Fox News has devoted a significant amount of time to finding new ways to baselessly attack the Women's Health Protection Act, a federal bill that would counteract laws that single out and punish abortion providers. The network parroted extreme anti-choice talking points and largely ignored the opinion of leading health organizations that these laws have dangerous consequences for women.
Fox News ran a dishonest report on a proposed bill to prohibit states from imposing unusually burdensome regulations on abortion clinics, hiding the harmful effects that the barrage of onerous state restrictions on abortion have had on access to abortion.
On the July 15 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier, correspondent Molly Henneberg reported that the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on the Women's Health Protection Act, sponsored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). The bill would prohibit states from enacting abortion restrictions that are more onerous than placed on similar outpatient procedures. Both Henneberg and host Bret Baier framed the legislation as an attempt to appeal to the Democratic base; the segment also amplified misinformation from its critics and invoked convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell.
From the January 22 edition of Fox News' Special Report:
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2013 was an epic year of right-wing media misinforming the public on the health care debate, particularly on women's health issues. Ignoring women's health experts, conservative media spent this year stoking fears about everything from birth control to maternity care, ignoring science, distorting state and federal regulations, and demonizing women's health care options in the process. These are the top six scare tactics from 2013.
Fox host Shannon Bream and correspondent Molly Henneberg continued Fox's relentless campaign to demonize Planned Parenthood and stoke fears about their participation in an initiative to expand health insurance. Bream and Henneberg dishonestly linked abortion with federal funds going to Planned Parenthood to cover federal funds helping enroll Americans in health insurance.
On the August 22 edition of America Live, Bream proclaimed there was "outrage over a new plan to give federal money to Planned Parenthood," and concluded that "critics are upset that the government wants to give funds to clinics that also provide abortions." Henneberg brought up the irrelevant red herring that Planned Parenthood is "the largest abortion provider in the country":
Despite Henneberg's dishonest attempt to tie the funding to abortion, the purpose of the navigators is to provide "'fair, impartial and accurate information that assists consumers with submitting the eligibility application, clarifying distinctions among [qualified health plans] and helping qualified individuals make informed decisions during the health plan selection process.'"
Henneberg then attempted to portray the funds as a broken promise by the president by claiming Obama said "no federal dollars that fund Obamacare would go to abortion providers." As The Daily Beast's Amanda Marcotte notes, this is a blatant falsehood:
Well, if you're watching Fox, you'd think it's apocalyptic. Right-wing radio host Mike Gallagher acted like there was nothing more outrageous than a public health clinic getting involved in a program that helps people get better access to health care. "I always try to anticipate what my friends on the left will possibly say to try to defend this egregious about-face," he chuckled on Fox. The "about-face" is a reference to the overt lie underpinning this entire campaign against Planned Parenthood, which is the conservative claim that Obama somehow promised that Planned Parenthood as an entity would not get any federal funding under the Affordable Care Act. Obama made no such promise. He signed an executive order disallowing abortion to be covered in health-care plans sold on the exchange, but signing people up for health care should not be equated with giving them abortions or even giving them plans that cover abortion. That's like saying the Department of Motor Vehicles is casting your ballot for you by giving you the opportunity to register to vote--an outright and inflammatory lie.
Fox even read a statement by Planned Parenthood Vice President Eric Ferrero, who assured that the grants "have nothing to do with abortion and won't be used for abortion services," which would fulfill Obama's promise.
Planned Parenthood is one of 105 groups to receive federal funds under the Affordable Care Act to aid in enrolling Americans in health insurance. According to The Hill, "organizations on the other side of the ideological spectrum also received grants," including Ascension Health, the nation's largest Catholic and non-profit health system, and Catholic Social Services, an arm of the Archdiocese of Mobile, Alabama.
Fox News played a portion of Sen. Rand Paul's (R-KY) speech at Howard University where he claimed "I have never wavered in my support for civil rights or the Civil Rights Act" without noting his long history of controversial statements regarding the anti-discrimination law.
