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Michael Smerconish Kicks off HAP’s 2021 Leadership Summit with a Look at the Modern Media

May 11, 2021

An increasingly polarized media landscape. Partisan gridlock. Misinformation and conspiracy theories.

On Tuesday, Michael Smerconish, host of The Michael Smerconish Program, kicked off HAP’s virtual Leadership Summit with a stark assessment of the 2021 media and political landscape, while offering perspectives about how hospitals can help move the nation forward.

“I don’t see correlation between a polarized media and a polarized Washington,” Smerconish said during his presentation this morning. “I see causation.”

HAP’s three-day virtual Leadership Summit features an exciting array of panel conversations about the critical issues facing the health care community. The virtual event provides an opportunity for Pennsylvania’s health care leaders to share perspectives and hear from some of the nation’s leading voices on media, politics, health equity, and innovation.

During his presentation, Smerconish highlighted the ways Americans have struggled to access information from credible sources and how we have “ceded the debate to the loudest voices.”

America’s institutions are struggling to cut through a sea of misinformation, but hospitals and the health care workforce remain trusted voices, Smerconish said during his conversation with HAP President and CEO Andy Carter.

Smerconish encouraged hospitals and the health care workforce to help their communities “recognize truth” over misinformation.

Among the key takeaways from Smerconish’s presentation:

  • Political division: The rise of talk radio and the polarization of the media have upended the traditional political power structure, making it hard to find nuanced perspectives on the important issues facing the country
  • Infotainment: The blending of news and commentary has fueled the spread of misinformation and presented new challenges for media consumers
  • Partisan gridlock: In the 1970s, a typical member of Congress would vote with his or her party about 60 percent of time, Smerconish said. By 2010, that number had increased to more than 90 percent of the time
  • Mixed-media diet: Smerconish encouraged everyone to receive information from a variety of sources, but noted how challenging it can be to find a balance in media consumption

In addition, Tuesday’s virtual summit featured a presentation from Craig Deao, MHA, managing director, speaker, and author at the Huron Group. Deao outlined how health care leaders can build off the “Grand Era of Experimentation” during the COVID-19 pandemic and promote innovation within their organizations.

HAP’s virtual Leadership Summit continues tomorrow, with perspectives about the upcoming state and federal legislative agenda, as well as important conversations about health equity and inclusion. For more information, contact HAP’s Education Department or call (717) 561-5270.