Posted by: audreybenenati | December 16, 2009

The Lie Machine

The Rolling Stone: [Excerpt From Issue 1088 —October 1, 2009]

GOP operatives are running a secret campaign to kill health care reform, and it’s based on Karl Rove’s old playbook

TIM DICKINSON Posted Sep 23, 2009 9:01 AM

…McCaughey’s lies were later debunked in a 1995 post-mortem in The Atlantic, and The New Republic recanted the piece in 2006. But what has not been reported until now is that McCaughey’s writing was influenced by Philip Morris, the world’s largest tobacco company, as part of a secret campaign to scuttle Clinton’s health care reform. (The measure would have been funded by a huge increase in tobacco taxes.) In an internal company memo from March 1994, the tobacco giant detailed its strategy to derail Hillarycare through an alliance with conservative think tanks, front groups and media outlets. Integral to the company’s strategy, the memo observed, was an effort to “work on the development of favorable pieces” with “friendly contacts in the media.” The memo, prepared by a Philip Morris executive, mentions only one author by name:

“Worked off-the-record with Manhattan and writer Betsy McCaughey as part of the input to the three-part exposé in The New Republic on what the Clinton plan means to you. The first part detailed specifics of the plan.”

McCaughey did not respond to Rolling Stone‘s request for an interview.

Armed with the script prepared by McCaughey and Luntz, a tight coalition of deep-pocketed groups took the lead in mobilizing the town-hall protests. The two primary groups — Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks — actually grew out of the 2003 breakup of an outfit called Citizens for a Sound Economy that had been integral in the fight against Hillarycare. Indeed, the same “Tobacco Strategy” memo in which Philip Morris boasts of shaping McCaughey’s writings also reveals that the tobacco giant paid Citizens for a Sound Economy to engineer a “grassroots” revolt against health care reform by staging demonstrations in the home districts of key congressmen. “The goal,” states the memo, “is to show the Clinton plan as a government-run health care system replete with higher taxes… rationing of care and extensive bureaucracies.”…


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