2009-08-14 False Death Panel Rumor Has Some Familiar Roots

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<hide> <let name=data index=Date>2009-08-14</let> <let name=data index=Authors>\Jim Rutenberg\Jackie Calmes</let> <let name=data index=Source>New York Times</let> <let name=data index=Topics>\US/healthcare/reform/2009\US/healthcare/reform/2009/disinfo\Chuck Grassley\Washington Times\American Spectator\Betsy McCaughey\euthanasia\mainstream media</let> <let name=data index=URL>http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/14/health/policy/14panel.html</let> <</let> <let name=data index=TitlePlain>False Death Panel Rumor Has Some Familiar Roots</let>

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The stubborn yet false rumor that President Obama's health care proposals would create government-sponsored "death panels" to decide which patients were worthy of living seemed to arise from nowhere in recent weeks.

<-presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, and Charles E. Grassley, the veteran Iowa senator, the nature of the assertion nonetheless seemed reminiscent of the modern-day viral Internet campaigns that dogged Mr. Obama last year, falsely calling him a Muslim and questioning his nationality.

But the rumor – which has come up at Congressional town-hall-style meetings this week in spite of an avalanche of reports laying out why it was false – was not born of anonymous e-mailers, partisan bloggers or stealthy cyberconspiracy theorists.

Rather, it has a far more mainstream provenance, openly emanating months ago from many of the same pundits and conservative media outlets that were central in defeating President Bill Clinton's health care proposals 16 years ago, including the editorial board of The Washington Times, the American Spectator magazine and Betsy McCaughey, whose 1994 health care critique made her a star of the conservative movement (and ultimately, New York's lieutenant governor).

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<let name=data index=TextShort>“the rumor – which has come up at Congressional town-hall-style meetings this week in spite of an avalanche of reports laying out why it was false – was not born of anonymous e-mailers, partisan bloggers or stealthy cyberconspiracy theorists [but rather] from many of the same pundits and conservative media outlets that were central in defeating President Bill Clinton's health care proposals 16 years ago, including the editorial board of The Washington Times, the American Spectator magazine and Betsy McCaughey...”</let> </hide><if not flag=$including><let name=docat val=1 /><call ShowLinkData /></if>