There is one arena in which misleading the public not only is abided but is the norm: politics. In fact, much of what constitutes political discourse in this country is now built on a foundation of dishonesty.
The campaign of fear, uncertainty and doubt -- or FUD, to use its acronym -- continues to this day against the Affordable Care Act, and it will be waged in coming months by cynical politicians who believe it will be the surest way to win votes in November.
If health care leaders really cared a whit about the most vulnerable, millions of us would not be uninsured because of common industry practices -- practices like charging women and older people such high premiums that many have no option but to remain uninsured.
It might possibly cost the insurance industry $382 million to comply with the Affordable Care Act for the first two years. But the cost of allowing those companies to continue keeping consumers in the dark would be far, far higher, Mr. President.
If you wonder why the health insurance industry has to set up front groups and secretly funnel cash to industry-funded coalitions to influence public policy, take a look at the most recent results of the Kaiser Family Foundation's monthly Health Tracking Poll.
Successful flacks know how to use a variety of public relations tricks to obscure the truth -- being selective in the disclosure of information, for instance, or using statistics in misleading ways. But sometimes that can backfire.
Following astonishingly high first-quarter profit reports from health insurance companies, that industry's trade group, America's Health Insurance Plans, now claims it is among the least profitable health care industries.
Living in these United States, there comes a point at which you throw your hands up in exasperation and despair and ask a fundamental question: how much excess profit does corporate America really need?
Insurance executives are not here to negotiate or to shape legislation. They are here to stop health care reform dead in its tracks. They will not be "convinced" to allow health care reform to pass the Congress.
Whoever picked the name "Humana" for the health insurance giant had a great sense of humor. Had the marketing genius in charge of picking a name for the corporation been more honest, he would have called it "Profita."
After pretending for months to cooperate with the Obama administration and Democrats to secure a reasonable health reform bill, the industry's CEOs and lobbyists on Sunday double-crossed their one-time political allies.
I have little sympathy for Baucus at this point, when he complains that his adversaries have had time to put out a report attacking his bill. Because there is one reason that they've had all that time.