The dangerous practices of right-wing media have never been more apparent than in their misrepresentation of the Congressional Budget Office report on the effect the Affordable Care Act is likely to have on America’s job market. These so-called news outlets quoted the report as predicting the loss of more than 2 million jobs. That was not just wrong. It was the opposite of what the report said.
The CBO figured that as Americans would be freed from having to work just to get health insurance, many of them would choose to retire early, work part-time or become self-employed. To me, that’s a good thing. It ends the bondage imposed by the old system, under which many people had to stay in jobs they hated in order to have health insurance – not just for themselves but often for their families
The Affordable Care frees them to leave the marketplace, creating openings for other job seekers.
But the right-wing doomsayers fed their audiences a totally different story. They quoted the report as saying the new health care law would result in 2 million-plus fewer job opportunities.
Was it stupidity? Or mischief making?
It’s not the first time this kind of thing has occurred. The right-wing propaganda machine misread the Supreme Court’s ruling on the bill’s individual mandate, too. Remember?
I want to think that in their rush to get the news out, and with wishful thinking clouding their minds, they misunderstand the information they are given.
But I have to wonder whether it’s a deliberate strategy.
The right-wing noise machine spreads so many false “facts.” Why would they stop at deliberately misreporting the Supreme Court verdict or the CBO report?
Of course, they had to change their story later on, but the harm was already done. They had already planted the lie and their audience was only too willing to believe it. When the truth came out, I wonder how many people changed their minds – or even heard the correct version.
This persistent misrepresentation of the news creates widespread confusion and mistrust in the public mind. And I have to wonder whether this is the real motive behind the current epidemic of misreporting.
Surely, this wasn’t what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they gave Americans freedom of speech. They could not have foreseen the diabolical distortion of the truth that plagues the country today.