So, you may have noticed that I don't usually talk politics on this blog, but since you guys aren't too interested in breakfast today ;) , I've decided to go for it, mainly because there's a political issue lately that has really been burning my butt. Now, I'm pretty middle of the road politically, but the one thing about politics and the media that I really, really hate is when parties and their affiliated media sources continue to purport rumors about another candidate, party, or legislation with seemingly no care to check the facts. Case in point: the recent media firestorm that Obama and his new health plan are pro-euthenasia.
As many of you may know, the NY Times published an article today explaining that these rumors are false, and have been advanced by the Republican party and conservative media sources (and to be clear, I'm not just talking about Fox News here). The Huffington Post also does a great job fact-checking this myth.
As far as I can tell, one of the major catalysts behind these headlines that seem to be all over the media (in fact, I think Justin and his brother were even discussing this last night at band practice) was Sarah Palin's Facebook post that said, in reference to Obama's health care plan currently before congress,
"The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil."
Essentially, Palin and other conservative media sources have purported that under Obama's new plan, those who are sick, would have to go before a panel that would decide whether or not they were a productive member of society and worthy of medical care.
Obama himself recently addressed these rumors saying,
“Let me just be specific about some things that I’ve been hearing lately that we just need to dispose of here. The rumor that’s been circulating a lot lately is this idea that somehow the House of Representatives voted for death panels that will basically pull the plug on grandma because we’ve decided that we don’t, it’s too expensive to let her live anymore....It turns out that I guess this arose out of a provision in one of the House bills that allowed Medicare to reimburse people for consultations about end-of-life care, setting up living wills, the availability of hospice, etc. So the intention of the members of Congress was to give people more information so that they could handle issues of end-of-life care when they’re ready on their own terms. It wasn’t forcing anybody to do anything.”
Interestingly enough, this is something that Sarah Palin herself endorsed as Governor of Alaska. Still, Palin continues to misguidedly imply on her Facebook page that Obama's Health Care Reform would surely mean the death of thousands of unwilling seniors, despite the fact that it's simply not true. And I can personally testify that many, many, people I've spoken to recently believe what she's been saying, and really haven't checked into the facts of it at all.
The message today from me is clear: when it comes to politics, fact-checking is essential. Getting your news from one source--whether that be ABC News, FOX, or Jon Stewart--is a bad idea. If you want to know a political figure's opinion on an issue, research their voting record (On The Issues is a great website for this), don't rely on what an opposing political figure says about it. And don't believe everything you hear on TV. Duh.