Fox & Friends deceptively cropped Dean's comments, disappearing public option references

››› ››› BROOKE OBIE

In purporting to air Howard Dean's comments opposing the Senate health care bill, Fox & Friends omitted his statement that the "problem" with the bill is that with the removal of the public option, "we are now committed to a solution using the private insurance companies." At no point in the segment - during which Dean's opposition to the bill was repeatedly conflated with that of the tea party attendees - did Fox draw a connection between Dean's opposition to the bill and the removal of the public option from the bill.

Fox & Friends omit Dean's main concern that bill "will only do health insurance through the private sector"

Fox & Friends falsely suggests Dean's motives for opposing Senate bill are in accord with the "tea party people." Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson, Jr. stated that Dean is receiving praise from opponents of the Senate bill, saying, "[A] lot of tea party people, and Republicans, and Independents in the United States are saying, maybe, he's really a patriot" for opposing the bill. Fox & Friends then aired a cropped version of Dean's comments from the December 16 edition of ABC's Good Morning America:

DEAN: Decisions are being made about the long-term future of this country for short-term political reasons and that's never a good sign. ... You will be forced to buy insurance. If you don't, you'll pay a fine. ... This is a bigger bailout for the insurance industry than AIG. And not one person -- excuse me -- a very small number of people are going to get any insurance at all. ... This is an insurance company's dream.

Later in the segment, Johnson stated: "Tea party and progressives together, with Dr. Dean." At no point during the segment did Kilmeade or Johnson note that Dean has cited the removal of the public option in discussing his opposition of the bill.

Fox & Friends removed Dean's statement that he was opposing bill because under it, "we will only do health insurance through the private sector." During the Good Morning America interview, in comments omitted by Fox & Friends, Dean emphasized that the "problem" with the bill was that "we're now committed to a solution using the private insurance companies" (comments cropped by Fox & Friends in bold):

DEAN: Decisions are being made about the long-term future of this country for short-term political reasons and that's never a good sign. There are some good things in this bill. The problem is we are now committed to a solution using the private insurance companies, and you will be forced to buy insurance. If you don't, you'll pay a fine. And 27 percent of the money that you put in will not go to your health care, it'll go to CEOs who make $20 million. This is a bigger bailout for the insurance industry than AIG. And not one person -- excuse me -- a very small number of people are going to get any insurance at all until 2014 if the bill works.

Later in the interview, in comments not aired by Fox & Friends, Dean stated: "[T]he fundamental part of this bill that has been decided is that we will only do health insurance through the private sector for the future, and you will not have a choice as an American to get into other kinds of systems which work better. And I think that's a mistake."

Johnson asserted Dean said mandate is "toxic," ignored that he said mandate was "toxic" without the inclusion of the public option. After airing Dean's cropped comments, Johnson claimed Dean is "saying ... on his website, Democracy for America, that the mandate is toxic -- that the individual mandate is toxic and Democrats will own it. He says it's a trillion-dollar giveaway." But Johnson again cropped Dean's comments to remove his references to the public option. In fact, in his December 16 blog post, Dean wrote: "If Democrats remove the choice of a public option, they can't force Americans to buy health insurance" and that "without a public option, this bill is almost a trillion dollar taxpayer giveaway to insurance companies" [emphasis in original]. Dean added: "What about in 2014 after the mandate goes into effect and the press reports all the horror stories of Americans forced to choose between paying their monthly health insurance bill to Aetna or paying rent? The mandate is toxic and Democrats will own it" [emphasis in original].

Fox & Friends cropped Dean to suggest he said only "a very small number" will be insured by bill

In the clip Fox & Friends aired, Dean was heard saying that "a very small number of people are going to get any insurance at all" under the bill. Dean actually said that "a very small number of people are going to get any insurance at all until 2014 if the bill works" [emphasis added]. According to the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Tax Committee's estimate of the Senate bill as proposed, "the number of nonelderly people who are uninsured would be reduced by about 31 million" by 2019.

Fox News has history of deceptively using video to advance dubious storylines

Media Matters for America has documented that Fox News hosts have an extensive history of deceptively using video and photos to advance a false or misleading story line.

Posted In
Health Care, Health Care Reform
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Brian Kilmeade, Peter Johnson Jr.
Show/Publication
FOX & Friends
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.