Cutting the Bullsh*t

22 Aug

In the following clips, Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart commits aggravated journalism in the first degree.  He doesn’t let anti-health-reform spokeswoman Betsy McCaughey get away with lies, prevarications, and nonsense, nor does he simply ask another pro-reform talking head to offer screamy rebuttals.

Instead, Jon Stewart did his homework, read the bill, became familiar with ancillary statutes and regulations, and obliterated McCaughey point-by-point.   And cracked jokes to boot.

If cable news actually did this sort of thing and, you know, demanded its reporters and anchors educate themselves on what the hell they were talking about, and actually called the truth the truth, lies lies, and didn’t just leave objective truth to something you should “decide”, then there’d be some value in it.  As it stands now, the overwhelming majority of American television journalism is to intellectual discourse what Cheetos® brand corn noodles are to nutritious food.

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23 Responses to “Cutting the Bullsh*t”

  1. Rob August 22, 2009 at 9:10 am #

    “permitted them to spend more of their disposable dollars on health care.”

    A) I’d like to see those numbers on food and energy, seeing as gas and electricity rates seem to have sky rocketed over the last 4 years

    and

    B) no one has ever said “good thing I have all this disposable income to throw at health care. My $1000 premium isn’t insane!”

    This woman drives me nuts. Stop trying to get the crowd on your side with the compliments and awful jokes. Its not going to work.

  2. Ward August 22, 2009 at 11:31 am #

    One wonders if Mr. Stewart would have “practiced journalism” on Gov. David Paterson over his complaint that his low popularity in NY was due to the color of his skin.

    Nah. Mr. Stewart’s “journalism” is reserved for certain causes only.

    And BTW, BP–you of all people should appreciate the distinction between “journalism” and punditry.

  3. Bill Altreuter August 22, 2009 at 12:03 pm #

    That kind of skillful cross-examination is what more journalists and more legislators should be doing. It is a skill, to be sure, and it requires careful and diligent preparation, but it is an essential skill for rooting out the truth.

    And by the way, who opened the lid and let Betsy McCaughey back out? I thought we’d established that she is the worst kind of hack years ago.

  4. Mike In WNY August 22, 2009 at 12:23 pm #

    As it is now, many medicare patients can not find a doctor to treat them due to the government’s reimbursement rates, so by all means, let’s extend that to everyone!

  5. Mike In WNY August 22, 2009 at 12:32 pm #

    Health care rationing is already written into HR 3200 and will most likely impact senior citizens.

    This is what the bill says, pages 284-288, SEC. 1151. REDUCING POTENTIALLY PREVENTABLE HOSPITAL READMISSIONS:

    ‘(ii) EXCLUSION OF CERTAIN READMISSIONS.—For purposes of clause (i), with respect to a hospital, excess readmissions shall not include readmissions for an applicable condition for which there are fewer than a minimum number (as determined by the Secretary) of discharges for such applicable condition for the applicable period and such hospital.

    and, under “Definitions”:

    ‘‘(A) APPLICABLE CONDITION.—The term ‘applicable condition’ means, subject to subparagraph (B), a condition or procedure selected by the Secretary . . .

    and:

    ‘‘(E) READMISSION.—The term ‘readmission’ means, in the case of an individual who is discharged from an applicable hospital, the admission of the individual to the same or another applicable hospital within a time period specified by the Secretary from the date of such discharge.

    and:

    ‘‘(6) LIMITATIONS ON REVIEW.—There shall be no administrative or judicial review under section 1869, section 1878, or otherwise of— . . .

    ‘‘(C) the measures of readmissions . . .

    EVALUATION OF THE PASSAGES:

    1. This section amends the Social Security Act

    2. The government has the power to determine what constitutes an “applicable [medical] condition.”

    3. The government has the power to determine who is allowed readmission into a hospital.

    4. This determination will be made by statistics: when enough people have been discharged for the same condition, an individual may be readmitted.

    5. This is government rationing, pure, simple, and straight up.

    6. There can be no judicial review of decisions made here. The Secretary is above the courts.

    7. The plan also allows the government to prohibit hospitals from expanding without federal permission: page 317-318.

  6. Dave Allen August 22, 2009 at 1:18 pm #

    After Walter Conkite’s death, one survey showed that Jon Stewart was the most trusted newsman working now… Although it’s a comedy show, and he doesn’t c hallenge everyone like that, he’s about the only one who does. When I’ve seen him outside of the Daily Show setting, he seems to take this stuff seriously, studies the issues, and is personally offended at the bullchit being shoveled out. The nightly news shows could take some tips from him.

