From claiming that passing health care reform legislation will signify "the end of America as you know it" to predicting an "insurrection" should health care reform become law, Media Matters takes a look back at the variety of doomsday scenarios right wing media figures offered in the lead-up to the March 21 vote.
Right-wing media's dire predictions: If health reform passes...
Beck: "This is the end of prosperity in America forever ... the end of America as you know it." Telling his audience, "You must not allow this to pass," Beck stated in November 2009 that "they're going to get passed that 60-vote barrier. And they'll get there by people like [Sen.] Joe Lieberman, who's a reasonable guy and has good intent. You'll get passed it by people like that, who say, you know what? Look, we got to be reasonable; we have to have a debate. And then Harry Reid will go for the 51 count and he'll pass this thing. And it will be a nail in the coffin of America." Beck added: "You must -- must get on the phone in your districts. You must wake everybody up you know. This is the end of prosperity in America forever if this bill passes. This is the end of America as you know it." [Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program, 11/19/09]
Beck: President Obama will be able to "control every aspect of your life." Beck "warn[ed]" that if the bill "passes, the country is in real dire trouble." He went on to say: "The pieces that the president needs to control every aspect of your life, to fundamentally transform America, will be finished. He'll have them all," adding: "If health care does not pass, warning, those on the left are going to become violent." [The Glenn Beck Program, 3/5/10]
Beck: "[T]he fundamental transformation of America is complete." Beck also said: "Not only are they doing health care, but they are doing education in this same bill. Education and health care." He added: "It is overwhelming the system. And I'm telling you, if this bill passes -- health care and education all in one bill -- if this passes, the fundamental transformation of America is complete. There's no going back from this point. It must not pass." [The Glenn Beck Program, 3/15/10]
Beck: "If you can be deemed someone who maybe shouldn't have a baby, they can have their people come in." Beck said on his Fox News show: "You know and I know in this 2,300-page bill that includes education, the control that this government has is endless. They will -- if this passes, they will control every aspect of your life." Beck further said: "They will be able to -- there is places in here that if you can be deemed someone who maybe shouldn't have a baby, they can have their people come in. The government is in our homes on this." [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 3/16/10]
Beck: We lose "the Democratic Party to the socialists." On his March 19 Fox News program, Beck stated: "If this passes, I think it makes the election of people like Lindsey Graham, who are the compromise with big government, darn near impossible, because you can't tone this one down. You've got to pull this back by strong constitutionalists. Don't we -- if this passes, don't we lose, really, the Democratic Party to the socialists? And the Republican Party either has to be, you know, real federalists, real people that understand controlled power, or you are going to have a third party?" [Glenn Beck, 3/19/10]
Limbaugh: Bill will "hasten" granny's death. After airing audio clips of Obama saying, "I don't think we're going to be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately" and "I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care plan," Limbaugh stated: "Yet he's out there saying, 'Oh, these people are throwing every scare tactic in the world; it's a government takeover of health care; granny is gonna die.' It is a government takeover of health care and granny is gonna die. Granny always dies at some point -- we all do. It's gonna be hastened under this bill. And it is a government takeover. They're lying through their teeth." [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 3/19/10]
Limbaugh: "I am leaving the country" if "all that stuff gets implemented." On the March 8 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show, a caller asked Limbaugh where he would go for health care if the health bill passed and if "private doctors have to go into the federal program." Limbaugh replied, "I don't know" if private practices have been "outlawed in the Senate bill," adding: "I'll just tell you this: If this passes and it's five years from now and all that stuff gets implemented, I am leaving the country. I'll go to Costa Rica." [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 3/8/10]
Morris said he was "100 percent positive" Obama will create panels to "curb medical care to the elderly." On the March 3 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News contributor Dick Morris said what Obama "has in mind is curbing medical care to the elderly," and that he's "going to set up a panel" to determine treatment. Morris said he's "100 percent positive" this will happen. [Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, 03/03/10]
