Righty Pundits Cooked Up 'Death Panels'

False rumor tracks back months, to same old conservative voices
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2009 10:29 AM CDT
Republican Sen. Charles Grassley speaks to voters during a town hall meeting, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009 in Adel, Iowa.   (AP Photo/Steve Pope)
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(Newser) – The stubborn false rumor that President Obama is planning to encourage euthanasia, or ration health care through “death panels,” may sound like the stuff of anonymous e-mail campaigns, but it actually came from comparatively mainstream conservative media outlets, the New York Times reports. The first whispers came way back on Nov. 23, when a Washington Times editorial warned that the new administration would try something reminiscent of Hitler’s Aktion T4 euthanasia program.

When Democrats included money for family planning in the stimulus, the American Spectator declared that “euthanasia is another shovel ready job.” Betsy McCaughey, who wrote an infamous piece decrying health care reform in 1994, soon joined in with a New York Post editorial. From there, pundits like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh took the baton and ran with it, usually citing those three articles.