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Please begin with an informative title:

Mistress of Serious Mischief --  The Conservatives' Dangerous Diva

(Betsy McCaughey) has brought more misinformation, more often, more destructively into America's consideration of health-policy issues than any other individual. She has no concept of "truth" or "accuracy" in the normal senses of those terms, as demonstrated last week when she went on The Daily Show. Virtually every statement she has made about health-reform proposals, from the Clinton era until now, has been proven to be false. It doesn't slow her down.  -- http://jamesfallows.theatlantic.com/... James Fallows, The Atlantic
What’s it all about?

Betsy is the corporatists and radical right’s go-to-person for dissemination of faux facts and spurious fictions.
 

A lie with a purpose is one of the worst kind, and the most profitable.--Finley Peter Dunne
Discussion continues below the fold ......
Intro

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It’s no surprise that the discredited McCaughey would re-appear as the far right's "expert" in the midst of the crisis surrounding Obama’s health care proposals,  given Betsy's incredible track record in this sort of arena.

Betsy is a perfect example of the American Dream with a bitter, unique twist.

According to a précis of extensive materials and excepts based on information drawn from Betsy McCaughey in Wikipeida: http://en.wikipedia.org/...  

Betsy was born Elizabeth Helen Peterken to a humble working class family.  She parleyed her ambition, appeal, and considerable intellectual skills into a degree from Vassar and a Ph.D. from Columbia.  

Betsy married a Wall Street investment banker, Thomas K. McCaughey (Solomon Bros.), together they made millions in the market.  Betsy, herself,  early on, trained as a corporate/commercial lending officer with Chase Manhattan Bank  assigned to Chase’s Food, Beverage, and Tobacco Division.

Soon Betsy became part of New York’s high society social life.  She later divorced McCaughey.  Next she married another investment banker Wilbur Ross, Jr.. That marriage lasted three years ending in divorce.

She's part of the nouveau riche, a fact which may bear upon her striven efforts to bring about an influence in public matters using both her academic achievements and her hard right political connections--especially her involvement with rightist think tanks.  Then there is her compelling desire to be a "mover and a shaker."  Betsy perfectly aligns herself with those who desperately want to hold on to their "new found" wealth and positions. For the dark purposes of Republican provocateurs she's near perfect.

McCaughey showed an early interest in political theory and philosophy writing her senior thesis on Karl Marx and Alexis de Tocqueville.

McCaughey’s doctorate thesis became the basis of her published historical book, From Loyalist to Founding Father: The Political Odyssey of William Samuel Johnson, Columbia University Press,1980.

Betsy once sold Fox Television a concept which netted her $75,000.

Betsy was a visiting lecturer for a period of time during which she became involved in writing political opinion and taking on issues including a vigorous defense of the confirmation of Clarence Thomas for the Supreme Court.

The John M. Olin Foundation,1993, funded a fellowship at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank.  With the support of the foundation McCaughey wrote a book on race and the legal system to be titled Beyond Pluralism: Overcoming the Narcissism of Minor Differences. McCaughey wrote three op-ed columns over the next six months in The Wall Street Journal and USA Today, addressing the issue of race and the legal system.

“Unpolitician”  McCaughey was for a brief period the Lt. Governor of the State of New York

McCaughey was a political novice at the time of her election as lieutenant governor, a trait which led to her being billed as an "unpolitician."[5] McCaughey said of her status as a political rookie, "[t]here are many people who are glad that I'm in public office and supportive of the fact and don't care that I'm not a seasoned politician.... Many New Yorkers see that as a plus."[7] Joseph Fried of The New York Times opined that Pataki had chosen her to gain female votes.[57]

She and George Pataki did not know each other when he asked her to be his running-mate. Joseph Fried of The New York Times later opined that Pataki "saw in her a political neophyte liked by conservatives and attractive to many independent voters and women."[58] According to Buffalo journalist Sharon Linstedt, McCaughey's "skillful, reasoned dissection of the [healthcare plan] earned her a round of talk show appearances, plus an appearance in Vanity Fair..."[5] McCaughey said she accepted the nomination believing she could work with Pataki on similar policy issues.

She was initially tasked by Pataki to work on Medicaid reform and education policy.[7]

(T)ensions between McCaughey and Pataki rose after a number of public disagreements between them over healthcare and early childhood education.[59]

McCaughey was uniquely positioned during the fall of 1993 to sandbag the Clinton health care initiative using her skills dealing with primary sources and her timely access to the leaked text of the Clinton Health Plan.
At a very key moment, The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by McCaughey.  Betsy asserted in that opinion piece that she had read and reread the 239-page draft health care reform plan and concluded that the plan differed markedly from the Clinton White House's public statements and that the plan would in her opinion have "devastating consequences." [39]

Betsy was now well on her ascent to the role of chief critic of any effort to achieve national health care for Americans.

(T)he Health Security Act was introduced in the U.S. House as H.R. 3600 by House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-MO-3) with 99 cosponsors and introduced in the U.S. Senate as S.1757 by Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell (D-ME) with 28 cosponsors. On November 22, 1993, the Wall Street Journal published another op-ed by McCaughey, who said she had pored over the 1,342-page Health Security Act bill and concluded that its price controls would cause rationing and in her opinion was "dangerous."[40]

McCaughey was published by the New Republic as a harsh academic critic and learned expert opposed to the Clinton health plan--a mega propagandistic coup.

McCaughey's five-page article "No Exit" was featured as the cover story in the February 7, 1994 issue of TNR, published a few days before President Clinton's January 25, 1994 State of the Union address. The article was illustrated with a caricature of Hillary Clinton.[42] According to James Dao of The New York Times, it was "the project that made her famous."[7] In the words of Tom Wolfe, "[t]hat one article shot down the entire blimp."[43]
Falsehoods notwithstanding, McCaughey had made her mark.

