And another thing: Unexamined assumptions get my goat too.

Just following up on the last post.  I almost never watch TV news — and especially not the local options.

Leaving the TV on after the Obama town hall special reminded me why.  First Dr. Tim Johnson opines that compromise on health care is needed to achieve a bipartisan solution, without anyone asking him why bipartisanship is a necessary criterion for a health care system.  Shouldn’t efficacy, efficiency, quality of care and outcomes come first.  (Stupid question…)

Seriously: Tim Johnson is billed as ABC’s medical editor.  Why he feels it necessary to parrot the glibest of political bromides instead of weighing in on either side of the public/private debate is a mystery…or not.  It really is a symptom of the terror at the thought of analytical thinking in the creation of a news story.

More of the same followed (this all on WCVB, Boston’s Channel 5 and the local ABC affiliate) with a completely cotton candy interview with soon-to-be ex-Senator Judd Gregg (Checking Out-NH).  He was allowed to assert that the inevitable consequence of public competition with private insurance was single payer/government controlled health care.  He then said that would lead to delays, and a health care system like that of Canada.  No follow up questions, like — how does the Canadian system compare with our own on the usual measures of public health — infant mortality, say, or life expectancy…and so on.

These are, of course, crude measures, with all kinds of confounding factors that may affect these catch-all numbers.  But still, there is no prima facie case to be made that Canadian health care is worse for Canadians than US health care is for us down here…quite the reverse.  Would it be so hard, just once, to put this fact to someone making the reflexive “Canada bad!” argument?  Just one time only?

Then there was the piece by Channel 5’s ever smarmy political editor, in which he said, in effect, we shouldn’t care about Gov. Sanford’s difficulties with his trousers — nor Senator Ensigns — because Roosevelt, Kennedy and Clinton (not to mention Edwards) were all philanderers.

This misses, of course, the crucial distinction between Vitter, Sanford, Ensign and those Democrats who have been lousy husbands.  The recent GOP adulterers are all those who have taken a public, political stance that says, in effect, it is permissable for the state to intervene in the private lives of adult Americans.  Sanford voted to impeach Clinton on 3 of 4 articles.  All three have been DOMA supporters, anti-gay marriage folks, all the usual stuff.

These people have argued, in effect, that state regulation of marriage and private affection is legitimate as a defense of “traditional” marriage.  Well, a) that defense doesn’t seem to work so good and b) it seems a legitimate public distinction to make between the private behavior of those who seek to regulate others’ private behavior…and those who say that not only their own, but everyone’s consenting-adult sex life is each person’s own business.

False equivalence is easy.  It’s also stupid and debasing of public discourse.  TV is a f*cking desert.

This is, of course, as striking as any Dog Bites Man story.  But its my blog, I’m pissed, and its late.

Image:  Gustave Courbet, “Woman with Parrot” 1866.

Explore posts in the same categories: MSM nonsense, Republican follies, Republican knavery, Stupidity, television

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