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In Which James Fallows Flays Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times and Uses the Skin for His Drumheads

8/28/09 6:06 PM

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In Which James Fallows Flays Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times and Uses the Skin for His Drumheads New York Times crashed-and-burned-and-smoking watch. James Fallows: Will it never end? McCaughey v. Ezekiel Emanuel: I do understand... how difficult it is for the mainstream press to decide that one party to a controversy is making things up, doesn't care about facts, and will keep saying whatever it wants.... But does it have to presented [by Jim Rutenberg] in a way that suggests that the McCaughey-Bachman-Palin-LaRouche team is just another participant in political discussion? This can give "fairness" a bad name... Elizabeth "Betsy" McCaughey... has brought more misinformation, more often, more destructively into America's consideration of health-policy issues than any other individual. She has no concept of "truth" or "accuracy."... And now we have [Jim Rutenberg of] the New York Times, in a big take-out story, saying that Dr. Emanuel, in his role as Obama health-care advisor, is in an "uncomfortable place" because he is being criticized by: 1) Betsy McCaughey! 2) Rep. Michele Bachman (look her up)!! 3) Sarah Palin!!! 4) Lyndon LaRouche!!!! McCaughey, Bachman, Palin, LaRouche -- shaping American debate and media coverage about health policy? Was Zsa Zsa Gabor not available?... Why is [Jim Rutenberg's] story about Ezekiel Emanuel being on the hot seat in the first place -and not about the campaign of flat lies by McCaughey, Bachman, Palin, and LaRouche?... If I start a campaign of lies against somebody and get Soupy Sales plus Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme to agree with me, can I expect them to be regularly publicized in the mainstream press? The answers to James Fallows's questions are: No, it will never end--at least not until the New York Times's presses are sold off for scrap. http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2009/08/in-which-james-fallows-flays-j…berg-of-the-new-york-times-and-uses-the-skin-for-his-drumheads.html

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In Which James Fallows Flays Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times and Uses the Skin for His Drumheads

8/28/09 6:06 PM

Yes, Jim Rutenberg believes that it would be "unethical" for him to present the story in a way that even hints that the McCaughey-Bachman-Palin-LaRouche team are dangerous lyng clowns. Yes, the New York Times is giving McCaughey, Bachman, Palin, and LaRouche power to shape American debate about health policy because informing his readers is literally the last thing on the mind of Jim Rutenberg and his editors. No, Zsa Zsa Gabor was not available--she is recovering from a flu-like illness--but if she had been, it would have been a mitzvah for Rutenberg to have turned his entire news hole over to her. Because, once again, informing his readers is literally the last thing on the mind of Jim Rutenberg and his editors. Yes, if you start a campaign of lies against somebody and get Soupy Sales plus Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme to agree with you, you can expect your lies to be regularly publicized in the mainstream press. Why oh why can't we have a better press corps? Here is the whole thing: Will it never end? McCaughey v. Ezekiel Emanuel: Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel should need no introduction to Atlantic readers. Among his many pursuits is writing a number of interesting articles for our "Food Channel," under Corby Kummer's auspices. He should need no introduction to anybody, since over the past decade-plus he has so often been involved in deliberations about the right future health-care path for America and the world. I stress "the world" since he has traveled widely and emphasized public-health challenges for poor nations too. I know him slightly -- just well enough that, a few weeks ago, I asked his journalistic advice for contacts in China on a public-health story I'm working on. He is an oncologist and bioethicist -- and, of course, older brother of Rahm Emanuel from the White House. Elizabeth "Betsy" McCaughey also needs no introduction to Atlantic readers. She has brought more misinformation, more often, more destructively into America's consideration of healthpolicy issues than any other individual. She has no concept of "truth" or "accuracy" in the normal senses of those terms, as demonstrated last week when she went on The Daily Show. Virtually every statement she has made about health-reform proposals, from the Clinton era until now, has been proven to be false. It doesn't slow her down. And now we have the New York Times, in a big take-out story, saying that Dr. Emanuel, in his role as Obama health-care advisor, is in an "uncomfortable place" because he is being criticized by*: 1) Betsy McCaughey ! 2) Rep. Michele Bachman (look her up) !! 3) Sarah Palin !!! 4) Lyndon LaRouche !!!! McCaughey, Bachman, Palin, LaRouche -- shaping American debate and media coverage about health policy? Was Zsa Zsa Gabor not available? To be "fair," the story puts the criticisms in "context," thus: http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2009/08/in-which-james-fallows-flays-j…berg-of-the-new-york-times-and-uses-the-skin-for-his-drumheads.html

