine sailor named Robert Schumacher.

Anyone who runs a website or blog knows it's a big deal to get "Dugg." But it's not exactly a significant victory for the Obama administration. The Digg audience generally leans pretty far to the left anyway.

Social media sites seem to be helping the White House's message reach a larger populace, but is it the one they need to reach? Our guess is that Rush Limbaugh's listeners aren't regularly surfing Digg's archive of tech news, oddball general interest stories and videos of cats playing musical instruments.

-- Mark Milian

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