With passions running so high in the healthcare debate, and with so many powerful forces trying to manipulate the process to suit their own agendas, it gets really hard to believe anything we hear. How does one separate the truth from the lies, the policy positions from the propaganda, the facts from the noise? Let me tell you of an excellent resource for cutting through the static and getting some answers from reputable sources.
There has been much misinformation and worse, disinformation about what the various healthcare proposals would mean for Americans. Lots of nasty rhetoric and a health insurance lobby spending $1.4 million dollars a day to advertise against real reform. And this is just the beginning of the circus.
With several other crucial and controversial legislative items on the horizon – a sweeping environmental bill, the pro-union Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), immigration reform, etc. – the volume of the distortion will grow deafening.
If you hear a statistic on TV or get an inflammatory email forwarded to you from a partisan friend or relative, check out the veracity of the claims it contains at www.factcheck.org. The non-partisan groups mission as taken from their website:
We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding.
FactCheck.org is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The APPC was established by publisher and philanthropist Walter Annenberg in 1994 to create a community of scholars within the University of Pennsylvania that would address public policy issues at the local, state and federal levels.
The APPC accepts NO funding from business corporations, labor unions, political parties, lobbying organizations or individuals. It is funded primarily by the Annenberg Foundation.
Follow my simple rule of thumb when reading any material. If it seems too unbelievable to be true, it likely is. I run down all kinds of stories on FactCheck.org and am able to formulate my views rooted in the basis of facts. As students preparing to enter a field that rises and falls on science, empirical data and cool, clinical assessment of the facts in the pursuit of answers, this resource will serve you well.