Saturday, March 13, 2010

Media <i>Schadenfreude</i>

The liberal media have been having a feeding frenzy this past week at the expense of the hapless and strange Democrat from New York, Eric Massa. Mr. Massa, who has resigned his congressional seat, has admitted to participating in "tickle fights" with his assistants, as well as other behaviors most of us might consider somewhat unusual for a fifty year old husband and father. He's also been accused of making unwelcome sexual advances on male subordinates both in Congress and while serving as an officer in the Navy.

So much for the sad story of Eric Massa. What I'd like to focus on is the peculiar response to this episode by the liberal media which has been relishing and abetting the spectacle of this poor man humiliating and debasing himself in nationally televised interviews. They can't seem to get enough of the sordid details. My question for the media progressives, then, is what, exactly, do they consider Mr. Massa's offenses to be that he so richly merits their derision and contempt?

Are they scandalized by his alleged unwelcome gropings and advances? If so, where were they when Paula Jones, Kathleen Willy and Juanita Broaddrick were making the same, or worse, sorts of allegations against President Clinton? Back then the media couldn't do enough to discredit the women who were making the charges and to protect the President from their "slanders." In what significant way is Mr. Massa's behavior any different from President Clinton's? Indeed, it could be argued that it was not nearly as bad. Juanita Broadderick, after all, accused Mr. Clinton of having raped her and Kathleen Willey accused him of having molested her in the Oval Office. All of these women were subsequently subjected to smears, aspersions, and intimidation, and the liberal media happily piled on. Rather like Mr. Massa's friends were said to pile on him to celebrate his fiftieth birthday.

Perhaps, then, it's the homosexual nature of Mr. Massa's advances the media finds so titillating. But haven't they been instructing us for a generation now that gay sex should be looked upon in the same way we view "straight" sex? To ridicule Massa because his frolics were homo- rather than heterosexual is to violate one of the major tenets of 21st century liberal sexual orthodoxy. Why would enlightened liberals be snickering at Mr. Massa's conduct as though it were a degrading perversion, unless, of course, they're hypocrites?

Well, we don't want to think that so maybe the media are amused simply by the fact that this pathetic man is making a public fool of himself. But, again, if that's what has set them all to chortling why aren't they rolling on the floor in laughter over Nancy Pelosi's steady flow of inanities? This woman makes a fool of herself almost every time she opens her mouth. The other day she told us that Congress had to pass the health care reform (HCR) bill so that we could know what was in it. No sooner did we get done scratching our heads over that one than she followed it up with soothing assurances that if the measure is passed those of us who wish to be artists or writers won't have to worry about having to keep a job to pay for our insurance since our neighbors will be required to pay for it for us. Isn't that swell? If you decide to leave your job to go splatter paint on a canvas can you expect your neighbor to buy you your food and gas, and pay your mortgage, too?

Anyway, the liberal media's treatment of Massa is not about his sexual gropings. If it were they would've been outraged by Bill Clinton. Nor is it about the fact that his romps were homoerotic because liberals profess to see nothing wrong with that. Nor is it about his embarrassingly ridiculous attempts to justify his behavior in televised interviews for if it were they'd be scoffing merrily at Nancy Pelosi's vacuous attempts to justify HCR.

No. Under the pretense of illuminating Mr. Massa's ethical and moral transgressions the media is trying to destroy him because, despite being one of the most progressive members in the House of Representatives, he was a "no" vote on HCR. If he'd been a "yes" they would've had scarcely a word to say about his ethical problems, just as they've been loath to say much about Chris Dodd's or Charles Rangel's problems or those of the late Jack Murtha.

Perhaps the best explanation for the liberal media's conduct in this case - other than that, like bullies, they take pleasure in kicking people who are down (vide their delight in exposing every sleazy and harmful detail of Tiger Woods' personal life) - is that, perhaps unconsciously, they want to make Massa look as weird as possible so that the public will come to associate opposition to HCR with total weirdness.


