Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cris Cillizza writes a balanced article*

One of his articles is the very source of the word ballance so I guess I should call him Chris ciliza in this post. By the way he blamed the ballance in that article on an anonymous editor who he didn't name to preserve the principle that no one at the Washington Post is accountable.

I will only discuss the headlines and subject headings (OK that's all I read so sue me). An anonymous editor wrote the upper headline, which sets new standards for arrogance. An anonymous Washington Post editor wrote the lower headline which actually makes sense and corresponds to the article. I don't know who wrote the subsection titles. My comments in italics

"Five Myths a challenge to everything you think you know.

Five myths about the health-care reform battle

1. This could have been a bipartisan bill."

The upper headline not only insults the intelligence of the average Washington Post reader, it insults the intelligence of the Washington Post opinion editor. There may be some people who think the bill could have had bipartisan support, but no one who follows the news at all could possible believe that myth -- no not even Fred Hiatt nay not even David Broder himself.

But it goes way beyond that. For example, my belief that I know that 2+2=4 was not challenged at all.

"2. Democrats gave up on the public option too soon."

First, they haven't all given up on the public option. It is possible that the Senate bill plus reconciliation side car are not the very last health care reforms for all time. It is even possible that another bill will pass this very year. Certainly Obama, Pelosi and Reid haven't admitted that they have given up on the public option.

Second critics of the leadership's approach argue that reconciliation should have been used from the start for all budgetary aspects of the bill.

"3. Scott Brown changed everything."

No one believes that. For example, I still have two hands so Scott Brown didn't change the number of hands I have. Brown's electino did change one very important thing. It forced Democrats to use the reconciliation process. Now recall alleged myth 2. My view is that Democrats gave up on using the regular Senate order to give the American pulbic a public option at the last possible minute. But their using reconciliation. Just as giving up on doing it now isn't plain giving up, giving up on doing it via reconciliation isn't giving up on doing it via the regular order.

I'm not saying the public option should be a part of the reconcilation side car (say the tire or the seat). I'm not saying the proposed sidecar is all paint job with no Wheel or seat. I'm just saying that a key decision about the public option was made very quickly without public debate after Scott Brown's election rendered the earlier decision moot. Fine by me to have two reconciliation bills (a side car and a trailer ??? watch out there's a hazardous vehicle on the road to serfdom). Not so fine to me to fail to notice that Brown's election made Lieberman irrelevant.

"4. The public is undecided about health-care reform."

This is a faux clever paradoxis based on an equivocation. When normal people say the public is undecided, they mean that there isn't a majority for yes and there isn't a majority for no. This is true. To be cute Cilizza has decided to pretend that to say the public is undecided means that a majority of the public of people answer "don't know" when asked for a yes or a no.

A similarly widespread myth is that the public has decided about health care reform as asserted by Cillizza, but by "the public" I mean my pet hamster and not a bunch of people who live in the USA.

"5. How lawmakers vote on health-care reform will be the top issue in the 2010 midterm elections."

Huh ? The top issue will obviously be "Whose fault is it that the unemployment rate is over 9% ?"

My answer Jane Hamsher, because I am in the mood to blame her.

So the article is silly. But it is balanced. The dishonesty of the Republicans' claim that the bill could have had bipartisan support is noted and no corresponding accusation against the Democrats is added for ballance.

*update: I stand corrected by Tim Fernholz. The article is ballanced. I mostly just read the headings (as I admitted). I had no idea how one could make a non-absurd argument the parties could share the blame for hte fact that the bill couldn't be bipartisan. I still have no such idea, but Cilllizzza made an absurd argument.

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