Fox News' John Roberts hyped Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina's “scorching response” to a question about Planned Parenthood at the CNN Republican primary debate without noting that her response contained a falsehood about the deceptively-edited videos.
During the September 21 edition of Fox News' Special Report, senior national correspondent John Roberts interviewed Fiorina in a pre-recorded segment regarding her debate performance and her personal background. During the segment, Roberts said the biggest moment of the debate for her was her “scorching response to a question on Planned Parenthood,” where Fiorina claimed that smear videos by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) showed “a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brains.” Fiorina claimed in the interview that her debate answer was “about the character of our nation” and “most people who actually have the courage to watch those tapes know that instinctively as well” :
JOHN ROBERTS: While she had many moments during the debate, the biggest was her scorching response to a question on Planned Parenthood. As we walked the streets of Mackinac Island, Michigan Saturday, she told me that moment was completely unscripted.
CARLY FIORINA: I wasn't delivering a line. I hadn't prepared that line, I didn't know that question was coming. I was just speaking from the heart. I feel so strongly about that. It is about the character of our nation. And I think most people who actually have the courage to watch those tapes know that instinctively as well. It really has nothing to do with pro-life or pro-choice.
Nowhere in the interview or aired segment does Roberts note that Fiorina's claim was false. As some in the media have noted, the CMP videos did not contain such footage, and the footage Fiorina claimed was filmed at Planned Parenthood was instead added by another anti-choice group. Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik on September 18 wrote that "[t]he news media haven't done enough to call out Fiorina's claims" about the videos.