Journalists Have Responsibility Not to Misinform Public
In the Oct. 29 Editor’s Notebook, “Firestorms of the Future Will Cost Us Even More,” the editor writes, “Those vast, empty stretches of bush and brush had been subjected for years without adequate rain.”
I might dispute that those lands are “empty,” but I’ll just stick to measurable statistics.
In 2005, or two years ago, San Diego at Lindbergh Field recorded 22.81 inches of rain (222 percent above average), Lake Cuyamaca (out in that “vast, empty stretches of bush and brush”) received a whopping 55.38 inches (nearly 20 inches more than the average in Seattle) and Lake Henshaw received 46.91 inches.
The fact is it doesn’t take a “multiyear” drought to set the stage for a disastrous firestorm in San Diego.
The fire danger in San Diego County is greater than most people would guess and exaggerated editorials only continue to misinform and confuse the public and government officials resulting in bad decision-making and bad policy.
In his Oct. 21 Editor’s Notebook, “Easy for Sacramento to Spend Your Hard-Earned Cash,” the editor whines about the governor’s health care reform proposal bemoaning that the proposal would tax hospitals, ” further squeezing the very providers who are struggling in the wake of ever-diminishing compensation from public and private insurers.”
Maybe the author should have contacted the California Hospital Association before printing his editorial. After conducting an actuarial analysis of the governor’s health care reform proposal, the CHA concluded that the increase in compensation they would receive (an important point the editor failed to mention) would more than cover the 4 percent fee.
This information is readily available to the editor, as it was released in the Sept. 7 edition of The San Diego Union-Tribune.
The editor writes, “These are costs that should be born by the larger society. ”
The reason why hospitals (CHA as well as California’s community hospitals) support the governor’s health care reform is because they will reap more “hard-earned cash” via reimbursement from the larger pool of insured citizens who were previously uninsured. Ironic, as the editor’s point is in essence the core of the governor’s health care reform proposal!
The editor continues, “What concerns me is that suddenly tens of thousands of newly covered citizens will flood our already overcrowded emergency rooms and urgent care clinics in search of treatment.” The writer has it backward, again.
The uninsured are already going to the emergency room because they don’t have health insurance to see a physician and President Bush has supported this notion.
Hospitals understand this real “harsh reality.”
If the uninsured had health insurance, they would more likely seek treatment at a physician office, receive more timely treatment, and reduce the risk of becoming more seriously ill requiring hospitalization , saving all of society a great deal of “hard-earned cash.”
In short, the “harsh reality” as stated in these editorials is not reality , just harsh. Journalists have the responsibility not to misinform the public.
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Impressed With Firefighters and Those Risking Their Lives
My family has been visiting San Diego regularly during the past decade, for both business and pleasure, and I have always respected the quality of the residents of San Diego and, of course, the fantastic climate. This is why just this past year my family and I decided to relocate from Indianapolis to North County San Diego.
Last Monday (Oct. 22), we were evacuated from our home in the Rancho Santa Fe area, along with many living in the North County area, due to the wildfires ravaging the area.
I traveled north with my family to San Francisco for the week; and while watching the news coverage from Northern California, I must tell you how proud and impressed I was with not only the firefighters and those risking their lives to fight the fires, but also those administering the evacuation and relief effort and the wonderful spirit of the citizens of San Diego.
The entire event was portrayed in such an inspiring way by the media, and it was with a sense of pride, as a new San Diegan, that I watched the entire community respond to the disaster with a spirit and resolve to help others and return the city to normalcy that I have found to be unmatched anywhere.