Putting in place an appropriate health plan in your company need not be difficult
If you own a business and if you decide to put in place an appropriateRead More
How To Obtain A Professional Indemnity Insurance
Insurance is protection against losses and losses can occur due to mistakes or negligence byRead More
Taking the Shame out of the name
If you own a business and if you decide to put in place an appropriate health plan for your employees, chances of you having a notion that this can be an arduous task are high. But in reality, if you keep in mind a few key points and pose the right questions to the providers, your task of buying this corporate insurance becomes easy. In other words, whether it is an arduous task or a simple one depends upon how you handle the task.
It is true that you have a wide range of options as far as coverage and providers are concerned. But if you keep the following key factors in mind, you can make your choice more easily. Let us look at the factors you must take into account for making your decision.
1. Cost alone should not be the guiding factor
Most of the business owners may have a tendency to adopt frugal measures to avoid squandering of their finances. But taking into account the cost factor alone while choosing a health cover for your employees may not be a wise approach. If you decide to look at only cheaper plans, you will find that the options do not comprehensively cover all the health risks. Therefore, you should first check the covers. Only after satisfying yourself that the group plans you shortlist cover all the health risks, you should move on to the next step of comparing the costs.
This is not to suggest that only plans that cost high are good and that those that cost less are not good. Only if you delve deep and do a proper research for knowing the features of the plans that are available and only if you compare the risks that are covered by the plans, you will be able to make the right choice.
In general, employers as well as the employees will share the premiums payable for the health plan that is put in place so that this will provide a cushion for the employer liability insurance. So, you should check if your employees will be able to pay their share of the premiums.
3. Offer more than one plan to your employees
It is better you offer more than one plan to your employees so they can make their choice easily. The point that is emphasized is that employees should not feel inconvenient to make use of the plan. Experts point out that there are plans that are complex and so, may cause stress to the employees.
Another point to remember is that every employee is different. There may be young employees as well as older folks. This means that their needs may also be different. By offering more than one choice, you are helping every employee because depending upon their needs, they can go for the plan that suits them.
Not only that, by giving more than one choice, you are adding objectivity to the whole process. Of course, you can guide your employees to choose the right plan also because you, as an employer, are interested in the welfare of your employees. Only if your employees are well-off, you can extract optimum performance from them and succeed in your efforts to sustain and grow in your industry.
The idea of making available more than one choice to your employees comes with another distinct advantage also. This will make your employees realize that you are interested in their well-being. This will motivate them in a huge manner. So, you can expect increased productivity and optimized performance from them.
To summarize, if you tread carefully and judiciously carry out the process of putting in place the right health plan in your company, you can carry out the whole task quite easily. Your efforts to achieve your business goal will also bear fruits sooner than you expect.
Insurance is protection against losses and losses can occur due to mistakes or negligence by the businessman or insurer or employer or employee. Professional indemnity insurance in Singapore provides a policy which is best for the insured to give complete or maximum coverage. As a result, rectifications can be made in the business and the company need not close down due to lawsuits being filed against it. There is a well-defined procedure for obtaining a professional indemnity insurance in Singapore.
1) Making a list of potential insurance policy plans is essential for a company whether it be a small-scale or large-scale business. Errors and omissions insurance and malpractices insurance can be obtained as well, as per the requirements of the business. Also knowing insurers who can give the insurance needed and if more than one type of policy can be provided by a single insurer is beneficial.
2) Determining the coverage premium required for the safe continuation of the business is the next step. Calculating the limits and deductibles can serve as essential guidelines to drafting the best policy. Based on the type of business, it helps to determine the coverage required and what all needs to be covered by insurance. It could be physical damages or intellectual damages that need to be taken into account.
3) Quotation for each policy is to be researched. This can be done online as well. There are websites that company prices and rates of insurance policies which makes your research related job stress-free. The difference, if any, is minimal. The cover type, cover term, deductibles, and amount are similar in many insurance providing companies.
4) Consultation with the insurer is necessary from time to time; such support should be provided by the insurance company (insurer). Claims and suits must be checked regularly so that the problem can be dealt with before it growing out of proportions.
5) Documentation should be clear and simple after the insurance is purchased. Forms for corresponding claims and policy documents must be maintained properly with accurate information. In a situation, where a lawsuit is presented to the business, the business should not be completely brought down monetarily. The insurance must cover such expenses as lawsuits can go on for a long time and finances can be quickly exhausted.
These mistakes happen as you learn the way of the trade. It is not possible to completely avoid such incidents. It is important to learn from past mistakes and to better yourself as you learn to make smarter and wiser decisions for your business.
