The Power Is Still On For TV

Alright, I promise no more posts referencing to the Daily Show this week. But Jon Stewart has been on a roll and this story is just too good to pass up.

Huffington Post sums up the story very well:

“The Daily Show” has just made a huge difference in the lives of veterans, helping many gain access to a program they were unfairly kept from using.

The Choice Program, which was put in place to speed access to medical care after it was revealed that some patients had been waiting months for treatment, allows veterans who live far from VA facilities to get out-of-network care closer to home.

The problem? To be eligible, you have to live 40 miles from the nearest VA facility using “as-the-crow-flies” miles.

Because that is the least-meaningful way to judge how hard it is to get somewhere for non-crows,” Stewart said on Monday night’s “Daily Show” as he highlighted the struggles of some veterans to obtain the health care they needed.

The rule kept many who lived far from hospitals by roads from using the program. But on Tuesday, seemingly in response to what Stewart called his “damning piece of investigative joke-a-lism,” the Department of Veterans Affairs changed the rule and will now use actual driven miles based on Google Maps rather than “as-the-crow-flies” miles.

The change in language will double the number of veterans eligible for the Choice Program.

Here’s my mass media takeaway:

We know that journalists often uncover some of the wrongdoings taking place in government, particularly in Congress. But for a late-night comedy show host (granted based on the topic of politics) to uncover the discrepancies in a bill, that is awesome.

And it’s evident that the power of media — here in the form of TV — made Congress act to fix its wrongdoings. Would this change to address the issues in the bill have happened if a campaign was started through social media? Maybe. But having the star power of Stewart’s show did not hurt. It’s been reported that members of Congress actually pay attention to The Daily Show. Probably to see if they’re being picked on or not.

As Aljazeera says:

The new definition could now double the number of veterans who qualify for the program, but McDonald didn’t thank “The Daily Show” for its help in bringing the matter to the public’s attention — and a celebratory host seemed to notice.

Looks like traditional mass media still holds power.

 PS: Links to the videos are in the blocked text

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