Mark Mardell Lies About Health Care

Mark Mardell, the BBC’s US President editor, has published his first post of the new year, and it’s as awful as we’ve come to expect. Doesn’t anyone read this stuff for him before he published it? (H/T George R in the open thread)

A big year for Obama and the Democrats

First he says that making everyone purchase health insurance is the President’s greatest achievement.

The plan to make all Americans take out health insurance is Mr Obama’s main achievement in office, and it is the biggest change he has made to American society.

Actually, the President’s main achievement has been to divide the country and fan the flames of political and ideological hatred. But Mardell and the BBC have always blamed the Tea Party movement and anyone he can think of on the Right for that, so never mind.

He sets up his explanation with this bit of ideological and class war talking points:

At the end of last year I saw the Obamacare sign-up in action in two very different states, Mississippi and Kentucky.

They are both in the South and both of a conservative disposition. But in Mississippi the Republican governor will have nothing to do with the plan, whereas the Democratic governor in Kentucky has embraced its possibilities.

I hope I will get the chance this year to look at other examples but these trips have left me with the strong feeling the healthcare changes will play very differently in different states – and within social classes.

He went to Mississippi, of course, to hoe his usual race row. Helping poor black people is the legacy of ObamaCare, and anyone who objects to the plan is racist. He doesn’t say it out loud, but that’s been his theme since 2009: those who object to ObamaCare as wealth redistribution are really objecting to redistributing wealth to people not like them. He’s said that over and over again.

Then Mardell explains how ObamaCare is playing out in different States. The Democrats, he says, believe all will be mostly well once the website is fixed.

That may well be true in some places – those states which have chosen to embrace expanding Medicaid, a US healthcare programme for the poor, and run their own exchange websites.

Er, if the State is running its own exchange website, that has nothing to do with the ObamaCare national website being fixed. Hello? Ideology has clearly muddled his thinking here.

Note to Mardell and the BBC: Going on Medicaid IS NOT purchasing health insurance.

Like all intellectually honest people have been saying from the very beginning, the goal of ObamaCare is to pave the way towards Socialist, government-provided health care for all. I’ve only been saying it for more than three years. If a political junkie like Mardell can’t tell the difference between buying health insurance and being a ward of the State, he has no business being a journalist.

And then he blames evil Republicans for the reason why insurance premiums are much higher in the ObamaCare exchanges.

But in Republican states where they do neither (and so people have to rely on the glitchy federal website), it could end up being very expensive for individuals and firms, and have a very low take-up.

This is, of course, a total lie. Okay, a partial lie. Yes, expenses for the insurance companies will go up if they don’t get enough young people and middle class and wealthy people to pay into the system. That’s why some insurance companies are already preparing to line up for a bailout. Actually, a bailout was sneakily written into the damn law in the first place, and a bill has been introduced to stop it. They knew all along that this wouldn’t be sustainable, and wrote themselves some taxpayer cash handouts. Did the BBC ever tell you that?

However – and here’s where the lie comes in – the premiums are higher for people who are paying for it because the whole purpose is to get them to subsidize and cover costs of insurance companies being forced to cover everyone with pre-existing conditions who would otherwise be paying a lot more, as well as being forced to pay for birth control pills and maternity care for everyone, men included. Plus taxes are being stuck on top of it. In short, the premiums will in general be higher anyway, regardless of how many people sign up in a world where the website was launched without a hitch. In fact, premiums are already higher. Insurance companies didn’t start out with high prices and will lower them once more people sign up. They’re higher because that’s what it’s going to cost even if everybody signs up, and they will remain so. What he’s saying simply isn’t true.

Here’s a good explanation from Forbes (not Fox News, not Breitbart, not the Right-wing echo chamber), which was written 10 months before we found out that the website was screwed up. No blame on a glitchy website preventing it from working was possible. The actual premium figures still remain to be seen, but there’s no denying the underlying mess. Well, Mardell is denying it, but he’s wrong, and has to be dishonest in order to do it.

Even when people in the US are trying to defend against this charge, it’s framed as “Why the premiums are lower than expected”, which is clever way to say they’re higher but it’s not as bad as the doomsayers said. Not much of a defense. And this is from California, one of those Democrat States running its own exchange that Mardell claims would work out well. The reason the premiums aren’t as high as expected? Some of the biggest insurance companies are staying out. They know keeping costs down isn’t going to happen, and they’ll be screwed. There’s a whole other [email protected]#$% waiting to happen there with limited provider networks and limited options for care, but that’s for another time. In any case, notice that even someone defending against the charge that ObamaCare is making premiums higher isn’t actually showing that they’re lower than they would have been if it didn’t happen.