Medical Insurance is an arrangement between two or more parties wherein compensation is guaranteed in the case of medical related losses. This is seen at a corporate level as well as an individual level. The person for whom the medical insurance is taken is called the insured or the claimant as he claims compensation when there are medical expenses that he must incur due to work-related accidents or illness or even death. In the case of death, the family or the dependant will claim the compensation payable. For this insurance, the insured has to ensure that he is covered by the insurance premium as a portion is deducted from his payroll on a monthly basis.
The job market is on a global scale in the recent times, people are moving out of their native country to find the best-suited job opportunities and work culture for themselves. They do not need to become the citizens of the foreign country. But many companies consider it wise to provide medical insurance to their non-resident workers as it motivates them to stay on the job for a longer period of time.
When the foreign worker who is insured under the medical insurance, experiences any sort of work-related health threats, various provisions are made. Medical charges like accommodation, fees of medication, treatment fees, doctor’s fees, physiotherapy prescribed by the doctor and other such charges are covered by the insurance. This keeps the employee out of financial jeopardy and provides compensation for further treatment if necessary.
Unlike the residential workers, the non-resident employees are protected by the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act. Employers are to undertake all medical treatment expenses that are required. A medical insurance coverage of a certain lump sum amount must be provided by the employer that is fixed by the Ministry of Manpower. The non-resident workers must apply for a work pass and permit, which is essential while processing the compensation payable. The amount set for the insurance is called the premium. This premium is set at a high cost which helps the employee cover the majority of the non-residential workers medical bills.
The procedure for making claims for the compensation is clear and simple. It is set by the Ministry of Manpower, which is the ministry run by the government of Singapore that deals with making and executing the labor policies for the workforce. There is no scope for malpractices on the part of the employer or the employee.
As health is an unpredictable factor, insurance keeps the mind and heart of workers at peace. As many jobs demand unreasonable commitments, the health of workers tends to deteriorate at a much earlier stage of their lives. Commercial insurance has proved to provide security for employees and their families when unavoidable circumstances are presented before them.
While it is exciting to be global hopping for jobs, having health issues in a country which is foreign to you, whose policies and methods you are unfamiliar with is a scary thought. A good health insurance provided by the employer should be one of your deciding factors while choosing which company to work with. In countries like Singapore, foreign worker insurance is a mandatory requirement for all foreign employees seeking an Employment Pass. This needs to be provided by the company who hires you.
However, just because it is mandatory, it isn’t necessary for the employers to provide you with a good deal. So don’t just see if you are getting covered, see if these factors are taken care of:
- Base coverage amount: The minimum coverage according to the Government is $15000. However, that would not cover anything remotely major completely. So ask the company how much coverage is being provided to you. You can get a sense from the amount deducted from your salary. If it seems too little, that should make you alert. Singapore is the most expensive city in the world. You don’t want to spend all your savings on medical treatment. Research and find out how much basic doctor visits, dental appointments, etc cost. From there you can get an idea.
- Base coverage: Basic hospitalization, personal accident, some surgery, dental coverage, basic tests, specialist consultations both before and after getting admitted, and their overall outpatient treatment coverage, etc are the most minimum requirement in a health insurance policy. Also find out what all are covered by the policy and what isn’t and what you need to pay for separately.
- Additional coverage: Most companies don’t provide facilities for dependents. However, childbirth related hospital expenses are sometimes covered. Some companies can also help you to add health insurance facilities for your dependents at an additional cost deducted from your salary. That may be a good option because then you won’t need to worry about medical expenses for your family.
A good foreign worker medical insurance policy can be very beneficial for you, even though a bit of its premium goes from your salary. Sift through the redundant facilities and look at the actual benefits it provides you. Also find out about reimbursement policies, whether all hospitals/diagnostic centres accept this insurance, etc from the company before accepting their offer.
Are you a business owner? Do your employees or you drive every day! It is possible that your vehicle is an important part of the home delivery service that you run for your aged customers. Or, it is possible that you the owner if a costs-country truck business. Irrespective of how your employees or you use commercial fleet or vehicle, you are vulnerable to certain risks when accidents take place. If your vehicle encounters an accident, knowing the process f filing claims for commercial vehicle insurance will definitely come handy as you can save your precious time.
You may own a delivery service if a cake company or even a florist business. Being an owner of such ventures signify that your employees and you have to be on the roads on all days. Some people are under the impression that their personal auto insurance policy will take care of any damage caused even when the vehicle is used for business purposes, but that is completely incorrect. When you learn the process of filing claims, along with the time you can also save your money and get your reimbursements at the earliest.
How and well to file claims for commercial vehicle insurance?
Though meeting an accident while you or your employees are in a delivery can is not a desirable situation at all, there are some easy steps that can be taken by you to make sure that your entire claim process gets completed smoothly.
Your first step should be to check for your injuries and immediately get in touch with the relevant authorities.
Your next step should be to collect the information mentioned below so that you can update them to your insurer.
