2012/09/22

Bill O'Reilly and the closed world of Fox News

Bill O'Reilly claimed, first in a conversation with Laura Ingraham and then in his own show, that the Internet was making people stupid and prone to fantasy explanations. That's presumably as opposed to reading the local newspaper, plus maybe an out-of-town one like the New York Times, or watching one to three of three TV channels, as was true back during the 1950s and 60s. Problem with that theory is, unlike Fox News, where Roger Ailes puts out talking points of the day in memos to all of the staff, most of what people find on the Internet tells a consistent story. Why is that? Well, because it's true. When you have multiple, independent sources all reporting more or less the same thing, it's highly likely to be the truth.
Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan obviously needs to spend less time in the Fox News hothouse and more time out on the Internet. Ryan appears to subscribe to the belief that there are such things under the Affordable Care Act as "death panels." Former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin put out this idea, inspired by what appeared to be a sort of a cross between black & white horror films and dystopian novels like 1984 and Brave New World (She even makes a reference to "Orwellian" in her initial Facebook post on the claim), that a group of authoritarian figures would make arbitrary, soulless decisions that certain patients would either live or die. There was no mention in her post of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), that was an assertion made by a spokesperson after media figures and politicians started questioning her claim.
Wikipedia is frequently criticized as an unreliable source, but even Wikipedia reports flat out that the "death panels" claim was debunked. The claim was such a blatantly shameless lie that it won the award for "Lie of the Year" from Politifact.
Listening to the video of Ryan's description of "death panels," he appears to be suggesting that Medicare would do better by simply handing doctors everything they ask for in terms of payments, that the government should excercise no controls whatsoever and should not try and impose any sort of discipline when it comes to payments. And this is the fellow who advertises himself as a fiscal conservative?!?!?!