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Thursday, April 27, 2017

 

A Matter of Trust



Remember when?


You complain about “fake news,” but you, more than anyone and anything, have contributed to that phenomenon with your constant failure to report objectively, your inability to report on the story without sticking your political dick into it, your outright contempt for your audiences, and your intentional and sometimes malicious obfuscation. These egregious misdeeds are well-documented. Your inability to accurately report the story without snark or subjective garbage has made you something to be derided. The public trust in what you dish out is at an all time low.

Are you really surprised that people seek out other sources of information? And are you really shocked when they begin to believe whatever they’re fed – even by ignorant, uninformed bloggers with their own agendas – as long as it’s not through you? Is it any wonder that any number of fake, misleading, biased sites have popped up to fill the void? You suck at your job, so someone else has to do it – no matter how poorly!

You twist words. You omit critical information. You conceal your own opinions in a torrent of word salad, and try and mask it as factual reporting. You obfuscate. You insert inflammatory language into a straight news report to elicit a certain reaction.

Take this current example from NPR. From the very title and first paragraph, not only do we know what the writer feels on the topic of Trump extending a program to afford veterans an opportunity to seek health care from private doctors, but we can also see how said writer tries to shape the reader’s opinion on the topic!


Trump Extends Troubled VA Program That Pays Private Doctors

Yeah, let’s make private doctors seem like a negative, dirty phrase, instead of an opportunity to choose for those who have made significant sacrifices for our country, and are now stuck in a broken, corrupt VA system.
It’s a fix that hasn’t fixed much, but the troubled Veterans Choice program has been extended anyway.

Hasn’t fixed much, according to whom? The author, who quite obviously hates it that veterans have a choice, and is taking the opportunity to slam the administration?


Veterans Choice is designed to allow veterans who have waited more than 30 days for an appointment at a VA facility, or who live more than 40 miles from one, instead to get care from private providers who then bill the VA. But it has been plagued with problems. Many vets complain that Choice actually makes getting care more difficult and time-consuming, and some health care providers have dropped out due to slow payments or administrative hassles.


“Plagued with problems.” Because that’s not inflammatory language or anything!

“Many vets complain.” How many? I checked a Facebook page for Veterans’ complaints about the program itself. There were fewer than 20 since March, 2016. A January 2017 IG report detailed some of the problems investigators found with the program, including VC’s inadequate network of providers (I’m guessing due to the VA having 90 days to implement choice, which for a government bureaucracy is daunting, to say the least), and lack of strong oversight into payments for participating providers.

While, NPR derps about “many vets complaining,” it doesn’t provide actual numbers, nor does it note that only 13 percent of eligible veterans actually took advantage of the program, according to the IG report!

By omitting contextual information and using obviously inflammatory language to obliquely condemn the Trump Administration for having extended the program, the NPR undermined its own credibility in a transparent attempt to influence reader opinion on the issue.

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