The rapist that Jesse Watters said didn't exist was just sentenced to life in prison

From the July 11, 2022, edition of Fox News' Jesse Watters Primetime -- "Media ran with story of 10-year-old pregnant girl"

From the July 11, 2022, edition of Fox News' Jesse Watters Primetime

After Roe v. Wade was overturned, Fox News host Jesse Watters played a pivotal role in a smear campaign denying the existence of a 10-year-old Ohio rape victim who traveled to Indiana to receive an abortion due to Ohio’s draconian anti-abortion laws. The rapist has now been sentenced to life in prison, once again proving that the story was not a “hoax” — as the newly minted host of Fox News’ 8 p.m. hour had once suggested.

Watters repeatedly attempted to suppress critical reporting, a strategy that falls in line with his penchant for perpetuating unfounded conspiracy theories. His pathetic attempts to dismiss the story and place blame on anyone but the Ohio lawmakers who gutted the state’s reproductive rights are a reliable indication of what Watters’ contempt for the truth will bring to 8 p.m.

On the first day of his disinformation campaign, Watters attacked both the 10-year-old’s doctor, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, and the initial reporting from the Indianapolis Star, suggesting that Bernard had made up the story and the newspaper was “hiding” something. He ended his monologue by suggesting that the story was a “hoax” and a piece of “politically timed disinformation.” Later in the segment, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost sowed further doubt on the report, claiming he had heard “not a whisper” of the case among law enforcement figures.

Two days later, after an arrest was made in the case, Watters actually took credit for “[putting] on the pressure” in the investigation, despite his previous suggestions that the story was fake. He and his show then persisted in the smear campaign, falling back on Fox’s tried-and-true anti-immigration rhetoric by running a chyron that stated “Illegal charged with rape of 10-year-old” before Watters asked whether the rapist’s undocumented status “played any role in the cover-up.” Watters’ guest during the segment, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, blamed Joe Biden’s immigration policy.

Watters also continued his attacks on the child’s doctor, Bernard, claiming she never reported the rape and that she “has a history of failing to report child abuse cases.” This claim was refuted by multiple local news sources the following day.

Again, Watters refused to acknowledge his factual inaccuracies in the next day’s broadcast, instead opting to criticize national media outlets for failing to center the rapist’s immigration status in their reporting.  Watters ended the segment by once again calling into question the details of the case: “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?”

This saga is just one example of Watters’ dedication to spreading Fox’s grotesque brand of hatred, bigotry, and extremism — a dedication that landed him the network’s coveted 8 p.m. time slot. By promoting Watters, Fox executives are betting that the host’s gleeful disregard for the truth will reverse — or, at the very least, ease — the ratings freefall triggered by Tucker Carlson’s unceremonious ouster.

Most significantly, Watters’ promotion will give him a bigger platform to fuel the outrage machine that then dictates the Republican Party’s platform: gutting reproductive rights, demonizing marginalized groups, and muddying the waters — pun intended — with misinformation.