Every time the media feature an ostensibly Average Joe to further a liberal Democratic talking point, my curiosity is piqued as to how that person was singled out by a news agency to flesh out the human dimension of a policy argument. Many times it turns out the poster child/family in question is delivered to the media on a silver platter courtesy of a professional liberal activist.
The Frost family of Baltimore seems to be no exception, as Lisa Rein of the Washington Post noted in passing deep in her October 23 article on Bonnie Frost's pro-socialized health care activism.:
"Bonnie's a symbol of the true depth of the health-care crisis in Maryland," said Vincent DeMarco, president of the Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative, which is sponsoring the new radio ad. "Luckily, CHIP is there for their kids, but there's nothing for them."
DeMarco's 14-year-old son attends the Park School with Graeme and Zeke, which is how the Frosts came to the attention of congressional Democrats looking for a voice for children's health insurance. Graeme's Sept. 29 response to the president's radio address was the first by a child.
Rein's article made clear Mrs. Frost is pushing for state legislation in Maryland that would extendgovernment health care to adults, not just children.
That the Frosts are acquainted personally with and quite possibly professionally "handled" by liberal activist DeMarco is a fact that might have been reported on September 27, when the Baltimore Sun's Lynn Anderson profiled the family. After all, Anderson quoted DeMarco in the very last paragraph of her story:
Local advocates are also urging SCHIP's reauthorization. "One thing that is very important for everyone to understand is that if we don't provide health care through SCHIP, we will all pay more," said Vincent DeMarco, president of the Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative. "Children will still require medical services. This is the smart way to do it."
What's more, I noticed another curiosity in Anderson's story: Bonnie Frost was described as a full time employee at a medical publishing firm, while her husband was described as a "full-time woodworker," which implies steady employment and a reliable regular paycheck. Yet subsequent reporting, including Post reporter Rein's October 23 story, make clear that Bonnie Frost works part-time and husband Halsey is self-employed.:
The Frosts, both 41, say they earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to buy health insurance. Halsey is a self-employed woodworker whose business failed in the late 1990s. Bonnie works part time for a biomedical publishing company, which has seven employees and no insurance plan.
As of time of posting this blog entry, the online version of Sun reporter Lynn Anderson's September 27 article doesn't include a correction or clarification about the Frosts' employment.
Far from being a trivial matter, portraying the Frost parents as working class Americans who are"playing by the rules" yet who can't afford health care is easier to do when your newspaper's readership thinks both parents are working full-time (and maybe overtime) and still getting the short end of the stick.
What's more, it's also notable that far from being apolitical working stiffs unaccustomed to the political rough-and-tumble, the Frosts are "advocate[s]" of universal health care insurance, according to Sun reporter Anderson:
"There should never be a moment when you have to ask, `Do you have health insurance?'" said Halsey Frost, who along with his wife is an advocate for a national health care plan that would cover everyone, no matter the age or income bracket.
Michelle Malkin has some excellent coverage of SCHIP/the Frost family here.