Newsweek 'Hit the Road Barack Cover' Criticized: Article is 'Unethical'

The media ethics of Newsweek has come under question after the publication ran an article suggesting that it was time for President Obama to "hit the road." The article highlighted areas where Obama has failed in his policy, but according to The New York Times writer Paul Krugman, the information presented as fact is wholly "unethical."

Ferguson suggested in the Newsweek piece- posted online Aug. 19- that President Obama failed to deliver on his promises. One of those "failed promises" has struck an argument among columnists who disagree over the accuracy of the following statement made by Ferguson:

"The president pledged that health-care reform would not add a cent to the deficit. But the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation now estimate that the insurance-coverage provisions of the ACA will have a net cost of close to $1.2 trillion over the 2012–22 period."

Krugman of The New York Times suggested that the entirety of Fergusson's article presented "multiple errors and misrepresentations," and argued this point.

"Readers are no doubt meant to interpret this as saying that CBO found that the Act will increase the deficit," Krugman wrote. However, "the ACA would reduce, not increase, the deficit- because the insurance subsidies were fully paid for," he reported.

Krugman also stated that the argument over whether the reform should have been passed is not relevant to the way that Fergusson is making his point, which is decidedly "deceptive."

"Now, people on the right like to argue that the CBO was wrong," Krugman states, "But that's not the argument Ferguson is making- he is deliberately misleading readers, conveying the impression that the CBO had actually rejected Obama's claim that health reform is deficit-neutral, when in fact the opposite is true."

Krugman went on to call the article "a plain misrepresentation of the facts."

Ferguson responded to Krugman's criticism, declaring him to be a liberal blogger who was capable of pointing out on one "feeble" mistake in his article. Krugman argued that there is a "big difference" between "the insurance coverage provisions of the ACA," and "the ACA."

Ferguson added to his counter on Monday an excerpt from the CBO's March 2010 report.

"The provisions related to health insurance coverage- which affect both outlays and revenues- were projected to have a net cost of $1,042 billion over the 2012–2021 period; that amount represents a gross cost to the federal government of $1,390 billion, offset in part by $349 billion in receipts and savings (primarily revenues from penalties and other sources)."

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