On Election Night, Fox Turned To True The Vote To Stoke Obamacare Fears


Fox News lent credence to True the Vote's fearmongering over Obamacare and voter registration during the network's 2013 election night coverage, never acknowledging the extremist nature of the tea party group.

When signing up for health insurance on the HealthCare.gov exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), customers are prompted with the option to register to vote. This is due to the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, which requires state agencies engaged in public assistance to offer voter registration services, including the state and federally-run exchanges.

According to True the Vote (TTV), an activist tea party group which describes itself as an election watchdog organization, the registration option will "corrupt" voter rolls and lead to "bogus voter registrations." As evidence, the group links to a report from Demos, a liberal think tank, detailing how many Americans could potentially register to vote because of the ACA. True the Vote's theory is that health care navigators like Planned Parenthood -- organizations that assist people in exploring their insurance options in the exchanges -- will use the registration information "in political activities."  

A November 5 Special Report package treated True the Vote's conspiracy theory as a damning revelation. Host Bret Baier introduced the segment by saying, "The president's plan is not just about making sure everyone has insurance. There is also a not-so-subtle political objective."

Fox correspondent Shannon Bream then profiled True the Vote's concerns, featuring TTV president Catherine Engelbrecht's claims that "the implications of this are mind-blowing."

BREAM: Pursuant to the National Voter Registration Act, state agencies that provide public assistance are also required to give applicants the opportunity to register to vote. A number of states believe that includes the health care exchanges. ... The Demos document also stresses that navigators be trained to walk applicants through the voter registration process, but it's the navigators critics are worried about, saying groups with partisan agendas like Planned Parenthood shouldn't be handling voter information. True the Vote, which calls itself a citizen-led organization aimed at restoring integrity to the U.S. election system, says it's been unable to get any answers about how the voter registrations are being transmitted or verified. And worries about the potential for confusion.

What Fox never admits is that True the Vote is a discredited organization with a partisan agenda.

TTV is a tea party organization infamous for its obsession with (virtually non-existent) voter fraud. The group works tirelessly to purge state voter rolls, and has been investigated for voter intimidation by the Justice Department. The organization's tactics drew a further call for investigation from civil rights champion Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD).

The group touts itself as nonpartisan, despite the fact that it grew out of a Texas tea party group called King Street Patriots and boasts ties to notorious voter fraud hucksters like James O'Keefe and J. Christian Adams. President Engelbrecht has been a featured speaker at many events with Koch-founded and other Republican-leaning organizations.

Fox News has actively hyped voter fraud were none exists, and likewise the network has been waging a campaign against the ACA since its inception. Promoting a discredited group's conspiracy theories that combine these two issues is a natural extension of Fox's reporting.

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