Fox & Friends hosted former senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) this morning to rail against a tax on medical devices included in health care reform legislation passed by congress in 2010. Neither Bayh nor Fox News disclosed that Bayh is currently a partner at a law firm that represents several medical device companies.
Bayh, who was hired as a Fox News contributor last year and voted to pass health care reform when he was a senator, appeared on the network to criticize the tax for several minutes. Bayh joined the hosts in claiming the tax would harm innovation and cost jobs in the medical device industry. During the segment, Bayh expressed hope that current members of Congress would "do something" about the tax:
At one point, the network displayed a graphic purporting to show a "breakdown for the typical medical device company." The "source" listed on-screen for the data was "Evan Bayh, Former Senator (D-IN)."
Last January, Bayh joined D.C. law firm McGuireWoods LLP as a partner. On their website, McGuireWoods touts how they are "dedicated to providing legal services to clients in the pharmaceutical life sciences and medical device industries." Next month, the firm will host the "4th Annual Medical Device and Life Sciences Conference," which is dedicated to "addressing key legal and business matters focusing on innovation, investing and regulatory issues in the medical device sector." Bayh is scheduled to give the opening speech.
Bayh was introduced on Fox & Friends only as a "Fox News contributor and former Democratic Indiana Senator."
The Wall Street Journal, which, like Fox, has repeatedly failed to disclose the glaring conflicts of its contributors, did disclose Bayh's role at McGuireWoods when the paper published an anti-device tax editorial by him last week. NY Mag's Jonathan Chait pointed out in response to Bayh's column that the arguments against the device tax have been dismissed by the centrist Bloomberg View editorial page.
In that June editorial, the Bloomberg View editors wrote that "just about everything the medical-device industry says about the tax is either untrue or exaggerated" and that lawmakers pushing to repeal the tax "shouldn't be so gullible, even when -- perhaps especially when -- industry lobbyists produce studies seeming to back their claims."