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01.17 As Planet Heats Further, Even Davos Elite Warns Humanity Is 'Sleepwalking Into Catastrophe' [Intelligent government is desperately needed]
01.17 Could a Green New Deal Save Civilization? [Intelligent government is desperately needed]
01.16 Immediate fossil fuel phaseout could arrest climate change – study [Intelligent government is desperately needed]
01.15 Solar Farms Shine a Ray of Hope on Bees and Butterflies [Wonderful!]
01.14 V.A. Seeks to Redirect Billions of Dollars Into Private Care [The most public and efficient healthcare in America has been demonized and will be destroyed rather than improved, raising total per-capita costs]
01.14 Why thousands of Los Angeles teachers are going on strike [Well at least we got a big tax-cut for the super-rich, that was the most important thing.]
01.08 Monarch butterfly numbers plummet 86 percent in California [0:58 video; Do You Care?]
01.08 Carbon emissions up as Trump agenda rolls back climate change work [Making America Less Great Again]
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US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
01.19 Republicans’ lack of alarm over the shutdown reveals a disturbing truth [Sociopaths have little or no conscience, empathy or morality...]
01.19 Arizona: Four women convicted after leaving food and water in desert for migrants [morality is against the law]
01.18 With Mattis Gone, Trump Is Already Sowing More Global Chaos [Trump plays General—what could go wrong...]
01.18 Impeach Donald Trump
01.18 President Trump Directed His Attorney Michael Cohen To Lie To Congress About The Moscow Tower Project [An impeachable offense]
01.18 10 Things We All Lose If Bernie Chooses Not to Run in 2020 [Intelligent government is desperately needed]
01.17 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lambasts US government shutdown in first House speech [3:27 video; Intelligent government is desperately needed]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
01.17 Trump's economy is great for billionaires, not for working people [chock-full of pesky facts that government and media ignore and distort]
International & Futurism
01.17 White people assume niceness is the answer to racial inequality. It's not [More equality requires us to fix ignored and distorted problems]
01.16 Global tensions holding back climate change fight, says WEF [Consistently stupid and harmful policies... Seeing a pattern?]
Will Face the Nation Factcheck Guest's Healthcare Lies?
CBS's Schieffer owes TV audience the truth
Originally published on the FAIR.org site earlier today, 1 April 2010
If CBS believes Bachmann's rhetoric was misleading, they should say so in the same place they gave her to make these claims. Correcting the record only on the Web does a disservice to your TV audience.
CBS's Face the Nation (3/28/10) covered the passage of healthcare reform by inviting Democratic National Committee chair Tim Kaine and two Republican critics on the program--one of whom spread misinformation that went unchallenged by host Bob Schieffer.
What's notable about this is that CBS has since posted on its website a debunking of the two claims made by the guest, conservative Republican Rep. Michelle Bachmann from Minnesota.
Schieffer's response was to point out that some of what she appeared to be talking about--the TARP bailouts--began under the Bush administration. A more important point to make, though, is that Bachmann's claim doesn't make sense. Government spending as a share of the country's gross domestic product is nowhere near Bachmann's claim. What she was apparently trying to say is that government bailouts of various industries are the same as "taking over ownership" of about a third of the economy, and that the new healthcare law amounts to a similar takeover of 18 percent of the economy--which adds up to over half of the economy. Since the government is not in fact "taking over" healthcare or the financial industry, the analogy makes no sense.
Another bit of evidence against the healthcare law that Bachmann offered was this: "The New England Journal of Medicine released a survey the week that President Obama signed Obamacare stating that over 30 percent of American physicians would leave the profession if the government took over healthcare."
The Journal neither conducted nor released any such study. A private physicians search firm posted a press release claiming this finding on the NEJM CareerCenter website, part of an employment newsletter published by the same company that publishes the Journal.
So much of the national debate over healthcare reform was marred by these types of wild exaggerations, many of which were not factchecked by journalists. It was encouraging, then, to see CBS publish a piece on its website by CBS associate news producer David Riedel (3/29/10) headlined "Bachmann Offers Big Numbers, Little Proof." Making that information available to a Web audience is important. But if CBS believes Bachmann's rhetoric was misleading, they should say so in the same place they gave her to make these claims. Correcting the record only on the Web--as ABC's George Stephanopoulos did when Rudolph Giuliani made inaccurate claims about 9/11 on Good Morning America (Extra!, 3/10)--does a disservice to your TV audience.
In an interview last year with Jon Friedman (Marketwatch, 5/15/09), Face the Nation host Schieffer expressed no tolerance for those who would mislead his TV audience: "When I asked him how he feels when subjects lie to him on the air or try to mislead the audience, he got right to the point. 'I want to jump across the table and choke them,' he said."
If he meant that, then he should tell his audience the truth.
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting is a nonpartisan media watchdog organization. Visit http://fair.org for more information, or share your opinion about this story by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. Republished in the Chronicle with permission from F.A.I.R.
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This story was published on April 1, 2010.