Catholic Culture Solidarity
Catholic Culture Solidarity

'Creative' publicity for the Obama mandate

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Mar 21, 2012

When a seasoned politician issues a public announcement late on Friday afternoon, you already know that he’s trying to hide something. Politicians usually want the maximum publicity for their statements. On Friday afternoons, beat reporters are headed for happy hours, chanting “TGIF,” so the announcement won’t command much coverage. People in general are easing into weekend mode, so they won’t be paying attention to the reports anyway. These are notoriously the worst possible times for attracting publicity.

But there are times when politicians want to avoid publicity: times when they have no choice but to release embarrassing information. For that purpose, Friday afternoons are perfect.

So last Friday afternoon, when the Obama administration released some more details about the contraceptive mandate, it was obvious that the White House didn’t want people paying close attention to those details.

The administration did its best to portray the announcement as another effort to reach a compromise with the Catholic hierarchy, but the bishops’ conference knew nothing about the “new” plan. Leaders of Planned Parenthood and NARRAL applauded the announcement, but even Sister Carol Keehan, a usually reliable Obama ally, could not muster any enthusiasm.

Sure enough, there was nothing really new in the announcement: only a few details of a plan that had already been unveiled. The White House said it was an important announcement, so some reporters dutifully said it was so. But this was truly creative journalism: creative in the sense that reporters were making something out of nothing.

This week a few intrepid journalists have looked into the details of the Obama plan and noticed some creativity there as well. For instance the Wall Street Journal observes that the plan. makes the costs of contraception disappear by declaring that those costs do not exist. “Insurers are banned from charging higher premiums for extra benefits, so out of what mists will the necessary dollars materialize?”

The Obama team instructs us that contraception will lower overall health-care costs. That’s a highly questionable theory—a theory that insurance companies reject. And the same administration has highlighted Sandra Fluke’s testimony that contraceptives are terribly expensive. Someone is going to have to pay the bill. So who will it be?

If you don’t particularly want the question answered, ask it late on a Friday afternoon.


Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: wolfdavef3415 - Mar. 21, 2012 8:34 PM ET USA

    It isn't even about the cost. The government is forcing a religious institution to provide something that is against its beliefs. Who pays for it isn't really relevant, is it? Consider, again, my analogy of the Hindu forced to butcher a cow. The argument is, basically, that because this man will not eat the meat and will not PAY for the cow, it's okay to force him to kill it and provide the meat to those who WOULD use it. Because, who is he to force his beliefs on the McDonalds (Planned Parent)?