Fox news

Slate's Jacob Weisberg had a really nice column recently about just what a pathetic "news" organization Fox news is.  Probably the best paragraph:

Rather than in any way maturing, Fox has in recent months become more
boisterous and demagogic in rallying the opposition against Obama. The
"fair and balanced" mask has been slipping with increasing frequency—as
when a RNC press release was regurgitated so lazily that it repeated a typo on air or when a reporter wondered why other networks weren't doing PR for "tea parties" that Fox covered
the way the Hearst press covered the Spanish-American war. On Fox,
fact-checking about the president's health care proposal is provided by
Karl Rove. For literary coverage, it features the bigot Jerome Corsi's
rants about Obama and John Kerry. Meanwhile, the crybaby Glenn Beck has begun to exhibit a Strangelovean concern about America's precious bodily fluids, charging the government with trying to invade our bloodstream
by vaccinating us for swine flu. With this latest misinformation
campaign, Fox stands to become the first network to actively try to
kill its viewers.

I was sitting in on a class of Intro to American Government the other day to observe a graduate student and it was so frustrating to listen to them "debate" Fox news as if it was some conservative counter-weight to the liberal MSNBC and CNN.  Please!  Those two are simply after the best rating however they can get them.  Fox is owned by a man who has a reputation of using his media companies world-wide to push a conservative agenda, and more on-point, actually run by a man who has spent his life as a Republican operative.  Every other news station is actually run by people in the News business. 

Bipartisanship and health care

I've been having a number of debates about health care reform on facebook again.  One last night really frustrated me because one person figured if the bill was so partisan, that must make it bad.  I would love it if Republicans actually got on and made this a bipartisan bill– the truth is it could be so much better.  Not because Republicans have such great ideas (they've long since given up being a party of serious ideas), but because having both parties on board is absolutely necessary for making the hard choices that we aren't really getting.  The person wanted to know how it could be any good if we'd bought off the insurers, doctors, Pharma, etc..  Good question.  It still is good, but the only way to pass a bill is: 1) placate those big players or 2) have both parties stand up against the big players.  Since Republicans are refusing to play ball, we're left with option 1.  Still a lot better than doing nothing, but much inferior to what could've been accomplished if the serious and thoughtful Republicans (yes, there are a few in Congress) had joined along.  Ezra Klein does a great job pointing out the specifics of how lack of bipartisanship has actually led to weaker legislation:

It's not just Bennett, though. No Republican save Olympia Snowe has
actually come forward with a concrete set of proposals that could
permit them to sign onto the final legislation. Which is a shame, as
there are actually places where conservative ideas and Republican cover
could have bettered the bill. Conservatives have long wanted to end the
preference for employer-based insurance, which would've been an
important step forward. Many Republicans have been big proponents of
moving away from fee-for-service medicine, which is a needed change.
Republicans have been big proponents of making the insurance market
more consumer-focused, which would be important in the context of the
insurance exchanges.

But all those opportunities were lost. Because Democrats had no
Republican cover, they could not sacrifice a single member of their
party. That's meant that they couldn't be courageous on taxes, and they
couldn't tell the unions to stuff it when they demanded that the
exchanges remain constricted. Republicans complain that the bill is too
liberal (though the Senate Finance Committee's bill is actually not
very liberal at all), but that's in part because no Republicans were
willing to offer their votes in return for making it more conservative.

If Republicans were truly interested in what's best for this country, they'd sign on and make this a better bill; instead they seem to have simply decided that what's bad for Obama and Democrats is good for America.  A rather circumscribed view to say the least. 

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