During a recent visit to Howard University, a historically black college, Paul claimed that "no Republican questions or disputes civil rights" and that he has "never wavered in his support of civil rights or the Civil Rights Act." Fox News aired Paul's claim and reported on his visit as "an effort to reach out to the youth and minority vote" and added that the senator urged the students to be open "to the Republican message":
But Fox ignored Paul's previous comments on the Civil Rights Act that contradict his statement to Howard students. Paul has been asked on several occasions about his stance on the Civil Rights Act, where he answered "I abhor racism... but at the same time I do believe in private ownership." The Washington Post reported that in a 2002 letter to the editor to the Bowling Green Daily News, Paul claimed a "free society" should allow "hate-filled" groups to discriminate based on race. From the article:
Fox News on Friday replayed comments by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney that President Obama "did nothing to advance" immigration reform until this year without noting that those comments are false. Indeed, Obama and the Democrats tried and failed to pass the DREAM Act in 2010, because Senate Republicans filibustered it after the legislation had already passed the House.
Instead, Fox's America's Newsroom amplified Romney's erroneous attack:
JAMIE COLBY (anchor): Mitt Romney taking a shot at President Obama's immigration policy while speaking at a convention of Latino leaders, saying that the president's exec order -- purely political.
ROMNEY [video clip]: This president had huge majorities in the House and Senate. He was free to pursue any policy he pleased, but he did nothing to advance a permanent fix for our broken immigration system. Nothing. Instead, he failed to act until facing a tough reelection and trying to secure your vote.
On June 15, Obama announced that the Department of Homeland Security would allow certain young undocumented immigrants to avoid deportation, provided they meet a list of criteria. In his speech at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials conference, Romney blasted the president for the immigration shift and his supposed failure to "advance a permanent fix for our broken immigration system."
Reporter Molly Henneberg, who called announcement "very well timed," then said:
HENNEBERG: The president wants Congress to pass the DREAM Act, Republicans oppose it because it gives a path to citizenship for some children who were brought here illegally.
Henneberg did not mention that the DREAM Act was introduced in 2010 and voted on in Congress -- it passed the House, but garnered only 55 votes in the Senate, instead of the required 60 to break a Republican filibuster that prevented it from being brought up for a final vote.
When Romney made a similar claim about Obama's immigration reform efforts on CBS' Face The Nation,
FactCheck.org called the claim "exaggerate[d]" and wrote:
Obama supported and lobbied for the DREAM Act, which would have created a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. The bill passed the House in December 2010, but failed in the Senate largely because of Republican opposition.
FactCheck.org concluded: "Romney simply goes too far when he says Obama 'did nothing,' and he glosses over the role of his own party in blocking the legislation the president proposed."
From the September 27 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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At the Fox News-Google GOP presidential debate, co-moderator Chris Wallace used the pejorative term "illegals" to refer to undocumented immigrants and read a question from the public that used the term, as well. Journalists have called on the media to stop using the term "illegals," but Fox's "straight news" shows use it consistently nonetheless.
From the April 19 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:
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After reporting extensively on the "Climategate" controversy, Fox News' Special Report has not mentioned that a Penn State scientist named as part of the "Climategate" "scandal" has been exonerated by an investigation into the matter. Further, Special Report offered a misleading report on a Dutch study that found that a U.N. panel's report on climate change contained "no significant errors" in its conclusions.
Fox News personalities and its website, The Fox Nation, continued the network's pattern of right-wing advocacy by promoting the December 15 anti-health care reform "Code Red" rally, which featured a speech by Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham. Other right-wing radio hosts joined Ingraham in boosting the event, which was coordinated by several conservative political organizations and featured speeches from Republican senators.
From the December 15 edition of Fox News' The Live Desk:
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Fox News hosts and contributors have repeatedly forwarded the Republican claim that the Obama administration intends to release terrorists held at Guantánamo Bay into the United States. However, the administration has explicitly stated that it does not intend to release terrorists into the U.S.
Molly Henneberg uncritically reported the false claim made by religious groups that the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act would allow individuals or groups to "be prosecuted for their religious beliefs."