Megyn Kelly And Jonah Goldberg Dish “Death Book For Veterans”
Reported by Priscilla - August 27, 2009 -
The conservative right wing, allied with a panoply of business interests, wants to scuttle health care reform and is pulling out everything in their arsenal with which to do it. As the mouthpiece for any and all things conservative, Fox News is always ready to lend a hand. Their willingness to assist is evident in their new propaganda meme about a Veterans Administration Pamphlet (under revision) that “some say” (actually Fox News) encourages impaired veterans to pull the plug. Now that the “death panel” thing has been almost eliminated from the discussion, Fox News is cleverly reprising it in another form. It started with Fox News’ Chris Wallace and later reinforced by Megyn Kelly and Jonah Goldberg who were eager to lend their voices to the attack. Karl Rove, on the Hannity show, did a shameless propaganda piece. So as far as introduction of a talking point and subsequent reinforcement, it was slick piece of work. But as with all Fox propaganda, it’s easily debunked. And “fair and balanced” - don’t think so.
Conservatives must scare easily because this “death book” meme is clearly meant to scare people, already scared about the “death panels,” with talk about how the VA is encouraging vets to “pull the plug.” In bizarro conservative world, end of life and long term care planning is morphed into the notion that there are mass death squads roaming the countryside in search of disabled people who will be summarily dispatched. It is clearly partisan because end of life counseling was included in a bill introduced by a Republican congressperson (now Georgia senator) Johnny Isaakson. The VA “death book” was around during the Bush administration; but it wasn’t a problem then. But this is now and times and politics have a changed. Sunday, August 21st, Chris Wallace interviewed James Towey (former head of the Bush’s Faith Based Initiatives) who is author of a Wall Street Journal article (and author of a long term care pamphlet which he wants the VA to purchase) in which the “death book” allegation was made. Although Wallace also interviewed VA Assistant Secretary Tammy Duckworth (Iraq war hero) for the sake of “fair and balanced,” it was clear that he didn’t believe her correction of his right wing talking points. Serving to further propagate what has been totally debunked were Megyn Kelly and Jonah Goldberg who, the next day, did their partisan best in getting their viewers all a scared about this evil government instrument of death.
For those who might not be familiar with Jonah, he is an arch conservative who writes for the conservative “National Review.” Suffice to say he was Megyn Kelly’s only guest – but they did reference Tammy Duckworth so I guess it was “fair and balanced.” Kelly started off (voice dramatically rising and words said slowly) with “Critics claim VA pressuring certain disabled vets to hurry up and die” (Which “critics” Megyn – your gurus at the RNC?) She played part of the Tammy Duckworth interview and said that Chris Wallace has “serious issues” with Duckworth’s statements. Goldberg claimed that Duckworth was “misinformed or not telling the truth.” (Oh, the irony!) Goldberg claimed that the VA long term planning book, “Your Life, Your Choices” suggests that vets “should shuffle off.” Kelly had already described it as “asking vets if their lives are worth living.” In predicting that mandated suicide is just around the corner, Goldberg said, “one point that critics of Obama’s plan is once you get the structure for it, it’s on auto pilot, bureaucracy tends to this kind of thing. Death panels are not too far off on the horizon because of the nature of socialized medicine.” (Double hitter – death panels and socialized medicine.) Kelly used a cropped quote, from a VA document, to claim that the VA is “required to refer its patients to this.” Goldberg continued with scary scenarios about what could happen to disabled vets and suggested that vets might commit suicide because the government was “putting pressure” on them. He asserted that Duckworth “didn’t have the facts” (Oh, the irony) and once again brought up “the spector of death panels.” He totally lied when he referenced “this metaphysically grotesque document that tells veterans that they should be euthanized.”
Comment: As far as propaganda based on lies and misinformation, nobody does it better than Fox News. The VA booklet, in question, is not a “death book” as noted by Richard Smith of Vets Voice. He links to the actual booklet and provides a screen print of the issues that would be of concern to a person who is no longer able to speak for themselves – the same issues that prompt people to have a “living will” so that the government (think Terri Schiavo) can’t pass legislation to keep you alive against your wishes. As I noted earlier, this booklet was approved by the VA during the Bush administration and is just one of a number of resources that the VA recommends – not requires. A search of the VA website reveals no suicide recommendations. The original wording that is now (funny that) considered “controversial” is being revised. And while they cite what the VA is claiming, it is clear that Fox News, in conjunction with “right to life” forces (quelle surprise!), either doesn't believe it or thinks a bogus redux of the bogus “death panels” will help to bring down health care reform. Despite Tammy Duckworth’s appearance, the “spin” being given by Fox personas is definitely in favor of the “death book” meme.
Attached is the Kelly/Goldberg interview and another video debunking the claims.