I subscribe to the Sunday Washington Post and read the daily on-line. The thing about the Post is, I imagine people still think the WaPo is either trying to be objective or slanted to the left. Ha. Every week, the Outlook Section gets me. This Sunday, I was almost all the way through, and pleasantly surprised that nothing had made me rabid yet, when I hit an editorial entitled Lessons of War. That sorry-ass apologia was spinning so fast, I had to get out the Sea Bands.
Slate, aka the Washington Post's attempt at entering the 21st centur, is now publishing similar crap, although disguised as actual fact rather than opinion. Take this article about U.S. infant mortality rates. The article notes that U.S. infant mortality rates are higher than many other developed countries and that while many (silly!) people argue that this shows a need for better health care, in fact, the high U.S. infant mortality rates result from too much healthcare. The argument goes that, one, the increases in assisted reproduction have resulted in multiples and multiples are often at-risk preemies. Plus, the author argues, neonate units are cash cows of some sort, so infants are referred to neonate units willy-nilly, where they are promptly killed. (Because hospitals with larger NICU units have better results than hospitals with smaller NICU units, but lots of hospitals build NICUs anyway so they can kill babies for profit).
Problem is, the Save the Children report cited in the article clearly states the wickedly unsurprising fact that infant mortality in the U.S. is related to low socioeconomic status, minority background, and low education levels. These poor, undereducated minorities are not having twins and triplets due to in vitro, sorry. What they are having is low birth weight babies. There are a number of factors that contribute to low birth weight in at-risk populations, notably smoking, low maternal weight gain, genital and oral microbial infections, and exposure to violence and environmental toxins such as lead paint. Meanwhile, I don't think hospitals are getting rich off of the medicare payments, because these women don't typically have private insurance. But, quick, someone tell them how their babies are dying because of too much health care.
The WaPo editorial that enraged me argued that George Bush didn't lie about the war, he just cherry-picked and "exaggerated" the evidence*; in other words, he was simply willfully ignorant, not bad. So I wonder, is this article a pack of lies or is it just willfully ignorant? More to the point, what the fuck does it matter? If someone with information manipulates that information in a way to give an impression that lies are truth and truth are lies, do we really need to stop and have a semantic discussion about how the lies weren't really lies, they were just mistruths? Is there such a thing as the public trust anymore? Now that "mistakes were made" has become the standard answer, is there such a thing as responsibility, or am I just being silly and old-fashioned? I can't believe it actually needs to be said but: people and entities in positions of control over information, like, say, the POTUS and the media, are responsible to take care with the information they disseminate and can't just pull pet theories out of their asses and pass them off as fact.