Medical malpractice and Natalee Holloway

How are these two topics related you ask?  Kevin Drum, far and away my favorite blogger, hits both today.  I read a book this past summer (and now assign a chapter from it for PS 310) called the Medical Malpractice Myth.  The sad truth is there is much more of a problem of unreported malpractice than there is a problem of frivolous lawsuits.  Apparently, the latest study from Harvard Medical School further confirms the fact.  Kevin Drum nicely summarizes the key findings

I love Kevin Drum because he takes important policy issues (e.g., medical malpractice), which are largely ignored by the mainstream media, quite seriously.  I also appreciate the fact that, unlike most bloggers, he has a pretty sophisticated understanding of what's wrong with the modern media.  Exhibit A) today's CNN.com headline is Natalee Holloway, despite the fact that there is no actual news in her case.  The dumbing down of the media in recent years is truly shameful, and few things are as bad as the obsession with missing attractive, young, white females.  Did you ever stop to think that maybe unattractive people, or minorities go missing, too?  You'd never know it from the news reports.  But, I bet you can guess which stories bring in better ratings. 

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Negative Campaigning in Raleigh

The N&O today had an interesting article about Vernon Robinson, the man who is challenging Brad Miller to represent North Carolina's 13th Congressional District (which includes the NCSU area). Apparently, Robinson has made quite a name for himself nationally by being an extremely nasty campaigner.  (Kudos to the N&O for fact-checking his recent claims)  Fortunately, his negative efforts have met with little reward so far.  Most recently, he ran against Virginia Foxx for NC's 5th district.  He suggested she was way too liberal– since her election she has proven to be NC's most conservative members of the U.S. House.  Apparently, Robinson has an ongoing habit of subtly suggesting that his opponent is gay.  Miller's wife has had to face interviews justifying the fact that they do not have any children (apparently, she had to undergo a hysterectomy as a young woman).  Miller is known for running a pretty negative campaign himself last time around, but Robinson seems to be in a league of his own.

A few weeks ago, a colleague of mine played me one of Robinson's radio ads from his website.  When I first heard it, I truly thought it was political satire, it was just so extreme.  Please, take a listen for yourself, and check out his television commercial, too.  Apparently, Brad Miller's dream would be to have Al Qaeda members come over here to have same-sex marriages with illegal Mexican immigrants.  Generally, political candidates save their harshest and most negative attacks for radio, as they can be much more narrowly tailored due to the self-selection of radio station audiences.  This is certainly true of Robinson as well, but his TV ad is about as inflammatory as they get. 

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