CNN Reignites Death Panel Myth, Sparking My “Network” Moment

When will we change the course of corporate media? When will sane Americans take media to task? Can’t we end this media madness before the fabric of our society irreversibly tears?

Across America people suffer end-of-life illness. They agonize in pain. They agonize in fear. They’re in drug-induced stupors. Modest people soil themselves in front of friends and family. They avert their eyes in shame. They lose and regain consciousness. They welcome the unconscious moments that shield them from feelings of helplessness and burdening those they love.

This is no way to live. This is no way to die.

Throughout the recent debate on the health care bill, the media – in particular cable TV and talk radio – inflamed the rhetoric on the bill; on the bill’s size, its number of pages, its fiscal impact, its social impact, excluding abortion, surviving death panels…


The bill had no death panels. There was simply a plan to consult a doctor every five years for end-of-life planning. That was it. Sensitive, helpful, humane, necessary, professional end-of-life planning to comfort and protect the dying and guide their families through a difficult time.

But corporate media perverted the plan. It afforded Sarah Palin, media’s most caustic creation, round-the-clock amplification of her death panels misnomer. Rather than quell Palin’s toxic distortions and present the plan factually by name and content, corporate media appropriated Palin’s death panel fabrication and amplified it even more, spending weeks misrepresenting the plan and rendering it unrecognizable from its original form.

Eventually, corporate media’s constant drumming of death panel lies resulted in Section 1233 (which allowed Medicare to provide advance planning doctor visits every five years) being eliminated from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that passed in 2010.

On Christmas Day, the New York Times reported that President Obama would issue a Medicare regulation January 1st, which provides that “the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment.” Sadly, but not surprisingly, corporate media didn’t hesitate to jump on this report and revive the death panel deception.

Witness CNN reporter Randi Kaye, sitting in for Anderson Cooper, ignite the death panel rhetoric between Democrat Maria Cardona and Conservative Nancy Pfotenhauer:

(Video by Linda Milazzo)

Enough, CNN! Enough! Stop trivializing and dramatizing critical issues and pitting one hack against another. These women speak for no one. Report the news. Report the truth and stop whoring your twisted wares in the name of journalism. This isn’t journalism. This is media destruction, fact distortion, and public denigration. Americans don’t need this. Our nation’s sliding into ruins and you ruin it even more.

This is my Network moment. I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore from CNN, MSNBC, Fox, NBC, ABC, CBS and talk radio. We-the-people deserve better.

This wretched corporate media cheered us into Iraq. It’s made downtown Manhattan the flash point for xenophobia and racism over the building of a community center intended to unify neighbors. It’s given a platform to birthers. It’s undermined global warming. It’s created the monster Sarah Palin and it craves creating more. It’s desecrating the living and it’s desecrating the dying.


My mother died in 1977. She had cancer. Before she died, I flew to her hospital bed in New York. When I arrived at the hospital, I ran down the hall and charged into her room. I hadn’t seen her in months. She was surrounded by family. My knees buckled the instant I saw her. A relative caught me and carried me into the hall. I shook from head to toe. My mother was a skeleton.

We took her home from the hospital. Her sister flew in to help care for her. The last months of her life were living hell. She was robbed of her dignity. She was ashamed of being helpless, of needing to be fed and bathed, of being seen naked. She couldn’t look us in the eye.

After a while, the weak pain killers the doctor prescribed couldn’t stop her pain. I drove to her doctor’s office in the snow and demanded a stronger medication. He prescribed injectable morphine. I took the prescription and had it filled. Later that day, a visiting nurse came to teach me to inject my mother. We rehearsed on the skin of an orange. That night my mother cried in pain. I went to her with the syringe and told her to relax; that it would be okay. She was semi-conscious.

I filled the syringe and positioned myself to inject her. I was shaking. My tears clouded my eyes. I held the syringe to her skin and I MISSED. At that moment, my mother came to. She looked at me and said, “It’s okay.” I was never able to inject her. Her suffering went on…

Linda MilazzoMy family’s story is not unique. This happens every day to families across our nation. Millions have similar stories, and yet our media, our whoring media, for ad revenue and ratings, trivializes and falsifies the truth. About death. About war. About our planet. About what we really believe.

It’s time for this madness to end!

Linda Milazzo


  1. Mad Jayhawk says

    How can you say it healthcare rationed by costs now when a destitute illegal alien can check into an Arizona hospital and be given a million dollars in free medical care?

    Many experts in the heathcare field predict we will have rationing because doctors will opt out the way they are opting out of medicare and medicaid right now leaving a much smaller pool of physicians and because so many people, who previous didn’t have insurance will now be forced to have it, will use, probably overuse because the rest of us are paying for it, the heathcare system creating a huge demand for services that will overwhelm our current system.

