Diary

No, Psychiatrists Were Not Told it's OK to Diagnose Trump Now...

You know what they say about “Fake News.” It travels around the world a hundred times while the correction never makes it across the street. Whether that’s by design, I’ll leave up to you to decide.

Yesterday, blue check mark accounts were set ablaze with pronouncements that the APssA (American Psychoanalytic Association) had lifted what’s called the “Goldwater Rule.”

That rule specifies that unprofessional, reckless diagnosis attempts (especially for political gain) are not allowed for it’s members. This started in 1964 when “Fact” magazine published a story that polled psychiatrists and basically pronounced Goldwater as insane for being a conservative. Goldwater sued and won $75,000 in damages. This led to the American Psychiatric Association (APA) reforming it’s Ethics guidelines.

There are two problems with this. First, the APssA and the APA are not related. The APssA does not even have a “Goldwater Rule,” although they encourage adherence to a similar idea.

Regardless of that misstep by eager journalists everywhere (the clear goal being to blur the lines between the APssA and the much bigger APA), the APssA also did not tell it’s members to flaunt the traditional norms on the subject. Quite the contrary.

The actual statement from the APssA clarifies their position:

In an email to association members, our leadership did not encourage members to defy the “Goldwater Rule” which is a part of the ethics code of a different mental health organization, the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Rather, it articulated a distinct ethics position that represents the viewpoint of psychoanalysts.

Notice the correction has only THREE retweets as of this writing.

In the end we get yet another episode of “Fake News” that ultimately does nothing but hurt the credibility of the mainstream media. Some call it sloppiness, but sloppiness wouldn’t consistently and conveniently manage to only injure one side of the political aisle. In the above tweets promoting this story, we have NBC News, TIME, and the Washington Post represented. The only thing that can drive such supposedly “professional” news outlets to do this is abject bias, whether it’s perceived by them or not. They’ve become so hostile toward Republicans that they will literally run with anything they perceive as scoring political points.

While I think President Trump’s generalizations of “Fake News” are immature and unhelpful, the fact remains that it does actually exist and it continues to be promoted by outlets who should know better. We are beyond the point of these being honest mistakes.