Thursday, August 20, 2009

Journalism 101

I just watched the TV version of Jon Stewart's interview with Betsey McCaughey (former Lt. Gov of New York, which I think is an elected office(!!!) and inventor and propagator of the term "death panels" in the current health care debate). First, it's sad, pathetic, and downright depressing that a comic is pretty much the most intelligent, thoughtful, and probing news reporter on television right now. Second, I would have been happier if it was Colbert, but nevertheless, I'm thrilled that the show doing this is one I've been a fan of from its early days with Craig Kilborn, "5 Questions," and "Dance Dance Dance" segments. Kudos to Jon Stewart, you just set the cable talking points for Friday.

Blogger is having trouble recognizing the HTML for the embed code (must be a day that ends in Y), so here are the links to the videos of the interviews: Part 1 and Part 2.


Blogger Dan said...

I watched this. Jon's mastery of the subject was impressive. I guarantee he does five to eight times more preparation for this stuff than anyone else on cable.

On the other hand, I felt like expectations for the mother of "death panels" were low enough that the interview probably helped her more than in hurt. Considering the crowd her cause has been taken up by, all she had to do to surprise us was avoid mentioning Hitler and form three or four complete sentences.

Kudos to Jon for trying to apply sense to senselessness, but it seems like a losing battle.

8/21/2009 8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed--Stewart did a great job. One quibble is that she seemed to oppose living wills as a concept, arguing that last-minute emotions expressed by family members should trump the individual's carefully articulated instructions. Quibble 2--this woman clearly made this nonsense an issue, but didn't Palin coin the term "death panel"?


8/21/2009 11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: quibble #1 above--I meant that it would have been cool if Stewart had pointed out her opposition to living wills. I have a lot more quibble's with whatsherface's position.


8/21/2009 11:11 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

True, she never used the term "death panels," something Jon cleverly pointed out when he said that must be the translation of her theory "in Alaskan."

8/21/2009 11:36 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

"There are so many people that are uninsured, that's already rationed care."

YES!! Thank you, Jon. The parade of horrors Ms. McCaughey describes are already reality. Just not hers.

8/21/2009 4:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "Moment of Zen" the other night was classic. It was Craig T. Nelson (Coach!) saying the following to Glenn Beck:

"What happened to society? I go into business, I don't make it, I go bankrupt. I've been on food stamps and welfare, did anybody help me out? No. No. They gave me hope, they gave me encouragement, and they gave me a vision."

Apparently this was a few months old but it was new to me. Classic. But I have to wonder--what are Dober's thoughts on health care reform?

8/21/2009 5:10 PM  
Blogger ibz said...

For what very little it may be worth, I just watched this and I thought they both looked like they had basically no idea what they were talking about. The system we are trying to change is very complicated, so I don't really fault them for being confused -- I am quite confused about it myself. But I am surprised to see these comments suggesting that Stewart came off well. Am I alone in this reaction?

8/21/2009 6:44 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Maybe this is a cop out, but Jon is not really claiming to have mastered the health reform bill. That's why he's not credited with any particular interpretation of it, unlike his guest.

He was informed enough to ask the right questions, and her answers were idiotic. Fraud exposed.

8/22/2009 12:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with you in thinking that Stewart made some major mistakes. It seems clear that the bill does measure the adherence to one's living will; the portion they read didn't support the proposition that a doctor's pay will fluctuate as a result of such adherence (vel non), but it wouldn't entirely surprise me.

I don't think the measuring of adherence would in any way help the pursuit of medicine by measuring which procedures were effective -- this is something that Stewart said which clearly doesn't follow. That would require measures beyond the "creation of or adherence to" advance directives, including whether such procedures ended up resulting in recovery or whatever. I just don't see it.

I, anonymous Boaltie, am interested in this, because the passage seems pretty complex and I had to listen to it a few times. Does someone else have a better understanding?

8/22/2009 2:05 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

I think the interesting point Jon made (but abandoned) is that it wasn't necessarily about whether they adhered to the policy, but whether the doctors REPORTED on whether they adhered to it. I mean, i haven't read the bill, but that seemed to make sense to me.

In any case, let's think about this logically. If Obamacare mandated that doctors kill patients who stood a fair chance of living for the sake of saving money, and two or more stories of that type got out, is there any way the American people would put up with that? Is there any way anyone in congress would keep their jobs?

Obviously not. Now, it's possible that one factor in a doctor's pay under the plan may be that most of his patients adhere to their living will, but is a doctor really going to effectively murder that patient to increase his score on one of apparently hundreds of factors relevant to his pay?

I'll say again, if anything like that started to happen, everyone in congress would lose their jobs. If a government plan starts killing people (which I doubt), we can voice our displeasure at the ballot. If health insurance companies deny coverage, on the other hand, how do we vote them out of office?

That's an argument no one seems to be making, and I think it's time to make it.

8/24/2009 2:53 PM  

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