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Fox & Friends’ Blatant Activism To Kill Health Care Bill

Reported by Ellen - August 3, 2009 -

If ever there was a segment that proved Fox News’ intrinsic unfairness, unbalance and its commitment to promoting GOP talking points, this segment from this morning's Fox & Friends is it. All three hosts offered the same anti-health-care-bill view, offered the same fear mongering the GOP has used and all the while encouraged viewers to contact their Congressional representatives, adding not-so-subliminal hints about what they should say. With video.

Co-host Gretchen Carlson began the segment by saying enthusiastically, “You probably have a lot on your mind for your respective members of Congress when they come home from recess. Are you gonna call ‘em up and tell ‘em how you really feel? Or are you gonna go to one of these receptions where they’re actually there in person? That’s happening now all across the country.”

Throughout the segment, banners on the screen such as, “Reach out to your reps!” and “Hold Congress Accountable! Now is the time to speak your mind” repeatedly urged viewers to take action.

Only one action, repeatedly endorsed, was given as an example of the kind of action viewers might take. Co-host Steve Doocy just so happened to have video of the kind of meeting Fox was urging its viewers to attend and it just so happened to be a meeting where the audience was jeering at Health and Human Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Democratic Senator Arlen Specter. The video also just so happened to dovetail with the aggressive strategy of the lobbyist-run groups Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, which orchestrated the anti-Obama tea parties earlier this year, to create an image of mass public opposition to health care.

An angry woman attending the Sebelius/Specter Town Hall was shown angrily shouting about how the Democratic plan would create a “bureaucratic nightmare.” Neatly echoing a GOP talking point, she said, “You want us to believe that a government that can’t even run a ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program is gonna run 1/7 of our US economy? No, Sir!” Big cheers erupted before the clip ended.

“She just explained it for me!” Carlson said, explicitly endorsing the GOP talking point opposition. “My exact thoughts,” Carlson said, sounding surprised.

“We need to have this every day throughout August,” guest host and Fox contributor Peter Johnson urged. He’s an attorney, not a medical specialist. “People have to be contacting their congresspeople, their senators.” Ask questions, and say, ‘If I need to get a hip replacement, am I gonna get it? …Is the government gonna decide whether I live or die at some point in the future?”

“Exactly,” Doocy concurred, making it a trifecta of health care “debate” unanimity. “And that woman summed it up perfectly.”

As Zachary Roth, at TPMMuckraker, notes in his debunking of the GOP “euthanasia” scare tactic, “The only basically accurate way to cover this self-evidently phony controversy would be to frame it as something like: ‘Congressional Republicans Take Cues From Limbaugh By Misleading Americans on Health Care Bill.’” “Fair and balanced” Fox & Friends not only failed to offer another point of view, they not only failed to note the Limbaugh-esque tactics behind the soundbite they offered, the entire crew actively endorsed it.

Doocy concluded the segment by suggesting viewers go to the Fox Nation website where viewers can “sound off” to Congressmembers and also find their phone numbers and emails.

There’s no doubt the kind of message he and the rest of the crew were implicitly urging their viewers to send.

Video via Media Matters.

UPDATE: I saw this same townhall footage on Your World and America's Newsroom. Right now, Glenn Beck is gushing over it.