Call Us Ishmael

Kevin Ferris of the Philadelphia Inquirer has penned a helpful summary of what's wrong with the President's plan for health care reform. His column is, in fact, a recap of the points made by congressman Paul Ryan at the Health Care Summit convened a couple of weeks ago by President Obama.

Ferris writes:

[O]ne thing was missing in the summit and in the 10 days since: answers to the sharp criticisms raised about the Obama/Reid/Pelosi health-care bills. Yet Obama and congressional Democrats charge ahead: We must have reform. Now. And it must be this Obama/Senate bill.

The public has been skeptical all along, doubting Congress' veracity and its accounting skills. Last week, a CNN poll showed only 25 percent in favor of the current Democratic plans, while 48 percent say start over.

Yet opposition and legitimate criticisms have been largely dismissed, and this was true at the summit, too, when raised by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) and others. So let me join Investor's Business Daily's Feb. 26 issue and others who have repeated Ryan's concerns, so these serious flaws can be addressed before "reform" is jammed down our throats:

"If you take a look at the CBO analysis, analysis from your chief actuary, this bill does not control costs; this bill does not reduce deficits. Instead this bill adds a new health-care entitlement, at a time when we have no idea how to pay for the entitlements we already have."

This bill "is full of gimmicks and smoke and mirrors."

"The bill has 10 years of tax increases of about one-half trillion dollars, with 10 years of Medicare cuts of one-half trillion dollars to pay for six years of spending. What's the true 10-year cost of this bill? In 10 years, it is $2.3 trillion.

"When you strip out the double-counting and what I call the gimmicks, the full 10-year cost is a $460 billion deficit. The second 10-year cost of this bill has a $1.4 trillion deficit."

"It takes $52 billion in higher Social Security tax revenues and counts them as offsets, but that is really reserved for Social Security. So either we are double-counting them or we are not planning to pay those Social Security benefits."

"It takes $72 billion and claims money from the Class Act, that's the long-term-care insurance program. It takes the money from premiums that are designed for that benefit and instead counts them as offsets. The Senate Budget Committee chairman said this is a Ponzi scheme that would make Bernie Madoff proud."

"It treats Medicare like a piggy bank. It raids a one-half trillion dollars out of Medicare . . . not to shore up Medicare solvency, but to spend on this new government program."

"The chief actuary of Medicare . . . is saying as much as 20 percent of Medicare providers will go out of business or stop seeing Medicare beneficiaries. Millions of seniors who have chosen Medicare Advantage will lose the coverage they now enjoy. You can't say that you are using this money to extend Medicare solvency and also offset the cost of this new program. That's double-counting."

"We don't think we should cut [Medicare reimbursements to] doctors 21 percent next year. . . . It was in the first iteration of all these bills, but because it was a big price tag, and made the score look bad, it has been taken out of this bill and is going along in stand-alone legislation. But ignoring these costs does not remove them from the backs of taxpayers. Hiding spending does not reduce spending. . . . "

"Are we bending the cost curve down or bending the cost curve up? If you look at your own chief actuary at Medicare, we're bending it up. He's claiming we are going up $222 billion, adding more to the unsustainable fiscal situation we have."

"We are all representatives of the American people. We all do town hall meetings. We all talk to our constituents. And I've got to tell you the American people are engaged. If you think they want a government takeover of health care, I would respectfully submit, you are not listening to them."

"What we simply want to do is start over, work on a clean sheet of paper, move through these issues step by step, and fix them, and bring down health-care costs and not raise them."

Ryan speaks as the author of a health-care plan that would cut costs, extend coverage, and not add to the deficit. Obama has continually made the same three promises, but while all Democratic plans extend coverage, they increase costs and the deficit.

Their response to Ryan thus far: We must have reform. Now. And it must be the Obama/Senate bill.

They're half-right. We must have reform. But it most definitely should not be this bill.

Democrat pollsters Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen bemoan that their party is committing political suicide by pursuing the great white whale that is their plan for health care reform. Like the insane Captain Ahab, the Democrats' refusal to listen to any other opinion and their obssession with passing the Senate plan will end in them destroying themselves and taking as many of us with them as they can.

Does this sound like anything else you've ever heard of?

Ramirez thinks so: