A private California foundation has raised half-a-million dollars to promote the new health care reform law on TV shows by educating script writers about it.
The California Endowment’s $500,000 grant to the Hollywood Health & Society program at USC’s Norman Lear Center will be used to brief TV writing staffs on the politically contentious law and to track health care plot-lines in existing shows, the Associated Press reports. The initiative is aimed at producing realistic prime-time story-lines about the health care overhaul in order to encourage young and healthy viewers to enroll in new insurance exchanges. The California Endowment is spending millions to promote President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement.
“We know from research that when people watch entertainment television, even if they know it’s fiction, they tend to believe that the factual stuff is actually factual,” the Lear Center’s Martin Kaplan told the AP.
Critics say that the new initiative is blatantly transparent and stinks of partisan propaganda. But supporters argue that writing the health care law into TV narratives will help normalize the ideologically charged issue, just like NBC’s Will and Grace was credited for changing American perceptions about gays.