    Counseling is not a death panel. We know that. Rationing, however, could lead to a system where a government appointed committee makes decisions about who lives or dies. A 75 year old granny or a 28 year old mother of 3 gets the operation that will save their lives? Is that entirely unlikely? We do not know yet do we? The rules are still be written by committees deep within the bowels of the government without citizen input, just the way the law was written by the Democrats, in secret, behind closed doors with the help of the insurance and healthcare corporate contributors to the Democratic Party. There have been over 100 exemptions issued by the Obama administration that allow organizations not to be covered by the law. Why is that? If it is SOOOOOOOO wonderful everyone should have it rammed down their throats.

    Repeal the stupid thing or repeal the repugnant parts of it that are probably unconstitutional anyways and tweak the parts that are actually worthwhile reform. The American People did not want this law and voted out those who voted for it.

    My insurance tripled this past year. Thank you Obama/Pelosi/Reid. Did yours? If not, you are probably are a good little Democrat and don’t have insurance and are waiting for the rest of us to buy it for you.

  2. Joe Weinstein says

    Consultations about options for terminal care do not amount either to ‘euthanasia’ nor to ‘death panels’, nor can blaming Obamacare for ‘rationing’ of health care change the reality: health care is already and inevitably rationed by costs, and no version of Obamacare or of its repeal can or could change that fact.

    These facts ought to be obvious. Crude attempts to distort and falsify them are reprehensible, whether from Palin or from other commenters to this article.

  3. Mad Jayhawk says

    The problem isn’t the media or even Sarah Palin. It is the policy. There are as I see it two issues involved in this topic. One is medical resource rationing. Another is the counseling/euthanasia aspect of it.

    It is highly questionable in my view that government should be intruding, encouraging, or pay for something that should be between a person, their physician, and their families. The bottom line is that everyone should have a living will.

    If Obamacare results in healthcare rationing which many people feel it will then who will make the decisions that result in some people getting healthcare that will prolong their lives and some not? Some have characterized those people who make this potential life and death decision as members of a ‘death panel’. Death panel seems like a pretty harsh term to some but can we come up with an meaningful warm and fuzzy alternative. Maybe Obama’s Caring Committee to Decide Whether You Live or Die? Being the government, I can see that each person could be assigned a number based on some arbitrary factors such as current health, race (of course), age, sex, and ethnicity (of course again) by the committee. I doubt they will consider religion, income level or political affiliation, but they might. Those with high numbers get care those with low numbers don’t.

    To endlessly rail about the always evil corporate media or the double-evil Sarah Palin when it comes to this subject is useless. Look at the policy coming at us out of Obamacare and talk to your congressperson about whether you think it should be repealed instead.

  4. George A. Crackuh says

    Like Ms. Milazzo, I am no fan of corporate media, self-serving officials, power-hungry American environuts, egregious war, nuclear proliferation, lying leaders, global tyranny, or the military industrial complex.

    But this article is incoherent. I cared for my dying mother for months, too. And all decisions about the care she should receive was made by her, her doctor, and her family.

    The idea that government should thrust their bureaucratic paws in the middle of this heart-wrenching, completely personal situation is hideous and despicable.

    I’m sure Ms. Milazzo is a nice person, but her calling Sarah Palin a monster is wrong, and completely without any basis in fact. Sarah was spot on about the death panels, and I believe Sarah values human life, and strives to be merciful, every bit as much as Linda Milazzo does. If not more.

    • says

      George — Sarah Palin started the “death panel” controversy when she posted the following statement on her Facebook page:

      “The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care.” — Sarah Palin

      You think this statement is “spot on”?

      I think it was a successful ploy to make an already fearful populace more fearful. Similar to the tactics used in disaster capitalism where the corporatocracy exploits the economies of countries affected by wars, terrorist attacks or natural catastrophes, Palin played right into the hands of the insurance industry by using a misnomer like “death panels” to characterize the kind of end-of-life planning that thoughtful families have been engaged in for decades. This has nothing to do with “bureaucratic paws” being thrust into the middle of heart-wrenching situations. End-of-life planning is between the doctor and patient just like you described.

      Isn’t it funny that this discussion is coming back, full force, just as the new congress is about to be installed. Sounds like the media is prepping the populace to make gutting the new healthcare legislation more palatable.

      That’s my take on why we’re suddenly hearing the term bantered about again even though it was put to bed months ago as a misnomer.

      Check out Fact Check

    • equinoxranch says

      In direct witness to practiced medicine within our family for over sixty years I honestly wish Ms. Milazzo had a better grasp of reality, instead of her playing her Stradivarius as per her beloved mother. Life happens. So too, death. Neither is fair. But if Milazzo wants to get a peek at what Obamacare really will be; what it’s end game is all about, there is a single word that sums it up perfectly. Eugenics. Under annotated portions of the plan which Darling nancy pelosi stated must be passsed in order to understaand wwhat is contaained within same are endless references to “provision”, “selection committee” and the like. In short, there will be decisions made as to who gets what and to what degree. If this is not a death (eugenics) panel, then two surgeons within our family know nothing, myself included.

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