Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Friday, February 17, 2012

Some People Are More Equal Than Others

Megan McArdle, who faked health care statistics to prevent the passage of health insurance company reforms, is deeply concerned about a memo supposedly from the Heartland Institute that seems to be a fake.

The foundation of journalism is accurate sources. Anyone who considers themselves to be in the business of informing the public about the truth should care very deeply when faked documents make it into the public record. They should especially care if their own work has been the vehicle.

Dismissing the possibility of fakery--and the obvious questions about who might have perpetrated it--does not help us focus on the "real issues". Instead, the stubborn willingness to ignore obvious problems becomes the story--something that Dan Rather learned to his dismay in 2004.

Unless you're Megan McArdle.


Downpuppy said...

I really didn't get why Megan was going so ape over this until I saw the comments about Heartland & Act 10, the Union-busting bill in Wisconsin. Any enemy of working people is a friend of Megan.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

The foundation of journalism is accurate sources.

I'd say that it's journalists with integrity.

But that's no fair to Meegan, is it?

atlasfugged said...

Our Intrepid Defender of Truth and Journalistic Integrity, Megan McTardle, aka janegalt, wasn't too concerned - some might even say she was dismissive - about doubts over the veracity of the infamous Nigerian "Yellowcake" documents.



For her tireless detective work this week, I hope our little digital gumshoe got a nice fat check, or at least the promise of a future speaking engagement, from the Heartland Institute.

Ben said...


holy christ. I'd say McArdle's evil if we didn't have so much evidence that she's a sad scared little authoritarian sycophant.

atat said...

Oh god, I actually read a couple of those Jane Galt posts. I don't know what's more shocking: That she still manages to keep a job at the once-great Atlantic, or that once upon a time someone at the Atlantic read those and actually thought that she would be a good hire?

Anyone else would just shrink away in embarrassment and shame. But she just keeps right on plugging along.

Batocchio said...

I re-read your older posts ("Accountability" remains invaluable) and also some of Ezra Klein's on McBargle arguments against health care. I think that season still represents her most blatant bullshit and outright lying, and should be brought up as often as possible. She opposed health care reform for no good reason, and just flung out bullshit far and wide, hoping something would stick. However, she also deliberately crafted a key lie and stuck with it doggedly. I'm still a bit surprised she slipped and admitted it was made up, but considering she can't argue coherently, I guess it's not a shock she wound up asking (to quote a William Goldman title) "Which lie did I tell?"

I sorta want to write definite rap sheets on all these assholes. Three strikes, you're out, or something similar. We do that informally, citing older posts and such, but I'm sick of being asked to take McArdle, Gingrich and other proven liars seriously. I'm tempted to write rap sheet posts, or carefully-crafted boilerplate paragraph summaries of scoundrels' greatest hits for convenient use. The post structure could go something like: 1) news item on Newt's latest bullshit, suggesting it should be taken seriously, 2) boilerplate paragraph reminding us of Newt's complete lack of credibility, and 3) brief analysis of the latest bullshit (season with wonky stats and snark to taste). Since Hunting of the Snark focuses so much on McArdle (and Douthat), that approach would probably be redundant, and you can narrow much more finely to McArdle's specific hypocrisy on a given issue, as in this post. But I might give it a whirl, if I have time...

As for that Jane Galt crap, gaaaah. I only perused some of it. One lowlight:

As for Niger, everyone's too busy yapping about how Bush is AN EVIL, LYING BASTARD, or, alternatively, his critics are MENDACIOUS HYPOCRITICAL HELLSPAWN, for me to figure out what actually did, or should have, happened, and how seriously to take it. I'll wait until the furor has died down before formulating an opinion.

Translation: I'll keep my finger in the wind, see what everybody else says, and then craft an "opinion" that fits my image and desired social position (as a hippie-hating hawk in good standing, but thoughtful and cultured, too).

Susan of Texas said...

It just amazes me that she can get away with lying about statistics. That little episode should have gotten her fired--instead she routinely points out and shakes her finger at other liars.

Like you, I can't believe she answered my question. She didn't have to. I guess she was absolutely confident that it wouldn't matter, and she was right.

Susan of Texas said...

Heh. She just keeps blowing smoke until you pin her down; then she ignores you. She probably thinks she won that discussion because hey, who is being paid a small fortune and who works for free?

Substance McGravitas said...

It's not a small fortune unless your dozens of kitchen gadgets are GOLD PLATED.

Downpuppy said...

Welp, my version is up at

Kathy said...


My recent column on the difficult relationship between human nature and sexual politics has generated a response that itself is worth talking about. The wave of anger and condemnation that has come from some quarters is dramatic evidence that the column’s central contention is right…

This explains how ArgleBargle keeps her job at Atlantic, and is paid BIG BUCKS. She generates so much anger and condemnation, she must be brilliant!