The system is mathematically unsustainable, and was never intended to be otherwise. Think it’s just me? Think I’m simply echoing red meat falsehoods tossed to me by Fox News and Rush Limbaugh? Think again. Even Mardell’s fellow far-Left Progressives are admitting it.

How Obamacare Actually Paves the Way Toward Single Payer

Last week the liberal documentary-maker Michael Moore prompted indigestion across the progressive wonk community by pronouncing Obamacare “awful.” In a New York Times op-ed, he bemoaned the way the president’s law preserved the health insurance industry rather than replacing it with a Medicare-for-all style single-payer system. The good news, Moore conceded, is that the previously uninsured (and often previously uninsurable) can get finally get coverage. The bad news is that their coverage will often be lousy and pose an enormous financial burden. He ended by calling for activists to lean on state politicians in an effort to beef the law up.

********

And yet I’m still much more sympathetic to Obamacare than Moore. He thinks it’s awful. I consider it a deceptively sneaky way to get the health care system both of us really want.

Mark Mardell is a liar, for purely ideological purposes. He’s made it very clear in the past that he thinks government-provided health care is analogous to the government providing police and fire departments. At the same time he made it obvious that he sees no difference between the government requiring people to buy health insurance and requiring people to buy car insurance. His personal ideology colors his thinking and his reporting, in this case to the point of dishonesty and misleading his readers.

My opinion of ObamaCare is irrelevant here. I’m not demanding that Mardell reflect my opinion instead of the one that ObamaCare is correct. These are facts. It’s not ideology to say that going on Medicaid is not the same thing as buying insurance. It’s not ideology to point out the actual reasons why premiums are high. Mardell is not impartial: he is biased. That’s the whole point of his job as a titled BBC “editor”, and I think it’s wrong.

Twitter Me This

Ranting about biased Beeboid tweets has become something of a favorite past time around here recently, and deservedly so.  DB’s trap shooting in particular has provided some real gems, and several other people have brought biased tweets to our attention. The problem, though, is that, with one exception, ultimately the BBC employees revealing their bias remain unaccountable, unaffected by any controversy, and the biased behavior continues unabated.  They have no problem openly laughing at us.

We know that the official BBC guidelines abjure openly biased utterances on social media.  The catch phrase is “Don’t do anything stupid”.  They make a distinction between “official” Twitter accounts and personal ones.  Only the “official” ones (NB: pdf file), which require the approval of management and are allegedly monitored by a senior editor, are required to follow BBC guidelines of impartiality.  If we take a broad constructionist interpretation, this means that anything which is not strictly prohibited in the text would be permitted.  Thus, all those personal accounts can use the “opinions my own” disclaimer as a get-out-of-bias-free card, even though they openly state their positions at the BBC.  It’s pretty obvious that there’s a massive grey area here, and I seriously doubt that BBC management has spent much time trying to draw a line between them.

I have my doubts because we know from Mark Mardell’s appearance at the BBC College of Journalism that they accept that their use of Twitter “doesn’t follow BBC guidelines” (@36:45).   I don’t know how much more proof we need.

The reason I bring this up is because there’s been a highly relevant incident recently at the Washington Post.

Jennifer Rubin, the lone non-Left voice at the paper (she’s a blogger and not even a reporter or editor), recently retweeted a blog post by “Bad Rachel” about the release of Gilad Shalit, which was full of rather unfortunate anti-Palestinian vitriol.  There was naturally a backlash, and Patrick Pexton, the WaPo ombudsman, chose to publicly chastise Rubin for it.  He admits that he always gets a load of complaints that the paper even allows a conservative voice in its pages, which is pretty funny.  But what he said was instructive. Remember, this is about a mere retweet, and not somebody telling George Osborne to [email protected]#$ off or calling for support for Occupy Wall Street:

But how responsible is Rubin for it? She didn’t write it. It did not appear anywhere in The Washington Post — online or in print. It appeared on Abrams’s independent “Bad Rachel” blog, and then Abrams broadcast it on Twitter.


Some readers suggested that because an employee retweeted this link, The Post somehow condones genocide against Palestinians. That’s nonsense. The Post’s journalism and its editorials show a deep commitment to human rights around the globe, from Russia to China, to North Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and beyond.


It’s also worth noting that the rules of objectivity that apply to editors, reporters and bloggers in The Post newsroom do not apply to Post opinion bloggers and columnists. Post opinion writers are given greater leeway to say what they want. That’s how it should be. If the opinion section were too politically correct, it’d be dull.

So we see here a distinction between columnists and opinion bloggers.  But is the BBC’s distinction between “official” Twitter accounts and the rest of them equally valid?  I would say not, as people like Matt Danzico and Mark Sandell and Jane Bradley are not opinion bloggers or op-ed writers for the BBC.  Yet they reveal their bias and, in the case of Bradley, seem to be proud of it.

