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These media figures discredited a report on a 10-year-old girl needing an abortion. There was just an arrest in the case.

After President Joe Biden mentioned the case of a 10-year-old girl who was raped in Ohio then forced to travel to Indiana to have an abortion due to the state’s extreme abortrion access laws, right-wing media spent days casting doubt on the story and claiming it was false. On July 13, it was reported that an arrest has been made in connection to the case, and the alleged rapist, Gershon Fuentes, confessed to the crime.

The story was initially published by the Indianapolis Star on July 1 and quoted Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an obstetrician-gynecologist, who provided care for the girl. But it picked up steam after Biden mentioned it in his speech on July 8 and, the following day, The Washington Post’s “fact checker” Glenn Kessler wrote an article casting doubt on whether the case was real or properly verified.

Right-wing media — especially Murdoch media outlets in the U.S. — went all-in trying to discredit the report. The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board, One America News Network’s Kara McKinney, and Turning Point USA’s Benny Johnson questioned whether the victim even exists, while other right-wing personalities attacked Bernard. Many also relied on Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s July 11 appearance on Fox News’ Jesse Watters Primetime, during which he said there was “not a whisper” of the story and denied there was a rape kit or any ongoing DNA analysis regarding the case.

  • Claims the story is fake

    • Fox host Tucker Carlson claimed the viral story was “not true” and went on to say “when a 10-year-old gets pregnant, the first question is not how do we get rid of the kid, the first question is where is the rapist?” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 7/12/22]
    • Some panelists on Outnumbered accused politicians of exploiting the story for political gain, with Fox News contributor Charlie Hurt saying, “The idea that you would have politicians in America trying to exploit a story like this and make up a story like this in order to advance their own sick agenda tells you they are not serious about the issue.” Co-host Emily Compagno claimed it was even worse to politicize a fabricated story about a rape victim when “there are countless real ones.” During the segment, co-host Kayleigh McEnany read experts from Kessler’s piece. [Fox News, Outnumbered, 7/12/22]
    • Tipping Point host Kara McKinney claimed that pro-abortion people made-up story about the 10-year-old girl and questioned if she even exists. McKinney claimed, “The sole source for the story at least on record at this point is Dr. Caitlin Bernard, a notorious abortion activist who never passes up a chance to be on TV.” [OAN, Tipping Point, 7/12/22]
    • Newsmax’s Rob Schmitt called the story “really provocative and totally unverified” and questioned its legitimacy by inferring it was created to get people to “run and vote in the next election.” Schmitt also referenced the Post’s “fact check.” [Newsmax, Rob Schmitt Tonight, [7/11/22]
    • PJ Media published an article titled “Fake News? Viral 'Pregnant 10-Year-Old Rape Victim' Abortion Horror Story Deserves a Deeper Look.” The piece claimed the story “left more questions than answers” and asked where was the police report on the incident. It also alleged ​​Dr. Caitlin Bernard, the Star’s OB-GYN source, is an uncredible witness for promoting “unrestricted abortions.” [PJ Media, 7/8/22]
    • PJ Media published a follow-up piece on July 11 targeting the doctor cited in the original story. The piece, titled “Abortion Doctor at Heart of #Shes10 Viral Horror Story Was Accused of Failing to Report Underaged Abortion,” attacked Bernard, saying she “loves the spotlight.” The article cited Indiana Right to Life, an anti-abortion advocacy group, who claimed Bernard to be one of nine doctors who failed to report instances of minors having abortions to state authorities. [PJ Media, 7/11/22]
    • The Washington Examiner quoted Yost, who appeared on Fox News’ Jesse Watters Primetime saying there is “not a whisper” of evidence to support this story. The article went on to claim attempts to fact-check the story have “appeared to fall flat.” [Washington Examiner, 7/11/22]
    • Red State published an article also quoting the Ohio attorney general’s claims on Fox News that there is no evidence to support the viral story. The author of the piece wrote, “I believe the doctor in question just outright made it up.” [Red State, 7/11/22]
    • Breitbart quoted Yost’s appearance on Jesse Watters Primetime, saying there isn’t a “‘whisper anywhere’ to back up 10-year-old rape victim story.” [Brietbart, 7/11/22]
    • The Daily Caller repeated claims from Yost that he saw no evidence to support the 10-year-old rape victim story. The article also chastised national media for reprinting the story “often without any additional scrutiny” and “despite there being no corroboration beyond the claims of Bernard.” [Daily Caller, 7/11/22]
    • The Blaze published an article claiming Yost shot down the reports of a 10-year-old rape victim needing an abortion. The article went on to claim the attorney general’s comments suggest the “story promoted by President Joe Biden is not true.” [The Blaze, 7/12/22]
    • The Wall Street Journal published an editorial titled “An Abortion Story Too Good to Confirm,” declaring, “All kinds of fanciful tales travel far on social media these days, but you don’t expect them to get a hearing at the White House.” The piece stated, “There’s no evidence the girl exists,” and claimed “the American people deserve better from their President than an unproven story” created to empassion supporters of abortion. [The Wall Street Journal, 7/12/22]
    • Turning Point USA’s Benny Johnson said on his podcast that “there is no proof” that the 10-year-old victim “exists” and added “it doesn’t matter” to journalists that “this girl doesn’t exist.” [The Benny Show, 7/12/22]
    • Radio hosts Buck Sexton and Clay Travis went on an extended rant casting doubt on the story, at one point saying it may have been faked in order to “scare moms.” The following day, the show updated with the Dispatch story – only to immediately return to casting doubt on it entirely. Travis additionally posted video to Fox Corp.-owned Outkick's social media complaining that, “it is a completely, it would appear, made-up story.” [Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, 7/12/22 and 7/13/22; Outkick, 7/12/22]
  • Claims there was no independent confirmation of the story when it was released

