No one said that the process of legislating health reform would be pretty, but neither were we warned that it would become downright ugly. The spate of "town hall" meetings this past summer has demonstrated how blatant mischaracterizations of reform proposals, distortions of truth, ideological posturing, and unruly shouting tactics can be used to undermine any hope of an informed and civil dialogue over the content of health reform. In the words of the late New York Times columnist William Satire, the "nattering nabobs of negativism" in several instances caused such conversations to be quickly curtailed or cancelled, or put politicians from both parties in the unenviable position of trying to be heard above the madding crowd. Such incivility attained new heights during President Obama's Sept. 9 speech on health reform when Rep. Joseph Wilson (RSC) called the president a "liar" regarding a statement over the exclusion of illegal immigrants in the president's reform proposal. After last year's contentious presidential campaign, and the post-election hope for a bipartisan dialogue over health reform, it is disheartening to see that the tactics of distortion continue to dominate our political landscape. Conservative ideologues in the political and communications arenas are still stooping to the strategies of misinformation and exaggeration in an effort to maintain the health care status quo and ensure the failure of reform to enhance their chances of regaining political power--and they are doing so without any real attempt to propose an alternative vision. Indeed, as a number of leading conservatives have observed, the invective over health reform has detracted from a serious debate over the policy issues inherent in the proposals of the administration and congressional Democrats (Rutenberg and Harris 2009).