Car information and license plate numbers of all the involved vehicles.
Names of all people who were involved in the said accident.
All accident details that you can possibly recollect.
Get insurance information from the remaining drivers who were involved in the accident.
It is a great idea to minutely record all that happened on the accident scene and click pictures of the involved vehicles. In case it is a minor accident. You need to assess if it is worth it to get in touch with your insurer to file your claims. You must know how much is the deductible and the way your policy is applicable to the accident.
After collecting all the above-mentioned information, give a small to your insurer to kick off the process.
When an accident takes place, you realize that you took a sensible decision by buying commercial vehicle insurance . Filing claim for the commercial insurance could be a tedious task. So, contact a good local agent who can help you out.
The claimant is at liberty to choose between Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) and Common Law while claiming insurance compensation for losses through injury which he has sustained during a work-related accident. In the case of death, the family or dependants of the demised insured employee can request for work injury compensation .
Though many tend to interchange the words, WICA and common law are two different entities dealing with insurance claims. Here is how you can easily differentiate between the two:
1)WHO DO YOU DEAL WITH
When you approach the WICA, you will deal with the Ministry of Manpower. The claim payable is determined by the commissioners from MOM. Whereas, when the claim is made through the Common Law, the report is taken to the High Court or to the State Court. The decision for payable compensation is made by the judges of these courts.
In WICA, you do not need a lawyer to represent you. But it is the decision of the claimant if he would like to have one or not. When you look at the process of the Ministry of Manpower, a lawyer is not required to carry out the claim at any given point of the procedure. MOM provides strategic guidelines to the claimant for a smooth execution of the work injury compensation procedure. In Common Law, it is mandatory to be represented by a lawyer. You are to incur the legal fees as well.
There are formulas that help calculate the compensation payable to the claimant. A limit is set to how much can be taken that is set by the WICA. In the case of Common Law, there is no such limit for the compensation amount. The claimant has to prove the severity of the damages to claim such lump sum compensation.
By the rules of the WICA, the claimant only needs to prove that the damages were incurred during the work hours of work related injuries. The blame need not be put on any specific person. But in the Common Law, the claimant needs to prove that the fault or negligence was on the part of the employer or a third party.
5)WITHDRAWAL OF SUIT
If the claimant wishes to withdraw his suit from the WICA and claim through Common Law, he can do that before the Commissioner of the Ministry of Manpower issues the Notice of Assessment. In the opposite scenario, where the claimant wants to withdraw his suit from the Common Law and claim through WICA, he can do that within one year of the accident or the date when the illness was diagnosed.
The clear understanding between WICA and Common Law gives the people a chance of selecting the better approach for compensation
Insurance coverage for all foreigners is mandatory in a lot of countries in South East Asia, including Singapore. If you’ve got yourself a job in Singapore, make sure you’ve got a good foreign worker insurance policy.
Points to note:
Important point to note is that this medical insurance is not Government funded nor do you get special discounts and facilities in Government hospitals. That is only for citizens and those with resident permits.
Most companies opt for co-pay. That means they pay a part and you pay a part. The employer would typically take care of the basic amount and expect additional premiums to be paid by you for a better coverage. However, that coverage is only for you and not your dependents. Some companies also offer a family plan cover, but would expect you to pay the difference.
How to spot a good one:
A lot of companies could provide just the absolute basic mandatory coverage or cover some things like dread disease which could be a wastage of money. While it could suit some, it may not suit all. Singapore has been, for many years, consistently within the top 5 most expensive cities in the world. This means the health expenses would be on the higher side too. Since most companies have a co-pay system for health insurance, you should know what you’re paying for.
Think from this perspective: What coverage are you getting? What coverage might you conceivably need? These questions will help you to find out if the insurance coverage is that which suits you. Once you know what you need, see if you get an affirmative answer for the following questions.
Coverage for dependents: Do they provide it? What about pregnancy and child birth? Can the company include this coverage for you provided you pay for it from your salary?
How much is the coverage? If it is around $ 20000 not much will be covered.
How much do you have to pay from your salary for the insurance? Your employers might be providing a comprehensive coverage but if it takes a significant chunk from your salary, see if it is worth it.
Do they cover government as well as private hospitals?
Do they cover the treatment as well as doctor visit prior to hospitalization?
Do you have to pay the hospital bills upfront and then claim from the insurance company or will they pay for it upfront?
Do clarify all your questions from your employers beforehand. If dependents are travelling with you see if you can get their coverage included for a minimum cost. A good foreign worker medical insurance policy will make your life smooth in Singapore. So choose to work for a company who provides a good policy.
Public Liability Insurance is the most common type of business insurance that enterprises, big and small, invest in. PLI offers the assurance that every compensation claim made towards damage incurred by a third party is covered.
