Saturday, August 02, 2014

Et tu, Wonk?

Headline at Heritage's Daily Signal:

Aetna CEO Admits Obamacare Customer Numbers Worse Than Expected

Paragraph to which the headline refers:
Bertolini said the initial Obamacare enrollment numbers were worse than expected but younger enrollees increased in April in May, when Aetna picked up two-thirds of its customer growth through Obamacare.
I.e., the headline should have read "Aetna CEO Admits Obamacare Customer Numbers Worse Than Expected Until They Got Better".

Another headline at the same site announces:

Support for Obamacare Decreases

on the basis of the latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, which indeed found a very startling uptick in disapproval of the ACA from June (45%) to July (53%, almost all taken from the Don't Knows; the Approves dropped just from 39% to 37%). What they don't tell you was that large majorities of Democrats, independents, and the public as a whole think whatever it is they don't like can and should be fixed: repeal is less popular than the ACA itself:

The reason Heritage publishes these easily detectable lies-by-omission is pretty clear, I think. It's for inside-the-bubble consumption by their trembling, lip-biting fans, and not to inform anybody but to prompt the writing of checks. They know they won't get called on it by anybody who can hurt them.

What's harder to understand is why Jason Millman of the Washington Post's Wonkblog would be writing virtually the same story, with the headline

Suddenly, Obamacare is more unpopular than ever

This one is a bit more honest than the Heritage treatment; Millman acknowledges toward the end that the uptick in ACA unfavorables is statistically odd and could be noise, and mentions those improve-it-don't-repeal it numbers in his last graf. But the facts aren't reflected in his lede.

Then the editors follow up with a video promoting the traveling Koch Brothers anti-Obamacare carnival (the carnival Steve M was talking about the other day, comparing it to one of those Halloween Hell Houses) with the Proctologist Uncle Sam and so on, and without mentioning the Kochs, either. So really, it's propaganda—what's up with that? Is it Ezra Klein's fault for abandoning them before they were ready to survive on their own?

Cross-posted at The Rectification of Names.


M. Bouffant said...

Amused (but not surprised) by the duplicity on the issue that was obvious even in memeorandum's "curation" of headlines.

aimai said...

I know that we've talked about this a lot on blogs but the epistemic closure that is going on--the sheer refusal to share the same reality with us, is really kind of staggering. And usually from the kinds of people who have as their tag lines "Its not what you don't know, its what you absolutely know that isn't so..."

If you go over to right wing blogs or to news stories that pique people's interest you get a torrent of just factually incorrect stuff. Like recently I noticed that Clinton is being blamed for "refusing" to "get" Bin Laden long before 9/11. Bush's failure at Tora Bora has been magically transposed onto Clinton. This is some kind of misremembering of the bombing of the aspirin factory and of the entire complexity of the situation prior to 9/11 plus right wing attacks on Clinton for "wagging the dog" at the time.

But the worst thing about all this two parties/two histories/two sets of facts is that only one party is living in the present and can face the future rationally and scientifically. The other is wedded to a hysterical, constipated, view of the present and the future in which they are always affirming a world view that has been decided upon without facts. IF the ACA is going to fail and be unpopular for Republican instransigence to be vindicated then--dammit--its going to fail and be unpopular even as, in the real world, its doing pretty well and could be very popular in the future. And their own voters are going to be terribly shocked and bewildered, as they were with Obama's second election. How can what is self evidently true to them lack any predictive power with democratic voters and with reality?

Its for this reason that right wingers often sound like Christianists/Evangelicals when it comes to Jews and unbelievers. Jesus is so *obviously* truly the savior, in their eyes, that only willful disobedience and rejectionism for its own sake can explain the refusal of the Jews to convert.

Victor said...

And in their relentless efforts to convert people, our conservative Domionist Christian Evangelicals are losing young people, who aren't interested in the relentless pursuit of social issues - like homophobia and sex.

So, in a sense, they're de-converting their own.

Yastreblyansky said...

Monsieur B, hi! I guess it's a case of the curating being worse than the disease, right?

Aimai, is that an explanation of the complicity of the big media, because it's really a kind of religious issue? Like, I would prefer if the news would say "the first-century prophet Jesus of Nazareth, whom most Christians regard as the son of God," but they habitually say "Jesus Christ" even when they're not believers themselves, just making it easy?

Victor, ever the optimist! here's hoping you're right.