McCaughey off the mark on stimulus bill

Monday I wrote about Betsy McCaughey’s Bloomberg commentary on health care provisions in the stimulus bill. Based on what she said, I grew quite concerned about the future of my health care in particular.

Since then, I’ve tried to confirm what McCaughey said, primarily by looking up text of the bill so I could read and interpret it for myself. That proved easier said than done because there are numerous copies of the different versions of the bill as it works its way through both the House and Senate. What I was able to find did not in anyway seem to match up with what McCaughey said, aside from some items to implement electronic medical records.

Changing my focus, I decided to find out something about McCaughey herself and what axes she might have to grind. My first stop was Wikipedia, where I learned she had opposed the Clinton health reform proposals with an article so full of inaccuracies that the publisher later recanted the story.

Since Monday, another lengthy section has been added to the Wikipedia article (including a lively editing history), specifically addressing McCaughey’s recent commentary on the stimulus bill. It, too, raises a lot of questions about her accuracy and interpretation of the bill.

Wikipedia is never my be all, end all source for anything, but I find it a quick way to get started when trying to research a particular topic. McCaughey, apparently, is deserving of much more research and skepticism than I first accorded her, and I hereby recant my previous post about her commentary.

The San Francisco Chronicle today has run a much more balanced story on health-care related items in the stimulus bill. They even present comments from both sides of the issue. Gasp!

There are several lessons here for would-be critical readers, things I’ve known but neglected this time. Always do your research; check several different sources. Remember that “commentary” is just that — one person’s opinion; the label alone should warn you it probably presents only one side of the issue and is excused from any pretense of being objective journalism.

Remember, too, that this entire blog is commentary, nothing more or less than my opinion about things. I have a lot of opinions (go ahead, ask me anything!), not necessarily a lot of facts. But you already knew that, right?

... and that's my two cents