Without the help of an expert, it is difficult to understand the intricate workings of any type of insurance. For those who feel that they know everything that there is on PLI, here are 4 facts that might come as a surprise:
1.Employer’s Liability Insurance is not the same as Public Liability insurance
Employer’s Liability Insurance is the first coverage a company needs once the rate of hiring increases. This type of insurance cover falls under the category of liability cover against the claims of compensation made by an employee who suffered a severe illness through the course of their involvement with the company. This insurance also offers coverage against illness that an employee contracts on the job. Employer’s Liability Insurance is mandatory by law.
On the other hand, public liability insurance Singapore is optional but highly recommended. This type of coverage offers protection from claims made by the customer or third-party.
2.The most common type of claims which arose are trips, slips and falls
It comes as a surprise that the majority of the claims made by customers, who are covered by PLI, are falls, slips and trips. Which makes PLI all the more essential given the common place of the nature of the claims. But in Singapore, PLI of National Park Boards (NParks) does not cover any accident which occurred through a natural force, but only specific for those cases which are caused by negligence.
3.There is No One Size, Fit’s all
The relevance of the amount of coverage required for each business varies. Public Liability insurance Singapore does not follow the norm of ‘one size fits all.’ The cost of the policy depend on the nature of work, annual profit, size of the company, amount of trading time and risk of work.
4.PIL Can Be Bought As a Stand Alone Policy
Most businesses in Singapore are under the misconception that PLI is a part of a package policy. If you feel that your business requires a PLI as compared to other optional insurance policies, you can avail one after consulting with experts to identify the maximum coverage your company requires.
As an individual or a business entity, you need to have yourself protected against unforeseen events, and the protection essentially includes insurance covers. One such insurance cover is professional indemnity insurance, which covers the compensation awarded to a client in the event of a lawsuit against those who provide professional services. Following are a few professions that need professional indemnity cover:
IT professionals: At times, projects undertaken by IT firms don’t go as planned. Although, minor aberrations to the specified guidelines can be reworked or resolved over a discussion with the client, it is not possible when the damages are significant. In such events, professional indemnity insurance can save you from the consequences of a huge financial loss.
Recruitment agencies: In the event of an accident due to negligence of a staff member who was recruited by an agency without proper reference checks, the client can file a lawsuit against the agency. The agency can also face lawsuit if confidential data is stolen or lost from the client’s office and the employee entrusted with access to the data is recruited by the agency. Small agencies may not have the resources to deal with such incidents and hence, need to be covered.
Business consultant: If you are working as a consultant, advising businesses on a day-to-day basis, then any loss resulting from the services provided by you can lead to a legal claim. However, if you have professional indemnity insurance, such events can be taken care of and you can avoid an impending financial loss.
Fitness trainers: As a fitness professional, it is absolutely necessary for you to ensure a high quality of service. However, often we cannot do much about unexpected turn of events. An injury during training may not only damage your reputation as a trainer but can also lead to a legal battle. Your clients can also file lawsuits if the services provided by you do not conform to the desired level of your clients.
Teaching professionals: Similar to fitness professionals, teachers also need to be prepared for unforeseen events. An injury in the classroom or complaints of below par tutoring can result in adverse consequences.
Apart from the ones mentioned above, various other professionals also need to be covered under professional indemnity insurance, including but not limited to designers, wedding planners, and photographers. Although it’s mandatory to have professional indemnity insurance for certain professionals, it’s advisable to have yourself covered, even if you are not obliged to, if you fall under the categories mentioned above.
There is an inherent need today to ensure that every facet of your life, right from general insurance, life insurance as well as goods and services, are insured. If you do not pay heed to this, you may end up with serious debt and straddled with long, drawn out payment hurdles. This is extremely imperative while shipping prized cargo across countries or continents. Marine insurance covers the risk of goods from the point of departure until the cargo reaches its destination, and this is where the policy ends.
Time Policy insures the ship for a fixed timeframe. It is possible to extend the duration for a longer period. Another feather in the cap is the mixed policy hull insurance transit coverage. The ship is assured of a cover for a mixed and timely duration â ideal for ships operating on a particular route. To ensure that there is no serious damage to the cargo or passengers, it is a necessity for the owner of the vessel to keep the policy up-to-date.
Transit insurance offers coverage for cargo and hull insurance. Both are imperative to a ship owner as well as the exporter. This ensures that all the goods are covered while in transit, from the point of origin to the destination point. In the past, the concept of inland marine insurance was established so that goods were insured while traveling at sea. Thankfully, it encompasses a wider range today.
There are different types of marine insurance policies under this umbrella. The sailing vessels policy takes care of the vessel in case of collision, burning or sinking at sea. An annual insurance policy provides an assurance cover of goods that belong to a specific assured party. The insured amount is calculated based on the value of the goods. It is essential from every aspect, from the time the ship leaves with the shipment, to the time it docks to ensure that every facet is taken into account.
