Fox, Purveyor Of "Death Panel" Myth, Continues To Decry Dems' Supposed Medicare "Scare Tactics"

››› ››› HARDEEP DHILLON

Fox News hosts and contributors have repeatedly asserted that the Democrats are engaging in "scare tactics" to fearmonger about Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan to reform Medicare. However, Fox News hosts have used their shows as platforms to fearmonger about the mythological "death panels" that will result from "Obamacare."

Fox News Criticizes Democrats For Supposedly Using "Scare Tactics" To Target Ryan Budget Proposal

Cavuto And Luntz Agree That Dems Are Using "Scare Tactics" On Social Security." On the May 18 edition of his show, Neil Cavuto asserted that Democrats were using "scare tactics" to target the reform of Medicare. During the same segment, Republican pollster Frank Luntz said ads where someone "is trying to push grandmother off the cliff" were "too graphic" and "don't register" with the public. The following caption also appeared on the screen earlier in the episode:

[Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto, 5/18/11]

Cavuto Repeatedly Asserted Democrats Are Using Health Care "Scare Tactics." During the May 7 edition of his show, Fox News host Neil Cavuto stated that "Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius" was "taking scare tactics to a new level" by calling out "the Republican plan to deal with Medicare." His panel continued along the same line. [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 5/7/11]

Chris Wallace: "Scare Tactics In Politics Are Nothing New." During the May 11 edition of Special Report with Bret Baier, guest host Chris Wallace adopted the GOP talking point that Democrats are using "scare tactics" to protect entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare. From Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:

CHRIS WALLACE (guest host): Scare tactics in politics are nothing new. Entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare have long been the subject of such attacks. Tonight, chief Washington correspondent Jim Angle reports on what Republicans say is another example of Democrats saying one thing and doing another.

JIM ANGLE (Fox News correspondent): Freshman Republicans are complaining that Democrats are violating a pledge from President Obama not to demonize proposals tackling big problems such as Medicare, including the proposal from Republican Paul Ryan.

[...]

JIM ANGLE: The Ryan plan would pay premiums for private insurance to force competition for seniors instead of having the government pay for every procedure which it can no longer afford. Ryan would dedicate more money to the poor and sick, but Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius argues that it would force sick senior citizens to pay too much out of pocket. A point she made about cancer patients during recent testimony.

[...]

JIM ANGLE: Such attacks would appear to violate the President's assurances prompting 42 House freshmen to send Mr. Obama a letter urging him to quote "condemn the disingenuous attacks and work with this Congress to reform spending on entitlement programs." If the debate stays at the attack level the President himself may be vulnerable because his health care plan also puts tight limits on future Medicare spending. In Washington. Jim Angle. Fox News. [Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier,5/11/11]

Carlson: There's "Concern" About "Whether Or Not Obama Is Stoking Some Fear." On the April 15 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson claimed that "there's [also] concern about whether or not President Obama is stoking some fear in some of the comments he's been making" regarding the Paul Ryan's budget. Fox & Friends then aired a segment of the ABC interview while the on-screen text accused Obama of "Playing on the Public's Fear." Co-host Brian Kilmeade also added:

KILMEADE (co-host): So instead of looking at the three huge entitlements of Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security, and moving forward in a detailed way, like the 73-page proposal Congressman Ryan put together, the president decides to say things like that and also say things in his speech where that is -- the president talks like he's -- this is not the America that I grew up in. And this is -- this budget would sacrifice the America we believe in. So that is making people say to themselves, are we going to lose our country if we go along with budget cuts? [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/14/11]

Hannity And Gingrich Decry Supposed Democratic Scare Tactics. On the May 11 edition of his show, Sean Hannity hosted Newt Gingrich on his show to discuss "entitlement reform." Gingrich stated that President Obama should be "ashamed of himself" for "deliberately us[ing] scare tactics" against the Ryan budget plan. From Fox News' Hannity:

HANNITY (host): How deal with entitlement reform, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. We keep hearing this, the third rail of American politics. And we already saw -- the president actually said about Paul Ryan's plan that kids with Down syndrome and autism and old people have to, quote, "fend for themselves." How do you, you know, get people to buy into it.

GINGRICH (Fox News Contributor): Let me say first of all, President Obama should be ashamed of himself. For the president of the United States, a year and a half before an election to deliberately use dishonest scare tactics, demeans the United States of America. He said things about Paul Ryan's budget that were falsehoods. And he said things that were deliberately divisive. He did the same in El Paso on immigration. [Fox News' Hannity, 5/11/11]

At The Same Time It Attacks Dem "Scare Tactics", Fox News Continues To Falsely Claim Obama Is Implementing Death Panels

Cavuto: Commission Set Up By Affordable Care Act "Was Called A Death Panel." On the same show in which Cavuto and Luntz attacked Democrats for supposedly fearmongering over Medicare, Cavuto suggested that Democrats had put a "death panel" into place:

CAVUTO (host): Well, do you have any more comfort in the president's planned 14 advisor member commission that is going to be essentially making these same decisions. Because I remember about a year or so ago when that commission and its formation were being discussed, it was called a death panel. [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 5/18/11, via Media Matters]

Napolitano: There Are Now Death Panels That Will "Tell Grandma and Grandpa ... How And When To Die." From the January 3, 2011, edition of Glenn Beck:

NAPOLITANO (guest host): Happy New Year, America. Welcome to 2011. Let's go back for a moment to Christmas Eve 2009. That's when the House of Representatives passed the Health Care Reform Act. It pointedly did not include the so-called death panels.

You remember them. They're groups of health care professionals whom the federal government would pay to tell grandma and grandpa, which will someday be all of us, how and when to die.

