Fox & Friends has been struggling recently with two things: the improving economic indicators and President Obama's rising approval ratings. This morning, for example, the show hosted Dick Morris to use a widely discredited line of attack in an attempt to cast doubt on the improving employment numbers. Later in the show, co-host Gretchen Carlson conceded that Obama's approval rating is increasing as a result of a growing economy, but immediately followed that by claiming "some people say" that the employment figures "are fabricated," a charge they have only begun discussing since unemployment has been dropping.
But nowhere has their attempt to spin poll numbers been so characterized by outright falsehoods as their attempt to claim Catholics overwhelmingly oppose Obama's recent mandate that health insurance companies cover women's reproductive health.
On this morning's show, for example, after Carlson suggested the administration was "fabricat[ing]" the employment numbers, co-host Brian Kilmeade replied, "You know, one thing that's not calculated into this is the Catholic vote, and the recent polls show that Catholics are just about 60 percent are against him, especially after what happened last week." Watch:
It's unclear why Kilmeade assumes national polling data wouldn't include Catholics, but one thing is certain: He is wrong about how Catholics are responding to the administration's contraception rule.
Although one poll, a recent Rasmussen Reports survey, showed opposition to both the president and the contraception mandate, that result is an outlier in a growing field of contrary evidence. In addition to recent polls that have found consistent support among Catholics for contraception coverage, a CBS News/New York Times poll released February 14 showed:
According to a survey, conducted between Feb. 8-13, 61 percent of Americans support federally-mandated contraception coverage for religiously-affiliated employers; 31 percent oppose such coverage.
The number is similar among self-professed Catholics surveyed: 61 percent said they support the requirement, while 32 percent oppose it.
Gallup's tracking poll has further showed little change among Catholics' support of Obama:
Catholics' views of President Obama were little changed during a week in which the administration battled publicly with Catholic leaders over whether church-affiliated employers should have to pay for contraception as part of their employees' health plans. An average of 46% of Catholics approved of the job Obama was doing as president last week, compared with 49% the prior week, a change within the margin of sampling error.
Gallup's polling also found Obama's approval remaining relatively steady among Catholic voters when broken out into "practicing" and "nonpracticing" Catholics, noting "both groups -- those who attend church every week or nearly every week and those who attend less often -- had identical 46% approval ratings of Obama last week. Though both more frequent and less frequent churchgoing Catholics' approval ratings of Obama were down from the prior week, neither change was statistically meaningful."
But none of these polls have been mentioned on Fox & Friends. Instead, they have cherry-picked their polling to manufacture support for their all-out war against the president's effort to end the discrimination inherent in existing reproductive health coverage, even after Catholic hospitals and other Catholic groups expressed support for the mandate's newest incarnation.