Jun 1 2010

Letters to the Editor

Healthcare’s Flawed Narratives

When Michael Corcoran writes (“The Flawed Media Narrative of the Healthcare Debate,” Extra!, 4/10) that “pragmatic” is a curious way to describe letting the public option die, I’d like to agree with him. He would be correct if we really had a functioning democracy. Actually we have an oligarchy, which is only partially elected. Pragmatism could well mean the best that democratic elements can wrest from the oligarchic power structure. I wonder if this is the unconscious belief of the commentators who use the term “pragmatic.”

Peter Denison

Somerset, Mass.

“The Flawed Media Narrative of the Healthcare Debate” was a great article but it didn’t go back far enough. As long ago as the early 2008 Democratic debates, questions and subsequent coverage of single-payer were either not mentioned or mentioned as a minor issue by a “fringe” candidate like Kucinich.

John Fay

Wheaton, Md.

The propaganda that corporate lobbyists are feeding the media is that the government regulating healthcare in the public interest is socialism, aka “Obamacare.” They claim that the government will decide what doctors you will see, whether you live or die, etc. Unfortunately, most of the media repeats their “Obama-care” propaganda like trained parrots.

The truth is that honest politicians who represent the interests of the public have been fighting for healthcare reform since the days of Teddy Roosevelt. The accurate term for that isn’t socialism. It’s democracy.

I believe it is our responsibility as citizens to ask politicians, are you in favor of democracy, aka healthcare reform in the public interest, or are you addicted to taking bribes from global pharmaceutical, HMO and insurance industry lobbyists? The alternative to elected officials supporting “Obamacare” is politicians who are addicted to “$$ From Lobbyists.”

Bob Fisher

Encinitas, Calif.

Another Side to Biofuels

I read “Newsweek Green-washes the Oil Lobby for Real” by Candice O’Grady (Extra!, 2/10), and I have a few comments to make. I’m the biofuels beat reporter for DTN/The Progressive Farmer in Omaha, Nebraska, and I’ve covered the biofuels industry on a daily basis for about four years now. If your organization is Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting, there are a few things you need to know.

First, what Ms. O’Grady didn’t report is how entirely unproven and unsettled the issue of international indirect land use change (ILUC) as it relates to calculating corn ethanol’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

Second, if you look at the low-carbon fuel standards approved by the California Air Resources Board as well as EPA’s new LCFS, both conclude that corn ethanol has a greenhouse gas advantage compared to gasoline, but your reporter didn’t tell that side of it. In addition, many scientists have publicly expressed their opposition to the use of current economic models to calculate ILUC, although California has moved full speed ahead on its low-carbon fuel standard using a model that isn’t accurate.

Third, I’ve interviewed Timothy Searchinger and I find him to be very smart and interesting to talk to. However, he does have a history of being very anti-agriculture and the farmers who are our readers have taken notice of this quite clearly. So he’s not exactly a fan of corn ethanol, or agriculture for that matter. In addition, Searchinger will readily admit that he’s not a scientist but a lawyer. He told me in our interview that the science involved in greenhouse gas emissions and biofuels isn’t settled.

So, my point is, if your organization truly is about fairness and accuracy in reporting, these are things that should have been explored in Ms. O’Grady’s story. I could have provided volumes of stories that I’ve written on this subject to provide a more complete picture for her.

Todd Neeley

Staff Reporter

DTN/The Progressive Farmer: A Telvent Brand

Omaha, Neb.