Floating policies are an ideal form of transit insurance taken for a large amount for gargantuan trade. To send off the shipment, a declaration is a necessity. The open cover contract is an agreement created between the assured party and the insurer. The scope falls under the honor bound scheme where separate policies are not a necessity for every shipment. As an open cover policy, it works rather well for regular cargo shipments once the declarations are made.
An insurance is like a contract, in which a legal entity or an individual receives financial protection or reimbursement from an insurance company, in case of any loss incurred. This contract is called a policy. Insurance policies are used to protect the individual or a company from financial losses, small and big, that may have resulted from damage to the insured or to his or her property, or from liability for the damage caused to a third party.
While choosing an insurance, it is very important to keep in mind the components of the insurance â the premium and the deductible amount. The premium is the cost of the insurance paid on a monthly basis. The premium varies from one insurance company to another, based on the risk profile of the company or individual. The deductible is the out-of-pocket expense borne by the insured whenever he or she makes a claim.
There are different types of insurances, which can be availed by any company or individual. According to the business requirements, there are special kinds of insurances. Some insurances are need based â like kidnap and ransom (K&R) insurance, medical malpractice, professional indemnity insurance, also called errors and omissions insurance.
Scope of Professional Indemnity Insurance:
Professional Indemnity Insurance is a type of insurance that protects companies and individuals against claims made by clients for negligent actions and inadequate services. This insurance policy usually covers the cost of the court case as well as the settlement amount as specified in the policy. Commercially busy places have many agencies offering this insurance. For example, Professional Indemnity Insurance in Singapore is very common
Professional Indemnity Insurance in Singapore can be availed by hiring financial planners, investment advisors who are registered, and also other financial professionals. Even regulatory bodies like Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) avails this insurance.
The benefits reaped from this insurance differs from one insurance agency to another. The scope and benefit plan laid out in the policy also differs from one insurance agency to another. Professional Indemnity Insurance that covers a company includes all its workers. However, it may not cover the temporary workers or the workers in the probation period in the company. It also may not cover the work that is done before the policy came into force. Some policies do not cover certain jurisdictions, as lawsuit in any business is very common and court cases are filed even on small issues. Thus, in the business world Professional Indemnity Insurance is a necessity.
If you swung by the Liberal-Bias Message Board this week, you probably caught the noticeable disagreement in how Howard Dean chose to criticize the Republican Party to a group of journalists Monday June 6th. As many Democratic senators, congressmen, and officials took umbrage with his statements, others were actually glad to hear such refreshing rhetoric. I would say I distinctly fall into the latter category.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m well aware of the way that such direct and caustic language can be misconstrued by the public, distorted by the media, and flat out used as fodder for jerk neocon pundits, Tom DeLay, and other such street vermin. It’s hardly safe language. But that’s just it. The Democratic Party doesn’t need to be playing it safe anymore. Al Gore was a safe choice. John Kerry was a safe choice. Compromising the filibuster was safe. What the hell has that accomplished?
I apologize if any latte liberals don’t like sports references mixed into your political debate, but the Democratic Party is down by 4 touchdowns halfway through the 3rd quarter, and their defense is sucking wind. Right now an off tackle running play or a dump into the flat isn’t going to cut it. Some risks need to be taken to have a chance at winning late in the fourth quarter.
What Mr. Dean said is not all that inflammatory. Was it PC? No. But PC is not what wins elections anymore. Times have changed. The biggest reason I heard from moderates I knew who voted for Bush was that they seemed to identify more with Bush than Kerry, and that Kerry always seemed way too guarded with his answers during debates and interviews, therefore causing them to think that he was saying what he thought people wanted to hear, instead of the way he really felt. I’m a big believer that people don’t appreciate hearing someone sound as if they are reading off a script when supposedly being themselves.
People can’t stand to hear sports figures (sorry again weenie liberals) like Alex Rodriguez, Tiger Woods, and Jim Tressel give homogenized vanilla answer after homogenized vanilla answer at press conferences and during interviews. You learn nothing from it, and tune it out because you can’t feel any sense of sincere revelation from the person. While strong statements may turn some people off in the short term, they will eventually get over it, and in the long term, come to make the connection that Howard Dean is a straight shooter.
Let’s all look at the numbers than can be applied to taking such a statement. The US Census Bureau estimates that by 2010, the population percentage of whitey in this country will decrease by .8%, while blacks will increase .3%, Asians .5%, and hispanics 1.2%. In terms of raw numbers that means by 2010 there will be 7.1 million more whiteys than now, but 2.3 million more blacks, 2.1 million more Asians and 5.1 million more hispanics. That shifts the white to non white balance in this country 2.4 million towards the non-whites. Howard Dean is no dummy. He understands the need to recognize the growing minority in this country and is doing just that.
