Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Narrow Outlet

Myron spoke to Dimitri Vassilaros, an opinion columnist in Pennsylvania, about a referendum vote in Oregon that was taken last November. Yes, indeed, Myron is talking about stuff he knows -- how to make money by pissing on the environment where other people live. Remember, his definition of property rights means that the [government] registered owner of any parcel land is supreme, and his [or its] view absolutely over-rides the interests of anyone who lives, breaths, or opens their eyes daily in the vicinity of that land. They are nothing. They are little people who don't understand that you have to sell your soul to ExxonMephistopheles in order to make the money to buy the land to have the right to breath clean air.

No problem. This fine journalist's previous column was about the miracle of the pharmaceutical industry, with choice quotes like: "Increase profits by decreasing quality and you risk driving your customer into the arms of your competitor."

Unfortunately, Myron wasn't on hand to correct that particular lie by reminding him of that other government private property rights register: The Patent, which ensures there is no competitor.

Not to worry, he swiped at public opinion which held that drugs were too expensive: "How [do] these [armchair] pharmacists know the research and development cost of even one pill?"

Presumably by reading the profit figures, which by definition are not research spending. He ended the column with the gem: "...good intentions will not even finance the manufacturing of an aspirin."

I thought we were talking about research and development.

The telling of lies does frequently get sloppy, because the correction mechanism is not referal to independent facts, evidence, history, or reasoned argument, you have to go back to the source to get the false story straight. That's what the corporate spokesman are there for.

Real reporters know this, and don't report their words uncritically verbatim. They ask questions. So, when the spokesman says: "[With price controls] France [produces] only 4 percent of world's new medicines," a reporter would ask to see the list of pills from which this 4% figure is derived. He would check that it didn't include all the killer drugs that were taken off the market because they were dangerous and didn't do anything medically new.

A long as Myron only takes interviews with people of this calibre, we're making progress. It won't be long till Exxon fires him for preaching only to the choir.


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