New York Times, please define "making sense of the health care debate"

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

That's the sub-head that runs below today's "Prescriptions" column in the Times. (Online, "Prescriptions" is a Times blog devoted to the health care debate.) But one of today's "Prescriptions" items does absolutely nothing in terms of "making sense" of the debate. In fact, the Times item simply helps keep alive the phony "death panel" claim.

The item recounted the Daily Show appearance this week by Betsy McCaughey, who was a prime architect of the "death panel" lie; that the federal government, under the Democrats' proposed reform, would be in the business of selectively killing old people. On the show, host Jon Stewart called her out on the bogus claim, and McCaughey held her ground, insisting her sci-fi fairy tale was true:

But Mr. Stewart, at times reading from the same pages, argued otherwise. "It seems like this bill is allowing people more control over their lives, and that your reading of it is hyperbolic and in some cases dangerous," he told her.

Ms. McCaughey remained politely unfazed.

Period. End of report (Online, the item continued a bit longer.) In a column that claims to be "making sense of the health care debate," the Times left open the question whether the "death panel" claim was true. The Times simply reported on how Stewart and McCaughey disagreed over the matter.

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