Fox Business: "Does Obamacare mean millions more jobs destroyed?" During a discussion about the health care bill on the Fox Business Network, an on-screen graphic asked: "Does Obamacare mean millions more jobs destroyed?" [Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard, 03/16/10]
Cramer: "Obamacare will topple the stock market." On the March 18 edition of CNBC's The Kudlow Report, CNBC host Jim Cramer predicted that, in the words of host Larry Kudlow, "Obamacare will topple the stock market." [CNBC's The Kudlow Report, 3/19/10]
Hemmer: "Could people be going to jail for not owning health insurance?" On March 19, Fox News host Bill Hemmer said: "The mandate would tell Americans you've got to buy health insurance, if not you could be fined, and I guess eventually that could lead to prison. I mean, this -- the way you understand it right now, could people be going to jail for not owning health insurance?" [Fox News' America's Newsroom, 03/19/10]
Limbaugh: Democrats will regulate "every aspect of our lives." Limbaugh stated in November 2009: "People have been either unwilling to accept or unwilling to believe just how radically left the current Democrat Party is. There is nothing remotely Democratic about this bunch. There is no democracy going on here." He added: "They don't care what we think ... because they don't think we have the power to stop them. And when this passes, they will have even more power, regulating every aspect of our lives because they believe in their minds and hearts that we have no competence whatsoever to lead our own lives and make our own decisions." [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 11/20/09]
Cal Thomas: The government will deny care to "granny" because "she's costing too much." On March 20, syndicated columnist Cal Thomas said on Fox News: "There has been more baloney sold in Washington today than is available at your local supermarket. The president says they're not going to pull the plug on granny. No, but they will deny her care because she's costing too much and she's too old." [Fox News' America's News HQ, 3/20/10]
Quinn: The government will be able to "commit a violent assault on your body." Referring to the Obamas, radio host Jim Quinn said that "Bolshevik Barbie and our marginally documented president" want "the power to control your body and your life. That's what they want and that's what this is. And if the government can consult a chart that says, 'I'm sorry, you're a little bit too old and a little bit too sick and the protocol for what you've got now isn't approved by the government anyway because it's experimental or it's too expensive -- if you were a little younger, maybe. But we can't give you that, but we can give you a pain pill.' " Quinn added: "Giving the government that power is allowing the government to commit a violent assault on your body -- a violent assault on your most precious possession, which is your life." [Clear Channel's The War Room with Quinn & Rose, 2/26/10]
Quinn: "You are going to see insurrection. You're going to see an uprising." Quinn predicted that "if they pass this thing, you are going to see insurrection. You're going to see an uprising. People are just not going to take this. I mean, your taxes are going to go through the roof. It's going to be a bloodbath when people find out how much this is going to cost and for the first four years, they're not going to get anything." [The War Room, 1/13/10]
Quinn: "The response" to passing health reform "will be insurrection." On his February 16 show, Quinn said Democrats are "so close to an all-encompassing, all-controlling paradigm here by which the government literally owns your body" and that "if they have to die in the fight, they will die in the fight. This is about establishing from now on and forever a socialist state in America, ripping the Constitution to shreds which progressives have hated for over 100 years. This -- they're so close. They ain't giving it up." Quinn concluded: "The response to this, if they do it, will be insurrection." [The War Room, 02/16/10]
Moore: "This is a dark day for America if we pass this bill." Discussing the market reaction to passing the health bill, The Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore said on Fox News: "I think personally -- I think that the markets have always thought for the last year and a half that eventually this day would come. And I think, by the way, this is a dark day for America if we pass this bill." [America's News HQ, 3/21/10]
IBD poll, Fox News: Doctors will shut down their practices. Several Fox News figures, including Neil Cavuto, Bret Baier, Morris, O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Steve Doocy highlighted an Investor's Business Daily/TIPP poll which found that "[t]wo of every three practicing physicians oppose the medical overhaul plan under consideration in Washington, and hundreds of thousands would think about shutting down their practices or retiring early if it were adopted." However, according to statistician Nate Silver, the poll was "simply not credible," and Fox News itself acknowledged that the poll was "not scientific."
