Media on Middle East, ACA in Court, GMOs in Food



By Mark Green

Matalin and Corn debate déjà vu news - Israel back in Gaza and ACA back in court. Consensus: there's not a media bias but a rough balance between pro-Israel talking heads and the flood of photos of dead civilians. Also: why not label GMOs in processed food?

On Israel back in Gaza - Media Bias? The Palestinian journalist Rula Jebreal denounces one-sided media coverage as we listen to Jon Stewart mock how hard it is for journalists to even discuss this conflict. That right?

"There's no issue more fraught with charges of media bias from both sides," concludes David Corn of Mother Jones, dismissing charges that the New York Times has slanted coverage by supposedly creating a moral equivalence. Mary agrees. "The problem is that each side is intensely in its 'silo' without adequate consideration of the larger context of a Mideast re-jiggered by the Arab Spring."

Conclusion: yes two peoples/one land, but a) Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005 despite concerns about it becoming militarized; b) Hamas clearly started this war by launching rockets after the murders of three Israeli youth and one Palestinian boy; c) are aiming at civilian populations; and d) do not accept Israel’s right to exist.

Both discount any moral equivalence between the two sides. But they are concerned that the eventual loss of a Jewish majority in the "Jewish State" combined with reliance of Israel on the U.S. means that recurring wars eroding popular support for Israel aren't tenable. For example, while a clear majority of Americans over 40 consider Israel's response in Gaza to be justified, by 2-1 people under 40 do not. Corn: "Not everything that's justified is right or effective."

Sooner rather than later, there has to be a two-state solution. But after this month, it would appear to be later.

On Obamacare Back in Court. Milton wrote that "a poet can survive anything except a misprint." Laws too.

Can Obamacare subsidies be provided to citizens of states with federal exchanges rather than only those on state exchanges? One line in the 1,500-page law said there would be subsidies only for state exchanges while the rest of the law and congressional intent clearly indicates both exchanges. What now since the 4th and DC Circuits split on this issue?

Mary predicts that the Supreme Court will resolve the discrepancy by sending the issue back to the states. David thinks that the full DC Circuit would review the panel's 2-1 decision and, given the 7-4 lineup of Ds to Rs, would and should reverse the perverse conclusion that 6 million-plus Americans might lose their health insurance due to one obvious drafting error.

The Host adds that Republican candidates in red/purple states should be nervous this fall having to explain why tens of thousands of people would lose their health coverage and perhaps their lives - or pay double or triple in premiums - despite the unanimity of opinion that Congress intended no such thing. Mary argues that her coverage did triple while David counters that data shows only small premium increases. (Consumer Advice: she should probably go on an Exchange and shop around if her insurer tried to rip her off like that!)

On Mein Kampf back in Germany, Israel. This was easy: should Mein Kampf be allowed to be published in Germany? In Israel? Ron Lauder, head of the World Jewish Congress, thinks not.

"Absolutely" answers Mary. "Book banning is immoral and counter-productive. We must know our history." David completely concurs. "How can we allow some people to decide which books can be published?"

On GMO labeling. The Host interviews Jean Halloran of Consumer Reports about the huge controversy over the labeling of GMOs in 70 percent of our processed food. Europe does require such disclosure. The result: when consumers had a knowing choice between food with GMOs and without, they chose those without since they were no more expensive.

Again, consensus. Though there aren't studies showing GMOs to be dangerous, neither have they been adequately researched unlike, say, drugs under the 1938 and 1962 food, drug and cosmetic acts.

So far, one state, Vermont, requires GMO labels while two others - California and Washington State - voted it down in a referendum after giant food companies outspent opponents 6-1. The FDA is looking at the issue but, explains Halloran, it may lack the statutory authority to test GMOs as it does drugs and additives. So the issue appears likely headed to Congress... where nothing this controversial now seems capable of enactment.

Mark Green is the creator and host of Both Sides Now.

You can follow him on Twitter @markjgreen

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