    • On Jesse Watters Primetime, Ohio’s Attorney General Dave Yost sowed doubt about the report, saying there was “not a whisper” of the story and denying there was a rape kit or any ongoing DNA analysis regarding the case. In the same segment, Watters claimed that “if this horrific story isn’t accurate” then it “fits a pretty dangerous pattern of politically timed disinformation.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 7/11/22
    • Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen claimed the viral story would not have passed the Bush White House’s “fact-checking process.” Fox co-anchor Bill Hemmer said, “We don't know if this story is even true.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 7/11/22]
    • The following day, Hemmer quoted the Washington Post’s fact check that concluded, “This is a very difficult story to check.” Hemmer continued, “The question is where did it come from, who pushed it, and why the newspaper in Indianapolis printed it? We do not have all those answers at the moment, but right now it looks specious.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 7/12/22]
    • Newsmax’s Chris Salcedo called for Dr. Caitlin Bernard’s license to be revoked “if she lied about the rape of a 10-year-old child because she’s a pro-abortionist sicko.” [Newsmax, The Chris Salcedo Show, 7/12/22]
    • Fox News published an article claiming the story was “still not verified by fact-checkers.” The article cited PJ Media as a source of “other issues with the story” that throw “its authenticity under heavy skepticism.” [, 7/11/22]
    • A New York Post op-ed by Jonathan Turley originally titled “Activist tale of a 10-year-old-rape victim’s abortion looks like a lie” has a new headline claiming, “The 10-year-old rape victim’s abortion leaves a number of glaring questions.” The article’s URL on the Post’s website still has the original headline. It’s unclear when the headline was changed.  [New York Post, 7/12/22]
    • The Daily Wire published an article titled “Biden Repeats Story Of 10-Year-Old Allegedly Needing An Abortion That No One Has Been Able To Verify.” The piece claimed the “horrifying story has been met with increasing skepticism in the absence of any corroborating report of a child rape.” Two days later, the site published a follow-up claiming Yost’s appearance on Jesse Watters Primetime had cast more doubt on the victim’s story.  [Daily Wire, 7/9/22, 7/11/22]
    • The Washington Times also claimed Yost’s Primetime appearance “casts doubt” on the reports. The article referenced the Snopes and Washington Post fact checks as “two left-tilting fact-checking sites” which “have been unable so far to verify the report.” [Washington Times, 7/11/22]
    • Fox host Mark Levin referenced the story on his radio show and claimed that “people are raising questions about the legitimacy of this story” but that he didn’t “have the foggiest idea” if it was true. [Westwood One, The Mark Levin Show, 7/11/22]