The MSM-Democratic Propaganda Mill
That is, the system was set up to assist people with obvious injuries--say, a meat cutter who accidentally severed a finger. It was not designed to deal with a paranoid or narcissistic personality who is stressed out at work because he unconsciously provokes others and is universally disliked. Or with an incompetent person who is simply upset because he is being criticized at work. Or someone who is fired, and then retroactively decides that he was stressed out during the entire time he as employed.
Especially when it comes to psychiatric injuries, the legal process often comes down to a battle of competing experts. There is the applicant side--the person alleging that he has been injured--and the defense side--the the workplace or workers comp carrier that will have to cover the injury.
The reason why the system is so corrupt is that patients quickly became ancillary players in the process. Instead, the system became a way for doctors and lawyers to make vast amounts of money on the backs of injured workers. Therefore, there developed a built-in incentive to claim injuries, even if no injury was present. Lawyers began luring patients into the system with advertising, assuring them that they would receive extensive medical care at no cost to them. Medical "mills" were set up in conjunction with the lawyers, so that workers would be sent to any number of useless, wasteful, and expensive medical evaluations.
As such, someone, say, with a back strain, might be sent to an orthopedist, an internist (in case the pain is causing an increase in blood pressure or a stomach ache), a chiropractor, a neurologist (perhaps the pain is causing headaches), and a psychiatrist or psychologist (in case they had become depressed or anxious as a result of the alleged pain). (Would it surprise you to learn that these mills, like a certain political party, defend their dubious practices by suggesting that they are truly "looking out for the little guy?" Or that thousands of jobs will never be created for the "little guy" as a result of the high cost of doing business in California because of spiraling workers' comp costs? )
These psychiatric mills issue thoroughly predictable reports which always--always--maintain in the most florid terms you can imagine, that the injured worker has developed dozens and dozens of psychological symptoms, that they are completely psychologically disabled from them, that they require extensive treatment, and that, even then, they will never, ever be the same. Often, believe it or not, the worker does not even know that a psychiatric injury has been filed on their behalf (especially workers from third world countries who don't even have a frame of reference for what it is a psychologist does). They just do as directed by their attorney, by going for appointments and filling out the paper work. Many times I've asked a patient, "Dr. X says you are hearing the voice of your supervisor. Is that true?" The patient will be surprised, and often offended, to learn that they are being depicted as psychotic.
In fact, I have seen many cases in which the report is already written: all the doctor does is insert the name of the patient into a pre-formatted report, with all of the same boilerplate language and adjectives--lots of adjectives. In an applicant report, adjectives generally substitute for facts and details, as they often do in any bad writing. Other times the doctor's staff will even forget to change the pronoun in the report from "him" to "her," as in, "Mr. Jackson says that she and her husband now have no sexual intimacy, whereas before his boss yelled at him, they enjoyed sexual relations six times a day."
My job, as an ethical evaluator, is not to submit a report that is simply the mirror opposite of the other side's report, but to find out what's actually going on--to determine the truth of the matter. I will spend many hours with a patient, reviewing their current condition, their allegations of injury, their past history, medical records, investigative reports, and sometimes even sub rosa video tape in order to arrive at my conclusions, each of which will be thoroughly supported by facts, logic, and evidence. I try never to speculate--in fact, the system dies not allow idle speculation, only opinions based on medical probability.
I see an almost exact parallel between the corrupt workers comp system and our current political scene. On the one side we have the applicants and their mills--the Democrats and the MSM--on the other side, the defense--the Republicans and the alternative media. The Democrats operate by throwing out as many outrageous statements as they can think of, hoping that something will "stick," and perhaps persuade the trier of fact: the American public. Therefore, when dealing with the MSM and their political action wing, the Democrats, you must constantly wade through the most outrageous, wholesale lies and distortions--America is a racist, sexist and homophobic country, Bush is a liar, Bush wants to impose a theocracy, Bush is a torturer, Bush is spying on us, the economy has never been worse, the environment is being ruined, Bush caused the hurricanes, Bush hates black people, etc., etc., etc. You know the dreary drill.
Just yesterday, I believe someone counted at least seventeen demonstrably outrageous lies in Ted Kennedy's opening remarks at the Alito confirmation hearings. Of course, since the MSM is part of the corrupt system, they will not do their job and determine the factual basis of Kennedy's allegations. Rather, they will simply repeat them.
It is now up to the alternative media to serve the identical purpose in the political system that I do in the workers comp system: to independently evaluate the issue, gather the facts, dispassionately assess the situation, and arrive at a logical and reasoned opinion. Are there ethical Democrats and unethical or careless Republicans? Of course. For example, although I might ultimately agree with much of what a Sean Hannity says, I don't trust him or rely upon him to tell me the truth, for he is the equivalent a Republican "mill." He will come down on the side of the Republicans, no matter what. Joe Lieberman would be an example of an ethical Democrat, for example, willing to independently assess the truth of the Iraq war as he sees it.
But by and large, the reason why it is so difficult to engage leftists in debate is the same reason why it is so difficult to deal with an applicant report. There is almost nothing in an applicant report that I can rely on as being factually true. It might be. It might not be. You just have no way of knowing. You have to assess the situation independently.
Democrats say this is a racist country. Is that true? Not in my analysis. Obviously there are some individual racists, but the country itself is remarkably free of racial animus. Was President Bush lying when he said he believed there were WMD in Iraq? I've seen no evidence for that, only lurid accusations. Is this the worst economy since the Great Depression, a "jobless revovery"? Not based on the facts I have seen. Is Bush spying on his political enemies? I have no basis for believing that. Were blacks disproportionately killed in hurricaine Katrina? As a matter of fact, no. Is Bush running the highest deficit in history? Not if you place it in the proper context as a percentage of GNP. Are terrorists covered by the Geneva Convention? Not based on my understanding. Did Saddam have intimate and extensive ties to the international terror world? No doubt.
So being a neo-con paleoliberal has come quite naturally to me. It just means ignoring the distorted allegations of the MSM-Democratic propaganda mill, independently evaluating the "patient," and arriving at conclusions based on fact, logic and reason.