Remember that debate? The President and then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi first argued that there were no death panels in the bill. Then, many Democrats heard from many of their constituents, and the language in the bill that would have established the death panels was removed. And then, the bill passed the House and became law without the death panels.

Fast forward to Christmas Eve 2010, just two and half weeks ago, and those death panels are back. Now, how did that happen? Glenn Beck and I have been warning about this since the shellacking the Democrats took in the November midterm elections, when the president lost his majority in the House and his ability to stop filibusters in the Senate.

We warned then that without control of Congress, the president would rule by decree, and that's just what he has done. On a festive holiday weekend, when everyone else's mind was elsewhere, the president's Director of Medicare and Medicaid, Dr. Donald Berwick -- you remember him. He's an open proponent of British style of universal health care with rationing of medical services decreed by bureaucrats.

He is the socialist who wants to decide who lives and who dies. He announced that he had created the death panels pursuant to authority in the new law even though the Congress had objected to them, had rejected them.

The Obama administration has now established them. You know what, grandma? It is going to cost the government too much money to keep you alive. So here are your alternatives. Is that the government guaranteeing the right to life? [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 1/3/11, via Media Matters]

Perino: "If You Thought The Death Panel Debate Was Dead, Think Again." On the December 27, 2010, edition of Fox News' On The Record, guest host Dana Perino teased a segment on end-of-life counseling by claiming: "If you thought the death panel debate was dead, think again. It's heating up, and you have to stick around to find out what's in store for end-of-life planning, starting this Saturday." Perino later introduced the segment by asking, "Are the so-called death panels revived?" [Fox News, On The Record with Great Van Susteren, 12/27/10, via Media Matters]

Beck: "Your First Death Panel Is Here." From the August 17, 2010, edition of Glenn Beck:

BECK (host): No panel. It's - no panel. It's a lie. Ridiculous conspiracy. Except your first death panel is here, "Federal regulators are considering taking the highly unusual step of rescinding approval of a drug that patients with advanced breast cancer turn to as a last-ditch hope."

What do the president and the vice president have to say now? Malarkey - there is no panel. And the propagandists over at MSNBC - oh, they're having a good chortle over this one, I'm sure.

See, it's not that they'd ever be called death panels or anything like that. The point has always been with this new system - it's based on money. It's possibly happening now exactly the way we said it would happen - malarkey. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 8/17/10, via Media Matters]

Mike Huckabee: Stimulus "Planted The Seeds From Which The Poisonous Tree of Death Panels Will Grow." In his ninth book,A Simple Government, Fox News host Mike Huckabee claimed the creation of the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness through the stimulus bill "planted the seeds from which the poisonous tree of death panels will grow." From A Simple Government:

Tucked away in the $787 billion stimulus was the establishment of the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness, which will become our version of Britain's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, the ironically and Orwellian-named NICE. NICE decides who lives and who dies based on age and the cost of treatment. So the stimulus didn't just waste your money; it planted the seeds from which the poisonous tree of death panels will grow.

[...]

Who will get rationed? Well, the very old and the very young, obviously, the most helpless and vulnerable among us. But it will also be those who don't live politically correct lives -- those who have too many cigarettes or cocktails or cans of soda. "Death by Chocolate" won't just be a cute name on the dessert menu. [Mike Huckabee, A Simple Government, 2011, via Media Matters,]

Cal Thomas: The Government Will Deny Care To "Granny" Because "She's Costing Too Much." On March 20, 2010, 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, via Media Matters]

Morris Said He Was "100 Percent Positive" Obama Will Create A Panel To "Curb Medical Care To The Elderly." On the March 3, 2010 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, 3/3/10, via Media Matters]

Palin: "I Do" Stand By My Comments On Death Panels. On the January 14, 2010, edition of Hannity, Palin stood by her claim that health care reform included death panels:

HANNITY (host): Now one of the things, you're amazed at how the amount of impact your Facebook comments have had in the political discourse and debate, because every time you write something it goes out over the wires, you've noticed that?

PALIN: Well, they're usually pretty simple messages that I'm posting there on Facebook.

HANNITY: When you're talking about health care, you know, you said those death panels, which created a big controversy and you're adding new words to the American vocabulary here. You stand by those comments because you think it still exists in the bill?

PALIN (Fox News Contributor): I do. It's a commission. It's a bureaucracy. It's bureaucrats who will ration care if the bill goes through as Obama wants it to go through. Yes, it's modeled in essence after a British system that does have people to decide whether, based on your quality of life, your age, whether you're going to deserve health care coverage or not.

That's what's going to happen in America if this health care bill isn't stopped. And it needs to be stopped soon and that's why the people of this land can't give up in demanding that their voice be heard.

Demanding that the White House understand that this is a representative form of government. We do expect that the will of the people is listened to and adhered to and implemented via our representatives whom we elect. [Fox News, Hannity, 1/14/10, viaMedia Matters]

"Death Panels" Falsehood Was 2009 Lie Of The Year

In Fact, PolitiFact Named "Death Panels" Its 2009 Lie Of The Year. In December 2009, PolitiFact wrote that "[o]f all the falsehoods and distortions in the political discourse this year, one stood out from the rest: 'Death panels.'" [PolitiFact, 12/18/09]

Fox's Invocations Of "Death Panels" Based On Falsehoods And Distortions. As Media Matters has repeatedly pointed out, claims by Fox News personalities that Obama is putting death panels into place are based on nothing but falsehoods, distortions, and vivid imagination. [Media Matters, 4/21/11, 4/15/11, 3/22/11]

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