Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fact Check Fails Again Interpreting McCain Ideological leanings


I like factcheck.org. It has managed to inspire other news organizations to do their own fact checking, which used to be a part of covering the news, informing Americans devoid of spin.

But
factcheck.org has never gotten the hang of ideological meanings while interpreting political commentary. Let’s take health care for instance. According to Marketwatch:

Every day, another financial institution shutters its doors. Over 600,000 thousand U.S. jobs have been lost so far this year. Gas, food, and health care prices are through the roof. The writing is on the wall: the American economy is teetering on the edge of collapse, and American families are paying the price. But despite the mounting evidence that deregulation has been a major contributing factor in the current financial crisis, John McCain wants to implement the same, failed Bush-McCain economic policies on our health care system.

On Sunday, the Washington Post reported that in a recent article he authored in Contingencies Magazine, John McCain wrote that "Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation."

SEIU International President Andy Stern responded by saying "You would think that the 'going out of business sales' on Wall Street would demonstrate what can happen when there is no watchdog keeping an eye on big business. Now, John McCain wants our health care system run the same way. Aren't families struggling enough? Stern pointed out that the worst is still to come as the financial meltdown hits kitchen tables - and that John McCain's health care plan would mean less regulation for insurance companies, more costs and more risks for ordinary working families.

McCain’s positions are pretty clear. His ideological business model is consistent with his party affiliation. Competition can only take place if regulations don’t hold them back. Simple? Not for factcheck.org.:

McCain said he would "reduce oversight of the health insurance industry ... just 'as we have done over the last decade in banking.' " But the ad takes the comments out of context, failing to explain what exactly McCain meant by the comparison to banking. He was talking specifically about allowing the sale and purchase of health insurance plans across state lines.
How na├»ve can this non-partisan organization be? Of course, all they had to do was get a “clue” from the second part of their own analysis.

The Obama-Biden ad ends by calling McCain's plan "a prescription for disaster," as those words, credited to the Boston Globe, flash on screen. Unlike the first quote cited in the ad, this one is accurate. It comes from a Sept. 21 Globe editorial that compared McCain's and Obama's health care plan, raising objections to McCain's. Here's the quote in context:

Globe editorial (Sept. 21): There is no comparable lab test, however, for the radical revision of health care that McCain is proposing. For all of his moderate positions on immigration and climate change, on health care he has endorsed a right-wing ideologues vision: destroy employer-based coverage and turn Americans over to the tender mercies of private nongroup insurers in an unregulated environment. It's a prescription for disaster.
I rest my case.

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