Fox & Friends, the Fox News morning show, is often slanted to the right but coverage of a House vote to pass health care reform may have set a new record for imbalance. Eight conservatives came on the show to blast Democrats while only three guests defended the legislation.
Fox host Steve Doocy began the show by remarking on how Rep. Bart Stupak “caved” and voted for the bill. “What’s that about?” asked Doocy.
Then came a long clip of House Minority Leader Boehner. “Look at this bill. Ask yourself, ‘Do you really believe that if you like the health plan that you have you can keep it?’ No, you can’t,” said Boehner.
“In this economy with this unemployment, with our desperate need for jobs and economic growth, is this really the time to raise taxes? To create bureaucracies and burden every job creator in our land? The answer is no. Can you go home and tell your senior citizens that these cuts in medicare will not limit their access to doctors or further weaken the program instead of strengthening it? No you cannot. Can you go home and tell you constituents with confidence that this bill respects the sanctity of all human life and it won’t allow for taxpayer funding of abortions for the first time in 30 years? No you cannot,” continued Boehner.
“And look at how this bill was written. Can you say it was done openly? With transparency and accountability? Without back room deals and struck behind closed doors? Hidden from the people? Hell no, you can’t!” shouted Boehner.
“Have your read the bill? Have you read the reconciliation bill? Have you read the manager’s amendment? Hell no, you haven’t,” Boehner yelled at Democrats in the House.
The Fox News morning show neglected to air clips of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or President Barack Obama praising the legislation during their first hour.
The “fair and balanced” news channel’s first guest of the day was Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) who explained how the bill would lead to higher taxes, higher insurance premiums and more costly medical care.
Next, Fox Business Channel’s Stuart Varney warned that the historic legislation would be a burden on the richest business owners.
It wasn’t until about 45 minutes into the first hour that viewers were able to see someone defend the Democrats. David Di Martino, former communications director for Sen. Ben Nelson, struggled to explain how Democrats would be able to sell the bill to voters before the November elections.
“We’re providing reform to patients to improve their care. A bill that will reduce the deficit by a trillion…” Di Martino tried to say as he was cut off by Fox host Brian Kilmeade.
“That’s stuff we’ve heard already but the American public got turned off from,” interrupted Kilmeade. “The more we heard about it the less we liked about it.”
Unlike Boehner, Boustany and Varney, Di Martino had to share his screen time with an opponent. Nancy Pfotenhauer, a former senior advisor to Sen. John McCain, talked about how the the new reform would “fan the flames” of outraged Tea Party protesters going into the 2010 elections.
Former Bush White House Press Secretary Dana Perino got several minutes of face time. She was only interrupted by clips of Karl Rove shouting about the cost of the bill.
Would balance dictate that it was then a Democrats turn? Not yet. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) was invited to talk about how he was going to investigate shady deals made by the Obama administration to get the bill passed. “I think the level of what I would call bribes in politics was ever than ever before,” said Issa.
Finally, an hour and half into the morning show, a Democrat, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, was invited to speak without having to debate another guest. But the Fox hosts did a good job pointing out how much small businesses would be damaged by the landmark bill.
Minutes later, former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist was invited to talk about how difficult it would be for Senate Democrats to pass changes to the bill.
“Come November, the Democrats will lose the House. It will flip to the Republican category,” Frist told Fox News’ Alisyn Camerota. “That’s probably going to end up making President Obama a much better president over time with that balance.”
Following another clip of Boehner complaining about transparency, Doocy told a story about how no one he met in Texas approved of the bill.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Rep. Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), the final Democrat on the program, debated whether the bill would fund abortions. “If you have pro-abortion Democrats who approved of this last night, that’s really all you need to know. The paper isn’t worth what it’s written on,” said Bachmann.
Fox & Friends coverage of health care reform concluded with Fox News contributor Peter B. Johnson Jr. explaining how states were lining up to sue the federal government over the legislation. “38 states across the country are going to have legislation that says the individual mandate will not be allowed to go forward,” he said.
This video is from Fox News’ Fox & Friends, broadcast March 22, 2010.
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