A journalist has done a good job finding the people who started the “death panel” nonsense.
Republicans, and especially conservatives, have specialized in scaring people at least since the 1980s, most memorably in the “Willie Horton” scare that helped to defeat Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis in the 1988 presidential campaign.
The Wikipedia article on “Willie Horton” is informative:
The misrepresentation concerning Horton and Dukakis was intentional on the part of the Republicans. Look for the name “Lee Atwater” in the Wikipedia article.
I’ve seen this kind of scare tactic used repeatedly by Republicans over my 61 years. Each time the Big Scare is successful I am amazed that people could believe the lie of the moment. Lots of Americans are either stupid and ignorant, I once concluded.
But I think I was unfair in that. Americans can only know the information they’re given. We have a poor education system, and above all a set of media that almost always goes for the most sensational story, and seldom bothers any more to provide background on anything. Go to the websites for major European media, like the BBC (England), Deutsche Welle (Germany), and Radio Nederland (Holland), and read and listen for a while. You’ll see the difference.
Why this difference? Why its our old friend PROFIT, of course. In the 1980s and ’90s, as all of US society became much more business-oriented, owners of big media began to adopt the idea that their News Division should become profit centers — no longer the unprofitable public service that they had once been. More profit requires more viewers. More viewers are gotten by showing or printing more sensational, and less informative, material in the News.
That means there’s not much time for facts in our most of media anymore. It’s as simple as that.
“Two minds with but a single thought”:
Another interesting reaction to this story: This one is by the feisty economist / Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman:
Democratic politicians consistently fail to anticipate the viciousness and sneakiness of Republican attacks (with the notable exception of Mr. Obama in the last election). My favorite theory as to why most Democrats are so dense on this subject is that they fail to step back and take an analytical — in fact, anthropological –, approach to the problem.
If you don’t step outside the American Cultural Box and look at its rather jumbled contents dispassionately, you are likely to consistently miss the fact that Republican laissez faire economics overlap to a degree the most basic form of the foundational myth of American culture, namely the “American dream” (which says that ANYONE who works hard enough can access the opportunities the USA offers and thus become affluent or wealthy.)
If I am poor but believe with almost religious fervor that one day I’m going to be rich, then I won’t be grateful if you create social programs to make the life of the poor easier. I don’t expect to be in that wretched group long enough to enjoy such programs!
And if you tax the rich to pay for such things, then I’m really gonna be pissed off. That’s my future income you’re taking!
You just can’t trifle with a society’s foundational myth without sparking a lot of righteous anger….
Except at those rare times when lots of people wake up and realize that said myth is probably never going to come true in their lives. That happened on a massive scale in the Great Depression. It happened again to a lesser degree during the Viet Nam War in the ’60s — when a lot of draftable young men took notice of the fact that the war could very well kill them before they could even begin their climb toward wealth.
It may be happening again today. Working people may be waking up and noticing the true grimness of their futures in current America. See my post below titled “So THAT’S Why You Both Have to Work!”
This unpleasant awakening from the deteriorating American Dream may be why a lot of people voted Democrat last year.
And it may also be why this year a lot of other people are mobbing health care discussion forums and chanting, “Give us our America back!”
They are in the anger stage of mourning.