Betsy McCaughey, Creator of ‘Death Panels’ Lie Exposed as Corporate Tobacco Shill

September 20, 2009

(ChattahBox)— An upcoming piece in the Rolling Stone exposes disgraced conservative writer and creator of the “death panel” lie, Betsy McCaughey, as not only a disingenuous health industry corporate mouthpiece, bent on defeating health care reform, but also a corporate shill for the tobacco industry.

The Rolling Stone piece reveals that McCaughey’s successful efforts to scuttle health care reform during the Clinton administration were funded by the tobacco giant, Phillip Morris. Now, she is at it again, spreading falsehoods for her corporate masters, to defeat the much needed health care reform for our nation.

McCaughey became infamous in 1994 after she wrote an article in the New Republic magazine, filled with misrepresentations and falsehoods that ultimately proved to be the undoing of Clinton’s health reform efforts. The article was later retracted by the magazine, but by then the damage had already been done.

McCaughey’s actions in penning an article full of falsehoods with the aim to torpedo health care reform, were reprehensible, but now knowing that her article was funded by the tobacco industry, somehow makes her shilling even more shameful.

The Rolling Stone uncovered a secret internal memo from a Phillip Morris executive, outlining the company’s strategy to defeat health care reform, using “conservative think tanks, front groups and media outlets.” At the time McCaughey was a fellow at one of those “conservative think tanks; the Manhattan Institute, and she was tapped by Philip Morris to pen the hit piece on Clinton’s health care reform plan.

The internal memo reads:

“Worked off-the-record with Manhattan [Editor’s note: At the time, McCaughey was a fellow at the Manhattan Institute] and writer Betsy McCaughey as part of the input to the three-part expose in The New Republic on what the Clinton plan means to you. The first part detailed specifics of the plan.”

Fast forward 15 years and Betsy McCaughey is back like an incurable disease, doing her best to wreak havoc again on health care reform. She first entered the spotlight earlier in the summer, appearing on Fred Thompson’s radio show, where she advanced the “death panel” lie that has now become entrenched in the health care debate, despite its obvious falsehood.

McCaughey was then granted numerous media appearances, most notably on Fox News, to continue to peddle her falsehoods and penned another article full of false claims and misrepresentations, entitled “Deadly Doctors,” where she attacked Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

Who was going to stand up to this woman and expose her falsehoods? Not the mainstream media. It finally took an appearance on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, hosted by Jon Stewart, where Stewart just needed a few seconds to eviscerate McCaughey and expose her untruths.

Soon after her Daily Show appearance, McCaughey resigned from the board of directors of Cantel Medical Corporation.

The Raw Story and Crooks and Liars have more on the story.


3 Responses to “Betsy McCaughey, Creator of ‘Death Panels’ Lie Exposed as Corporate Tobacco Shill”

  1. Posts about Jon Stewart as of September 20, 2009 » The Daily Parr on September 20th, 2009 8:47 pm

    […] Avengers, and Marvel Studios have been trying for years to get an Ant-Man film off the ground. Betsy McCaughey, Creator of ‘Death Panels’ Lie Exposed as Corporate Tobacco Shill – 09/20/2009 (ChattahBox)— An upcoming piece in the Rolling Stone exposes […]

  2. CTJack on September 21st, 2009 7:19 am

    Vitriol and name calling don’t add much to the health-care debate. I’ve found McCaughey’s research and input to be right on.

  3. Alex Brant-Zawadzki on September 22nd, 2009 9:15 pm

    Wouldn’t it be NUTS if health-care providers, drug companies and insurance companies paid PR and Strategy companies to monitor the internet and post on every article related to health care in order to greatly distort the tone of the debate?

    I know, I know. That’s just silly, right?

    Betsy McCaughey is a disgrace to her profession, though at this point it’s arguable what that profession is. Perhaps the oldest profession – in the political sense, not the literal. Her “research” is not worthy of the term. Many Republicans in the past have lobbied for “end-of-life” panels to help seniors and families set up wills. Rush Limbaugh read ads for end-of-life counseling on his radio show.

    Do they think we’re stupid? Do they think if they say the same things over and over and over again and cite each other as proof then we will actually believe what they say?

    With respect,
    Alex Brant-Zawadzki
    Organizing for America

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