  7. Chris from OP August 22, 2009 at 1:45 pm #

    An informed cross-examination is the essence of journalism and is in no way punditry.

  8. Mike In WNY August 22, 2009 at 2:03 pm #

    Stewart focuses on one narrow part of the pending bill without taking into account other provisions that affect the issue he thinks he is explaining.

  9. mike hudson August 22, 2009 at 2:10 pm #

    how does betsy mccaughey even get on television? she’s been disowned by the republican party in nys, she’s not running for anything and — as far as i can tell — she is not a spokesman for anybody except herself. another straw man for jon to knock down. hooray for jon. watching this, you’d never think that the problem actually stemmed from the fact that the president of the united states can’t even get members of his own party who are actually sitting in congress to do what he claims he wants.

    • Alan Bedenko August 22, 2009 at 3:03 pm #

      So, it has nothing to do with the fact that the Republicans, together with stooges paid for by the anti-reform
      lobbies, have lied about the bill and demagogued the issue for the past few months? You mean the fact that scare tactics from the right have freaked people out has nothing to do with anything? Whew. Glad to be reminded that it’s all Obama’s fault. Thank goodness.

      Also, it’d be helpful if you used the Google on Betsey McCaughey. She was instrumental in killing Hillary Clinton’s proposal in the ’90s, which is how she got the Pataki gig in the first place. Shilling against health insurance reform and universal coverage is her forte. She’s been at the fore in the current “debate”, too, trying to scare you into thinking Obama wants death panels.

  10. mike hudson August 22, 2009 at 3:35 pm #

    c’mon…what you are arguing is that the people who voted for obama are so stupid that they are now succumbing to the republican scare tactics they overwhelmingly ignored in the election just nine months ago? i was covering betsy mccaughhey (ross) back when you were in law school. now you’re arguing that what she did 17 years ago has something to do to her political relevance in this century? why doesn’t jon trot out dan quayle and show him to be the intellectual cluck that he is? that would be funny too. to overlook the fact that the president is a democrat and the house and the senate currently have overwhelming democratic majorities, and blame this total political disaster on people like sarah palin and betsy mcaughey is simply ridiculous. with the “public option” no longer a part of the real discussion, even actual liberals — like my old friend dennis kucinich — will not vote in favor of the bill.

    • Alan Bedenko August 23, 2009 at 7:47 am #

      c’mon…what you are arguing is that the people who voted for obama are so stupid that they are now succumbing to the republican scare tactics they overwhelmingly ignored in the election just nine months ago?

      No, that’s not what I’m arguing. What I’m arguing is that every time someone proposes major social change in the United States, one side demagogues it to the nth degree. When Social Security was passed, the Republicans predicted all sorts of totalitarian, Orwellian horrors. Now, they say Obama wants to take away your health insurance and kill granny. Since not everyone has time to read and analyze a 1000 page bill, they don’t know what to believe, so they err on the side of status quo .

      i was covering betsy mccaughhey (ross) back when you were in law school. now you’re arguing that what she did 17 years ago has something to do to her political relevance in this century? why doesn’t jon trot out dan quayle and show him to be the intellectual cluck that he is?

      I don’t know why your age and my schooling are relevant in any way to this particular discussion. What I was reminding you of with respect to Ms. McCaughey is that she was instrumental in the 90s of killing Hillary’s health care reform, and she is reprising that role now. She has thrust herself into the debate in a big and meaningful way this year, so it was no quirk of fate or weird 90s nostalgia timing that she got booked on the Daily Show. Query why she was fired/resigned from the board of directors of Cantel Medical the day after her run-in with Jon Stewart over conflicts of interest.

      that would be funny too. to overlook the fact that the president is a democrat and the house and the senate currently have overwhelming democratic majorities, and blame this total political disaster on people like sarah palin and betsy mcaughey is simply ridiculous. with the “public option” no longer a part of the real discussion, even actual liberals — like my old friend dennis kucinich — will not vote in favor of the bill.

      Kucinich was never going to vote for the Obama bill HR 3200. He’s a single-payer guy and a co-sponsor of HR 676. He was against HR 3200 the moment it was introduced, public option or not.

