• Make room for the facts

    Aaron and I have noticed something. It’s been bothering us for years. We’ve written more emails to each other about it than about almost anything else. So it’s not new. Here’s the latest example:

    Conservative standard-bearers Holtz-Eakin and Roy are enjoying another 15 minutes of media attention. That’d be fine except that they don’t seem to have their facts straight. Meanwhile, Aaron corrected the record and barely got a mention in the round-ups and posts that highlighted Holtz-Eakin and Roy. (Thanks Jon Chait!) It seems like we’re stuck at the kids’ table.

    Why? Is it the facts that don’t matter or the way they’re delivered? Likely both.

    Well, we can’t change the facts. But we could, with help, change how they’re delivered. It seems like TIE doesn’t count, even when we are first to post the same facts and evidence that others come around to later. In contrast, columns in big media outlets automatically get attention. So maybe we have to publish in Forbes or WaPo or the like to get equal time. Happy to! Anyone have space for us or know someone who does?


    • Avik and H-E are thought leaders for a major ideological movement. You are not. What they say is relevant because it may predict what the movement will espouse in the future. That matters for future politics even if it is at variance with the facts. That is why they are covered in the big media.

      Of course, it should also matter whether what they say corresponds to the facts. So, please, keep trying.

    • 15 minutes is being generous. I actually haven’t seen any discussion of the Eakin-Roy piece, let alone Carroll’s rebuttal, outside of TIE. I’ve seen passing links to it, but that’s it. I’d suggest that you might be overestimating the interest in the Eakin-Roy piece.

      I found this well-hidden blog through National Review. Sure, TIE has a narrow focus and lots of down-in-the-weeds posts of little interest outside the field but it really should be getting more attention than it does.

    • I always read you guys before reading Forbes or WSJ. It is refreshing to note that Holtz-Eakin and Roy finally acknowledged that honest intellectual thought was MIA in Republicans’ responses to the Affordable Care Act. They’ve finally been embarrassed and are responding with some thoughtful reform comments. I feel better they’ve at least acknowledged universal access to coverage as a good thing. For those two, that’s progress. Maybe someone they care about will finally get insurance next year.

      To get more readership maybe you need to do what other bloggers do to attract eyes, Attractive people with long legs or boobs or pecs. I’m just saying a little sex…what could it hurt. 🙂

    • Why? Is it the facts that don’t matter or the way they’re delivered? Likely both.

      Journalism is the art of getting people’s attention, it is not about truth.

      You need to get famous then you bring an audience. Since you do not bring an audience you need them more that they need you. If you bring the audience they need you more than you need them. This is why politicians are seldom asked difficult questions. The journalist needs access to the politicians. Did you ever wonder why Barbara Walters got those high profile interviews. It was not due to her vast knowledge of policy just the opposite.

    • “It seems like we’re stuck at the kids’ table.’ …”It seems like TIE doesn’t count, even when we are first to post the same facts and evidence that others come around to later.”

      **Not for posting**

      Perhaps others have taken note of your intolerance to ideas you disagree with and how easily you censure out ideas that don’t conform to your own. That is how children act and those are good enough reasons to leave you at the kid’s table. (It’s a small world.)


      • Made my night!

        • What a surprise to find my comment that was **not for posting** being posted, yet noting that in the past other respectful comments had been deleted because a moderator seemed to have an alternative view of things. A change in attitude? Congratulations I hope. Sometimes I wonder why anyone would pre censor on topic respectful remarks. Who is there to censor the censor?

          • Well, I did not understand the “not for posting” bit. Also, we do NOT edit comments, so that would have been impossible…

            Our comments policy is easily found.

            • If only our email addresses were right on the blog. Oh yeah … http://theincidentaleconomist.com/wordpress/policies/contact/

            • Aaron, I am not upset and you made no error by posting the comment. Those three words and the asterisks were just letting you know that I didn’t expect the note to be posted. I didn’t care one way or the other.

              I don’t know if you edit or not though I believe you when you say you don’t, but you and Austin have censured some of my replies even though they represented my opinion and I believed them to be accurate. They were all on topic and respectful, not significantly different from my other postings or postings of others.

              You had made some errors (not intentionally) in one of your postings that I noted. That left the issue open to discussion and the learning process. We are all adults so everyone can choose to believe whomever they think has the better data or even come up with a third opinion. That brings us to the problem of censure. No one can tell if diverse opinions exist on the list if the voice can be silenced. That puts a question into one’s mind as to what alternative opinions have been silenced and makes your voice weaker than it would have been had everyone been sure that all voices were heard.

    • Unless I’m mistaken – it seems like the views you espouse are generally if not entirely consonant with the overwhelming majority of policy academics in virtually every significant regard.

      All of the major academic opinion leaders like the folks at Dartmouth to journal heads like Angell at JAMA, to center-left bloggers like Ezra Klein, the NYT editorial page and every other major news daily outside of flyover country, popular periodicals ranging from Newsweek to The Nation and beyond. Not to mention institutional players like Berwick/Sebelius, and virtually every career health policy bureaucrat I’ve ever heard register an opinion on reforming health care delivery….so while the two of you may not personally have the same kind of platform that a media figure like Roy has as of yet, it’s not as though people who seem to share the general vision articulated here lack visibility or influence. Given the predispositions of the policy establishment In suspect that the sentiments that you express here have long broad echoes even if you aren’t hearing them directly.

      (Perhaps I’m wrong and you’d both have raging disagreements with Berwick, Skinner, Gawende, Angell, Sebelius, etc, etc, etc, if you sat down to discuss what you’d like to do to reform health care in this country, but that seems profoundly unlikely).

      • One example: Conventional wisdom — even among the crowd you cite — is that we must cut health care spending. I disagree, and have said so many times. What we ought to do is make the health system more efficient, or in some emergent way allow it to be so. Collectively, we can afford more than we tend to admit. But there’s no good reason to pour money into useless, misapplied, or harmful therapies while, at the same time, underproviding those that have high value.

    • I wish I had a national platform to offer you, but instead I read your blog almost daily, and encourage my friends, students, and colleagues to do so as well. Thank you for compiling such a trove of data, and writing about it so clearly. Keep it up!

      F. Patch, MD
      Internal Medicine, Boston Medical Center

    • Try The Atlantic for exposure. Just don’t expect to get paid. 😉