On his July 14 show, Fox host Jesse Watters continued his disinformation campaign against a 10-year-old Ohio rape victim who had to travel to Indiana to receive an abortion due to her home state’s extreme abortion laws. Despite being proved humiliatingly wrong throughout the week, Watters continued to spew easily debunked theories and lies to undermine the plight of the victim and dismiss the grotesque realities of the Republican-led effort to overturn Roe.
Watters began the segment by claiming President Joe Biden had “exploited” the girl’s story, making no mention of the right-wing media effort — in which Jesse Watters Primetime played a pivotal role — to cast doubt on the story and claim it was false. On Monday, Watters spent his monologue dismissing the story as a convenient fabrication from an abortion doctor. He then hosted a conservative blogger and Ohio’s attorney general, with the latter claiming that he had heard “not a whisper” about such a case among the law enforcement community.
Less than two days later, Watters’ efforts to undermine the story were proved wrong. The Columbus Dispatch reported that an arrest had been made in connection to the case, and that police say the alleged rapist, Gerson Fuentes, confessed to the crime. Instead of acknowledging his show’s Monday night blunders, Watters doubled down, crediting his show for aiding in the case and hosting Indiana’s attorney general, Todd Rokita, to target the girl’s Indiana doctor, Caitlin Bernard. Watters claimed she had “a history of failing to report child abuse cases.”
Again, less than a day later, Watter’s line of attack was disproved when The Indianapolis Star’s Tony Cook reported that Bernard had reported the abortion in question. Fox 59's Matt Christy also reported that the report was filed in the legally required time frame. A statement from Bernard’s attorney also said she “followed all relevant policies, procedures, and regulations” and is now threatening legal action against Rokita.
In his Thursday night segment, Watters failed to correct the previous night’s interview, instead focusing on the nativist red herring of the accused’s immigration status. Watters also repeated the lie that the 10-year-old victim did not have to travel to Indiana because “Ohio could have legally terminated the pregnancy due to a medical exception.” Ohio’s nonpartisan Legislative Service Commission confirmed that “Ohio’s abortion prohibition applies regardless of the circumstances of conception or the age of the mother.” Credible legal analysts and doctors concurred.
Watters ended the segment with the questions, “Why does this story keep changing? And why doesn’t it make any sense? And why are all these details trickling in the more and more we dig?”
They’re easily answered: Jesse Watters Primetime failed to perform or acknowledge any credible reporting on the story, placing radical anti-health care narratives above facts.