In smearing "disingenuous" Obama -- who "has not chosen a church yet" -- Fox & Friends repeatedly bear false witness

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN & LILY YAN

For two days, the hosts of Fox & Friends have misrepresented President Obama's reference during a conference call with religious leaders about health care reform to those "bearing false witness," suggesting that Obama -- who, in the words of Gretchen Carlson, "has not chosen a church yet" -- was saying, in Steve Doocy's words, "anybody who disagrees with him is breaking a commandment -- is a sinner and a liar." In fact, Obama was not calling out opponents of health insurance reform, but rather those who have misinformed about it, stating: "I know there's been a lot of misinformation in this debate, and there are some folks out there who are, frankly, bearing false witness, but I want everyone to know what health insurance reform is all about."

Fox & Friends suggested Obama called critics sinners for opposing reform

Doocy asked whether Obama is "saying that anybody who disagrees with him is breaking a commandment." Discussing comments from Obama's teleconference, Carlson stated, "Of course, it's a great strategy. Whether or not it's disingenuous or not is the discussion we're having." Doocy responded, "Well, and to mention bear false witness against your neighbor. So, is he saying that anybody who disagrees with him is breaking a commandment -- is a sinner and a liar? 'Cause if that's what's going on, and I don't know it is, that's harsh." [Fox & Friends, 8/20/09]

Peter Johnson Jr.: "[I]f you oppose the big-gov care, the ObamaCare ... [d]oes that mean that you are, quote, 'bearing false witness?' " After Carlson asked for guest host Peter Johnson Jr.'s "thoughts," he stated:

JOHNSON: Well, you know, the question becomes, if you oppose the big-gov care, the ObamaCare, does that mean that you lack moral conviction? Does that mean that you trade in fear? Does that mean that you are, quote, "bearing false witness?"

Now, depending upon what religion you believe in, we're talking about the Eighth or Ninth Commandment -- and when you talk about bearing false witness, in essence, in many religions you're talking about infidelity to God in terms of the faith and trust that God places in us and that we place in him in terms of telling the truth.

So this kind of strange religious appeal, this moral appeal that if you're opposed to my health care plan, that somehow you're engaging in moral wrongdoing, that there's a moral imperative, that there's a moral absolute, that this is the way to help your brother and sister, that I'm your brother and sister's keeper -- that I find to be incredibly offensive. And I think it's incredibly offensive to a lot of people in the Judeo-Christian ethic to invoke one of the Ten Commandments as an argument for a political argument. [Fox & Friends, 8/21/09]

In fact, Obama was criticizing those responsible for "misinformation in this debate"

Obama was referring to those spreading "misinformation" on health care as "bearing false witness." Contrary to the suggestions of Doocy and Johnson Jr., during his August 19 conference call with religious leaders, Obama was not referring to those that "oppose" or "disagree" with his health care reform plans as "bearing false witness," but to "some folks out there" spreading "misinformation in this debate." Obama reportedly stated: "I know there's been a lot of misinformation in this debate, and there are some folks out there who are, frankly, bearing false witness, but I want everyone to know what health insurance reform is all about."

Fox & Friends hosts -- including Johnson and Doocy -- have repeatedly misinformed on health care reform

Death panels, rationing, other misinformation finds a home on Fox & Friends. Over the course of seven days this month alone, Fox & Friends advanced a bonanza of health care reform misinformation, including the falsehood that the House bill would force people into a "government designed plan," the claim that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called health care reform opponents "un-American," the suggestion that a section of the bill that would provide Medicare reimbursement to doctors for end-of-life counseling would create "end-of-life consultants" other than doctors consulting with families, and the prediction that the bill would create a system of rationing that would result in the disappearance of medical procedures like dialysis for the elderly.

Doocy: Under health care reform, you'll be asked, "Isn't it just time?" During a segment on "rumors" about end-of-life care Doocy claimed, "Besides, you look at other countries that have nationalized health-care situations, frequently there's a board that sits there and they go, 'OK. You're 85. You know, this $75,000 surgery just doesn't make sense. So rather than you winding up with this new lifesaving thing that could extend your life, you know, isn't it just time?' " [Fox & Friends, 7/29/09]

Johnson: Health care reform is "a subtle form of euthanasia." Johnson said: "Some people are saying, well, this is a health care reform, other people say -- maybe me -- that this is a subtle form of euthanasia. And when you start looking at the proposals, you say, God, what's happening? One of the proposals, Section 1233, talks about advanced care planning consultations. And that's a fancy term where a doctor goes to you every five years once you're 65, or more if you're chronically ill, and explains to you the benefits of so-called palliative care, of not giving active treatment." [Fox & Friends, 7/27/09]

Johnson: "Advanced care planning consulation is kind of our ... Soylent Green, 1984, Aldous Huxley kind of world." Discussing health-care reform, Johnson asserted, "Advanced care planning consultation is kind of our 2009 Brave New World, Soylent Green, 1984, Aldous Huxley kind of world where you come in and see your doctor at age 65, and if you're chronically ill you come in every year, and your doctor -- who will be trained, and they will spend billions of dollars in training doctors to be counselors -- that, 'You have options. You don't have to go into a hospital.' " Doocy then asked, "Are you saying these are the people that are going to determine whether you live or die?" and Brian Kilmeade subsequently characterized the provision as the "ultimate exit strategy." [Fox & Friends, 7/28/09]

Memo to Gretchen Carlson: You are the "some people" saying Obama "has not found a church"

Carlson on August 20: "I think it's a little disingenuous to call on religious leaders when, in fact, you have not chosen a church yet and you're the president of the United States." In criticizing Obama on August 20, Carlson stated, "I don't really want to have to say this, but I think it's a little disingenuous to call on religious leaders when, in fact, you have not chosen a church yet and you're the president of the United States. If President Bush had done this, if he had called out to religious leaders to try and pass something like this, he would have been annihilated." [Fox & Friends, 8/20/09]

Carlson on August 21: "[S]ome people were saying yesterday, well President Obama has not found a church yet." Discussing criticism of Obama the next day, Carlson asserted, "[T]here are so many interesting things to discuss about this, because some people were saying yesterday, well, President Obama has not found a church yet -- I think he was going to attend at Camp David potentially -- but for somebody to be now invoking religion when it hasn't been what appears to be a huge part of your life is also an issue."

