Why do the media -- most recently CNN -- enable McCaughey's falsehoods?
Research ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN
CNN again hosted Betsy McCaughey to discuss health care despite the fact that CNN's own health care reporter had to debunk an earlier health care reform assertion advanced by McCaughey.
Former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey's appearance on the June 24 edition of CNN's American Morning -- during which she again advanced without challenge the falsehood that the Affordable Health Choices Act "[b]asically ... pushes everyone into an HMO-style plan" -- raises a question: Why did CNN host McCaughey to discuss health care after CNN's own health care reporter had to debunk an earlier health care reform assertion repeatedly advanced by McCaughey?
During a February 11 discussion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen reported of McCaughey's claims that provisions in the economic recovery act would permit the government to control health care: "I had a PDF of the bill up on my computer. I said, 'Show me where in the bill it says that this bill is going to have the government telling your doctor what to do.' And [McCaughey] directed me to language -- it didn't actually say that." Cohen added, "Now when we asked the folks who wrote this bill, 'Hey, is this bill going to allow the government to tell doctors what to do?' they used words like, 'preposterous' and 'completely and wildly untrue.' "
The falsehood Cohen challenged originated in a February 9 Bloomberg "commentary" by McCaughey and was subsequently repeated by washingtonpost.com, nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh, Internet gossip Matt Drudge, CNN host Lou Dobbs, Wall Street Journal senior economic writer Stephen Moore, Fox News host Glenn Beck, and Fox News anchors Bill Hemmer and Megyn Kelly, among others.
Despite Cohen debunking McCaughey's prior falsehood, in the June 24 interview on CNN's American Morning, co-host John Roberts introduced McCaughey as a "long-time expert in public health" and did not challenge, much less rebut, her latest false talking point about health care reform.
McCaughey has advanced other falsehoods, including a misrepresentation of a comment by White House health care policy adviser Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel. McCaughey falsely claimed that Emanuel called for "eliminat[ing] the Hippocratic Oath."