By Tracy Dingmann
First the Albuquerque Journal editorial page gave cover to the “birthers.” Now the paper’s editorial writers apparently think the “deathers” have a point, too.
Let me explain.
In an editorial published Sunday, Aug. 16 called “Senate Right to Pull Death Consultations,” Journal editorial writers express support for Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley’s view that the regulations regarding voluntary “end-of-life” counseling sessions included in a healthcare overhaul currently under consideration in Congress are too confusing and scary for many Americans.
Grassley made headlines on Aug. 12 when he told members of a town hall audience in his home state that they were right to fear giving government the right to “pull the plug on Grandma.”
“There is some fear because in the House bill, there is counseling for end-of-life,” Grassley told his constituents. “And from that standpoint, you have every right to fear. You shouldn’t have counseling at the end of life. You ought to have counseling 20 years before you’re going to die. You ought to plan these things out. And I don’t have any problem with things like living wills. But they ought to be done within the family. We should not have a government program that determines if you’re going to pull the plug on Grandma.”
Grassley’s comments were held up by all but the most far-right fringe as being irresponsible and false pandering to the myth of the so-called “death panels.” Even Grassely, stunned by the outcry, backed off his comments a few days later.
But the Journal thinks Grassley’s statements are just fine.
The paper’s editorial goes on to endorse dropping the end-of-life counseling from the reform package because of fears – widely debunked elsewhere — that an “overzealous bureaucracy or political movement” might force the old and the sick to “choose against medical treatment that might prolong their lives.” In fact, the provision would merely call for Medicare to cover voluntary consultations between individuals and their doctors about end of life care, including whether or not to write a living will. It’s an idea several Republican lawmakers — including far-right poster child Sarah Palin – have endorsed in the past.
This is the second time recently that the Journal’s editorial page has put itself firmly in step with — to put it bluntly — the lies of America’s most far-right fringe.
On Aug. 1, the paper published an editorial scolding President Barack Obama for not producing a birth certificate that would finally silence the rabid “birthers” who refuse to believe, despite indisputable evidence to the contrary, that he was born in Hawaii and is an American citizen. I wrote about it then on Journal Watch.
Taken together, these two pieces have convinced me the Journal’s editorial page is swinging harder to the right now then ever before – and it makes we wonder why.
Am I the only one?