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'Death Panel' Inventor Betsy McCaughey 'Has Close Ties' to Big Tobacco


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  • 'Death Panel' Inventor Betsy McCaughey 'Has Close Ties' to Big Tobacco


    The person credited with inventing the “death panels” claim about health care reform worked with tobacco giant Phillip Morris to railroad health care reform in the Clinton administration, Rolling Stone magazine reports.

    In an article in the magazine’s October 1 issue, not yet available online, writer Tim Dickinson reveals that Phillip Morris “worked off-the-record with … writer Betsy McCaughey as part of the input to the three-part expose in The New Republic on what the Clinton plan means,” Rolling Stone reports.

    McCaughey, a conservative columnist and former deputy governor of New York, penned a 1994 article in The New Republic that was credited with helping to kill the Clinton-era health reforms. As RS noted, the magazine later retracted the story. And The Atlantic magazine ran a story in 1995, entitled “A Triumph of Misinformation,” debunking McCaughey’s arguments at TNR.

    Now McCaughey appears to be playing a pivotal role in efforts to shut down this year’s health reform efforts. ABC News credited McCaughey earlier this summer with being the person behind the “death panel” falsehood, when she said in a July appearance on the radio program The Fred Thompson Show that the health care reform effort was “a vicious assault on elderly people, all to … cut your life short.”

    In that interview, McCaughey asserted that senior citizens would have to face “death panels” to determine their worthiness to continue living every five years.

    Last month, Gawker blogger Pareene listed off a number of McCaughey’s more questionable assertions surrounding the health care debate, including her claim in a New York Post article that Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, wants doctors to forego the Hippocratic oath and focus on “social justice” rather than healing patients. That article was entitled “Deadly Doctors.”

    Susie Madrak, in her blog at Crooks and Liars, cites key parts of the Rolling Stone article:
    [W]hat has not been reported until now is that McCaughey’s writing was influenced by Phillip Morris, the world’s largest tobacco company, as part of a secret campaign to scuttle Clinton’s health care reform. (The measure would have been funded by a huge increase in tobacco taxes.) In an internal company memo from March 1994, the tobacco giant detailed its strategy to derail Hillarycare through an alliance with conservative think tanks, front groups and media outlets. Integral to the company’s strategy, the memo observed, was an effort to “work on the development of favorable pieces” with “friendly contacts in the media.”

    The memo, prepared by a Phillip Morris executive, mentions only one author by name:
    “Worked off-the-record with Manhattan [Editor's note: At the time, McCaughey was a fellow at the Manhattan Institute] and writer Betsy McCaughey as part of the input to the three-part expose in The New Republic on what the Clinton plan means to you. The first part detailed specifics of the plan.”

    McCaughey served as lieutenant governor of New York from 1995 to 1998, under Republican Governor George Pataki. She recently resigned from the board of directors of Cantel Medical Corporation, saying she didn’t want her involvement with the firm to color her credibility on the health care reform debate. But many observers say the resignation was in reaction to an unfavorable appearance on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show.
    Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

  • #2
    Here is a clip from the Daily Show where she looks like an idiot trying to back upo her false claims:



    • #3
      Originally posted by BigPat View Post
      Here is a clip from the Daily Show where she looks like an idiot trying to back upo her false claims:

      Nonetheless, many O.com members steadfastly defended her and her assertions.
      Last edited by DAL; 09-21-2009, 05:09 PM.
      Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
      Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein


      • #4

        A CONSERVATIVE LIE CASE STUDY.... To paraphrase Twain, a right-wing talking point can travel the media world, while the truth is still getting its pants on. We've seen a classic example over the last 48 hours.

        On Monday, Bloomberg ran an opinion piece from Betsy McCaughey, a staffer at a conservative think tank who also used to be a Republican Lt. Gov. of New York, attacking the economic stimulus plan. Specifically, McCaughey insisted that the policy would create a "new bureaucracy" called the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, which will "monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective." McCaughey said the federal government would then "'guide' your doctor's decisions," adding, "Keeping doctors informed of the newest medical findings is important, but enforcing uniformity goes too far."

        The claim, not surprisingly, isn't true. The National Coordinator for Health Information Technology isn't "new"; it was created by George W. Bush five years ago. More importantly, the measure is about medical records, not limiting physicians' treatments.

        In fact, the language in the House bill that McCaughey ... referenced does not establish authority to "monitor treatments" or restrict what "your doctor is doing" with regard to patient care, but rather addresses establishing an electronic records system such that doctors would have complete, accurate information about their patients "to help guide medical decisions at the time and place of care."

        So, the opinion piece Bloomberg ran was wrong. Ordinarily, that's hardly worth getting excited about; news outlets run misleading opinion pieces every day. But what's interesting about this particular story is they way in which it spread.

        Step One: Rush Limbaugh told his minions audience on Monday about McCaughey's piece, insisting that a "national coordinator of health information technology will monitor treatments that your doctor gives you to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost-effective."

        Step Two: By late Monday, Drudge was trumpeting McCaughey's mistake with this headline: "'National Coordinator of Health Information Technology' Slipped in to Stimulus..."

        Step Three: Fox News and members of the Wall Street Journal editorial board got in on the act on Tuesday morning, arguing that the government will "essentially dictate treatments," thanks to the "secret" provisions in the stimulus bill. FNC's Megan Kelly said the non-existent language "sounds dangerously like socialized medicine," while FNC's Bill Hemmer said the recovery plan includes "new rules guiding decisions your doctor can make about your health care." All of this, of course, is patently and demonstrably false.

        Step Four: Limbaugh took a bow yesterday, taking credit for the misinformation campaign, and telling listeners that his show "uncovered" all of this. "I found it," Limbaugh said. "I detailed it for you, and now it's all over mainstream media."

