We expect tons of coverage over this, which reminds me of another media distraction and another man named Joe—Joe the Plumber, whom John McCain referenced during the waning days of his campaign. For days, Joe the Plumber was the media’s star attraction, diverting coverage from the real issues. This time, we hope leveler heads will prevail, and assignment editors will be more interested in having their reporters explain and answer for their audiences the “what’s in it for me” question, using some of our observations as a guide.

Trudy Lieberman is a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health and a longtime contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. She is the lead writer for The Second Opinion, CJR’s healthcare desk, which is part of our United States Project on the coverage of politics and policy. Follow her on Twitter @Trudy_Lieberman.