The boisterous town hall meetings that have been broadcast through local and national television networks have elevated the government-sponsored health care debate, but as the TV coverage has highlighted the discomfort of the Democratic legislature during their town hall presentations President Obama sought on Friday to blame the television networks for their alleged love of a "ruckus."
"US President Barack Obama on Friday blamed headline-hungry television networks for inflaming an ugly backlash by foes of his top priority effort to offer health care to all Americans," AFP reported
. "A combative Obama also accused health insurance firms of holding sick Americans "hostage" as he launched a weekend tour of mountain west states Montana, Colorado and Arizona where suspicion of Washington runs deep."
President Obama spoke at an airport hangar before a crowd of 1,300 people.
"TV loves a ruckus," said Obama, according to AFP "you've got to be careful about those cable networks."
The television news coverage of the Congressional town hall events has been stepped up - as video has circulated widely over the internet from confrontational events across the country.
"But the president argued that away from television's glare, people were holding 'civil, honest' conversations about change," AFP reported.
Obama also sought to focus attention on health care insurance providers, accusing insurance companies of holding Americans "hostage."
"We are held hostage, at any given moment by health insurance companies that deny coverage, or drop coverage, or charge fees that people can't afford at a time when they desperately need care," Obama said, according to AFP.