While no great number, according to CNN’s exit poll numbers in 2004, Bush was still able to get a enough votes from non whites (30% men, 24% women) to get him over the top. The Dems need to cut into those numbers. Look at those numbers. If even remotely accurate, Howard made more of a statement of fact than one of personal conviction. What’s so wrong about saying the Republican Party is the party of white christian males? They are. The numbers prove it.
The CNN poll also showed 13% of people who considered themselves “liberals” voted for Bush. Huh? Did I miss something there? I can clearly see why someone considering themself a conservative would vote for Kerry, but seems impossible for me for someone who is a true liberal would vote for Bush (see my “Convert A Bushie” piece concerning Victims). That’s a clear sign that the Kerry campaign didn’t strut it’s liberal stuff enough to win. What can be more liberal than throwing a dig at “The Man”?
I’m very happy Dean did not back pedal from his statements. Just look at the Bush administration. Despite a huge pile of failures with enough facts behind them to sink The Love Boat, they never ever admit they were wrong. They take nothing back. DeLay practically told open minded federal judges to watch their backs and sympathized with those that would threaten a judge’s life. Where did his followers fall off at? They didn’t. In fact, they all lined up for a $250 a plate dinner to help him pay his lawyers another month.
Don’t think I haven’t thought about or listened to how the neocons will spin this. They will be play the “victim card” for all it’s worth. Oh the those poor oppressed conservatives. Always getting picked on by those big mean liberals. Those mean obstructionist liberals who prevented them from confirming Condi Rice and John Bolton, repealing the estate tax, letting bankrupt CEO’s escape harder bankruptcy laws, and starting an unnecessary war. So now they can label democrats racist and anti-Christian. Good. Let ’em have at it. If after 6 years the American public can’t figure out we have a religiously intolerant, corporatist & fascist administration who doesn’t care about the common man, then I don’t think they’ll be too quick to catch onto the non-fact that democrats are racist Jesus haters beause Howard Dean told the truth.
Howard Dean is just one of the few democrats who has started to figure out what the game is all about these days. He’s giving it a try at beating them at their own game. He’s throwing a forty yard post pattern on 1st and 10, and you know what? I like it. The Democrats have been in dire need of a spine recently, and they’ve finally found one in Howard Dean. Let’s just hope they use it.
A post this week on the LB Message Board about the prospects of Air America Radio (AAR) going bankrupt got me thinking long and hard (Butthead: “huh huh…he said long and hard”…) about the current state of things regarding the representation of liberal points of view in today’s media.
One post took a harsh tone with the listeners of AAR, for not supporting the network enough. Others blamed the network itself for not having good enough programming to reel in the casual listener or sustain the interest level of the converted.
I for one, am not sure the recent reports surrounding AAR of it’s apparent problems is really a matter of blame at all. While I do believe there is truth in each and every post, I’m not sure it’s even possible for a product like AAR to flourish in today’s society at all. Let me explain a few natural handicaps that AAR has had working against it from day one.
1. Terrestrial radio is controlled by conservatives.
Let’s face it, the only reason that a conservative owned conglomerate like Clear Channel brought AAR to as many of its affiliates was because it thought it could profit from it, then, in all likelihood, use those profits to back other conservative special interests.
And don’t think Clear Channel’s lack of interest didn’t show. Where I live, Clear Channel owned WTPG 1230 is the local affiliate for AAR, but you wouldn’t know it. Outside of the Al Franken show you wouldn’t know that WTPG had much to do with AAR at all. For a while, the only AAR programming you would hear was the Franken Show and one hour of Randi Rhodes. They would do things like bump the morning lineup for a re-run of Springer’s show from the day before. Nothing like listening to stuff you heard about yesterday all over again to start your morning. Then the AAR mid-morning programming would be bumped for the Stephanie Miller Show. Now I like Stephanie Miller and her show, so I’m glad I got to hear it, but it didn’t do much for AAR and the Unfiltered show. Franken had his full time slot, then Ed Schultz would come on and bump the first 2 hours of Randi Rhodes (maybe the best Lib radio host out there). To finish the day off, I would get my full dosage of Cincinnati Reds baseball from 6:30 to 11:00. Not exactly giving Central Ohio it’s full helping of AAR. Clear Channel did not represent AAR very well, but being a startup, AAR probably had no better offers, and beggars can’t be choosers.
The sad reality is that most major radio networks are part of larger conglomerates that are usually in lockstep with BushCo’s tax breaks and corporate friendly policies. You are not going to find many billionaires wanting to finance shows that argue in favor of increasing their taxes and regulating their trade.
