Can It Really Be that People Are More Credulous Today?

Boing Boing points to a study showing that the Placebo effect is getting stronger. I take this to mean that people today are more credulous.

Which may explain Fox 'News'? How else to make sense of articles such as today's NYT story on a good man driven to activism by total misinformation,

The Colliers are committed conservatives who have voted Republican in presidential elections since 1980. They receive much of their information from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh’s radio program and Matt Drudge’s Web site.

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7 Responses to Can It Really Be that People Are More Credulous Today?

  1. King of Cats says:

    1. Please define ‘misinformation’ and why Fox News is ‘total misinformation’. Here is some information:

    “FNC has been the top rated cable news network for 86 consecutive months, finishing February as the third most watched basic cable network in primetime.”
    http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/179815-Cable_News_Ratings_Fox_News_Still_Tops.php

    Given that a good portion of UM Law students and (donating) alumni prefer FNC, I wonder why you feel you can so easily dismiss it is a news source. Your comment is a little insulting, as it implies the viewer is intellectually incapable of discerning FNC’s credibility, whereas somehow you are blessed with that ability. Undoubtedly your dial is stuck on MSNBC, a very fine and balanced outlet.

    2. Your comment does not even apply to the article. You read only that Mr. Collier consumed news sources you disapprove, and didn’t bother to analyze what the gentleman said. The essence of his position is this:

    “If everyone is covered, Mr. Collier said, [1] supply and demand will dictate that some must wait for their care. [2] He does not believe the president’s promises that the elderly will not stand in line behind those with longer life expectancies.” “I don’t trust him on that,” he said”

    Where is the ‘misinformation’. As to 1, In all universal coverage systems there are waits and rationing. Whether that is tolerable is a matter of opinion. As to 2, the man simply doesn’t trust Obama. Indeed, Rahm Emmanuel’s brother has articulated consideration, if not outright support, for exactly such social utilitarian rationing. So again, where is the ‘misinformation’. I just see a fellow citizen who has concerns.

    3. Mr. Collier’s wife had a favorable outcome under a private insurer. Is he a liar? He says:

    “[1]The Colliers worry about the financial burden the health care plan may place on their two grown children and young grandson. While Mr. Collier said he did not object to paying more to support coverage for the truly needy, [2]he predicted that a universal coverage system would dole out tax dollars to “lazy and irresponsible people who play the system.””

    As to 1, is Mr. Collier misinformed, and will the public option cost taxpayers nothing? As to 2, are his concerns that the federal government has no history of efficiently managing large systems ‘misinformation’?

    In conclusion, there is no example of Mr. Collier’s being ‘misinformed’. You likely disagree with Mr. Collier, but he is not ‘misinformed’.

  2. michael says:

    Misinformation: that which is not true.

    As regards health care specifically, the companion article to the one I cited above explains how Mr. Collier is misinformed: Policy Experts Call Fear of Medical Rationing Unfounded.

    As regards Fox generally, Fox News viewers overwhelmingly misinformed about health care reform proposals which is hardly new. Remember Daily Show/Colbert Viewers Most Knowledgable, Fox News Viewers Rank Lowest?

    Incidentally, it’s far from obvious that if everyone is covered the overall demand for medical increases, and certainly not proportionally to their numbers. In general the greatest demand for health care comes from the critically ill. To the extent those are elderly, they’re already covered by Medicare. To the extent they are poor but not old, some significant part of the demand now covered by emergency room and end-of-life care can be prevented by preventative care that they are much more likely to seek out once covered.

    To offset the potential remaining increase in demand requires some changes in how medical services are delivered, e.g. outcome-based treatment, not medical profit based treatment, which is a goal of the better health care proposals.

  3. King of Cats says:

    1. Your link to “Policy Experts Call Fear of Medical Rationing Unfounded” is pathetic. The article is conclusive with no analysis. One ‘expert’ concludes “Our culture is not going to allow [rationing].” Sure, just like our culture is not going to allow torture. Just like our culture would not allow a Katrina.