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In Which James Fallows Flays Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times and Uses the Skin for His Drumheads

8/28/09 6:06 PM

"Largely quoting his past writings out of context this summer, Betsy McCaughey, a former lieutenant governor of New York, labeled Dr. Emanuel a "deadly doctor" who believes health care should be "reserved for the nondisabled" -- a false assertion that Representative Michele Bachmann, Republican of Minnesota, repeated on the House floor." "Out of context" and "false" are useful caveats. But why is the story about Ezekiel Emanuel being on the hot seat in the first place -- and not about the campaign of flat lies by McCaughey, Bachman, Palin, and LaRouche? Why are real newspapers quoting what they say any more? (Interestingly, LaRouche's claims rarely get NYT coverage. In in this case, he is apparently "legitimized" by ... McCaughey.) If I start a campaign of lies against somebody and get Soupy Sales plus Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme to agree with me, can I expect them to be regularly publicized in the mainstream press? I do understand - and wrote before -- about how difficult it is for the mainstream press to decide that one party to a controversy is making things up, doesn't care about facts, and will keep saying whatever it wants. I also recognize that when a campaign of falsehoods has a political effect, the effect itself can be worth writing about. But does it have to presented in a way that suggests that the McCaughey-Bachman-Palin-LaRouche team is just another participant in political discussion? This can give "fairness" a bad name. Here are paragraphs two and three of the story -- the "nut graf" passage establishing that there is a controversy: "Largely quoting his past writings out of context this summer, Betsy McCaughey, a former lieutenant governor of New York, labeled Dr. Emanuel a "deadly doctor" who believes health care should be "reserved for the nondisabled" -- a false assertion that Representative Michele Bachmann, Republican of Minnesota, repeated on the House floor. "Former Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska has asserted that Dr. Emanuel's "Orwellian" approach to health care would "refuse to allocate medical resources to the elderly, the infirm and the disabled who have less economic potential," accusations similarly made by the political provocateur Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr." rated 4.45 by you and 16 others [?] You loved this post (

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"A Dark Age of Macroeconomics": Stupidest Man Alive Nomination (this site) john Yoo: as Bad as We All Knew (this site) 2 more recommended posts  Brad DeLong on August 25, 2009 at 03:57 PM in Information: Better Press Corps/Journamalism, Moral Responsibility, Utter Stupidity | Permalink TrackBack TrackBack URL for this entry: http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00e551f0800388340120a51d5e16970b Listed below are links to weblogs that reference In Which James Fallows Flays Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times and Uses the Skin for His Drumheads: http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2009/08/in-which-james-fallows-flays-j‌berg-of-the-new-york-times-and-uses-the-skin-for-his-drumheads.html

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In Which James Fallows Flays Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times and Uses the Skin for His Drumheads

8/28/09 6:06 PM

Times and Uses the Skin for His Drumheads:

Comments You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post. please...make it stop... Posted by: Spectre | August 25, 2009 at 04:43 PM "Yes, if you start a campaign of lies against somebody and get Soupy Sales plus Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme to agree with you, you can expect your lies to be regularly publicized in the mainstream press." Actually that is only true if the person you are lying about is a Democrat or progressive. Telling the sordid truth about conservatives and revealing that they are viciously lying with solid documentation will be totally ignored by the MSM. Posted by: DrDick | August 25, 2009 at 04:51 PM I so agree professor, if we just don't mention these people they'll be sure to disappear. It's like the magic of the marketplace almost. Oh...my. Posted by: Thingumbob | August 26, 2009 at 04:54 AM DrDick, It is O.K. to tell the truth about the sexual sins of a rethug but only a democrab is to be impeached for one. I read the NYT on the internet for 3 things: Business, Science and Health. Of course I read Krugman too - none of the rest of the opinion section. I check what is on FT, CR, this blog, Mark Thoma, naked capitalism and econbrowser to round out my exposure to the news of the day. The NYT can be ground to dust tomorrow and I would not miss it except for Krugman. Posted by: dilbert dogbert | August 26, 2009 at 11:29 AM

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In Which James Fallows Flays Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times and Uses the Skin for His Drumheads

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In Which James Fallows Flays Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times and Uses the Skin for His Drumheads