Fox & Friends follow Hannity in bearing false witness

Hannity demonstrated "bearing false witness" in smear of Obama. Sean Hannity claimed that Obama "talked about those of us that oppose ObamaCare as, quote, 'bearing false witness,' " misconstruing Obama's comments to suggest that Obama was calling out opponents of health insurance reform, rather than those who have misinformed about it. [Fox News' Hannity, 8/20/09]

Transcripts

From the August 20 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:

CARLSON: I have a big question for you this morning, though. Do you believe that it's your Christian or religious duty to support health care reform? Email us or Twitter us and let us know. Because, yesterday, President Obama had this big teleconference call with religious leaders from all over the country, and he basically said that it is the moral obligation of religious leaders and their parishioners to support health care reform.

Now, this is a very interesting statement, because I'm not so sure that that's necessarily true. Do you agree with that? Let us know.

DOOCY: Well, at one point -- and we should point out, Gretchen's right; it was a huge conference call. Thirty-two religious groups, 140,000 people apparently on the call. And at one point, the president of the United States, who clearly has been exasperated about a lot of his criticism -- the criticism regarding his plan, actually brought up the Ninth Commandment: "Thou shall not bare false witness against thy neighbor." That was in this sound bite. Listen to this.

OBAMA [audio clip]: I know there's been a lot of misinformation in this debate, and there are some folks out there who are, frankly, bearing false witness, but I want everyone to know what health insurance reform is all about. ... These are all fabrications that have been put out there in order to discourage people from meeting what I consider to be a core ethical and moral obligation, and that is that we look out for one another, that I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper, and in the wealthiest nation on Earth right now, we are neglecting to live up to that call.

CARLSON: I don't really want to have to say this, but I think it's a little disingenuous to call on religious leaders when, in fact, you have not chosen a church yet and you're the president of the United States. If President Bush had done this, if he had called out to religious leaders to try and pass something like this, he would have been annihilated. That's point number one.

Number two, I'm not so sure that it's a moral obligation because you're religious. Yes, you want to help other people, but the elderly would argue in this health care reform -- and by the way, they make up a huge portion of parishioners going to church every day -- they would argue that they're not getting a moral obligation in this health care reform plan.

KILMEADE: But is this a good tactical move? Because if you want to get to the grassroots of America, and so many towns people reach to their church in times of trouble, when they lose insurance, when they lose their job, is it good to go to religious leaders -- whether you're Jewish, Catholic, Protestant -- and say, hey, here's the message I really want out, now go out and spread the word?

CARLSON: Of course, it's a great strategy. Whether or not it's disingenuous or not is the discussion we're having.

DOOCY: Well, and to mention bear false witness against your neighbor. So, is he saying that anybody who disagrees with him is breaking a commandment -- is a sinner and a liar? 'Cause if that's what's going on, and I don't know if it is, that's harsh.

KILMEADE: There was a lot -- there was a lot of biblical catch phrases in a row that just came cascading out.

DOOCY: When you talk to people whose business is the Bible --

KILMEADE: Right.

DOOCY: -- that does happen.

From the August 21 edition of Fox & Friends:

CARLSON: But let's talk a little bit about this conversation that President Obama had with religious leaders around the country. It was on Wednesday, and it was kind of like a conference call with everyone. And that's when he basically said that it was the moral obligation of Americans to support health care reform, to take care of all the people in the world who maybe cannot afford it.

And I know that, Peter, you had some thoughts on whether or not this was actually a good thing or a bad thing for him to do.

JOHNSON: Well, you know, the question becomes, if you oppose the big-gov care, the ObamaCare, does that mean that you lack moral conviction? Does that mean that you trade in fear? Does that mean that you are, quote, "bearing false witness?"

Now, depending upon what religion you believe in, we're talking about the Eighth or Ninth Commandment -- and when you talk about bearing false witness, in essence, in many religions you're talking about infidelity to God in terms of the faith and trust that God places in us and that we place in him in terms of telling the truth.

So this kind of strange religious appeal, this moral appeal that if you're opposed to my health care plan, that somehow you're engaging in moral wrongdoing, that there's a moral imperative, that there's a moral absolute, that this is the way to help your brother and sister, that I'm your brother and sister's keeper -- that I find to be incredibly offensive. And I think it's incredibly offensive to a lot of people in the Judeo-Christian ethic to invoke one of the Ten Commandments as an argument for a political argument.

KILMEADE: Here is President Obama invoking. That's a verb.

OBAMA [audio clip]: I know there's been a lot of misinformation in this debate, and there are some folks out there who are, frankly, bearing false witness, but I want everyone to know what health insurance reform is all about.

CARLSON: And on its face -- I think we had this discussion yesterday -- there are so many interesting things to discuss about this, because some people were saying yesterday, well, President Obama has not found a church yet -- I think he was going to attend at Camp David potentially -- but for somebody to be now invoking religion when it hasn't been what appears to be a huge part of your life is also an issue.

Posted In
Health Care, Health Care Reform
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson, Peter Johnson Jr.
Show/Publication
FOX & Friends
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