Limbaugh: Senate health bill will lead to "250 million uninsured." On his March 8 radio show, Limbaugh claimed Democrats' "plan" in passing reform is to institute a "single-payer" system and that "there is no public option in this, but that's how they're going to get there." Limbaugh also predicted that the health bill would "just destroy private insurance as an option" and "lead very quickly to government-only insurance." Limbaugh continued: "Only idiots would have health insurance under this deal, only blooming idiots. There is literally no reason to have health insurance -- none. ... They say there's 30 million uninsured now, try 250 million uninsured, and every one of them paying a fine to the government for not having insurance." [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 03/08/10]
Claiming that health reform is "all about limiting your rights," Quinn suggested "gay sex" could be prohibited. On January 12, Quinn said the bill is "all about limiting your rights, trust me. It's all about limiting your rights. Yep, wait until what you love starts to impact on their system. That's right. Wait until what you love, whether it's the Second Amendment, or whether it's riding a motorcycle, whether it's being a gay man and engaging in gay sex, which is demonstrably -- at least some of it is -- a rather unsanitary act in many cases, and it could impact on our health care system. Now, I can't imagine the health care system coming after a preferred group, at this point, like gays, but you know what? Sooner or later, when the money starts to run out, they are the government after all, and you're not. [The War Room, 01/12/10]
Quinn: "If they pass health care ... that is the end of the republic." On January 5, Quinn said: "Ladies and gentlemen, you have to understand that we are at a critical and pivotal moment in the history of the United States. If they pass health care, government health care, that is the end of the republic. That is the final nail in the coffin of the individual free human being. Once they own your body, they own everything. Once they can withhold health care from you, because you're too old, because you're too sick, or maybe 'cause they just don't like you -- did you ever think about that?" [The War Room, 01/05/10]
Cal Thomas claimed health reform "is an outrage" and "a sham"; "[e]uthanasia is coming." On Fox News' America's News HQ, Thomas said the health bill is "a triumph of the humanistic, atheistic philosophy. Instead of being endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, those rights are going to be taken away by bureaucrats who will decide whether you get a hip replacement or a heart bypass, based on your age and your ability to pay more taxes." He continued:
It is an outrage. It is a sham. Euthanasia is coming. You can call them death panels. That's exactly what they're going to be. We are going to really be sorry for this, but, unfortunately, when the guy in the white robe comes to give us our little pill, as President Obama told ABC, the 100-year-old woman who wants to live must get in order to make it equal for everybody and not to spend so much, it will be too late. [America's News HQ, 11/21/09]
Siegel: "[U]nder ObamaCare, guidelines will quickly become mandates." In a November 2009 New York Post column, Marc Siegel wrote that the new mammogram guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force mean that "under ObamaCare, guidelines will quickly become mandates, and patients will routinely face the choice of paying hundreds of dollars out of pocket or accept higher risks of cancer. It will take government bureaucrats years to admit mistakes, if they ever do -- and by that time thousands of women will have needlessly gotten sick or even died of cancer." He also stated that "All the major 'reform' bills create lots of new panels and other bureaucrats empowered to 'suggest' things doctors shouldn't do -- and even to penalize doctors who order 'too many' tests."
