Monday, August 24, 2009
Giving Liars a Platform
In what could be take as evidence that the Washington Post editorial page has an anti-reform agenda, today Fred Hiatt rolls out the red carpet for an editorial by Michael Steele. Steele has, of course, been a leading voice in the GOP effort to frighten seniors into thinking that their healthcare is jeopardized by the reform bill, and in suggesting that seniors will face death panels which will decide if they deserve additional medical care.
Steele is a liar, a coward and a hypocrite, which perhaps makes him a good representative of what's left of his party.
At a certain point, I do think that the media should call out liars - declare, either directly or by simply declining to print their latest set of lies and deceptions, that their tactics render them undeserving of a platform. And yes, that also means on the editorial pages - excuses such as "it's a widely held view, so we're giving it space" don't hold water. Perhaps Sarah Palin proves that if you push things far enough there's still a tipping point, as I suspect a month or two ago the same editorial (perhaps penned by the same author) might have been published under her byline. But Steele has embraced every single lie that Palin and others associated with the anti-reform movement have advanced. He should be held accountable. And I suspect that had Palin handed Hiatt an editorial he would have run it - that the shift in spokesperson comes from the party's recognition that Palin has lost her credibility, not the paper's.
But more than that, Steele's yammering about a "Seniors' Health Care Bill of Rights" - a law that would "protect" Medicare recipients from having their benefits reduced, or even having the government attempt to negotiate better price terms with doctors and hospitals. This, as a representative of a party that has attempted to kill Medicare from its inception. Talk about spitting in the face of Reagan's legacy. Yes, the same party that hates Medicare and only a few years ago attempted to gut Social Security is now the champion of senior citizens' rights to unlimited entitlement benefits. And a shockingly high number of seniors believe them!
There's something a bit sad, and a bit too American, about getting a faction of citizens riled up because they may (in theory) see change in their free, taxpayer funded benefit if a similar benefit is made available to others. (I quote Grandpa Simpson on this attitude, perhaps too often.... "I didn't earn it, I don't need it, but if they miss one payment I'll raise hell!") The Republican Party's mantra, "Ask what your country can do for you...."
Update: There he goes again....