Former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey is challenging Keith Olbermann to a debate after he called her a shill for Big Pharma:
If Keith Olbermann of MSNBC could defend the health provisions slipped into the stimulus bill on their merits, he wouldn’t be resorting to personal attacks on me. Olbermann calls me a shill funded by the drug industry (2-12-2009). That’s not true.
I am not paid by the pharmaceutical industry or by the Hudson Institute. I hold only an honorary Fellows position at Hudson, and take no money or benefits from it. If Keith Olbermann has the courage, I invite him to debate me on his program.
The Obama administration promised transparency, but gave us a sleight of hand. Slipped into the stimulus bill are provisions that change healthcare in major ways. If these provisions are so good for us, why are they hidden in a stimulus bill and rushed through Congress?
Transparency is not a partisan issue. Good people may differ on their health care views. But who can argue with the fact that the health provisions in the stimulus bill should be removed and offered as separate legislation, so that the nation can consider the long term consequences and make an informed decision?
Mr. Olbermann, do you have the backbone (and the facts) to debate me?
Olbermann took up the issue on his show Thursday night (below) after McCaughey wrote this commentary on Bloomberg.com about some of the health provisions in the stimulus bill. Olbermann’s objections also included the fact that McCaughey’s commentary was picked up by Rush Limbaugh, the Drudge Report and Fox News.
> Update: Olbermann responds to TVNewser about McCaughey’s challenge: “Like any other paid spokesperson trying to shill a product, she’s welcome to buy commercial time on MSNBC (and I’ll even make a call to the guys in advertising to see if they can find her a spot during a break in Countdown).”