Limbaugh: "Human beings will die earlier than normal" under "freedom killing" and "life threatening" health-care reform. Limbaugh said the "whole bill is about death" and "rationing." He continued: "It is the single greatest tool the government will have to regulate every aspect of behavior. This is a freedom killing, and it is going to end up being a life-threatening bill. Human beings will die earlier than normal, earlier than necessary because of this bill. There will be bureaucratic institutions, bureaucracies, which will make decisions on who gets treated and what kind of treatment they get, and who doesn't get treated. [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 11/09/09]
Baker warned that health reform would lead to euthanasia for overweight people. Guest-hosting The Glenn Beck Program, Chris Baker suggested that health reform will lead to overweight people going to jail or being put to death: "Sir, you're overweight. What? Yes, sir, you are overweight, we're going to have to require you to lose weight. And if you don't lose weight on your own, we're going to send you to a fat camp and make you lose the weight. And if you still don't lose the weight, then you know, we're just going to have to do surg -- we're just going to have to put you in jail. And if you don't lose the weight in jail, sir, I don't know what else to do. Maybe some end-of-life counseling might be good. I mean, I remember a woman that got -- that was greased by Dr. Kevorkian because she was fat." [The Glenn Beck Program, 11/09/09]
Hannity: "If we get nationalized health care, it's over; this is socialism." In November 2009, Hannity said, "When you look at the extreme czars, and you look at Barack Obama, and you look at the Barack Obama that portrayed himself one year ago as a very different candidate, you know, why -- I feel like I have been vindicated. I was excoriated for saying he is far more radical than people know. You know, what do you see about him? Do you think he is far -- do you think he's a socialist? Do you think he's -- because I think this is -- if we get nationalized health care, it's over. This is socialism, and that's a kind word." [Fox News' Hannity, 11/2/09]
Limbaugh: When you turn 65, "hello death panels." In October 2009, Limbaugh told a caller that it's "not good" that she's 50 years old because "if they get it done -- it will not be implemented until 2013 so that Obama will not face a revolt in the 2012 elections. And then when it gets implemented in 2013, you'll still have your private insurance. It's going to take a number of years to force the insurance companies out of business and to force people onto the public option. They're not going to be able to wave a magic wand and have this done overnight, but it will happen. And let's say it happens -- well, Obama's target year, he said it might take 10 to 15 years to totally wipe out private insurance. Now, they're going to try to do it sooner than that, and they might succeed, but 10 to 15 years makes you 65, and 'Hello, death panels.' " [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 10/27/09]
Limbaugh: "Obamacare" will "smother the individual," "aimed at robbing you of your humanity," "all of us will be slaves." Limbaugh asserted that Democrats' goal in passing health care reform is "to smother the individual," and that it's "aimed at robbing you of your humanity and forcing you to bow down to the state. If you feel sick, you need a procedure, need a prescription, you're going to be thinking about the government." Limbaugh claimed that "you are going to be relying on government for your survival," and that people will "need permission from the government" to have treatment. He continued: "It's not going to be a matter of whether you can or cannot pay. It won't be a matter of whether you have coverage or don't have coverage. What'll matter is that all of us will be slaves; we'll become slaves to the arbitrary and inhumane decisions of distant bureaucrats working in Washington where there's no competition, nobody you can go to if you don't like what you hear from the bureaucrats that you have to deal with." [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 09/30/09]
Limbaugh pretends to be a truth-telling Obama: Government won't take over health care, it'll just control it entirely. During a September 2009 broadcast, Limbaugh pretended to show how one of Obama's speeches on health reform "if he were telling the truth, would have gone." Limbaugh said, "We're only cutting over $500 billion from the already bankrupt program because there are other people, apart from our seniors, who need health care, too. Everyone has to sacrifice, particularly mom and dad, granddad, grandmom -- but they won't mind. That doesn't mean, of course, that we're going to ration care. We would never do that. We love our seniors. ... And what's all this talk about the government taking over health care? More fearmongering by the special interests. No, what's going to happen is that we will oversee the insurance companies to make sure they don't cheat and rip you off. That's right. The same politicians and bureaucracy that stole trillions from the Social Security trust fund to pay for ever more spending -- and the same politicians and bureaucracy that stole trillions of dollars from the Medicare trust fund -- will use their carefully honed skills and experience to ensure that the private insurance companies treat you fairly." [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 09/10/09]