2. Liberals don’t lie.
All things considered, it’s way easier for conservative radio hosts to make things sound more interesting than they actually are when they have “poetic license” at their disposal. The average American schlep does not have the intellectual attention span to sit through hearing the real explanations behind why the Bush administration is doing what it is doing. Hearing why PlameGate is such a bad thing takes some work on the part of the listener. It was much, much easier for Rush Limbaugh to get people to pay attention when he said “If you don’t support the Patriot Act, terrorists will come and kill you!”
Limbaugh didn’t really say that, but probably wanted to. And you can’t argue that that lie was the most memorable part of the last paragraph. The main problem with liberal radio hosts is that they feel too much of an obligation to the truth to be entertaining.
3. AAR was too open about what it was trying to accomplish.
AAR never made any bones about what it stood for. From day one it billed itself as a champion of progressive causes. BIG F’ING MISTAKE!
You can’t sell something to the masses by letting them know what you are really selling. Trust me, I work in retail. You ever seen Kraft trying to sell cheese by promoting the amount of polyglocuthenalimines (I made that ingredient up, but, again, lying really helps..see!) in it? No, you have not, because the American people can’t handle the truth. You’d be surprised to know just how many average Joes think Glenn Beck is just a moderate straight shooter. Fox News is the evilest entity on the planet, but I have to give them credit for bashing us over the head with “Fair & Balanced” as much as they have. If their slogan had been “Slanted & Conservative” I doubt their numbers would be where they are.
AAR never should have ever acknowledged that they were there to promote progressive values. That alone instantly turned off half of the market. People do not trust people with an agenda, no matter how much truth they are spouting. We even debated that issue here when we started Liberal-Bias. I felt that being up front about our mission would not allow us the opportunity to do much more than “preach to the choir”. More of the other founders disagreed and felt we should be more open of our intentions. They were true liberals. I wasn’t. They got their way. We lost our potential to reach the masses.
So where does that leave liberal radio? The picture I painted above might lead one to think it leaves it with potential for success. I disagree. I think there is a way that liberally biased radio programs can exist, but only under the following conditions:
1) If you can’t own your network, then just syndicate only.
AAR would have been in a much better position to succeed if it had control over what programming was available to its local markets. The Central Ohio example above was only one of many similar situations. How can you develop a consistent listener base, when the listeners never know when or if a program is going to be on or not. This appears impossible in terrestrial radio today, but perhaps as satellite radio’s popularity increases their may be an opportunity to exhibit such control over programming.
If the network cannot happen, then stick to syndication. Having the ability to negotiate with several stations in a market can give the radio shows more of an advantage to control their consistency in availability.
2) Pretend to be something you are not.
America likes to be lied to in some small way. It’s easier than facing facts. I believe more people would rather hear false confirmation of their preconceptions, than accurate contradiction. So it makes no sense to go public with your intentions of pushing a liberal agenda. Too many people that intentionally consider themselves moderates or centrists will turn off without giving it a chance. Rush Limbaugh & Glenn Beck did not rise to where they are because they billed themselves as neoconservative points of authority. They connected with their base because the successfully sold themselves as just regular guys who argue from no other vantage point than “just plain old common sense” and used those points to make a case against liberals. Not so much as promoting what they really stood for as much a tearing down those they opposed by showing how disconnected liberals were with “us plain old American folks”.
That’s how you do it. Connect first, push later. That’s why I’ve always held that Oprah Winfrey could be the great savior for liberal causes if she ever wanted to go that route. She’s already connected with her base. If she would just run one program on Downing Street or the evils of the sham that is Iraq, the results could be devastating for BushCo. But for some reason she chooses to not go that route. I’m guessing it’s in effort to keep a stronghold on her $1.4 Billion empire, and not suffer the mild but recoverable corporate backlash that would follow.
I think the area of greatest impact right now in the media is Keith Olbermann. He already achieved his street cred via his time on ESPN, and by taking a relatively neutral, albeit cynical, stance in the past. It hasn’t been until the last year that he has taken his anti Bush position up a notch. And because he waited, it is now carrying that much more weight.
The next big movement in liberal radio needs to present itself in the same “Hey we have no agenda except to look out for you, the average American” stance that the Neocons have preached so well up to this point. It’s quite amazing how many people, regardless of race, religion, or income, think of themselves as “average Americans”
3) Entertain us.
I hate Limbaugh & Beck as much as the next guy, but they are great radio personalities. If there is ever another concerted effort to find liberal radio hosts, they should look for people who are entertaining and have a great radio presence first, then worry about their liberal credentials later. AAR tried this and failed with Marc Maron, Janeane Garofalo, and Al Franken, and it didn’t work. Maron was a good standup, but never seemed comfortable in the radio booth, and never failed to make mention of how much he didn’t like his job all that much. Garofalo’s attendance on her own show was spotty at best. And Franken, while having had the most success so far, is not good radio. His pauses can be unbearable at times and his wit is too high brow for Joe Ironworker to get on a regular basis.