      And yes, part of the blame for the watering-down of this bill does go directly to people who have lied ridiculously in the media. This is a country where loads of people think dinosaurs mingled with humans on an Earth that’s only 6,000 years old. This is a country that gets its “news” from entertainment channels such as MSNBC, CNN, and FNC. This is a country that far too many people can’t find on a globe. So when well-funded assholes try to persuade the population that Obama’s medical bill will do horrible communist murdery things to them, people react, get angry, and scare the shit out of congresspeople who want to get re-elected.

  11. Adam K. August 22, 2009 at 11:52 pm #

    Hudson

    She gets on TV because she invented the Death Panel nonsense. She’s been all over the right wing media with her garbage, and was cocky enough to step into the ring with a whipsmart, vocal lefty who did his homework.

  12. mike hudson August 23, 2009 at 2:55 am #

    of course you guys are right. she is the epitome of evil. now that the great good jon stewart used his super mental capacity discombobulating her and triumphing over the incredible power of the dastardly right-wing media, everything will be all right. the dems in congress will line up behind their president and they will pass an all-inclusive universal health care reform package. wow, that was a close one. and the headline on this post was “cutting the bullsh*t” too.

  13. harrangody August 23, 2009 at 6:40 am #

    Mike,

    Now that your clever sarcasm has left all of us nigh speechless, try to actually talk and debate instead of spewing more bs.

    Mike WNY,

    I would think he focuses on that part because of how the opposition has manipulated it and twisted it into practically the whole issue of debate. Its a huge bill, but what most of the town hall “debates” and the media focus on are the “death panels.”

  14. mike hudson August 23, 2009 at 10:54 am #

    and obama’s campaign pledges and leadership, along with the overwhelming democratic majorities in the house and senate, have nothing to do with it. ok.

    • Alan Bedenko August 23, 2009 at 1:24 pm #

      Well, here’s the thing. I’ve posted a few times recently about Obama’s “fumfering” on health reform. But this post is about Jon Stewart annihilating Betsy McCaughey.

  15. Ward August 23, 2009 at 5:05 pm #

    Stewart’s efforts seem to have had little impact on the issue.

    Obama’s approval index is at a new low: -14. 49% of unaffiliated voters strongly disapprove of his performance. Only 49% of Democrats approve. 20% of voters rate health care as the top priority.

    Has Obama picked the wrong issue on which to draw a line in the sand? Or was he wrong to sub-contract the job to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi?

  16. mike hudson August 23, 2009 at 7:25 pm #

    “But this post is about Jon Stewart annihilating Betsy McCaughey.” which as i noted, was a lot like the 1927 yankees taking on the wnymedia softball team.

  17. Hank August 24, 2009 at 2:40 pm #

    Just LOOOOVE all y’all up there. I guess you missed the Deputy Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs going over the “Death Book” that Bush threw out, and the Messiah bought back in.

    Want to have a laugh about health care reform? The Messiah had a teleconference with several thousand Jewish Rabbi’s last week. The hold music was DEUTSCHLAND UBER ALLES—There’s probably a few rabbis left around who listened to that on the speakers in the death camps.

    Then teleprompter boy keeps repeating part of a Rosh Hashanah prayer about “Who lives and who dies”…..Then he says “WE are part of the process that determines life and death”. Why no punditry on that?

    • Alan Bedenko August 24, 2009 at 3:08 pm #

      Want to have a laugh about health care reform? The Messiah had a teleconference with several thousand Jewish Rabbi’s last week. The hold music was DEUTSCHLAND UBER ALLES—There’s probably a few rabbis left around who listened to that on the speakers in the death camps.

      I wasn’t aware that Jesus was around, much less holding conference calls with anyone, but I guess if he’s here, I’m “left behind”, and so are you.

      The hold music was not selected by the White House, but by the Musak-like company that’s hired out. The Deutschlandslied also happens to be the current German national anthem, but only the third stanza is sung. Haydn wrote it. So, there’s probably a few rabbis left around who put their hands over their hearts when they hear it because they live in Germany.

      Also, Israel has universal, compulsory health care for all its citizens. Another country that has America beat on that point. And have we established that Bush never used teleprompters?

  18. Jon Splett August 24, 2009 at 8:54 pm #

    Bush didn’t need teleprompters.

    He still had that earpiece left over from the debates against Kerry

  19. Byron August 25, 2009 at 8:05 am #

    This is for you, Splett.

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