Sight Unseen

Friday, August 21, 2009


With Congress in recess, much of the fight over health care reform has migrated to the airwaves as millions of dollars of advertisements are rolled out, primarily by critics. But how accurate are these ads? Brooks Jackson, director of, says not very. He explains what misinformation looks like.

Comments [13]

moya duffy from greenwich CT

Regarding the comments on Gaddafi pitching a tent in NJ & blasting him with a loud speaker recounting the names of the dead on the tragic PanAm flight. Why did your journalists not mention the 290 civilians who died when the US Navy shot down an Iranian civilian airliner flying over the straights of Hormuz in 1988. The fool of the captain, Vincennes, mistook a commercial airliner for an F14! & admitted as much. He was never brought to justice & it was this tragic incident that was the motifying force behind the bombing of the PanAm plane. Regarding Al Megrahi, he pleaded not guilty & the SCCRC has referred the case to Court of Criminal Appeal stating "...may have suffered a miscarriage of justice". He was found guilty by a panel of judges who now say there was huge pressure to bring in a guilty verdict. Shame on you, NPR, for not contextualizing & historically referencing. Instead we have the simplistic emoting of M. Kelly "the blood of innocent Americans" etc. What about the blood of innocent Iranians?

Aug. 28 2009 12:35 PM

I didn't hear the entire podcast, but I'm sure that the fact checker covered items like the misinformation about the efficiency of medicare (did you know the administration of it is outsourced to non-gov providers?).

I've given up on the journalistic integrity of OTM - they're like Hannity without commercials.

I'm for a single payer "government" system. It will be less efficient than the private sector (like nearly all government programs are). I believe it will result in denials of claims (has to or you'll see more unnecessary procedures than today). And, since they will try to cover everyone including illegal aliens - will cost far more than the current system. But the current system is unsustainable and killing small and medium businesses.

What choices we have.

Aug. 27 2009 05:40 PM
David C Rowe from United States


I'm amazed that you mention in the intro that some are saying the healtcare reform bill might inlcude funding for abortion, implying that this is one of the "holwers."

Then you ask Brooks Jackson to list them, and this did not come up. Maybe it's because, as says, it IS true:

The writer of the piece? Brooks Jackson.


Aug. 25 2009 11:23 AM
Bob Maddow from Castro Valley, California

Mr. Jackson's fact-checking story was very interesting, but it stopped short of doing the most important things a fact-checker can do in such a piece--it failed to identify the person or entity that uttered, published, or broadcast the untrue or misleading information, or to tell us why they did it. I don't care if the matter in question came from right or left, Democrat or Republican, politician or commentator--but I do want to know whose credibility should now be in doubt because of what they said or wrote or aired, and I do want to know if the fact-checker was able to establish that the person or entity in question had "skin in the game." Without both of those elements, he can do an interesting piece, but he falls short of making the most valuable contribution a fact-checker can make--he falls short of telling us the whole truth.

Aug. 24 2009 08:55 AM
Dave from San Jose, California

You can continue to drink the for-profit insurer’s Kool-Aid, so the Top Ten for-profit insurance companies can continue to pay their CEOs an average of $12 million a year.

Or you can start thinking for yourself--how can we make sure everyone has at least basic health insurance that cannot be canceled to so some CEO can buy a bigger yacht?

Once you realize that we have a problem, then you realize we need to fix it.

If you don’t like Obama’s plan, and you mistakenly believe that the Canadians, the British, the Australians, the Germans, etc. don’t like their government-sponsored health insurance plans--how would you do it better?

Aug. 24 2009 03:21 AM
Dave from San Jose, California

Some of the comments so far sound like the passengers on the Titanic arguing about who was the biggest liar-- the ship’s captain, or the ship-building company who promised a ship that wouldn’t sink--instead of trying to save lives!

Wake up, folks!

Have you not noticed that the US is in a serious healthcare crisis? There are 48 million without any health insurance, and the rest of us can lose ours at the whim of our employer, or at the whim of some insurance company bureaucrat.

There’s where the “death panels” are--at the for-profit insurance companies. There was a story in the local paper about a woman whose only son, a college athlete active in his church and his community, died recently. His Mom had bought a policy for him from one of the big for-profit insurance companies, but they refused for two years to authorize a relatively inexpensive procedure for him that probably would have saved his life. He had an insurance policy, but it didn’t do him any good.

This is happening every day in this country. It could happen to you, your spouse, your children, or your parents. Why? Because the for-profit insurance companies are doing what they are supposed to do--maximizing their profits. Unfortunately they are doing this by denying coverage, canceling policies, or not paying your medical bills.

And guess what? If you go the ER without insurance or your insurance company won’t cover the treatment, the hospital will treat you as they are required to do by Federal law. But the treatment isn’t free. The money has to come from somewhere.

The hospital will try to collect what you owe them-- $5,000, $20,000, or more. Your family may end up going bankrupt as so many others have, due to big medical bills.
All because your insurer decided that to cancel your coverage--which they can do at any time they want. Read your policy.

Aug. 24 2009 03:20 AM
Good Riddance from Newark

It's an opinion show done by what supposedly passes for journalists nowadays. Reporting is too difficult and limiting oneself to facts too inconvenient, so we're left with baseless criticism from would-be novelists. Book tour coming to a Barnes & Noble near you!!

Aug. 23 2009 10:50 PM
andrew d from natick,ma

My takeaway from the show is that the host wants to persuade listensers that opponents to the various Democratic "health care reform proposal" are (i) stupid, (ii) self-interested or both.

Aug. 23 2009 03:34 PM
T Bradigan from Canaan, NH

For the second week in a row, you have taken a pot shot at "conservative talk radio". I'm more concerned about "liberal public(ally funded) radio". I can turn off Rush and Glen, but how do I withhold my support from NPR?

Aug. 23 2009 08:47 AM
Mike H from Naperville Il

Well, "Mott" here's a few:

1. It will be deficit neutral … lie
2. It will not publicly fund abortion …. lie
3. Obama has never supported a single payer … lie
4. none of the public option’s congressional and administration backers see it as a means to undermine private health insurance … lie
5. doctors take out tonsils and cut off the limbs of diabetics to rake in more money …. Lie
6. there will be no taxes on employers benefits … lie

Aug. 22 2009 09:07 PM
Mott Moore from Palmyra, NY

Mike H.,

You fail to list any examples of misinformation coming out of the White House. Since you say there's a "plethora" of it, you should easily be able to come up with examples thereof.
But...if you don't/can't list any examples, you really don't have a viable argument.

Aug. 22 2009 10:29 AM
Kahlid from Philly, PA

Why does Mr. Jackson find it "interesting" that insurance companies support a mandate requiring individuals to purchase the very product they sell?

It would be great to focus even more on the mandate aspect of the reform effort, instead of the "Grandma got run over by Obama" discussion.

The compelling of citizens to purchase a product by decree is front page material.

Aug. 21 2009 10:31 PM
Mike H from Naperville Il

Funny, I didnt hear Brook Jackson delve into the plethora of misinformation coming out of the White House and I sure as heck fire didnt Bob ask about it.

Its almost as if OTM has a dog in this fight.

But could that be? Bob and his merry crew are models of impartiality and bipartisan fact checking.

Aug. 21 2009 08:08 PM

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