Its success aside, many of McCaughey's "No Exit's" sensational claims were false.

Particularly, McCaughey's most damaging allegations—that "the law will prevent you from going outside the system to buy basic health coverage you think is better," and that "doctor[s] can be paid only by the plan, not by you"—were flatly contradicted by the text of the legislation.[46] (Section 1003 of the Health Security Act provided that "[n]othing in this Act shall be construed as prohibiting the following: (1) An individual from purchasing any health care services.")[47]

The "TRB from Washington" column by Michael Kinsley[53] and an article by Yale public policy professor Theodore Marmor and Yale law professor Jerry Mashaw criticized McCaughey's "No Exit" article as being confused and misleading in the February 14, 1994 issue of TNR.[54] After Editor Franklin Foer assumed creative control of The New Republic in early 2006, the magazine recanted the story and apologized for it as part of the magazine's effort in "returning the magazine to its liberal roots." Despite the magazine's recantation and academic refutations, McCaughey's article may have contributed to the failure of the Clinton health plan to gather enough support to pass in Congress.[56]

A Star is Born: “God, this is amazing”

The ace conservative gobstopper, McCaughey had drawn first blood.

According to Wikipedia:

On January 31, 1994, the Clinton White House issued an analysis of McCaughey's TNR article "No Exit" asserting her article contained "numerous factual inaccuracies and misleading statements."[48]

Snip

"No Exit," the White House response, and ensuing television and radio interviews with McCaughey made her a star.  A 1995 profile in The Washington Post said "Her toothy good looks, body-conscious suits, Vassar BA and Columbia PhD reduced right-wingers to mush."[6] Manhattan Institute president William Hammett said "I remember I was driving one night in the middle of the San Joaquin Valley from Tahoe to L.A. I was listening to Rush Limbaugh, and they were going on and on about Betsy McCaughey. I thought, God, this is amazing."[6]

The spectacular rise of McCaughey as an expert analyst and critic of national health care reform illustrates the old adage--the most damaging lie is the truth cleverly manipulated.
Every violation of truth is not only a sort of suicide in the liar, but is a stab at the health of human society. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Tracing the Line of McCaughey’s Untruths and Disinformation:
In August 2009, WNYC's On the Media addressed McCaughey's "euthanasia for the elderly" claim. The provision actually mandated that the federal government compensate senior citizens requesting "counseling sessions" on elder law, such as estate planning, "will writing and hospice care." Her choice of words was described by The Atlantic's James Fallows as inaccurate and sensationalistic.[77]

In a New York Post opinion article, Ezekiel Emanuel was described by McCaughey as a "Deadly Doctor."[81] The article, which accused Emanuel of advocating healthcare rationing by age and disability, was quoted from on the floor of the House of Representatives by Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota.[82] Sarah Palin said that Emanuel's philosophy was "downright evil" and tied it to a health care reform end of life counseling provision she claimed would create a "death panel".[83][84] The nonpartisan Politifact.com Web site described this claim as a "ridiculous falsehood."[85][86][87][88]

McCaughey was also listed as a member of the board of directors of the Cantel Medical Corporation until she resigned on August 20, 2009. According to a Cantel press release, McCaughey resigned from the board of directors "to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest during the national debate over healthcare reform."[2] The same day, McCaughey appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and discussed end-of-life care.[3]

Solon's Alex Koppelman has commented. http://www.salon.com/...  The "big lie" technique is alive and well.  McCaughly's lies have flourished because they have slipped past serious critique, perhaps a strong indication of the current state of the news/investigative profession.
McCaughey's latest falsehoods have taken hold with a disturbingly large portion of the American public. But she couldn't get them past "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart, who had her on his show Thursday night and subjected her to one of his better interviews, meticulously picking her points apart and demonstrating their inaccuracy, leaving her stumbling and stammering in an attempt to defend her position. By the end of it, he told her, "I like you -- but I don't understand how your brain works."
Referring to the book "People of the Lie" author Katherine Yurica http://www.yuricareport.com/... opines:
Democracy cannot survive in a country where lies reign. Citizens cannot vote intelligently when facts are suppressed or twisted. The best course of action cannot be determined if all sides of an issue are not debated openly.

Every time we believe a lie, our mental health and the health of our nation is diminished. We as a people must stand against the lies. They must be exposed for what they are.


The McCaughey Dust-up Goes On and On

"Out of context" and "false" are useful caveats. But why is the story about  Ezekiel Emanuel being on the hot seat in the first place -- and not about the campaign of flat lies by McCaughey, Bachman, Palin, and LaRouche? Why are real newspapers quoting what they say any more? (Interestingly, LaRouche's claims rarely get NYT coverage. In  this case, he is apparently "legitimized" by ... McCaughey.) If I start a campaign of lies against somebody and get Soupy Sales plus Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme to agree with me, can I expect them to be regularly publicized in the mainstream press?

(Sarah Palin, Lyndon LaRouche, and Betsy McCaughey have effectively labeled Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel as a “death doctor.” Dr. Emanuel is blunt and to-the-point about his critics' attacks:)

The "death panel" idea is "an outright lie, a complete fabrication," he says. "And the paradox, the hypocrisy, the contradiction is that many of the people who are attacking me now supported living wills and consultations with doctors about end-of-life care, before they became against it for political reasons."  http://jamesfallows.theatlantic.com/...

Fear of death has been the greatest ally of tyranny past and present.   --Sydney Hook - [Death and Dying]
Source: See numbered endnotes annotated herein @ http://en.wikipedia.org/...
Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Morton Montgomery on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 11:01 AM PDT.

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