On his Fox News show, Glenn Beck falsely claimed that The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) said that 46 percent of primary care physicians would consider leaving their profession if the Democrats' health care reform bill passes. In fact, as Fox News' Megyn Kelly had noted three hours earlier, the NEJM did not conduct the "survey" -- which was "not a scientific poll."
Beck falsely attributed survey to NEJM
Beck falsely claimed NEJM "says ... nearly one-third of doctors will quit" if bill passes. On the March 17 edition of his Fox News show, Beck falsely claimed that "The New England Journal of Medicine says that if this bill is passed nearly one-third of doctors will quit practice medicine -- quit practicing medicine."
As Fox's Kelly noted, "survey" was not conducted by NEJM and was "not a scientific poll"
Kelly: Survey, which was "not a scientific poll," "was conducted by the Medicus Firm ... a national physician search firm." On the March 17 edition of Fox News' America Live, host Kelly noted that the survey "was conducted by the Medicus Firm, which is a national physician search firm." She added: "The New England Journal of Medicine, which was originally responsible for posting, not publishing, but -- not conducting the survey, but for posting it on its website -- later removed it. It's not a scientific poll; it's a survey."
Spokeswoman confirmed survey has nothing to do with NEJM's "original research" and "was not published" by Journal. Media Matters for America contacted NEJM and received confirmation from spokeswoman Jennifer Zeis that the study had "nothing to do with the New England Journal of Medicine's original research." Zeis also made clear that the study "was not published by the New England Journal of Medicine." In fact, the Medicus Firm conducted the survey in December 2009. Medicus, a Dallas- and Atlanta-based firm that recruits and places physicians in jobs was responsible for conducting the survey. It issued a press release about the results on December 17, 2009. The report then appeared in Recruiting Physicians Today, an employment newsletter produced by the Massachusetts Medical Society, "the publishers of the New England Journal of Medicine."
Other Fox personalities have perpetuated the falsehood
Several Fox News personalities have made the false claim about the survey. Before correcting the record, Kelly herself had previously falsely attributed the survey to the NEJM. Others who have made the claim include:
- Host Bill O'Reilly, who claimed on March 16 that the survey was "published by The New England Journal of Medicine, a prestigious magazine."
- Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade, who said on March 17 that the NEJM "published a report and did a survey" that found doctors "feel reform will force them out."
- Host Sean Hannity, who, on the March 16 edition of his show, asked Milton Wolf, a radiologist who says he is President Obama's second cousin, "Will this plan that they're now pushing, and I think in a very corrupt way, do you believe this will harm and -- if you believe so, how greatly will it harm our health care system?" Wolf replied: "We just learned from The New England Journal of Medicine that a significant percentage of doctors would consider leaving -- seriously consider leaving the profession if this went through."
- Fox News contributor Dr. Marc Siegel, who, on the March 16 edition of Fox News' Your World, stated: "First of all, the [American Medical Association] is a bureaucratic organization that doesn't represent practicing doctors. A new study in The New England Journal of Medicine says that one-third of physicians would consider quitting or retiring early if this goes through."