In recent days, following its pattern of advocacy, Fox News and its personalities' have repeatedly promoted Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-MN) November 5 anti-health care reform protest, to be held on Capitol Hill and in the halls of Congress. Fox News has previously promoted numerous other rallies such as the April 15 tea party protests, health care town hall protests, and the 9-12 march on Washington.
Bachmann called for “House Call” protest to advocate for defeat of health care reform bill
From Bachmann's November 2 press release calling “on the American People to Bring the Town Hall to Washington”:
“This bill is a trillion-dollar, budget-busting, government takeover of our health care system. It will put bureaucrats between people and their health care. It will lead to rationed care, hurting the most vulnerable amongst us first. It will break the bank, leaving our children to pay the bill with diminished freedoms and dwindling prosperity.
”The American people need to stand up again and make sure that Congress hears them this time. Speaker Pelosi is putting her bill on fast track to a vote - and it remains to be seen if the House will even get a chance to vote on the commonsense Republican alternatives. The people need to make a House Call on Washington this week and tell their Representatives to vote no to a government take-over of one-fifth of our economy. This is gangster government at its worst.
“I urge all Americans to come to Washington this Thursday. Come and meet up with your Representative and tell them that you want to control your health care.”
Fox News and its personalities repeatedly promoted Bachmann's anti-health care reform protest
Fox News' Napolitano: Bachmann “wants your help in the fight.” Guest hosting for Glenn Beck on November 4, Fox News judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano stated that Bachmann is “fighting Democrats on the constitutionality of a national takeover of health care, and she wants your help in the fight.” Napolitano hosted Bachmann to promote the protest and said, “Tell us what's going on outside the Capitol building tomorrow to try and bring some sense to these big government types that want to regulate health care from Washington, DC.” During the show Napolitano also asserted that a friend in the intelligence community “told me watch out for Mrs. Pelosi making the security requirements almost impossible to get to this rally. You guys have to watch out for that.”
Bachman: "[W]e began this on Sean Hannity's show." Also during the November 4 Glenn Beck broadcast, Bachman further detailed her motivations to organize the protest, saying, “what we've done, and we began this on Sean Hannity's show, is just to - the only thing I know to do at this point to kill this bill is to ask and plead for real freedom-loving Americans to come to the steps of the US Capitol tomorrow.”
Hannity was “told the crowd is going to be massive ... my only wish is I wish I could be there.” Hannity stated on the November 4 edition of his Fox News program, “Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann announced on this program last Friday that at noon tomorrow - by the way anybody that wants to go, you can go to the nation's capitol - they're gonna have a press conference, and then, I hear there are gonna be a lot of people--thousands of people. Our cameras are gonna be there. We'll have full coverage on the program tomorrow night. But they're gonna walk into the Capitol, and they're gonna confront Congressmen and Senators.” In response to a caller planning to attend Bachmann's protest, Hannity also stated on the November 4 edition of his radio show, “I can tell you, I am told the crowd is going to be massive, and my only wish is I wish I could be there. But I tell you what I decided to do, I'm sending one of my reporters down there to cover the entire thing, and we're gonna air it tomorrow night on Hannity.”
Fox News contributor Gingrich pushes protest on twitter. On November 3 Newt Gingrich posted on his twitter feed, “Help stop the gov't take-over of health care. Join the Rally Thursday against Obama/PelosiCare.” Gingrich also posted a “Reminder” about the protest on November 4.
Fox & Friends hosted Bachmann, promoted protest details. During the November 3 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson hosted Bachmann to talk about the protest, gave details of the protest to viewers, and urged viewers to access the program's website for more information on the protest. Carlson stated, “They can go to FoxandFriends.com; we'll link it to your website.”
Hannity: “I hope a lot of people can make it out.” During the November 3 edition of his radio show, Hannity hosted Mark Levin to promote the protest, at which Levin is scheduled to speak. Hannity stated, “This is a last minute thing, and I know it's difficult for people to go to these things, especially at the time. It's noon on Thursday at the Capitol.” He later added, “I hope a lot of people can make it out there, Mark.”
Fox Nation promoted Bachmann protest. On its front page, accessed on November 3, Fox Nation promoted the protest, writing: “Bachmann Urges Confronting Lawmakers on Capitol Hill.” Fox Nation included links of Bachmann promoting the protest on Fox News host Glenn Beck's radio program, and video of Bachmann on Fox & Friends. On November 5, Fox Nation featured the headline, “Will You Join Bachmann's 'House Call' Party?”
Beck: “We'll get the word out ... and we'll continue to have you make the pitch for people going to Washington, DC, noon this Thursday.” On the November 2 edition of Glenn Beck's radio show, Bachmann stated, “I really believe, Glenn, if we can get good normal patriot, freedom loving Americans to D.C., converge at noon on Thursday on the capitol steps, and what we need to do is literally go into these members of Congress' offices, look in the whites of their eyes and tell them don't take away my healthcare, don't take away my freedom. Because once government gets this power, Glenn, they can use healthcare as cradle to grave, they can use that as a pretext for controlling every other aspect of our life.” Beck stated at the end of the interview, “Michele, God bless you. We'll get the word out and let's have you on a little bit later on this week and we'll continue to have you make the pitch for people going to Washington, D.C., noon this Thursday, and look them in the whites of their eyes.” Bachmann again promoted the protest on the November 4 edition of Beck's radio program.
Hannity: “Maybe I'll have to show up and observe ... democracy in action.” Bachmann said during the October 30 edition of Hannity that the protest is “Thursday at noon,” adding, “You can go to MicheleBachmann.com for more information and we can walk together through Cannon, Longworth, Rayburn, walk through the capital, sit in the gallery.” Hannity replied: “Maybe I'll have to show up and observe this so our cameras can see democracy in action.”
Fox News has repeatedly engaged in conservative advocacy by promoting protests
Fox News promoted April 15 tea parties. In the lead-up to the April 15 tea parties, which the channel repeatedly described as “FNC Tax Day Tea Parties,” Fox News frequently aired segments publicizing and encouraging viewers to get involved with the protests. A Media Matters for America study found that from April 6 to 13, Fox News featured at least 20 segments on the “tea party” protests. A subsequent Media Matters study found that from April 6 to 15, Fox News aired at least 107 commercial promotions for its coverage of the April 15 tea parties.
Fox News promoted health care disruptions. Fox News promoted disruptions of Democratic town hall events by protesters opposed to health care reform -- protests that are touted by Republican leaders and supported by conservative groups. Following the August 2 disruption of a town hall event hosted by Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Fox News personalities repeatedly lauded such protesters and urged viewers to take similar action.
Fox News promoted 9-12 protests. In the lead-up to the 9-12 protest, Beck's website worked with others organizing the September 12 “March on Washington,” and he repeatedly encouraged viewers to attend the protest. Fox News also heavily promoted the Tea Party Express tour -- the final stop of which was the 9-12 protest -- on Fox News, Fox Business, the Fox Nation, and FoxNews.com.