Thursday, October 1, 2009

Consumers Reports Betrays its Bias on Health Care

Via Taegen Goddard's Political Wire  -Consumers Union publisher of the Consumers Reports monthly  products ratings and review magazine, has stepped outside its' area of expertise and into the health care debate. President Jim Guest attempts to justify an endorsement of Democrats' health care reform while suggesting they are maintaining an impartial view:
"You may wonder why we are injecting ourselves so publicly into a heated debate that has generated an enormous amount of concern and confusion... We are in the business of providing information and advice that helps consumers. We don't make campaign contributions. We don't endorse candidates. And we don't care who gets the credit for fixing the problems with health care -- we just need them fixed. Doing nothing about health care is not a solution."
Doesn't that last line ring a bell? I am not sure who is suggesting doing nothing about health care is the answer, did Consumer's Union take a look at Paul Ryan's Patient's Choice Act? Repeating the President's favorite straw man, "doing nothing" is a tip off to Consumer's Union bias; their endorsement of the "public option" that failed in the Senate Finance markup confirms their bias. Politico points to their web page that promotes Democrats' legislation as well.

Consumers Union will run the following advertisement in the DC area for two weeks:

As Professor William Jacobson at Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion notes Consumers Union's foray into the political debate does not serve them well:
Consumers Union has done substantial damage to its reputation and status. It may know dishwashers, but it obviously doesn't know much about the Democratic proposals which I have spend a considerable time studying. I have analyzed on this blog dozens of specific aspects of the Democratic proposals, and it is shocking to me that Consumers Union is so profoundly ignorant of what actually is in the proposals. The dreamy concept of providing care for everyone at low cost with higher quality, which is the thrust of the Consumers Union position, has no basis in the actual legislative proposals.
I am curious what is motivating this self-destructive decision to weigh in on a political debate.  It is widely known that PhRMA has agreed to run a sizable advertising campaign to promote the Democrats health care reform in exchange for reform that favors their industry.  What deal was cut to motivate Consumers Union to promote Democrats' legislation?  Perhaps Consumers Union was able to suppress its' biases while reporting on lawn mowers and garbage disposals but can no longer maintain its appearance of the unbiased arbiter when it comes to this President's signature legislative agenda.  It will be interesting to see if Consumers Union's true motivation can be established.  In the mean time the majority of Americans who oppose the health care legislation are likely to be skeptical, as am I, about this sudden need to weigh in on health care.

H/T: Memeorandum

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