Rush's Voice Leads Conservative Echo Chamber

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Jessica Levin (202) 772-8162 jlevin@mediamatters.org

Rush's Voice Leads Conservative Echo Chamber

Talk radio host spearheads rapid spread of health IT falsehood

WASHINGTON - In taking on one of the
latest examples of misinformation about the economic recovery package, Media Matters for America has documented
Rush Limbaugh leading several conservative media outlets in parroting former
New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey's falsehood that a provision in the
House-passed version of the bill grants the government authority to
"monitor treatments" and "make sure your doctor is doing what
the federal government deems appropriate."

In fact, the provision
Limbaugh and others referenced merely establishes an electronic records system
that would provide doctors with complete, accurate information about their
patients "to guide medical decisions at the time and place of
care." MSNBC's David Shuster debunked
Limbaugh's myth on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,
noting that the government "will not be empowered to monitor doctors or
require them to do anything."

CNN additionally reported that when
asked about where her claim actually appeared in the bill, McCaughey pointed to
language that "didn't actually say that." Even Fox News
contributor Mort Kondracke
debunked
the claim that the bill contains anything that requires health-care
"rationing."

"Once
again, conservatives in the media are showing an utter disregard for fact in
their pursuit of a Limbaugh-hyped myth of the day about the economic recovery
package,"
said Erikka Knuti, a spokesperson for Media Matters. "As the story traveled from Rush to Drudge to segments
on Fox News, several media figures ignored the issue of whether the provisions
were substantively valid in favor of baseless political rhetoric disguised as
truth."

On February 9, Limbaugh repeated a falsehood that originally appeared
in a Bloomberg "commentary"
by McCaughey. McCaughey claimed that under provisions in the economic recovery
bill passed by House Democrats, "[o]ne new bureaucracy, the National
Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make
sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and
cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and 'guide' your doctor's
decisions."

The Limbaugh-promoted falsehood
quickly popped up on the Drudge Report as well as in segments on Fox News,
where
Wall Street Journal
senior economics writer Stephen
Moore credited Limbaugh for bringing it to his attention. By February 10,
McCaughey was invited on both CNN's Lou
Dobbs Tonight
and Fox News' Glenn
Beck
to peddle false claims about the bill.

Limbaugh even took credit for spreading the story, saying "Betsy
McCaughey writing at Bloomberg, I found it. I detailed it for you, and now it's
all over mainstream media. Well, it's -- it headlined Drudge for a while last
night and today. Fox News is talking about it."

Media Matters recently
documented how
Limbaugh's misrepresentations about the economic recovery package are
promoted concurrently with Republicans in Congress, Sean Hannity, and other conservative
media figures.

BACKGROUND

Limbaugh repeats health IT falsehood
from Bloomberg "commentary" on House recovery bill

http://mediamatters.org/items/200902100001

Rush
Limbaugh repeated a falsehood in a Bloomberg "commentary" by Betsy
McCaughey that claimed that under a provision in the House-passed economic
recovery bill, "[o]ne new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health
Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is
doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The
goal is to reduce costs and 'guide' your doctor's decisions." In fact, the
provisions McCaughey referenced address establishing an electronic records
system such that doctors would have information about their patients "to
help guide medical decisions at the time and place of care."

Echo
chamber: Bloomberg "commentary" health IT falsehood goes from
Limbaugh to WSJ's Moore and
Fox, back to Limbaugh

http://mediamatters.org/items/200902100031

The
Wall Street Journal
's
Stephen Moore and Fox News anchors Bill Hemmer and Megyn Kelly promoted the
falsehood -- which first appeared in a Bloomberg "commentary" by
Betsy McCaughey and was subsequently promoted by Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge
-- that the economic recovery bill includes a provision that would, in Moore's words,
"hav[e] the government essentially dictate treatments." Limbaugh
later took credit for spreading this story.

Dobbs,
Beck allow McCaughey to advance health IT falsehood

http://mediamatters.org/items/200902110012

On Lou Dobbs Tonight and Glenn Beck, Dobbs and Beck allowed Betsy
McCaughey to advance the false claim that provisions in the economic recovery act
would permit the government to control health care. In fact, the provisions she
cited address establishing an electronic records system in part for the purpose
of "reduc[ing] health care costs resulting from inefficiency, medical
errors, inappropriate care, duplicative care, and incomplete information."
It does not say that the federal government will determine what constitutes
"unnecessary care."

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Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.

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