    Rationing is not something you “allow”, it occurs when there is a scarce resource and you have no choice but to ration.

    Another “expert” in your article states:
    “What is most likely under a health care overhaul, Mr. Thompson said, is that people may initially have a harder time finding a primary-care doctor as more insured people seek treatment from the same number of doctors. Even if no one is denied care, he said, “if it takes longer to get an appointment, it certainly feels that way.”
    The expert admits there will be rationing. There is absolutely no analysis offered as to why primary-care visits would require rationing but not for more “serious” care. The statement also completely undercuts your argument that preventative care will reduce costs. How can preventative care work if it takes months to be examined by a primary-care doctor who will be tasked with early detection? Again, the Canadian and UK experiences speak for themselves.

    Your ‘experts’ are espousing unproven theories that are inconsistent with empirical evidence.

    2. It is obvious demand will go up, assuming you took a basic economics course. One of the purposes of Obamacare is to increase access. So demand will go up, plain and simple. Your ‘expert’ agreed.

    Whether or not preventative care will mitigate is debatable. Even assuming it has some mitigating effect, the *net* effect of Obamacare will mostly likely be to increase demand. And two economists could argue the point until they are blue in the face, but the *net* effect in universal access systems is high demand. The result, waits and rationing. As your own expert points out, preventative care may fail because it must also be rationed.

    3. You speak of ‘goals’. Again, these are no bases to label the gentleman in the article as misinformed. A lot of failed, wasteful government programs had lofty ‘goals’. The Chicago Cubs have ‘goals’. All your 1L students have ‘goals’.

    What ‘goals’ has our federal government shown it can achieve since the moon landing? And if it has achieved any significant goal, at what cost? With what unintended consequences?

    All you are basically saying is that Mr. Collier’s concerns are illegitimate, because Obama is here from the Federal government, and he’s here to help us with ‘goals’.

    4. Apparently you derive a sense of self-importance by denigrating FNC and its viewers. Since it makes you feel so good, it would be cruel of me to dispel your belief. So yes, go ahead and cocoon yourself in NPR and MSNBC.

    FNC viewers are not ‘misinformed’ into believing the current system is perfect. Mr. Collier states flat out it needs change, just not one with such massive federal involvement. Mr. Collier will tell you that it is you who are misinformed. That warm wet liquid you feel on your back is not, as Obama would have you believe, heavenly rain.

  4. Sonja Clear says:

    I read the article and had mixed feelings. Is Mr. Collier stating that his wife deserves healthcare and others don’t? My mom is right now in surgery for removal of a cancerous lump in one of her breasts. She was employed for 30 years as a RN.

  5. King of Cats says:

    Sonja-
    I would agree that Mr. Collier seems to believe that citizens who are working and paying health care premiums should not be subjected to having to wait for care behind someone on the dole. I think it fair to conclude that he might also say the former group is entitled to the best care (filet mignion), while the latter only to sufficient care (government cheese).

    Whether or not one agrees with these value positions is independent of whether Mr. Collier is adequately informed on Obamacare.

  6. Rhodo Zeb says:

    Still with the rationing??

    Rationing is done every day, KoC, every single day… by insurance companies.

    They simply drop customers when they are in need, after paying years of premiums in some cases. That is rationing and its already being done. Resources are scarce already! If you hadn’t heard.

    You are shilling for insurance company profits, KoC. At least admit it to yourself.

    I am not getting into it with you. You seemed like a honest person until you told me to look up insurance in the dictionary. Arrogant much?

    Your argument that Fox news is popular, and therefore can’t be a constant source of misinformation, is laughably illogical. But we already know you believe in Fox and will not change. So, you go, KoC.

    Your failures of logic and reason are too numerous to list. But don’t let that stop you!

    And don’t keep your natural superiority hidden! You are a genius, let those fools who don’t watch Fox news know it!!

  7. Rhodo Zeb says:

    Finally, thanks, KoC, for making me laugh all day today. To wit:

    A: Fox news mis-informs its listeners.

    B: But Fox news is so popular! So you must be wrong!

    A: …

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