In a New York Post op-ed, serial health care misinformer Betsy McCaughey attacked Obama nominee Donald Berwick as a "radical" and an "ideologue." Unsurprisingly, her piece was filled with false claims and misinformation.
In an April 12 column, Michael Barone cited Betsy McCaughey's suggestion that the health care bill could be unconstitutional because it would remove the "freedom to choose a hip replacement or a Caesarean section," which McCaughey argued would violate privacy rights established in Roe v. Wade. In fact, the section to which McCaughey refers simply sets minimum requirements for an insurance plan to operate in health care exchanges, and nothing in the legislation bans "hip replacements or a Caesarean section."
From the April 1 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
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Right-wing media seized on Rep. Bart Stupak's (D-MI) recent announcement that three airports in his district received federal grant money in order to baselessly claim the Obama administration bribed him for his vote on health care reform. In fact, there is absolutely no evidence that the airport funds are related to Stupak's vote, and indeed, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) awarded grants in 47 states -- including one in Minority Leader John Boehner's district -- as part of a decades-old airport improvement program.
From the March 21 edition of Fox News' Hannity
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Serial health care reform misinformer Betsy McCaughey falsely claimed that, under the Senate health care reform bill, "for the first time in history, government officials are given power over how doctors treat privately insured patients." In fact, through criminal law -- including the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act -- federal drug laws, and other methods, states and the federal government currently regulate the relationship between doctors and patients, privately insured or not.
Media Matters for America presents its first-ever Health Care Misinformer of the Year award to Betsy McCaughey.
In a November 24 New York Post column, Betsy McCaughey suggested that both "women -- and men" would "lose" under the Senate health care bill because preventive care would be limited by the US Preventive Services Task Force guidelines, and quoted medical professor James Thrall stating: "I fear we are entering an era of deliberate decisions where we choose to trade people's lives for money." But insurers operating under the Senate health care reform bill are not required to adopt recommendations against preventive screening, only to adopt those recommendations supporting preventive screening.
In a November 7 Wall Street Journal op-ed, serial health care misinformer Betsy McCaughey purported to provide "details you need to know" about the current version of health care reform legislation slated for a vote that same day in the House of Representatives. As with her previous descriptions of reform legislation, many of her claims are falsehoods or distortions, such as McCaughey's claim that illegal immigrants are exempted from a fine imposed by the bill.
Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is holding an anti-health care reform protest today on Capitol Hill to revive the largely manufactured fervor of the August town halls and to tell Congress "to vote no to a government take-over of one-fifth of our economy." The slate of speakers and attendees include Republican congressional members, far-right radio host Mark Levin, who has equated the Senate Finance's health reform bill with "economic slavery," actor and frequent Fox News guest Jon Voight, and... Betsy McCaughey.
McCaughey's participation and consequent endorsement of the Bachmann-led opposition to health care reform really shouldn't come as much of surprise given the falsehoods, distortions, and outright lies that she has told about health care throughout the year. However, this event should serve as final notice to any in the media who still believe she is a credible health care expert.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Betsy McCaughey misrepresented remarks by Dr. Jeffrey Borer to suggest that he is opposed to treatment guidelines when, in fact, he stated that guidelines are "needed" and "very valuable" while noting that "they have important limitations." McCaughey further advanced the claim that White House health care adviser Ezekiel Emanuel supports rationing of health care and attributed the claim to a doctor who belongs to a conservative-leaning group that holds several controversial views and has promoted the right-wing conspiracy theory that Vince Foster didn't commit suicide.
Here's The New Republic's Jonathan Chait:
In my field, we have something called the National Magazine Awards. Magazine writers tend to be both obsessed with who wins and convinced the process is a pathetic joke. This isn't just sour grapes, either. The last time The New Republic won a National Magazine Award, it was for publishing Betsy McCaughey's infamous anti-Clintoncare screed "No Exit," which is probably the worst article in the history of TNR. It's as if the last American to win the Nobel Peace Prize was Timothy McVeigh.
Which, of course, raises the question of why TNR hasn't given back the award -- and why its editor claims the magazine has "recanted" and "apologized" for "No Exit," even though it has done nothing of the kind.
In her latest op-ed, serial health care misinformer Betsy McCaughey quoted Dr. David McKalip -- infamous for forwarding to fellow members of a Google listserv a picture of President Obama dressed as a witch doctor -- to support her claim that the Senate Finance Committee health reform bill would institute the "most extreme change to Medicare ever." McCaughey also mischaracterized a statement by Obama appointee Dr. David Blumenthal to claim that one of her prior falsehoods -- that a Health Information Technology (HIT) provision in the stimulus act would lead to government "interfering in doctors' treatment decisions" -- was accurate.
After granting health care liar Betsy McCaughey a national television platform she doesn't deserve, MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan is going to get eviscerated by conservatives for the sin of trying to make her actually answer his questions.
Howard Kurtz will point to Ratigan's aggressive questioning of McCaughey as evidence of MSNBC's supposed liberalism -- conveniently overlooking the fact that Ratigan was giving a platform to a proven right-wing liar.
And Ratigan and MSNBC will be defensive about the criticism. Rather than apologizing for hosting a proven liar to talk about the topic she has lied most about, they will redouble their efforts to convince conservatives they can get a fair shake on MSNBC
Yesterday, I noted that the problem with Betsy McCaughey isn't that she's a liar -- it's that the media gives her a platform to lie.
Let's be clear about this: it isn't just FOX News and the New York Post that are guilty of promoting someone whose claim to fame for 15 years has been spreading falsehoods about health care reform.
As I write this, McCaughey is on MSNBC, talking about health care. Why? What has she ever done to deserve such a platform?
(And remember MSNBC's promotion of McCaughey next time someone tells you it is a "liberal" cable channel.)
UPDATE: McCaughey and MSNBC host Dylan Ratigan just had this exchange:
McCAUGHEY: You're not a very fair moderator.
RATIGAN: Well, you're not a very fair answerer, so there you go.
Right. McCaughey isn't a very fair answerer. in fact, she's a liar. We've known she's a liar for 15 years. She's famously a liar about the very topic MSNBC is hosting her to discuss. So why is she on television? Why is Ratigan interviewing her?
UPDATE 2: Ratigan ended the segment by telling McCaughey: "Betsy it was a pleasure, again, I thank you for spending some time with us, and I do hope you will come back."
Why? McCaughey is a proven liar. Ratigan spent the entire interview trying to get her to answer questions and saying she wasn't doing so and saying she wasn't being "fair" in her responses; McCaughey spent the interview attacking Ratigan and basically behaving like Betsy McCaughey. And Dylan Ratigan wants to put her on television again.
This is why public discourse in America is broken.