Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Red-Herring Newsbites

What prompted my preceding blog entry The Great Karnak Sees: "Network News Readers" was an email I'd received that began:
Is this the health care bill (not a bill yet but only a proposal) that everyone is discussing? [emphasis added]
I know where my correspondent got that errant and inane phrase I highlighted. He heard it on the news somewhere. It is part of the DNC talking points that the news media parrots and, in turn, gets repeated by people who still trust professional news readers.

In an effort to take the heat off of them, the Democrats have been attempting to pass off the notion that "there is no final health care bill, so what's all the fuss?"

I had to remind my correspondent that HR3200, like all bills introduced in the House of Representatives, are proposed laws. They must pass a vote in the House, another in the Senate, get signed by the president, then go through conference committee where differences between the House and Senate versions are ironed out, and where committee chairmen exercise the privilege of introducing 11th hour additions, and then they go back to the houses for a final vote and then final signing by the president. If at any time the proposal fails to receive a signature or enough votes, it becomes a failed bill.

But it is still a bill, failed or not, until it becomes law.

I had to remind my correspondent that DNC chairman Howard Dean is running around on TV in attempt to stifle criticism by borrowing from Al Gore the arrogant line: "The debate is over!"

I also had to remind my correspondent that this "not a bill" is the very same "proposal" that Nancy Pelosi tried to strong-arm House Democrats into passing before the August recess (where constituents could attempt to see and influence their congressional representatives as representatives are supposed to do).

In my experienced opinion, that soundbite was a cynical effort on the part of the bill's sponsors to get citizens to argue about what the bill is rather than what is in it. The more time spent on what it is -- a simple notion really, and so sure to occupy OCD minds such as my own -- the less time available to look at and discuss the details in the bill. And as we all know, the devil is in the details.

Well, thankfully, I got back the following response:
You are right it is a bill…as I remember is not a law…yet.
But what irks me so much is that my correspondent still trusts the news media (who misled him on that) to tell him all he needs to know.
I have watched the news; saw videos of town hall meetings. What I saw was a lot of people not letting anyone answer questions, it is disgusting.
He wants me to read HR3200 and show him in black and white "the issues you are talking about." I have long intended to do that, but I also know that he is predisposed to listen to the "professionals" he sees on TV. I know, no matter how well he knows me and trusts me, he'll be biased towards all the nonsense -- like this red-herring notion that a bill is not a bill but only a proposal.

Help me dear readers.
God help me.

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