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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Gene "G.D." Demby is the founder and editor of PostBourgie. In his day job, he blogs and reports on race and ethnicity for NPR's Code Switch team.
  • blackink12

    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.

  • R.

    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.)

  • 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.

  • quadmoniker

    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

    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.

    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.

  • ladyfresh

    i didn’t know it was charlie

    i thought keith ignored it


  • livininphilly

    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.

    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*