        Remember, McCaughey got it wrong. Limbaugh and Drudge took the wrong information and exaggerated it further. Then Fox News took Limbaugh's lies, and stretched them even further still. That none of this is grounded in reality in any way was of no importance to any of these clowns. Untold thousands of Americans, who don't know better, get their "news" from these people, and have no idea they've been lied to.

        DDay added, "This is how the conventional wisdom often gets set in Washington -- an article that 'the right people' read builds among the chattering class and then is distilled out to the people, no matter its veracity. While zombies like McCaughey are still churning out the lies, there's a whole new set -- Rush, Drudge, Fox -- of opinion leaders that get to set the agenda on these matters."
        —Steve Benen 8:45 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (59)


        • #5
          I've had a living will for 4 years now.
          "The deepest human defeat suffered by human beings is constituted by the difference between what one was capable of becoming and what one has in fact become."


          • #6

            Former Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey leads 'death panel' charge writing up talking points

            BY David Saltonstall

            Wednesday, August 12th 2009, 11:15 PM
            Former Lt. Governor Betsy McCaughey has been writing up talking points for conservatives on the health care debate.
            Former Lt. Governor Betsy McCaughey has been writing up talking points for conservatives on the health care debate.
            Take our Poll
            The origin of the 'death panel' issue

            Is the conversation about health care discussing the issues?

            Yes, this topic is a serious one and people are passionately discussing it in a civilized way with facts.

            No, people like Betsy McCaughey have injected fear into a discussion missing facts.
            Related News

            * Articles
            * After heated town hall, senator says fight is bigger than health care
            * Palin fears Obama's 'death panel,' but wants to dialogue to be civil
            * White House: Bring on debate, leave yelling at home
            * Rage boils over at town hall meetings over health care

            Sarah Palin may have fanned the fire over President Obama's fictitious health care "death panels," but she didn't light the match.

            That was New York's Betsy McCaughey, the former lieutenant governor most remembered here for oddly standing throughout Gov. George Pataki's 1996 State of the State speech - then running against him after he dumped her from his ticket.

            McCaughey, 60, is back as a self-styled expert whose writings on Obama's health care plans are increasingly being cited by agitated conservatives at town hall meetings as proof - falsely, other experts and the President himself say - that he wants to "pull the plug on Grandma."

            "I believe it's an important public service," McCaughey said yesterday of her commentaries, which spin snippets of legislative language and medical-journal essays by a few Obama advisers to paint a terrifying picture.

            "Members of Congress haven't been reading this bill, and I think that's shameful," she added.

            Others say what's shameful is McCaughey's distortions of the Democratic-backed House bill, specifically a section on "end-of-life" consultations that Palin - in a Facebook screed - dubbed "Obama's 'death panel.'"

            "Betsy McCaughey's recent commentary on health care reform in various media outlets is rife with gross - and even cruel - distortions," AARP Executive Vice President John Rother said recently.

            In reality, the bill section simply aims to provide Medicare coverage for once-every-five-year conversations with doctors over what life-prolonging measures, if any, a patient wants taken in the event of a terminal illness or injury. It's an idea first championed by a conservative Republican senator, Johnny Isakson of Georgia.

            But McCaughey took that section and ran with it, providing backup for Palin and right-wing media pot-stirrers to sound the "death panel" alarm.

            McCaughey got the ball rolling on ex-Sen. Fred Thompson's radio show on July 16, when she called the bill "a vicious assault on elderly people" that will "cut your life short."

            She then wrote a column July 24 that claimed Obama advisers don't want to "give much care to a grandmother with Parkinson's or a child with cerebral palsy."

            Days later, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) recited much of the article on the House floor.

            Palin then unleashed her "death panel" comment, basing it on Bachmann's floor speech. And the firestorm raged.

            The father of a wheelchair-bound son with cerebral palsy recently shouted down 83-year-old Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) at a town hall meeting. He then brandished McCaughey's article on Fox News to explain his anger.

            "Every American should pull this up on their computer," Mike Sola said on Fox - and many apparently did.

            Today, McCaughey rejects any notion that she employed scare tactics to fight Obama's plan.

            "Not at all," she told the Daily News. "If I were motivated to employ any tactics of that nature, I wouldn't be citing with precision the provisions in the bill."

            Some critics have suggested that McCaughey is motivated by other interests - in recent years, she has collected some $23,600 per year in board fees and options from a drugmaking company, Genta Inc., although she resigned in 2007.

            She remains on the board of Cantel Medical Group, a medical equipment company that pays her some $30,000 a year in fees.

            But McCaughey - formerly married to billionaire financier Wilbur Ross - dismissed as "ridiculous" any notion that the payments show a conflict of interest.

            Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/2009...#ixzz0Rm5oyFIW


            • #7
              Originally posted by DAL View Post
              Nonetheless, may O.com members steadfastly defended her and her assertions.
              I have no doubt that they will continue to repeat and defend her false claims.

              My favorite posting on this forum regarding health care was where a certain member posted a debunked chain e-mail and then denied that it was a chain e-mail, claiming instead that his Senator had discussed the bill with him personally....


              • #8
                Do you expect anyone to take you seriously citing resources such as the two you have in this thread? Just because some nutjob with a .com says it, it does not mean it is true! I have not and will not read either of your ridiculously long posts simply because they have 0 credibility. Have a nice day.


                • #9
                  We found out who came up with Obamas agenda...his name is Saul Alinsky. He even has a book called 'Rules for Radicals'. I think he is a communist, but I could be wrong.
                  The liberal politician has the only job where they go to the office to work for everyone but those who pay their salary.


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