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« The Sanders "movement" should shift direction | Main | Of meaningful negatives and a meaningless positive »

February 25, 2016



Parties decide who their standard-bearer will be, and the press is reporting on the process.

Let's wait and see post-conventions and see if your indictment is warranted. (I'm sure it will be.)

Peter G

Look on the bright side. Democrats such as Bernie Sanders have been liberated from proposals grounded in reality too. Well maybe not such a bright side but both sides now get to do it.

Marc McKenzie

"This is more than scandalous; it's a journalistic felony of reckless disregard for the profession of proper journalism..."

And it's been in full effect since the 1990s and the "scandals" of Bill Clinton's administration (which are now being unfairly pinned on Hillary Clinton). It became monstrous during the 2000 campaign and basically allowed President G. W. Bush to toss the country over the fence and give it the business without a peep of concern.

Of course, it's always benefited the GOP, especially during the Obama years (which, contrary to the beliefs of a few on the Far Left, have actually been filled with many accomplishments that are on the level of FDR and LBJ).

Yet we continue to ignore the press, caught up as we are in the squabble over who's more pure as a progressive while ignoring the actual progressive in the White House. Meanwhile, the press will not hold the GOP to account, which will make things tougher for the Democratic nominee, whoever he or she is. And let's face it--the press will turn all guns on the nominee and will launch salvos at that person. The question is, who will be able to withstand that? Someone who has faced that fire before and has walked through it slightly bloodied but unbowed, or someone who has not?


Both sides do it. Where have I heard that before?


Except for a period in the 1960's and '70's television news has always been worthless. I watched the pioneering broadcasts featuring Cronkite that lasted only 15 minutes and just skimmed a few stories. For a time TV news divisions tried to compete with newspapers by lengthening the programs, taking advantage of the dramatic capabilities of video over still photography and trying a version of investigative reporting. This eventually resulted in self-immolating monks and an American marine casually lighting a civilian hut in Vietnam coming into the public's living rooms. There were also graphic portrayals of race riots, the Watergate hearings, and so on. Apparently coverage of the moon landing wasn't enough to convince the powers that were this did not contribute to maintaining a pacified citizenry.

Starting in the 1980's the overarching ethic that the business of America is business started to take hold and infotainment began crowding out anything resembling actual news. By 1996 Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes took things in another direction and created a television propaganda outlet that would make Joe Goebbels proud. The only really useful function TV has now is to let viewers see the mannerisms of people and read their body language. Good coaching and selective editing can defeat that too. All that's left is entertainment. If anyone doubts it consider Donald Trump.

Peter G

Indeed. And this time it's true. Or so saith the economic gurus.


*Some* of them do on certain subjects. If you can explain why the WHO rates our healthcare below Greece's when we are #1 in expenditures and they're #30 I'd love to read it.

Peter G

That's about as good as it ever got. And it wasn't that great. News divisions, once seen as a public service, were required to become their own self sustaining profit centers. With perfectly predictable results. There were only two ways to go. You either identify a demographic you wish to cater to, like Fox News, or you seek a broader audience by offending no one with offensive facts, like CNN does. One merely offers two sides to any story and pretend the arguments that support both have equal merit. I give credit to the Republicans for first realizing how deliciously liberating this could be.

Peter G

I can explain that just fine. You have the best paid health care service staff on the planet. And if you drive around any major metropolitan area in the US you will see something seen nowhere else in the world. You will see billboard ads and hear radio ads for hospitals touting their state of the art services with no waiting. Think about what that represents. What it represents is a system designed to deliver the best care in the world to the people who can pay for it either directly or in insurance premiums. But you say if it weren't for the insurance companies all would be well. NO. Under ACA they are required by law to spend 90 percent of their premiums on actual health care. The remaining ten percent includes all administrative costs and profits. If that ten percent disappeared AND there were no administrative costs associated with a single payer system you'd still have the most expensive health care on the planet.

As to the some economists vetting Bernie's claimed 5.4 sustained economic growth rate under his plan that would be almost everyone but the guy who actually works for his campaign. That makes Republican tax cutting plans look rational. No responsible economist has said that growth rate is sustainable over the time frame needed to make Bernie's plan work. That is at least a decade and maybe more. And it has never ever happened in the US.


Do you think the fact that the government is forbidden to negotiate drug prices and the US pays the highest in the world might have anything to do with it? Paperwork redundancy in hundreds of private bureaucracies? How about the latest figures that 10.4 percent of the population is still uninsured? Where does the budget come from that pays for all the ads for pills for dubious diseases you see advertised a half dozen times an hour on US TV? Shall I go on?

Btw, I agree the Friedman analysis is iffy to say the least.


We're in total agreement here. The Republicans deserve the credit in policy terms because the Reagan administration killed the Fairness Doctrine in 1987. The law required broadcasters to cover controversial topics and according to a set of rules. But, you know, got to get government out of the way of corporations dumbing the public down.

Peter G

You might want to drop around Vox and read what both Yglesias and Klein have to say about that subject. They are having a rather subtle debate on this very thing. I side with Matt. Clearly the party no longer decides. Where it gets interesting is why?

Peter G

Of course that is a factor as well. On the other hand, and there is always another hand, a simple review of the pharmacology industrie's return on investments show they aren't spectacularly profitable either. Guess which country has the most onerous and expensive drug development and testing regimes on the planet? And guess which country imposes huge financial costs for whatever side effects MUST occur given that aspirin has undesirable side effects.
Guess which country has the best paid academic infrastructure that actually does the necessary drug development studies? The principal reason drugs are expensive in the US is that the US makes it so. So, once again, if you eliminated all the profit from the pharmacology industry, every nickel of it, you'd still have to most expensive drugs in the world.

Interestingly enough one of the best ways to lower drug costs in the US is to share the huge drug development costs with foreign users. This would require those countries to recognize US patent rights. And vice versa of course. That is what TPP is about really, intellectual property. So why are progressives against that?

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