Fox's “Straight News” Adopts GOP Talking Points That Democrats Are Scaring Seniors

Fox News demonstrated yet again tonight that, despite its protests to the contrary, there is no real difference between its supposedly “straight news” programming and its opinion programming.

During tonight's segment of Special Report with Bret Baier, guest host Chris Wallace devoted an entire segment to Democrats' supposeduse of “scare tactics” over Paul Ryan's attempts to reform Medicare, a talking point that Fox News opinion show Fox & Friends has previously pushed. From the May 11 edition of Fox News' Special Report:

CHRIS WALLACE (guest host): Scare tactics in politics are nothing new. Entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare have long been the subject of such attacks. Tonight, chief Washington correspondent Jim Angle reports on what Republicans say is another example of Democrats saying one thing and doing another.

JIM ANGLE (Fox News correspondent): Freshman Republicans are complaining that Democrats are violating a pledge from President Obama not to demonize proposals tackling big problems such as Medicare, including the proposal from Republican Paul Ryan.


JIM ANGLE: The Ryan plan would pay premiums for private insurance to force competition for seniors instead of having the government pay for every procedure which it can no longer afford. Ryan would dedicate more money to the poor and sick, but Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius argues that it would force sick senior citizens to pay too much out of pocket. A point she made about cancer patients during recent testimony.


JIM ANGLE: Such attacks would appear to violate the President's assurances prompting 42 House freshmen to send Mr. Obama a letter urging him to quote “condemn the disingenuous attacks and work with this Congress to reform spending on entitlement programs.” If the debate stays at the attack level the President himself may be vulnerable because his health care plan also puts tight limits on future Medicare spending. In Washington. Jim Angle. Fox News.

During the segment, Angle characterized Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) plan to dismantle Medicare as we know it as “forc[ing] competition for seniors instead of having the government pay for every procedure, which it can no longer afford.”

He also reported that Democrats claim that people would have to spend a lot more money if Ryan's plan was passed. But this is hardly an unfair “scare tactic.” It is cold, hard fact.

Indeed, the Congressional Budget Office has stated that “a typical beneficiary [of Medicare] would spend more for health care under the [Ryan] proposal.” The Center for Economic and Policy Research has also described the plan in the following words: “Representative Paul Ryan proposes Medicare plan under which seniors would pay most of their income for health care.”

Previously, Fox News' Fox & Friends was pushing the same line that Angle was. Co-host Gretchen Carlson claimed that “there's concern about whether or not President Obama is stoking some fear in some of the comments he's been making.” Later in the show, Gretchen Carlson stated: “Can the president scare the American people into his plan for saving?” After playing portions of Obama's interview with ABC News, Carlson asked, “So will fear sell you on the idea of raising taxes?”

This is a classic example of Fox's opinion and news shows using the same talking points to bash Democrats and promote Republicans.