Sunday, April 19, 2015

Emergency Workers Selling National Parks to Poisoned Children!

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So, this meme showed up in our newsfeed again today. "Again" because it's been floating around for a while, and came back because of the Indiana religious blah blah bill that exploded the country's collective head because the governor signed a bill that was pretty much an echo of a federal law passed some time ago, and the signing was a big act of symbolism and solidarity with bigots, and boy did the governor get blowback from the rest of us who aren't bigoted.

Michigan actually didn't do what the meme says and hasn't done it, but you can't blame the meme — here is what CBS News said about the situation:

Except that it wouldn't. As one patient reader/commenter pointed out after the story, "the objector would have to have a specific religious objection to the requirement that they treat the patient, not a general objection with the patient."

In other words: if you're an EMT, your job is to respond to emergencies and save lives. You would need to object to this requirement because it might include the possibility that some of the lives needing saving could be LGBT lives. So you use religion as a basis for challenging the basic job requirement. You want the job to grant you discretion and autonomy in choosing what to respond to, who to save.

And, you lose. Because that's not the job.

We've already talked about clickbait here, and now we're talking about Web headlines and news coverage, period. For example, Is Germany Going to Charge George W. Bush and Dick Cheney as War Criminals?

As this analysis calmly points out, no. That headline is based on wishful thinking and ultra-liberal fantasy, and it comes from taking a few basic facts, putting them in a blender, and laying them all together on a baking sheet to blob together afterwards. And when that happens, the analysts explain, then liberal/progressive "news" sites are no better than their nemesis, Fox News.

Okay then, what about THIS headline?

Yeah, no. While the bill is written by horrible people who belong to a horrible political party, it actually says that it's about "initiatives to sell or transfer to, or exchange with, a State or local government any Federal land that is NOT within the boundaries of a National Preserve or National Monument..." (emphasis ours).

Note that it also is about the federal government making deals with state governments. No "Private Industry" to be found — unless, of course, the state chooses to involve Private Industry afterwards. And since a lot of states are governed by horrible people belonging to a horrible political party, that might actually happen.

But this headline, above, did not happen.

One last example:




This is about a boy in Michigan, whose parents said that there were no more signs of his cancer, so he was cured and there was no more need for him to stay on the maintenance chemo that his doctors prescribed. In fact, the doctors said, without that maintenance chemo, the boy had a 70% chance of the cancer recurring, and him dying of it. So the state got involved.

And look at how it involved itself! Forcing the poor parents to poison their child! Committing "medical terrorism" with this family as the victims! And who cares what evidence the state's case was built on, after all that!

And then this happened:


And the family explained its response to the cancer's return this way:


That's spin, of course; but who can blame them for wanting to avoid national embarrassment? The doctors and the state said the cancer would return, and it did, and the parents and their lawyer had been wrong, but what mattered now was saving the boy's life. And everyone got busy doing that. Last we checked, he's still doing great.

The point isn't the parents. The point is the headlines. STATE DEMANDS CHILD TAKE CANCER-CAUSING DRUGS. MEDICAL TERRORISTS POISON CHILD.

And since we know now that about half of online readers don't read the whole story (hell, we've probably lost half of you who started to read this post), or don't even click the headline to read the story at all, the headline is the story. Making it a thousand times more imperative that the "news" organizations online get out of the click-scare bait & switch business and put some facts into those headlines.

Factuality can be boring as hell, but it's necessary beyond belief. Otherwise we're just standing ready with pitchforks and torches at our keyboards, waiting for the first person to scream a false accusation that we can share and re-tweet and help make viral to the point where it becomes a fact.

And if you're gay, remember: No medical personnel in Michigan have to help you if you get beaten up for slander. A new bill says so. We read it on the Internet.

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