There needs to be an effort to find a great radio personality, who will not be afraid to “go political”. I have often contended that the great liberal voice we are all searching for, does not even have to have a political show. It can be from a musical or sports themed show if need be. There just needs to be that one person who can handle a mic, and not be afraid of the backlash for “going political” every now and then.
4) Play dirty.
Liberal radio needs to stop living in fear of the backlash from conducting business on less than “on the level” manner. Rush Limbaugh doesn’t do interviews. He doesn’t debate people. He screens his callers ad better than they screen your luggage at airports, and will even stoop to having planted callers. He’s not afraid to contradict himself to prove point at that moment. The same guy that said all drug addicts should be locked up, and that Saddam Hussein wasn’t that bad a guy, now wants sympathy for the disease of addiction and says the world and Iraq is safer without Hussein in power. Do his listeners care? No.
It’s very easy to manipulate the public when you have the resources at your disposal. Liberals need to start using them. The bad guys always have the upper hand, so you are not going defeat them by playing fair.
In conclusion, if AAR does go in the proverbial toilet, I think it should stand for future generations of liberals as a hallmark for what not to do if you actually want to make a dent in the current conservative media bias. It’s not just about being right, or being truly liberal. It’s about ratings, and the rest will take care of itself.
Like Tony Montana once said, “In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the woman.”
John Conyers, the House Judiciary Committe, & November
Most everyone I tell that the Democrats can’t win in November because of election fraud don’t seem to know who Rep. Conyers is and what he has done in his minority role since 1994, so I felt as though a summary and brief walk down memory lane is in order. Rep. Conyers (D-MI), helped by his insurmountable support of the voters in his Detroit area District, has been one of the few Democrat who has attempted to energize liberals to stick to the big problems; those that seem to mostly stay on the web and rarely make it to the corporate owed media.
First, a little bit about Rep. John Conyers. According to his campaign website (linked below), Rep. Conyers is a candidate for his 21st term in the US Congress, and rarely receives much of a political challenge. He has been a champion of liberal causes for his entire Congressional career, on any issue from civil rights to the environment and everything in between. As somewhat of a political junky, it seems that anytime there is an issue that I think deserves special attention, it is Rep. Conyers, whether it is popular at the moment or not, who is in the middle of making a stink about it.
Some of the best Rep. Conyers moments from the past couple of years . . .
Rep. Conyers held an informal hearing about the sate of the media, and its Republican dominance (article linked below). It was a star studded event that was a laundry list of how the “Republican Noise Machine” works. The meeting left very little doubt about how the whole thing works, and the media, predictably, ignored it.
Rep. Conyers held an informal hearing on the circulation of the Downing Street Minutes (article linked below). After the meeting was over, Conyers delivered personally to the White House the hundreds of thousands of signatures on a petition demanding a formal investigation. The media ignored this one, too, except to make fun of the meeting. See below the Washington Post’s disgusting and irresponsible “coverage” of the event.
The difference between the substantial exit polling and the official count in Ohio during the 2004 presidential election was about six percentage points, both a statistical impossibility, and as such, would be seen as obvious fraud if it happened in another country. To my knowledge, Rep. Conyers is the only member of either house of congress to produce a formal study on the matter (linked below). If you ever have the time, I recommend a complete reading of the report. It is long, detail and disturbing. And the media largely ignored this one, too.
Now here is the most important part. If the Democrats regain control of the House, Conyers will likely again serve as Chair of the House Judiciary Committee (function of committee linked below). Much of Rep. Conyers’ work has a tag “informal” or “panel” to it because he has not been able to bring formal hearings on much of anything since the Republicans took control of the Judiciary Committee. That is how Republicans have operated as the majority. They do whatever they want to do, without regard for the minority, unless the minority is simply signing on to what the majority wants to do. Stories of Republicans holding meetings on what they want to do before the actual committee meeting takes place are common.
One of our newer regulars on the message board posted a great article on a portion of this very subject (linked below). The facts are that if the Republicans lose the majority in Congress, they lose the ability to control what becomes a hearing, and those hearings will be chaired by a Member who will take on anything he chooses. That probably means our current broken system will change substantially, some people will go to jail, there might even be impeachment hearings, the media will have to cover it, etc. Basically, all hell breaks lose. Couple this, what has to be the big fear among Republicans, with the fact that Republicans control both the mainstream media and voting in this country, and one can only conclude that Republicans can not possibly permit a Democratic takeover of Congress. The Conyers factor alone makes it too much of a threat.
I hope I am wrong. However, this is the single biggest reason the Republicans will do whatever is necessary next month to control the elections in their favor.