Tag Archives: Michelle Malkin

Straw Mom

Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue about his son’s congenital heart defect and the medical treatment it needed was pretty moving.  And Kimmel then followed it with an observation that too many folks without insurance coverage would not have had the medical access he had. It was, ultimately, a personal story about why the Affordable Care Act is so important.

Enter Michelle Malkin for some pushback.  She titled her piece, “A Thinking Mom’s Message for Jimmy Kimmel.“  First, she took issue with the fact that Kimmel “turned his personal plight into a political weapon” that so many were willing to re-tweet and like on social media.  But then the argument, and not the opportunisim, gets some critical attention:

Kimmel doesn’t need more maudlin Twitter suck-uppery. He needs a healthy fact-check. “Before 2014,” he claimed, “if you were born with congenital heart disease like my son was, there was a good chance you’d never be able to get health insurance because you had a pre-existing condition, you were born with a pre-existing condition.”

This is false. If parents had health insurance, the child would have been covered under the parents’ policy whether or not the child had a health problem

But this is a pretty uncharitable interpretation of Kimmel’s sentence.  Surely Kimmel’s not saying that without the ACA the babies would need to have insurance coverage, but the baby’s parents.  But the second issue is not addressed at all – the point about pre-existing conditions.  Sure, if the parents have coverage, no problem.  But the parents can’t apply for coverage after finding the condition without either huge penalties, going into a high-risk pool with sky-high premiums, or just not getting coverage.  That’s what Kimmel is focusing on.  And that’s not at all what Malkin’s responding to.
This occasions an important theoretical point.  Sometimes the straw man is constructed not in the restatement or the explicit representation of the opponent’s view, but in the implicature in how one responds to the things they said.  So when Malkin makes the unnecessarily persnickety point about parents, she’s painting a picture of Kimmel’s view by only stating the correction.  And when she makes the point about health insurance already on the books, she obscures Kimmel’s main point by attacking something off stage.

An exercise in spotting and correcting slanted language

Here's an exercise in spotting intentionally slanted language.  Michelle Malkin, commenting on Republican victories, finds that she must use the most divisive language she can in order to explain them.  I'll highlight four of five places in her opening two paragraphs, but I'm restraining myself:

Do Americans share President Obama's desire to impose redistributive social justice on the well off? In liberal Washington State, of all places, voters gave a definitive answer this Tuesday: No! The resounding rejection of a punitive "Robin Hood" initiative shows that it's not just red-state Republicans who oppose extreme tax hikes on the nation's wealth generators.

As Capitol Hill resumes debate on whether to extend the so-called "Bush tax cuts," the White House should pay special heed to the fate of little-noticed Initiative 1098. Its defeat by a whopping 65-35 margin doesn't bode well for Team Obama's class warriors still clinging bitterly to their soak-the-rich schemes.

Lordy. Would it kill Malkin to even try to lead with a fairly articulated argument before the framing starts? First, it's distributive justice, because it's about justice in the distribution of goods.  To call it "re-distributive" either implies that the current distribution meets standards of justice (it doesn't) or that redistribution, regardless of the current distribution, is counter to justice.  Calling it social justice is conservative double-dipping, as 'social justice' has become a new watchword up there with 'secular humanism,' 'liberalism,' and 'progressive' among conservatives.  Malkin, with this one, is showing she's too eager to talk the talk.

Taxing the rich is taken then to be punitive measures on the nation's wealth generators.  I just don't get it.  How is it a punishment, when their standard of living isn't being drastically effected, and yet their wealth depends on the proper functioning of the rest of the society?  Wealth-generators?  Wealth-generators?  Seriously.  I dare all those so-called Atlases to shrug.  None of these Atlases now-a-days are captains of industry or developers of ideas, as idealized by Ayn Rand and her huffy bunch of crazies.  They're skimmers of cream off banks and their holdings, people who encourage over-worked representatives to push mortgages to people who can't afford them, people who shuffle stock packages to hide debt.  Generators?  Overgrown ticks.

So-called "Bush tax cuts'.  So called… by everybody. Because they were tax cuts.  By President Bush.  Bigger than anything imagined by Reagan.  Mostly for the wealthy.  Shameless.  Better phrase: So-called 'So-called "Bush tax cuts" '.

Soak the rich schemes.  Schemes, indeed.   Schemes dreamed up by scheming schemers who dream of nothing but skimming the cream and reaping the bling of Atlases?  Schemes.  Schemes, as in plans.  Soak the rich, as in requiring those who've benefited the most to give back.   Schemes, oh, please.

The lesson: slanting can be fun, but it's really just an exercise for pretending you've got good arguments for what you're saying.  I wonder if Malkin has any of those?



More nutpicking

Here's an almost definitional instance of nutpicking:

'NUTPICKING' HASN'T GONE AWAY…. I'd hoped we were past this.

Yesterday, ThinkProgress reported news that a Muslim cab driver in New York City had been assaulted by a passenger simply because of his faith. […]

Today on Fox News, right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin discussed the incident and argued that the real story is not about the hate crime, but rather, the progressive blogosphere. "Something really ugly happened," she said. "Time and again, when something like this happens — any random incident of violence — there are people on the left with a knee-jerk impulse to indict the right." As evidence, Malkin pointed to comments left on ThinkProgress.

Note, Malkin wasn't offended by what ThinkProgress wrote; she was offended when she dug through the comments section and found reactions she found distasteful.