The Washington Post ombudsman then lays out the official guidelines:

Social-media accounts maintained by Washington Post journalists — whether on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or elsewhere — reflect upon the reputation and credibility of The Washington Post’s newsroom. Even as we express ourselves in more personal and informal ways to forge better connections with our readers, we must be ever mindful of preserving the reputation of The Washington Post for journalistic excellence, fairness and independence.

He again points out that writers hired specifically for their personal opinions are not included in the “journalistic excellence and fairness” bit, but that their public behavior reflects on the credibility of the WaPo nevertheless.

With this example in mind, one has to ask if the BBC should similarly be concerned about how the constant stream of biased tweets from Beeboids from a number of different departments and job levels reflects on their credibility.  Does the “opinions my own” disclaimer really excuse all of it?  Does the Washington Post – a paper so biased that the previous ombudsman apologized for their pro-Obamessiah bias during the 2008 election, and the publisher had to apologize for trying to organize dinner parties at her own home to provide personal access to Administration officials – have more integrity than the BBC?  Unless they rein in this partisan behavior, I would have to say yes.

If nothing else, the sheer volume of biased utterances from the Left and the fact that there has yet to be a single example of a Beeboid tweet from the Right shows that the BBC is full of Leftoids, and the groupthink is endemic. Intellectual diversity at the BBC seems to be practically non-existent, and their public behavior with social media proves it.

A PERFECT DAY….

Wanted to share this with you;
“BBC has its ideal guests on this morning’s Saturday Live in the form of

1, Mark Thomas.

http://www.markthomasinfo.com/

Introduced as an ‘activist’ who jettisoned Christianity for materialist atheism, he was brought onto the programme to puff his book ‘Extreme Rambling’ about his walk along the Israeli security fence (called the ‘Separation Barrier’, natch). The Guardian quote ‘From the Back Cover

I expect that the The Guardian’s summing up ‘John Pilger with laughs’ tells you all you need to know. He’s enlightened and balance though – he discovered that some Israelis are human …

2 Then we have ex-Guantanamo bay guard Brandon Neely, described as ‘Brandon Neely was a guard at Guantanamo Bay who spoke out about conditions at the camp after leaving the U.S. military.’ He’s another BBC favourite, as you can see from the list of invites on this page.

http://www.google.co.uk/search?sourceid=navclient&aq=3&oq=Brandon+Neely&hl=en-GB&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GZAZ_enGB348GB348&q=brandon+neely+bbc

all because he’s an ex-President of Iraq Veterans Against the War and deplores the ‘brutal’ treatment of detainees at Gitmo.

I wonder what he thinks about some of the people he’s hooked up with now

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8451797.stm

whose REAL reasons for being arrested are chronicled at Harry’s Place here

http://hurryupharry.org/2010/01/12/bbc-publishes-tipton-three-lies/ (The BBC’s refusal to engage in real journalism – again.)

3 Then there’s a poet named Luke Wright whose snide poem about the Royal Wedding contained these immortal lines:

Why yes, my dear your daughter Kate, we made her in the eighties
the year you did that deal with those dubious Kuwaitis.
Of course, the red-cheeked fellow barked, the answer dear’s a sinch
we’ll peddle Monty’s sister to a emerald-laden prince!

So Kate was fetched and telegrams sent forth into the world
and soon a queue of inbred boys arrived to see the girl.
A deal was struck and cards were swiped, a son-in-law was gained
and after that the Middletons were never squeezed again.

Then there was KD Lang.

And Madhur Jaffrey. (I love her recipes)”

Further fallout

It’s been hard to avoid comment about the Beeb’s bias in the national press lately, but this article by novelist DJ Taylor on the Beeb’s US election coverage is worth flagging up:

While everybody in the room – party cheerleaders excepted – clearly wanted Obama to win, those in charge were doing a very good impression of studied neutrality. It was all a far cry from recent British general elections, where the anti-Conservative bias of certain BBC pundits… has been so flagrant as to make you wonder exactly how they got away with it… There is no great mystery, of course, behind this sudden excess of timidity. In the wake of the Brand/Ross disaster the corporation is simply terrified of offending anybody.

Worth mentioning, too, that Taylor’s a member of the Labour party, and this is from the left-leaning Independent.

And, sticking with leftist newspapers sticking it to the Beeb over the last couple of days, here’s Sue Carroll in the Mirror on Ed Stourton’s description of the Queen mother as a “ghastly old bigot”:

When the Queen Mother died, Ed Stourton condemned a tabloid newspaper for publishing details of her last moments, claiming the publication was “quite comfortable in the gutter”… Would his book about political correctness have made news without him shopping the nation’s favourite gran? In a word No.

Welcome to the gutter, Ed.