On Medicare, the Journal Sentinel's Freudian slip | WisCommunity

On Medicare, the Journal Sentinel's Freudian slip

[img_assist|nid=121115|title=Freudian|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=175|height=238]In an editorial today praising the new Medicare "reform" alliance  between Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's editorial board inadvertently gives away what is perhaps its unconscious, underlying view. 

In the editorial's third paragraph, after stating that the Ryan-Wyden alliance is a "watershed" moment in efforts to reform Medicare, readers are asked:

Could this be the beginning of the end for Medicare? Let's hope so.

I'm going to be charitable for a moment and suggest that this is just a poorly written sentence, the intent of which is really to suggest the beginning of the end of the contentious Medicare reform debate in Washington, and not Medicare itself. Wait a moment..... Okay, Don't really think so. Now we can move on.

The newspaper's editorial continues, like many politicos and pundits, to invest in the meme that Medicare is doomed unless the government does something drastic. We need not hash over that debate again right here, we only need point out that the Journal Sentinel has taken this view before.

But what I suspect is that the newspaper's brain trust is really more invested in getting rid of Medicare, just like the Republicans including Ryan whom the Journal Sentinel increasingly champions. And in a momentary slip-up, that's exactly what the newspaper has just said.  

A day after running the national Politifact finding that Democrats committed the "lie of the year" by saying Ryan's plans would "end" or "kill" Medicare, the newspaper's own editorial writers now flat out say Ryan's newst initiative could "be the beginning of the end for Medicare." Not the Medicare debate, but Medicare, period. By Poliifact's own parsing standards, this statement cannot be mollified by subtle context. Nope. The Journal Sentinel hopes we bring an end to Medicare -- and says so simplly and directly. When a Democrat comes along and quotes the editorial in this regard with complete accuracy, what in the world is Politifact going to do?


On Dec. 23 in the following day's print edition (though not on the Web version), the Journal Sentinel runs an editorial page correction saying that the sentence in question was edited improperly, and that the way it should have read is: Could this be the beginning of the end for "Mediscare"? Let's hope so.

Hmmm. It's hard to believe any copy editor would have changed the word to "Medicare" upon wrongly perceiving the "s" in "Mediscare" was erroneous, given that the word allegedly was meant to run in quote marks. But if so, that just proves that even with the quote marks, many readers (like that copy editor) likely would have read right over the addition of that "s". The editorial writers were being too cute by half. Note, too, that the word "Mediscare" is code for: "Democrats lie about Paul Ryan's Medicare reform proposal." Such a just editorial! When Democrats speak with fundamental accuracy about the plan killing Medicare, Politifact calls that the "lie of the year," but when the Journal Sentinel gets a key word wrong, completely altering the entire meaning of its statement, that's just a "whoops."

A sense of proportion, please. And more transparency. If you don't like Medicare and would like to get rid of it and perhaps replace it with something else that operates in a fundamentally different manner, why then, say so. Whether you're Ryan or the Journal Sentinel.


December 22, 2011 - 10:34am