Monday, August 24, 2009

Media Matters Daily Summary 08-24-09

NY Times reports on Towey's attack on "Your Life, Your Choices" without noting he is selling competing booklet
The New York Times reported that former Bush administration official H. James Towey criticized the booklet, "Your Life, Your Choices" -- which is one of several end-of-life educational materials used by the Veterans Health Administration -- for supposedly "seem[ing] to encourage people to 'hurry up and die,' " and being "so fundamentally flawed that the V.A. ought to throw it out." But the Times did not note that the organization Towey founded is selling its own competing end-of-life booklet, which Towey has reportedly pushed the Veterans Health Administration to buy. Read More

"Death book" distortions abound on Fox News Sunday
On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace hosted former Bush administration aide Jim Towey to discuss his recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, "The Death Book for Veterans," and in doing so promoted numerous distortions about an end-of-life educational booklet used by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). In addition to forwarding the smear that the booklet is a "death book," Wallace promoted Towey's distortion that the booklet encourages veterans to "pull the plug" -- it doesn't; Wallace and Towey both claimed that the Bush administration suspended use of the booklet -- it didn't; and Wallace claimed that a VHA document requires doctors to direct veterans to the booklet -- it doesn't. Read More

Schieffer allows Grassley to criticize reconciliation without noting his past support of process
CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer allowed Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) to criticize Democrats for reportedly considering using the budget reconciliation process to pass health-care reform with a simple majority of 51 votes in the Senate by claiming that "reconciliation was put in place to get deficits down." Schieffer did not note that Grassley has previously voted to use reconciliation for the Bush administration tax cuts, which the Congressional Budget Office indicated at the time would not "get deficits down." Read More

Fox's Carlson claims Obama yet to name Army secretary -- Fox's live reporting disagrees
During the August 24 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson claimed that "a lot of the top" White House positions are "anonymous because they haven't been named yet to certain posts," citing the Army secretary as an example. However, President Obama named Rep. John McHugh (R-NY) to the post on June 2, and The New York Times noted that "Republican senators are holding up nominees like John McHugh for Army secretary to influence what happens to the detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba." Read More

Fox News, NRO, Limbaugh run with "death book" smears
Following false accusations that Democrats' health care reform legislation would institute "death panels" for the elderly, H. James Towey claimed in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that the Obama administration revived a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) booklet on advanced planning directives that would "steer vulnerable individuals to conclude for themselves that life is not worth living," calling the booklet a "death book." As with the death panel smear, conservative media -- particularly Fox News -- have promoted Towey's false "death book" claim, ignoring facts that undermine Towey's rhetoric. Read More

Fox News freak-out: Guests make extreme claims and accusations about health care
In recent weeks, Fox News has hosted numerous individuals who advanced extreme, outrageous claims about health care reform at prior congressional town hall meetings, during their interviews, or both. For example, on Fox, one guest claimed that under health reform, he might have to "let" his wife "suffer until she passes on," while another claimed of Democratic leaders, "[Y]our thugs already know where we live. We've had a visit from them in the middle of the night." Read More

Fox News uses "death book" lie to revive "death panels" lie
Following several days in which Fox News promoted the smear that an educational booklet on end-of-life decisions used by the Veterans Health Administration is a "death book," Fox News host Megyn Kelly and Fox News contributor Jonah Goldberg used a discussion about the booklet to revive the falsehood that Democratic health care reform legislation would institute "death panels." Kelly also falsely claimed that the booklet encourages veterans to "hurry up and die" and that VHA officials are "required" to refer patients to it. Read More

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