Because he’s Donald Trump’s nominee to head the department of Health and Human Services, and the author of the best plan with which to replace Obamacare, Kaiser Health News has set its sights on stopping Rep. Tom Price. With tactics that would make Joseph McCarthy blush and Joseph Goebbels beam with pride, Kaiser Health News is loading headlines and ledes with shameful innuendo to derail Price’s confirmation -even though the implications of headline and the lede are undone by the any facts that find their way into the articles.
In normal times, it would be a lot of fun to watch Marisa Taylor and Christina Jewett, a pair of seemingly talented journalists, beclown themselves trying to use propaganda as truth. But in the post-fact era of information overload, first impressions -from headlines or summaries or quick scans- are the things that form public impressions. Since Kaiser Health News is a service that encourages republication of its disinformation, their work is being dutifully parroted by two of the the Democrats’ best online marketing brochures, Buzzfeed and Huffington Post, and mainstream media should be regurgitating it soon. It’s not quite “fake” news, but it is fake perception, designed to spread a viral presentation of semi-facts in the way that does the most damage to the target.
In the latest example, after pointing out that Price has long criticized federal spending as “excessive,” Taylor and Jewett level a hypocrisy implication: “Yet during his years in Congress, he’s worked hard to keep federal dollars flowing to his most generous campaign donors.” Their description though, is of a Congressman who works very hard to represent the folks who sent him to Congress.
“Price has been a go-to congressman, a review of his records show, for medical special interests hotly sparring with regulators or facing budget cuts. Over the past decade, he has waded into issues related to specific drugs and medical devices, making 38 inquiries with the federal Food and Drug Administration, according to federal records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. He questioned the FDA on his constituents’ behalf about matters as minute as a device for fertility treatment and an ingredient in pain creams.” (Emphasis added)
When the innuendo is distilled out of the reporting, Rep. Price is accused of looking out for his constituents and trying to protecting some of their business interests from regulations and budgets cuts, even on little things. If that’s true, we need a Constitutional amendment requiring 434 other members of the House of Representatives do exactly that. That’s. Why. We. Elected. Them.
In support of their scurrilous efforts, Taylor and Jewett pull a fairly standard quotation from Ross Baker, but get him to say this:
A meat ax? In the dark of night? That kind of rhetoric is over the top, but the kind of thing you expect from a professor teaching at a university as scandal-plagued as Rutgers, who’s also the “Scholar in Residence in the Office of the Democratic Leader of the U.S. Senate,” and a “consultant to the Democratic caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives.”
See what I did there? I don’t know Ross Baker, and he might not be a doctrinaire partisan at a corrupt institution renting his dwindling academic credibility in the service of defamatory attacks. But we can’t be sure of that, can we?
The Affordable Care Act has been described as President Obama’s “signature” legislation -the one act that will define his Presidency. As such, it will be the what the Democrats defend the hardest. And as the person most qualified to undo it, Tom Price is going to draw most of the Democrats’ attacks. Starting today, Democrats will open their standard, stale playbook to page 1, and accuse the Attorney General nominee, Republican Jeff Sessions, of racism. Rex Tillerson’s probably going to be Secretary of State, but not before an organized effort to smear him as Vladimir Putin’s stooge who poisons aquifers and hunts Pandas. But the longest knives are being sharpened for Tom Price, who’s being smeared as a crook in order to protect Obama’s legacy.