Monday, August 17, 2009

The Eye of the Beholder

As is so often the case these days, News-Press owner Wendy McCaw and her editorial page editor Travis Armstrong are hopping mad.

Of course what they're hopping mad about is debatable.

Friday's lead editorial in the News-Press blamed our congressional representative, Lois Capps, for the "spectacle at the corner of Carrillo and Garden streets" and the accompanying, "dueling war of words," which by the way, they saw no need for.

They were referring to the large number of people who showed up Thursday afternoon outside of Capp's downtown Santa Barbara office. Some, encouraged by the News-Press, were there to protest Capps failure to date to hold a local "town hall" style meeting on health care reform. But the larger group, by far, was there to show their support for Capps. That was despite the fact that the News-Press had, the day before, accused Capps of "ducking" the health care debate and publicized the fact that there would be a protest at her office the following day.

"Spectacle?" I know that in this town large groups of people showing up to protest something other than the situation at the News-Press is an infrequent occurrence, but I would hardly call Thursday's gathering a "spectacle."

Both the News-Press' own news article on the demonstration as well as their own video report don't appear to support the characterization of Thursday's event as a "spectacle."

Perhaps Armstrong is not reading the news section of his own paper or watching "News-Press TV?"

My guess is rather than being hopping mad over health care reform the News-Press was hopping mad over the fact that they were out-organized when it came to mobilizing a crowd. I guess the failure to get significant numbers of people to share the paper's disdain for Capps is what made Thursday's event a "spectacle" in the eyes of Wendy and Travis. To everyone else, it was an example of democracy.

* * *

And speaking of the health care reform debate, will someone please tell Gina Perry that there is more to writing an "opinion" column then listening to Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage on the radio all day, or reading what Sarah Palin posts on her Facebook page, and then writing down what they say and getting the Daily Sound to publish it.

She used her Thursday column to spread the lie that President Obama's health care proposals would create government sponsored "death panels." Or, as she would have us believe, a variation of "cash for clunkers," with the feeble, sick and elderly in the role of the run down jalopy that's a valve job away from the junk yard. "Instead of sending old cars to the wrecking yard, we could send granny," wrote Perry.

No one's sending granny anywhere. And as much as I would personally like to see it, no one is sending a tow truck over to haul Perry's deflated brain away either.

As reported in the New York Times, "There is nothing in any of the legislative proposals that would call for the creation of death panels or any other governmental body that would cut off care for the critically ill as a cost-cutting measure."

Given that the true facts are so easily accessible, I can only assume that Perry is resorting to prevarication to convince her readers to join in her opposition to health care reform.

Hopefully when health care reform becomes a reality, Perry can use her prescription benefit to buy herself a lifetime supply of sodium pentathol.
© 2009 by Craig Smith and