Monday, August 10, 2009

Morally reprehensible - updated

From an Investor's Business Daily editorial 10 days ago:
People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.
--from MLDB's post at Daily Kos

IBD's editorial also turns to Betsy McCaughey who was a leading figure in destroying the Clinton health care plan by, er, catapulting propaganda - i.e., misstatements. She's back with a vengeance and Ezra Klein has a lot to say about her and her track record.

Here's a tidbit:
Betsy McCaughey first came to prominence for a New Republic article entitled "No Exit." The conceit of the piece was that unlike everyone else, McCaughey had pored over every page and paragraph of the massive Clinton health bill and come back with a clearer view of the legislation's contours than anyone had previously presented. And what she'd found was worrying. "The law will prevent you from going outside the system to buy basic health coverage you think is better," McCaughey wrote. "The doctor can be paid only by the plan, not by you." Hence, "No Exit." You were trapped in the system.

McCaughey, it turned out, isn't a very good reader. Section three of the Clinton health legislation ("Protection of Consumer Choice") held that, "nothing in this Act shall be construed as prohibiting the following: (1) An individual from purchasing any health care services.” But in a policy debate, it's more important that your opinions prove convenient than accurate, and McCaughey's argument was certainly convenient: She got first one cover story in The New Republic and then a second. George Will picked up her views, as did the rest of the right wing media and legislative infrastructure. And this wasn't a "provocative" argument. It was simply wrong. It argued that the legislation said X when the legislation said not-X. It remained an enduring black mark on The New Republic's reputation. When Frank Foer took over as editor, among his first acts was making amends. “We recanted that story in the first issue and apologized for it," he says. It was that bad.
But enough about this highly-paid liar, let's get back to the IBD comment about Hawking. Don't they know he is a UK citizen and always has been and gets cared for under the UK health system? Can they possibly be that stupid? The alternative is that they know and are actually that mendacious. Either way it is morally reprehensible.

And that, boys and girls, is the phrase of the day that badly needs repopularizing. Let's practice saying it out loud now:

Very good!

Now, let's be sure to use it in conversation, correspondence, and blogging. We may add it to codswallop, twaddle, and barking mad.

By the way, I consider willful ignorance (not just ignorance but willful ignorance) to be an act of moral culpability. If you could and should know better, it's your own fucking fault that you don't and it falls within the sphere of sin. Just saying.

And that goes double for "journalists" who don't bother checking facts and challenging lies.

Hawking himself refutes this sort of idiocy.

--the BB


Göran Koch-Swahne said...

The US of America are in Dire Straits.

Diane said...

my husband often despairs of being able to do anything in this country; corporate interests are just too strong.

I hope he's wrong, but I see his point.

Paul said...

I hope he's wrong too, Diane. It's daunting but I have not yet despaired. The power of the robber barons was confronted in the last century; I hope we can do it again.