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February 29, 2012


The suggestions made by Brendan and Jason seem sensible, provided that the media have sufficient wisdom, knowledge and impartiality. Unfortunately, I don't think they do. I'd rather see the media publish even statements they think are false than play the role of censor.

Here's an example, courtesy of opinionjournal.com, showing why reporters cannot be relied upon to distinguish information from misinformation:

"Here's yet another "fact check" classic from the Associated Press's Calvin Woodward:

GINGRICH: "The duty of the president is to find a way to manage the federal government so the primary pain is on changing the bureaucracy. On theft alone, we could save $100 billion a year in Medicaid and Medicare if the federal government were competent. That's a trillion dollars over 10 years. And the only people in pain would be crooks."

THE FACTS: A sober look at the books shows leaders from both parties that painful choices must be made in entitlements. Medicare and Medicaid are running into trouble mainly because of an aging population, the cost of high-tech medicine and budget woes. The number-crunchers say solving health care fraud alone is not enough. Health care fraud investigations are already a big source of recovered money, surpassing fines and penalties collected for defense contracting fraud.

So is Gingrich's factual claim--that competent enforcement of Medicare and Medicaid rules could save $100 billion a year--true or false? Woodward doesn't say! He merely editorializes vaguely that "painful choices must be made." He also points out that one of the causes of Medicare and Medicaid's "trouble" is "budget woes." There's some deep analysis for you."

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