What Fresh Hell Is This?

February 15, 2009

Jack Kelly Sunday

Just when I thought there was evidence for Jack Kelly was getting a little more, you know, rational, he goes straight back to speaking wingnut.

In this week's column on the stimulus plan, he drinks the conservative kool-aid and spits out more than a few smeary RNC talking points. And wouldn't you know he stumbles (BIG TIME) in the only the second paragraph. Here he goes again:

There was an awkward moment Tuesday for Sen. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania's sort-of Republican, when Megyn Kelly of Fox News asked him about a provision of which he evidently was unaware in the stimulus package for which he'd just voted.

The provision would create a national coordinator for health information technology who would monitor treatments to make sure what your doctor is doing is what the federal government deems cost-effective. It's modeled on the practice in Britain where elderly patients are denied expensive treatments because they are likely to die soon anyway.

Here's the clip of that discussion. Note that when Megyn Kelly repeatedly justifies her question with "According to Bloomberg...", it's assumed that it's the news division of Bloomberg News.

It's not. Kelly is quoting Betsy McCaughey's commentary at Bloomberg.com. It's that commentary that's gotten spun into a right wing "fact" that's at the foundation of Jack Kelly's column. Here is what McCaughey writes:

The bill’s health rules will affect “every individual in the United States” (445, 454, 479). Your medical treatments will be tracked electronically by a federal system. Having electronic medical records at your fingertips, easily transferred to a hospital, is beneficial. It will help avoid duplicate tests and errors.

But the bill goes further. One new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and “guide” your doctor’s decisions (442, 446). [emphasis added]
Hey, look! Jack even quotes McCaughey's phrase: "what the federal government deems...cost-effective" so you know he's on the wingnut bandwagon. Turns out, of course to be completely bunk.

Via mediamatters.org, the "offensive" section of the bill - SEC 3001(b)(4) - reads:
(b) Purpose-- The National Coordinator shall perform the duties under subsection (c) in a manner consistent with the development of a nationwide health information technology infrastructure that allows for the electronic use and exchange of information and that--

(4) provides appropriate information to help guide medical decisions at the time and place of care;
There. It's the word "guide" that's the culprot. That's what McCaughey spins into her paranoid wingnut nightmare. And what McCaughey spun becomes "socialized medicine" for Fox's Megyn Kelly and from there it makes it into Jack column. And we learn, via Think Progress, that Elizabeth Cohen of CNN has already fact-checked this wingnut "fact." Take a look:
Now, we asked Betsy McCaughey, because she’s been through this bill page by page, “point us to the language that says that this bill will dictate what your doctor does,” and she showed us language that didn’t actually, specifically say that. It didn’t say that the government will have the right to dictate what your doctor does. But she says it’s vague enough that the government would be able to do that. And, of course, we ran this by the folks who wrote the bill. They said that any accusations that this bill will allow the government to dictate anything to your doctor, they say those accusations are “wildly inaccurate and preposterous."
I wonder if Jack even bothered to check the extent of the falsehood. My guess is no. But note how far Jack's smear has come. It starts with the bill saying that it would "provide information to help guide" decisions to McCaughey admitting that that language is vague enough for the government dictate to doctors what's "cost-effective" to where Jack is describing a government run health care system that would people who are going to die are denied medical help. Ah, the right-wing echo machine. Ain't it grand?

Jack, there's a reason Senator Specter didn't seem to know about that provision: IT WASN'T IN THE BILL.

Later Jack lands knee deep into another GOP falsehood:
The president has been disingenuous in describing the bill, and its critics.

"What it does not contain is not a single pet project, not a single earmark," Mr. Obama said in his news conference Monday. But how would you describe the $30 million in the bill to protect the wetlands habitat of, among other things, the salt marsh harvest mouse in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's district?
Ah, the mouse story. Greg Sargent over at The Plum Line, a Washington Post Company Publication, takes this one apart pretty easily. (If I were using Megyn Kelly's criteria, I would have just written "According to the Washington Post" and left it at that. But as that's misleading, I won't do it - sorry.). Sargent states first off that there isn't any provision in the bill for the mice in Speaker Pelosi's district. He then explains how the falsehood made it into the mainstream:
Yesterday a House Republican leadership staffer circulated a background email, which I obtained, charging that GOP staffers had been told by an unnamed Federal agency that if it got money from the stim package, it would spend “thirty million dollars for wetland restoration in the San Francisco Bay Area — including work to protect the Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse.”

The GOP staffer’s email didn’t say what agency it was. It didn’t say the money was actually in the package — just that an unnamed agency had said they would spend it on that if they got it.

But conservatives picked up the claim and began stating as fact that the mouse money was in the bill.
An unverified and unnamed federal agency leaking info to GOP staffers about non-specific language in the bill, and the non-specific word "would" and BAM! the wingnuts have themselves a fact.

Even though it's not.

Ah, the right-wing echo machine. Ain't it grand? You just gotta love their epistimological criteria.

And Jack couldn't resist some more spin:
"Some of the projects bear the prime characteristics of pork -- tailored to benefit specific interests or to have thinly disguised links to local projects," said the Associated Press.
But here's the section of the AP analysis he quotes:

OBAMA: "Not a single pet project," he told the news conference. "Not a single earmark."

THE FACTS: There are no "earmarks," as they are usually defined, inserted by lawmakers in the bill. Still, some of the projects bear the prime characteristics of pork - tailored to benefit specific interests or to have thinly disguised links to local projects.

For example, the latest version contains $2 billion for a clean-coal power plant with specifications matching one in Mattoon, Ill., $10 million for urban canals, $2 billion for manufacturing advanced batteries for hybrid cars, and $255 million for a polar icebreaker and other "priority procurements" by the Coast Guard.

But didn't Jack Kelly JUST SAY that Obama was being "disengenous" when asserting "no earmarks"? And doesn't the AP article he quotes say there are NO EARMARKS? Does Jack Kelly really want to have it both ways? Because he can't. Honestly.

I could go on, but considering these huge blunders in the text, do I really need to?

1 comment:

Clyde Wynant said...

Amazing that pork is only pork when the project is in a Democratically-controlled district, isn't it? I wonder if Timbo Murphy considers the local Vet's commissary "pork," or just a "much needed project."

These people are sick. Worst yet, they seem unable to realize that the Rapture has occurred, and they've been "left behind."