Fox Turns To Extremist Group To Clear Up "Misinformation" On Hobby Lobby Case
Blog ››› ››› OLIVIA MARSHALL
Fox News turned to an extremist group that filed an amicus brief in support of Hobby Lobby to clear up "misinformation" surrounding the Supreme Court decision, never disclosing the bias of the guest.
On June 30, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that "closely held" for-profit secular corporations like Hobby Lobby are exempt from the so-called contraception mandate, a provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that requires employer-sponsored health insurance to cover comprehensive preventive health care, including birth control.
One of Hobby Lobby's biggest supporters was the extreme right-wing Family Research Council (FRC), an organization known for its anti-gay agenda, which filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court backing Hobby Lobby. Yet on the July 1 edition of Fox's America's Newsroom, host Martha MacCallum hosted a senior fellow of the organization, Cathy Ruse, to "clear up some controversy and ... misinformation" about the Supreme Court's decision -- without disclosing the apparent bias.
MACCALLUM: Here to clear up some of the controversy and, you know, misinformation, really that is out there over the course of this decision. Cathy Ruse is a senior fellow for legal studies with the Family Research Council.
MACCALLUM: What's your response to all this?
RUSE: My response is to look at what the majority of the justices said, which is, look, these women can still get their free abortion pills and their free contraceptives, but the government has to pay for it. It's not right for the government to conscript unwilling religious believers and force them to do something against their religion.
Throughout the segment, MacCallum allowed Ruse to pile on myth after myth about the Hobby Lobby case. Ruse intimated that the case was partly about "abortion pills," and claimed the government was "conscript[ing] unwilling religious believers" into paying for employees' contraception. She also asserted that "women in America oppose the mandate in greater numbers than support it."
But Ruse's claims are easily debunked. For example, contraception is not an abortifacient, and abortion-inducing medications were not at issue in the case. Additionally, employers like Hobby Lobby were never required to meet minimum coverage standards -- it is insurance companies who were required to cover contraception. It's a requirement that a majority of women support, despite Ruse's claims. A poll by the Journal of the American Medical Association showed 77 percent of women support mandated coverage of contraception in health plans.
Fox has repeatedly propagated myths about the Hobby Lobby contraception case, a leading voice in the right-wing media narrative that conservative Supreme Court justices seemed to echo in their decision.