Monday, August 10, 2009

New York Times misleads: outrageous lie "forced euthanasia" refered to as "questionable" charge

A front webpage August 11th New York Times article, begins, "The White House on Monday started a new Web site to fight questionable but potentially damaging charges that President Obama’s proposed overhaul of the nation’s health care system would inevitably lead to “socialized medicine,” “rationed care” and even forced euthanasia for the elderly."

How is, "forced euthanasia for the elderly" a questionable charge, and not a flat-out outrageous lie?

If the Republicans claimed the Earth was flat, I'm not sure how many mainstream journalists would call this false, thinking it wouldn't be "even handed".

The writer does use the words, "inevitably lead to", but that's still just an impossibility for "forced euthanasia for the elderly" that should be obvious to a writer for one of the leading newspapers in the country. There is, of course, nothing in the bill about forced euthanasia, and it is no more possible that this bill could lead to forced euthanasia, than that passing Medicare for seniors in 1965 could lead to "forced euthanasia for the elderly". It should be obvious to a writer for a premier newspaper that for reasons of grave morality as well as political self-destruction this would never happen, unless you want to consider possibilities like a weird space virus coming to Earth and driving everyone insane, in which case the writer should make clear that he means possibilities like this, instead of grossly misleading.

There is also nothing in the bill for socialized medicine; there is no government ownership of the health care system. With regard to "Rationed care", this is fairly subjective. Typical free market health insurance has a lifetime limit of $1 million or less, and often $250,000 or less. This could certainly lead to rationed care for many illnesses, or no care, especially if you have no health insurance, like so many Americans. And HMOs deny many treatments. But there is nothing that explicitly rations health care in Obama's bill. The bill provides for minimums, subsidies, and protections, but no restrictions on what additional insurance and treatments people may buy. All of this should be made clear so as not to grossly mislead the public on a very important issue.

Mainstream journalists, in general, clearly don't consider conveying important information in an accurate, non-misleading way their top priority, or even a very high one relative to its great importance, and the country has paid a momentous price for this.

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