Tell the lies often enough and loud enough and they work. Paul Krugman reviews the "death panels" and other Republican strategies to block health care reform.
And not long ago, some of the most enthusiastic peddlers of the euthanasia smear, including Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House, and Mrs. Palin herself, were all for “advance directives” for medical care in the event that you are incapacitated or comatose. That’s exactly what was being proposed — and has now, in the face of all the hysteria, been dropped from the bill.
Yet the smear continues to spread. And as the example of Mr. Gingrich shows, it’s not a fringe phenomenon: Senior G.O.P. figures, including so-called moderates, have endorsed the lie.
Indeed, despite the plain language of the legislation and the "nuts" characterization of the lies by the Republican sponsor of this particular proposal, Republican tools in Arkansas and elsewhere are busily propagating the lie because it is working so well. It can no longer be considered anything but a malicious, intentional lie.
The Times also analyzes the roots of the lies in the right-wing noise machine that led the successful fight against Clinton health care reform in 1994. (To refer to premeditated lies as "false rumors" as the Times does is too gentle a euphemism for this nasty game.)