I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
What Sarah Palin and the Albuquerque Journal have in common
So I dug up my health care power of attorney for him. It instructs friends and relatives, as well as physicians, to let me shuffle off this mortal coil before I resemble a rotting rutabaga.
I found that easy, but some people haven’t tackled it yet. Thus, one House health care bill would reimburse doctors for discussing end-of-life decisions with patients.
This is what some health care reform opponents are lying about, turning voluntary counseling into what a well-informed former Alaska governor called the “death panel.”
Frightening the elderly for fun and profit.
FreedomWorks, instigator of many spontaneous “Tea Parties,” spearheads this campaign. Former GOP Congressman Dick Armey, who would privatize (i.e., kill) Social Security, chairs it. Armey’s Washington firm (DLA Piper) received some $1.3 million this year from Medicines Co., a pharmaceutical company.
The plan? Make it look as if many Americans oppose health reform so that timorous politicians (redundant?) will keep hands off. The status quo works well for insurers and pill manufacturers. For detail, see ThinkProgress.org. or mediamatters.org/factcheck.
It’s the very strategy — fear and falsehoods — that produced the war on Iraq.
But why does it work? Why do we succumb?
“How We Decide”, a new book by Jonah Lehrer on the brain, rationality and emotion, offers clues.
Shown contradictory statements by their candidates, Democrats recognized President Bush’s, not John Kerry’s. Republicans did the opposite. Brain scans showed how both used their pre-frontal cortex and/or emotions to arrive at conclusions they wanted and then “experienced a rush of pleasurable emotion.”
“Self-delusion, in other words, felt really good,” says Lehrer.
“Partisan voters,” he continues, “are convinced that they’re rational — it’s the other side that’s irrational — but actually, all of us are rationalizers.”
Also, we suffer from “a bias for certainty.” The Yom Kippur War caught Israel napping because top brass “knew” their enemies wouldn’t attack.
Lehrer recommends “inner dissonance.” He says, “We must force ourselves to think about the information we don’t want to think about, to pay attention to the data that disturbs our entrenched beliefs. “
“Embrace uncertainty,” he recommends. “Always entertain competing hypotheses” and “continually remind yourself of what you don’t know.”
Easy for him to say, but I’ll try as I question a front-page Albuquerque Journal story Wednesday, Aug. 12 where headline and story didn’t jibe.
The headline read: “Dem: Iglesias Firing a Political ‘Fragging.’” The story, though, reported new evidence in the firing of New Mexico’s David Iglesias. Here’s reporter Michael Coleman’s lead:
New Mexico Republican political operatives and elected officials worked steadily with top-level White House brass to ensure former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias was fired, according to documents released on Tuesday.
That wasn’t headline-worthy.
Nor was Coleman’s second graph — about the “broader picture” of the circumstances behind Iglesias’ dismissal — headline material.
In paragraph three, Coleman quoted a Democrat’s view of the new information; the headline writer used that to re-frame the story as partisan politics. Or am I jumping to a conclusion?
That the New York Times and Washington Post headlined the roles of Karl Rove and Harriet Miers in Iglesias’ firing also doesn’t matter.
There’s simply no proof the Journal wanted to divert attention from how Rove, Miers and other players including Pete Domenici and Heather Wilson, targeted Iglesias. No, I must “entertain competing hypotheses” and “remind myself of what I don’t know.”
And I mustn’t allow my “bias for certainty” lead me to conclude that the Albuquerque Journal edits news to serve the Republican Party.