Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Palin's death panel pastiche

I happened to check the news from New Hampshire, curious about the president’s visit to the Granite State, on Google, at the end of my work day, before leaving the office for home. Curiously, the LA Times, a newspaper with a conservative credo chose this headline, Obama says ‘death panels’ aren’t on his healthcare overhaul agenda, to introduce reporter Christi Parsons’ update for readers.

I continue to find the various angles by which mainstream outlets spin out the news quite interesting, and obviously biased, but not necessarily towards a liberal bent as malicious, misinformed parrots often claim. Here is the lede Parsons used for her 700 word article on Mr. Obama’s town hall visit to Portsmouth.

“Addressing one of the more volatile complaints about healthcare reform that he is proposing, President Obama said today Tuesday that he doesn't want to set up government "death panels" that decide which Americans get health services and which don't.”

Until yesterday, I was ignorant to the furor being stirred up once more by right-wing talk radio concerning President Obama’s attempt to spearhead healthcare reform in the U.S. I had stopped by my parents on my way back to the office from Brunswick. I spent about 20 minutes with them, and as I was getting in the car, my mother mentioned something related to her own healthcare situation, then made an offhand remark about government “death panels.”

I thought, “where the hell did this come from?" I had innocently stopped to pay a courtesy visit and once again, I was about to be sucked into the whirling rotors of the right-wing noise machine and its never-ending Jabberwocky. Luckily, I astutely extricated myself by making a bad attempt at a joke and hopping into my car and I was off. My curiosity had been whetted, however.

Last night, I did some research on the “death panel” topic, and while I shouldn’t have been surprised at how gullible people can be that get most of their news from right-wing talk radio, I was again perplexed and at a loss to ever counter this ongoing misinformation campaign foisted upon many good seasoned members of the U.S. population. Actually, the topic was so taxing, I had to lie down at 8:45 and the next thing I knew, I was snapping awake and it was 11:15 pm, just in time to catch Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingree swapping Moxie stories with Stephen Colbert.

I’m not sure what makes some people so fearful of their government that they think their president is considering euthanizing them. I actually recognize how incapable government is of getting anything done, let alone killing off a considerable segment of the population. If you want to target your fear at a large institution visiting death on the U.S. population, and anywhere else they set up shop in the world, think McDonald’s, not Barack Obama and his supposed "socialistic" tendencies.

Actually, people like my parents are the last people Palin’s death panels are going to target, because they’re pillars of health, and drain little from the public health system. Thankfully, I’ve made some changes in my own way of living, and losing weight will ensure that if by chance I wake up in the midst of some dystopian nightmare ala Rush Limbaugh’s active imagination, I too will be able to skirt the long reach of a bureaucratic death czar or czarina, or internment at some remote work camp (they're coming to take me away, ha-ha!) being set up as I type away at my keyboard.

No comments: