Here is the headline in the print version of this New York Times story (which the Times headlines appropriately on-line):
Justice Department Acts Against Protections For People With Pre-existing Conditions
This is as pure an example of journalism deceit and a pernicious variety of fake news as I have encountered. An equivalent headline would be to describe the ACLU petitioning to overturn a federal ban on “hate speech” as “ACLU Acts Against Protections for Blacks, Gays and Muslims.”
The individual mandate was always unconstitutional as a penalty, and the Supreme Court was poised to overturn the Affordable Care Act on that basis, until Justice Roberts hit on the brilliant but perverse argument that even though the Obama administration and Democrats had insisted that the device wasn’t a tax in order to get the thing passed, it really was, so it was legal after all. Congress, however, repealed the “tax,” so now that pretense no longer works. The mandate is unconstitutional…again.
I know the Democratic approach to legislation and public policy is increasingly “the ends justify the means” and “the Constitution is just an archaic piece of paper,” but the fact is and has always been that the document is our nation’s (increasingly vulnerable) bulwark against tyranny, and it is the duty of the Justice Department and the courts to oppose unconstitutional, as in “illegal,” measures, even those that appear to solve difficult problems.
If a provision is unconstitutional, it doesn’t matter what benefits it may have. We cannot have a precedent that holds that the Constitution can be ignored for “good reasons.” No reason is good enough. That kind of thinking is how Japanese-Americans ended up in concentration camps under an iconic Democratic President, approved by a liberal Supreme Court.
The individual mandate, without the cover story that it is a tax, violates the Constitution. That’s all we need to know. The ability of insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions under the ACA becomes impossible without it? Well, we’re just going to have to come up with a solution that isn’t unconstitutional, won’t we?
Deceiving the public into believing that upholding core constitutional principles is excessive and sinister when it blocks otherwise desirable policy initiatives is playing with fire. It makes the public civically ignorant. It places false emphasis on results rather than the rule of law.
It paves the road to totalitarianism.
7 thoughts on ““From The Ethics Alarms “Nah, There’s No Mainstream Media Bias!” Files: The Unethical Headline Of The Month”
Well done Jack.
“It paves the road to totalitarianism.”
This is a feature of the modern progressive media, not a bug.
They just think they will be one of the Elite, come the revolution. History says otherwise: the journalists are one of the first stood in front of a pockmarked wall when socialists take over.
I have made this point before, in the past few weeks, but think it bears repeating: Fly Over Country has known for years (decades?) that what is reported in the Mainstream Media is at best a spin on the story, and at worst an outright lie.
We began noticing this about stories of which we had personal knowledge, from our backyards. Then social media connected people in different areas of the country, and the MSM version could be disputed, either by eye witnesses or by those involved.
We have not trusted the press for a long while. We are waiting for our coastal brethren to realize they are being gaslighted.
“The ability of insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions under the ACA becomes impossible without it? Well, we’re just going to have to come up with a solution that isn’t unconstitutional, won’t we?”
Amen. God forbid the Congress should pass a law that is constitutional and works. What a concept. Political consultants would be jumping off cliffs in droves.
Sever the change to the law that rendered it unconstitutional.
Or repeal the whole thing rather than doing it by stealth.
How is it “by stealth”? The thing was a monstrosity, and doomed one way or the other, as critics, not just Republicans,said from the start. I also don’t know how a law that says “you must spend your money the way the government demands in its infinite wisdom” can ever be Constitutional, as Scalia said. And it was alarming that the four liberals were willing to let Congress do that. The whole structure was built on an unconstitutional theory. Who’s at fault for that?
If you’re asking me to defend the original SCOTUS decision, I must decllne.
But passing an amendment to make a law unconstitutional rather than bearing the odium of repealing it openly, that’s unethical.
See also https://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2011/01/17/congress-passes-socialized-medicine-and-mandates-health-insurance-in-1798/#b92814c53fff
That’s not what’s happening. The provision was suddenly called a tax. Congress decided that it wasn’t, and repealed that “tax.” That’s not unethical, especially since the “tax” was not passed by Congress as a tax, but by misrepresentation. It’s Ethics Zugswang: arguably unethical whatever they do: wrong to keep it, wrong to kill it. Well, the party that just repealed it isn’t to blame for THAT double bind.