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Megan McArdle: Worst Blogger at The Atlantic

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by Ben Cohen

I used to think Megan McArdle over at the Atlantic was a decent blogger (although I disagreed with her political stance). But the more I read her, the more I'm convinced that 1. She cannot write. 2. She doesn't really know what she is talking about, and 3. She makes stuff up when she can't be bothered to research.

Witness her dreadful article on the dangers of socializing healthcare. She basically offers an evidence free, personal rant on the ills of government, citing the 'innovation of the private sector' as her basic justification for allowing them to make a profit from a basic human need. The following paragraph made me sit up and listen:

Someone almost always breaks in and
says, "Why don't you tell that to an uninsured person?" I have.
Specifically, I told it to me. I was uninsured for more than two years
after grad school, with an autoimmune disease and asthma. I was, if
anything, even more militant than I am now about government takeover of

Expecting an explanation of why she was more militant when she didn't have insurance, she simply moved onto another point, leaving anyone reading her piece scratching their heads as to why this might be the case. Basically, Megan thinks privatized healthcare is great (even when she doesn't have it), because well, she thinks it is great.

Megan has been at it again, this time basing her argument against socialized medical care on a hypothetical number to bolster her argument that the government would 'destroy innovation'. No evidence, just her own view.

As Susan of 'The Hunting of the Snark' points out:

McArdle made up a number based on a balance sheet she might or might
not have seen at some time. Like so much of her evidence, it is part
guess and part wishful thinking. As a pundit McArdle is inept. As a
journalist she is hopelessly out of her league, a simple fact that
doesn't seem to bother The Atlantic at all.

McArdle really is way out of her league when it comes to journalism, particularly at an institution like The Atlantic. While the other writers vary in their political position, none make so many glaring mistakes as McArdle. There is now a website dedicated to having McArdle fired, and many more bloggers are taking her to task for sloppy journalism and third rate thinking.

I'm not suggesting McArdle should be fired, but she really should up her game. She's lucky to have a blogging job that pays, and she needs to justify that by producing evidence based opinion rather than meandering hack work.