The Times’ not-so-full disclosure

The New York Times today commits a double failure to disclose in running an op-ed piece by the economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who claims that the health-care bill now moving toward final resolution would add $562 billion to the federal deficit.

First, the Times does not note that Holtz-Eakin was a close adviser to John McCain’s presidential campaign, and provided one of the few laugh lines of that dreadful effort by crediting McCain with the development of the BlackBerry.

Second, the Times identifies Holtz-Eakin as the president of the American Action Forum without noting that it is a partisan Republican organization founded by former senator Norm Coleman.

As for the merits of Holtz-Eakin’s argument, he repeats the familiar Republican talking point that the bill’s authors cynically claim savings by counting 10 years’ worth of revenues to pay for six years’ worth of benefits. The non-partisan site PolitiFact.com has pronounced that claim to be “half true.” Keep that in mind as you sift through his bill of particulars.

5 thoughts on “The Times’ not-so-full disclosure

  1. BP Myers

    Hilarious. What did they use as his short bio? Lemme guess:

    Douglas Holtz-Eakin is a concerned citizen.

  2. Aaron Read

    @ BP Myers: Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who was the director of the Congressional Budget Office from 2003 to 2005, is the president of the American Action Forum, a policy institute.

    I’ve never worked at a newspaper before, only radio news outlets. Will someone explain to me how the NYTimes DIDN’T at least say “a CONSERVATIVE policy institute”? I mean, that is pretty horrible editing right there…if that kind of omission was made in my (radio station’s) newsroom, I’d fire the reporter.

    Granted my reporters are all undergrad students…but still!

  3. BP Myers

    @Aaron said: Will someone explain to me how the NYTimes DIDN’T at least say “a CONSERVATIVE policy institute?

    Funny how conservative outlets have no qualms about calling things the way they see them. I was listening to a conservative talkradio station yesterday afternoon not long after Stupak and his cohort came out in favor of the healthcare bill. Their news began: “A group of self-described pro-life Democrats have announced . . .”

    Because they can’t really be “pro-life” if they voted for this bill now, can they?

  4. William Jones

    Did Mr. Kennedy or any of the several commenters on his note concerning Mr. Holtz-Eakin’s opinion piece regarding the economics of the health care legislation enacted by the Democratic congress and signed by President Obama actually read the article? The bias of Mr. Kennedy and the first four commenters say nothing to indicate that they read the article or thought about the validity of the arguments.
    They seem to assume the CBO scoring magically removes costs and increases revenues. Mr. Holtz-Eakin, as a former CBO director, certainly should be respected when he says that the real costs of the legislation are substantially in excess of the CBO evaluation, since that evaluation is narrow and short term in focus and since this legislation sets up large new entitlement programs, uses non-health care revenues (from student loan programs) to offset health care costs, and front loads revenues. I think it is wonderful, if unexpected, that the NY Times printed Mr. Holtz-Eakin’s article.

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