Fox Hosts Finally Find A Health Care Ruling To Report On

››› ››› JUSTIN BERRIER & ERIC SCHROECK

On December 13, Fox News' evening shows devoted significant time to discussing and at times cheerleading a federal judge's ruling that a portion of the health care reform law is unconstitutional. By contrast, these hosts almost completely ignored two previous rulings upholding the law.

Fox Evening Hosts Devote Significant Time To Discussing Latest Health Care Ruling

Special Report Features Report, Panel Discussion On Ruling. On the December 13 edition of Special Report, host Bret Baier introduced a report on the ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson by saying: "The first legal crack has appeared in the president's health care reform effort. A federal judge in Virginia today declared a major component of the law unconstitutional." Later, Baier hosted a panel discussion about the ruling, during which Fox News contributor Juan Williams noted that two previous decisions upheld the health care law. [Special Report, 12/13/10, accessed via Nexis]

O'Reilly: "Judge Hudson Agrees With Me" That The Individual Mandate "Is Unconstitutional." On the December 13 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly played a clip of himself from August 2009, saying: "I say [the individual mandate] is unconstitutional. The federal government doesn't have the power to force an American to buy anything." After playing the clip, O'Reilly said: "Now Judge Hudson agrees with me. Thank you, Judge." O'Reilly hosted Fox judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano, who claimed: "Here's the issue: Where in the Constitution is the federal government authorized to compel you to buy health care? No matter how noble the goal is that everyone have health care, where is it? It's not there." O'Reilly and Napolitano also briefly mentioned the two previous rulings which supported the bill. [The O'Reilly Factor, 12/13/10, accessed via Nexis]

Hannity Devotes Segment To Discussing Ruling, Calls Judge's Findings "Phenomenal." On the December 13 edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity devoted a segment to discussing the ruling, hosting Fox News contributor Doug Schoen and former GOP congressional candidate Star Parker. During the discussion, Hannity called the judge's writings in the ruling "phenomenal" and stated that the decision was a "big blow to the president and his fellow Democrats. And an exciting victory for all opponents of health care with potential far-reaching impact on its future implementation." [Fox News' Hannity, 12/13/10, accessed via Nexis]

Van Susteren: Ruling Is A "Smackdown" For Obama, Reid, And Pelosi. On the December 13 edition of On the Record, host Greta Van Susteren devoted three segments to the ruling, hosting Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli - whom Van Susteren called the "winner" in the decision -Florida attorney general Bill McCollum, and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. Van Susteren began the segment with Cuccinelli by stating: "President Obama's, Speaker Pelosi's and Majority Leader Reid's smackdown! A judge in Virginia ruling that the individual mandate in the national health care law is unconstitutional." During the discussion with Cuccinelli, Van Susteren noted that "two other federal judges so far have had a different view in terms of whether or not the federal government has the authority. So there's a conflict. Two other judges have disagreement with Judge Hudson." [Fox News' On the Record, 12/13/10, accessed via Nexis]

By Contrast, Fox's Primetime Shows Only Covered Decisions Supporting The Bill Once

Two Previous Federal Court Rulings Have Upheld Health Care Law. As Politico reported, in October, U.S. District Court Judge George Steeh ruled that the health care law's individual mandate "falls squarely within Congress's ability under the Constitution to regulate interstate commerce." In November, a federal judge in Virginia similarly upheld the law. [Politico, 10/7/10; CNN.com, 12/1/10]

Van Susteren Sole Primetime Host To Cover Either Of The Other Health Care Rulings. On the October 8 edition of On the Record, Van Susteren mentioned that in "Michigan, the judge said the national health care law is constitutional, that under the commerce clause is that the federal government has the authority to demand that people buy these insurance policies." Van Susteren said to her guest, Ken Cuccinelli, "So that's not particularly helpful to you." [On the Record, 10/8/10, accessed via Nexis]

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