Throughout 2019, Fox News asserted that its opinion programs exist separate from the network’s so-called straight “news” division. Yet over the course of the year, the network continually allowed figures on both types of shows to flagrantly lie about abortion -- enabling them to promote sensationalized rhetoric and dangerous anti-abortion misinformation on the network. Here are five of the guests who appeared repeatedly on Fox News in 2019, and the outrageous anti-abortion lies the network allowed them to spread.
1. Robert Jeffress (Fox News contributor)
Fox News continually hosted conservative anti-LGBTQ and anti-abortion pastor Robert Jeffress in segments on both opinion and “news”-side programs -- allowing him to amplify outright lies about abortion. In fact, Jeffress was an apparent favorite among the network's so-called “straight” news programs, appearing on Fox News @ Night with host Shannon Bream numerous times in 2019 to spread anti-abortion lies.
For example, in one appearance Jeffress stated that Democrats should not be allowed to call out racism because Planned Parenthood's founder was supposedly “racist.” This allegation has appeared often on Fox's opinion programming and is a common talking point among right-wing media even after numerous abortion advocates have debunked this falsehood.
2. Mollie Hemingway (Fox News commentator and editor at The Federalist)
Mollie Hemingway, a Fox News contributor and editor of right-wing media outlet The Federalist, appeared on both Fox News' opinion and “news” programming in 2019. In many cases, Hemingway used her appearances to distort the realities of abortion care or access. In an appearance on Fox News' Fox & Friends, Hemingway inaccurately declared, “abortion is never medically necessary in the third trimester.”
3. Hogan Gidley (White House deputy press secretary)
In 2019, Fox News has repeatedly hosted White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley (many times on “news” shows), allowing him to amplify sensationalized misinformation about abortion and reproductive health care.
On Fox's America's Newsroom, Gidley declared that Democrats support allowing babies to be “born and then killed outside the womb.” This sensationalized lie about abortions occurring later in pregnancy was also heavily utilized by anti-abortion activists and Fox News opinion and “news” programs across the board.
4. Ben Shapiro (editor-in-chief, The Daily Wire)
Ben Shapiro, the editor-in-chief of the right-wing outlet The Daily Wire was a frequent guest on Fox News in 2019 -- and often used these appearances to spread sensationalized misinformation about abortion.
In March 2019, anchor Shannon Bream invited Shapiro onto her “news” show supposedly to discuss free speech on college campuses. Shapiro instead used the appearance to reiterate some of Fox’s favorite inaccurate claims about abortion and the alleged censorship of anti-abortion views. Despite being the anchor of a “news” program, Bream did not question or debunk Shapiro’s sensationalized claims.
5. Lila Rose (president, Live Action)
Founder and president of anti-abortion group Live Action, Lila Rose, was a frequent guest on both Fox's so-called “news” and opinion programs in 2019.
In a segment on Fox News @ Night, Rose echoed Fox News' inaccurate allegations about Democrats supporting “infanticide.” Once again, Bream did not rebut this inaccurate anti-abortion rhetoric that is often employed by Fox and other right-wing media.
These five guests represent only a fraction of guests and commentators Fox News allowed to spread anti-abortion misinformation on the network's “news” and opinion programming alike in 2019. In most cases these guests repeated right-wing talking points about abortion.
Although these appearances are not surprising, they epitomize the fact that despite Fox’s claims, there is no true divide between the network’s so-called “news” division and sensationalized opinion shows. At the very least, if 2019 shows viewers anything about Fox, it’s that you can’t rely on the network for accurate and unbiased coverage about abortion -- no matter what shows you tune in to see.