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NYT Sees Death Panel’s ‘Familiar Roots’

From the ‘Money & Policy’ page of the New York Times:

False ‘Death Panel’ Rumor Has Some Familiar Roots


August 14, 2009

WASHINGTON — The stubborn yet false rumor that President Obama’s health care proposals would create government-sponsored “death panels” to decide which patients were worthy of living seemed to arise from nowhere in recent weeks.

Advanced even this week by Republican stalwarts including the party’s last vice-presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, and Charles E. Grassley, the veteran Iowa senator, the nature of the assertion nonetheless seemed reminiscent of the modern-day viral Internet campaigns that dogged Mr. Obama last year, falsely calling him a Muslim and questioning his nationality.

But the rumor — which has come up at Congressional town-hall-style meetings this week in spite of an avalanche of reports laying out why it was false — was not born of anonymous e-mailers, partisan bloggers or stealthy cyberconspiracy theorists.

Rather, it has a far more mainstream provenance, openly emanating months ago from many of the same pundits and conservative media outlets that were central in defeating President Bill Clinton’s health care proposals 16 years ago, including the editorial board of The Washington Times, the American Spectator magazine and Betsy McCaughey, whose 1994 health care critique made her a star of the conservative movement (and ultimately, New York’s lieutenant governor).

There is nothing in any of the legislative proposals that would call for the creation of death panels or any other governmental body that would cut off care for the critically ill as a cost-cutting measure. But over the course of the past few months, early, stated fears from anti-abortion conservatives that Mr. Obama would pursue a pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia agenda, combined with twisted accounts of actual legislative proposals that would provide financing for optional consultations with doctors about hospice care and other “end of life” services, fed the rumor to the point where it overcame the debate.

On Thursday, Mr. Grassley said in a statement that he and others in the small group of senators that was trying to negotiate a health care plan had dropped any “end of life” proposals from consideration.

A pending House bill has language authorizing Medicare to finance beneficiaries’ consultations with professionals on whether to authorize aggressive and potentially life-saving interventions later in life. Though the consultations would be voluntary, and a similar provision passed in Congress last year without such a furor, Mr. Grassley said it was being dropped in the Senate “because of the way they could be misinterpreted and implemented incorrectly.”

The extent to which it and other provisions have been misinterpreted in recent days, notably by angry speakers at recent town hall meetings but also by Ms. Palin — who popularized the “death panel” phrase — has surprised longtime advocates of changes to the health care system.

“I guess what surprised me is the ferocity, it’s much stronger than I expected,” said John Rother, the executive vice president of AARP, which is supportive of the health care proposals and has repeatedly declared the “death panel” rumors false. “It’s people who are ideologically opposed to Mr. Obama, and this is the opportunity to weaken the president.”

The specter of government-sponsored, forced euthanasia was raised as early as Nov. 23, just weeks after the election and long before any legislation had been drafted, by an outlet decidedly opposed to Mr. Obama, The Washington Times…

It’s a conspiracy!

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, August 14th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

8 Responses to “NYT Sees Death Panel’s ‘Familiar Roots’”

  1. proreason says:

    Steve, the people who wrote the “avalanche of reports” must not know yet that the House of Representatives has written a bill, HR 3200.

    With the torrent of information available nowadays, it’s perfectly understandable that they could overlook a little detail like the proposed 1000 page legislation.

    Could you let the Slimes know, so they can correct their story?


  2. curvyred says:

    Again if they were “false” how could it have been removed from the legislation.

    Speaking of scare tactics – -have you seen the AARP ads in conjunction with HCAN – SUVS cutting off and trying to stop an ambulance. (the SUVS seem to represent people against health reform and the ambulance is of course those in support of reform)

  3. pdsand says:

    “dogged Mr. Obama last year, falsely calling him a Muslim and questioning his nationality.”

    Turnabout is fair play, Mr. Obama falsely called himself a christian.
    I guess the Obama “seach” for a church to go to in Washington is still chugging along, right alongside OJ’s search for the “real killers”

  4. U NO HOO says:

    Historic point, the federal income tax was going to be only 1% on rich people.

    We see how that worked out.

  5. neocon mom says:

    Funny, because I thought much credence for the idea of a death panel being part of a national health care system came straight from Pete Singer’s piece that I read in the NYT. That’s where I learned about N.I.C.E.–the board of folks at the NHS that decides whether or not the cost of your treatment is worthwhile.

  6. canary says:

    Guess The New York Times reporters must not get health insurance benefits. Lousy employee benefits maybe. They don’t deserve them, since they do such a poor job of telling the truth.
    Maybe the reporters pay comes under the table from the Democrats and Lobbyists.

  7. LibsStillLying says:

    ‘Death panel’ is not in the bill… it already exists\


    The LIARS are still lying, and will continue to lie. They put wool over our eyes. Nobody read the Stimulus bill.

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