Making Up Lies From the Fine Print.

There were a lot of reasons the Clintons’ efforts at healthcare reform died in the early 1990s, but a big part of it was the campaign of fear waged by Republican operatives like Betsy McCaughey. McCaughey falsely asserted in a column that under the Clintons’ health care proposal, it would be illegal for citizens  to use private insurance. That falsehood was picked up by George Will, who further amplified it and distorted it and said that the Clintons would be throwing any doctors in jail who didn’t get with the program. The Clintons health plan died. The Democrats lost control of Congress. McCaughey becomes a hero on the right, and becomes NY’s lieutenant governor.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. Prominent Republicans start screaming about ‘death panels’ that are part of a Democratic president’s attempt to overhaul our nation’s health care system. People freak out and worry that the government is going to euthanize their grandmothers. And when the curtain is pulled back, we find that this lie, too, was started by McCaughey.

There are a few things that have changed since the 1990s, though. One of them, blessedly,  is Jon Stewart.

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14 thoughts on “Making Up Lies From the Fine Print.

  1. blackink12 August 21, 2009 at 11:47 am Reply

    I love how she came on the stage with that huge binder, yet had nothing – absolutely nothing – marked in advance. No Post-It notes. No tabs. Nothing. She also tried hard to keep that binder away from Stewart so he couldn’t read the appropriate passages.

    Even with the evidence in her hands, she took a pass. I hope, in the future, that she gets no more airtime. She is not a serious person.

    • G.D. August 21, 2009 at 12:02 pm Reply

      yeah. like it was some amulet of Intellectual Sobriety or something.

      “Look, i have facts! Lots of them!”

      It don’t really matter if you can’t understand them.

  2. R. August 21, 2009 at 11:59 am Reply

    Back in the day they used to be able to sneak up on their subjects and mock-interview them but these days they seldom get away with that type of shtick. It seems Jon’s intellect is what keeps sneaking up on quite a few of his guests. I’ve seen people walk into the show and get completely dismantled by him and still have no idea what hit them, McCaughey included. (And it’s going to keep happening until they stop dismissing The Daily Show as simple comedy.)

    • G.D. August 21, 2009 at 12:02 pm Reply

      you know, this might be the most meaty policy conversation on the bill I’ve seen. (granted, i don’t have a TV, so take this with a grain of salt.)

      • keke August 21, 2009 at 2:01 pm Reply

        Well I have a tv and I can tell you that you are indeed right. This is the most meaty policy conversation on the bill. Well, I will throw Rachel Maddow in the mix, she does have relevant discussions about healthcare reform particularly about the “death panel” argument. She exposed how Limbaugh, Gingrich, and Palin all supported living wills in their past, surprise surprise!!. She does good work on her show.

        The work that Stewart does on his show should put these “journalists” to shame. Another example– there is no reason that the Jim Cramer interview and the discussion of the economic collapse should have ONLY happened on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I still have not seen anyone really discuss the economic crisis with the detail that Jon Stewart did. That is a shame.

        • quadmoniker August 21, 2009 at 3:48 pm Reply

          It’s true. I don’t know when journalists became afraid to call bullshit bullshit, but it’s not biased to point out when somebody’s lying. Or to just not repeat it.

          • ladyfresh August 21, 2009 at 4:09 pm Reply

            I’m thinking when their networks, newspapers and magazines were purchased by media conglomerates and their ratings and ad sales became more important than news.

            we need more folks with cojones dang it!
            *hides behinds the masses*

            • R. August 21, 2009 at 6:11 pm Reply

              D’you hear about the Charlie Rose mediated truce between O’Reilly and Olbermann?


              Basically, it behooved GE and Newscorp that neither Bill or Keith go at each other’s throats or boss’ throats despite the fact that it actually benefited both show’s ratings and that they’re both the top rated shows of their networks.

              • ladyfresh August 21, 2009 at 9:18 pm Reply

                i didn’t know it was charlie

                i thought keith ignored it


        • R. August 21, 2009 at 5:59 pm Reply

          Yeah, definitely the meatiest discussion I’ve seen so far and that’s just sad. I could see Jon jumping onto a more “serious” platform, that is if he wasn’t so damn good at what he does now.

          I like Maddow a lot too, she manages to wade through a lot of the bullshit that seems to distract so many of these other journalists. And she’s so cool and level headed.

          Are you guys familiar with NPR’s Planet Money? They might be the best when it comes to discussing the economy. They’ve tackled just about everything that has to do with the current economic downturn and they’re are very good at breaking down what is going on. The past few shows they’ve turned their attention onto health care and I love that they’ve decided to do this.

          • G.D. August 21, 2009 at 6:08 pm Reply

            i’m actually listening to PM right now. and you’re right. it’s really, really helped me understand the economic issues of this day.

          • quadmoniker August 24, 2009 at 11:57 am Reply

            Yeah, the Planet Money discussion was really smart. It also pointed out something that I feel like I’m always trying to get across, unsuccessfully: the problems with the private health insurance market are really fundamental economic problems that always will prevent the free market from working in this case.

  3. livininphilly August 24, 2009 at 9:19 am Reply

    In the wake of this epic fail interview McCaughey has resigned (read: fired) from her current position as a director of the Cantel Medical Corp. this medical group deals in products such as dialysis equipment for senior citizens and chronically ill patients. Here is the link:

    • R. August 24, 2009 at 1:56 pm Reply

      I caught her on Ha..Han…Hannity (full disclosure: I actually gagged as I typed this) and it was awful. This time, she brought out both the House and the Senate Financial Committee’s versions of the bill. Hannity lifted one of them and drop it on his desk, which greatly bemused him. So much so he couldn’t help himself but to talk about the loud noise made upon impact and then proceeded to repeat the process. Then McCaughey talked about how large and heavy each of the folders were and then something about how Democrats wanted to kill Grandma. ack.

      *kills self*

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