Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Midnight Columnist: Corporate Bought Attacks On Sicko

In today's Washington Post, there is a guest column by Paul Howard stating that 'Sicko' didn't tell the whole truth about our health care system. For example, Derek Fisher of the Utah Jazz, has a daughter with cancer in her eye. She is getting world class treatment for it in the USA, but Michael Moore doesn't want to tell you about good stories like these.

Fisher, who has excellent health care, and made $5,883,600 in salary last year should be very happy that there is excellent care for his daughter, and he is able to take the year off as an NBA player to focus on her health. How this story has anything to do with what 'Sicko' brought up is just beyond me though.

People with moderate incomes and nominal health insurance are getting devastated by medical bills. Does the fact that a wealthy NBA player is able to get his daughter care make us want to leave the system in place? At the bottom of the column it noted that Paul Howard works for the Manhattan Institute. That explained everything.

Many of you are aware of the Heritage Foundation, and AEI. The Manhattan Institute is their ugly cousin in New York. What they do is whore themselves out to the largest corporate donors they can find and write up "research papers" that "prove" that things like smoking are not so bad for us. No seriously.

Tobacco industry documents reveal relationships between the Manhattan Institute and tobacco companies. The Institute sought funding from tobacco companies, including Brown & Williamson.[3] The Institute has received funding from R.J. Reynolds.[4] In 1991, Lorillard Inc. budgeted a $4,000 contribution of the Manhattan Institute[5] and the same amount in 1996.[6] Philip Morris budgeted $25,000 for the Instutite in 1995.

A 1997 R.J. Reynolds memo reveals RJR's intent to use the Manhattan Institute as a third party to help the company reduce the public's perception of danger from exposure to secondhand smoke.

They also take money from Richard Mellon Scaife, Exxon-Mobil, Bristol Meyers Squibb, Chase Manhattan, Reliant Energy, the Lily Endowment amongst others according to Source Watch, to write papers for them.

The fact that the Washington Post published a red herring column against 'Sicko' is discouraging. Another article written by Howard, totally not influenced by the pharmaceutical companies who fund him, lashed out against Stanford for banning freebies for doctors. The pharma reps just want to have lunch with doctors because they are sexy, and Stanford was being really mean. The man works at an institute! He must have a point!

It's bad enough that the Post has enough columnists and editorial writers on staff who are horribly wrong on issues. The notion of putting in thinly disguised ads from the health care industry and calling it a column is many degrees worse in lowering the standard of journalism that this paper practices.

On an unrelated point, let me state that George Soros is the sexiest man alive and his brilliance is only exceeded by his animal magnetism, humor, compassion, and tender bedroom eyes.

Update:If you feel concerned about corporately funded think tanks being published as columns in the Washington Post, why don't you drop Deborah Howell the Ombudsman of the Post an email at ombudsman@washpost.com