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Cavuto’s One-Sided Concern For Violence At Health Care Rallies

Reported by Ellen - September 7, 2009 -

Guest blogged by Brian

On Friday’s (9/4/09) Your World, Neil Cavuto spoke with Det. Eric Buschow, Ventura County Sheriff's Dept about the incident where Bill Rice, a man protesting President Obama's health care plan, had part of his pinky bitten off by a health care supporter. Cavuto teased this segment twice. The day before, Cavuto had interviewed Rice. Despite all the interest in violence at health care rallies, Cavuto did not mention the 65 year-old health care reform supporter in Miami who got punched and knocked to the ground earlier in the week by an Obama-plan opponent. So eager were Cavuto and Fox to catch the pinky perpetrator that they posted on the screen for much of the segment a phone number for tips on the identity of the biter. Cavuto also repeatedly prodded Buschow, first to say that the incident was potentially more serious and then to say that the pro-reform protesters were covering up for the biter. Fortunately for truth lovers, Buschow resisted the pressure. With video.

Cavuto asked, "What would be the punishment for something like this?"

"Several years in prison to life in prison, depending on the circumstances and the person’s criminal history," Buschow responded.

Cavuto did acknowledge that Rice had instigated at least part of the altercation "He (Rice) was getting upset, this guy was yelling at him, and he whacked him, he threw him a punch. He was throwing a follow up punch, he said, and it was at that point when that punch or hand landed in this other guy's mouth, the guy bit off his pinkie. So is there any culpability on Bill Rice's part for instigating any of it?"

"Potentially," Buschow said.

"Bill (Rice) said he wasn't going to take any legal action," Cavuto said. He failed to mention either in this segment or in his softball interview with Rice that while Rice had claimed he didn’t want the government involved in health care, his medical bill for the lost finger was paid for by Medicare.

Cavuto made a blatant effort to paint the pro-health-care-reform protesters as accomplices. After noting that the crowd of protesters had not been very large, he said, “So clearly people knew… the few who were there had to know… So either people were covering up for this guy or they know this guy…”

Buschow called that “a possibility” but that “Several different organizations” had been there and that a photograph of the altercation had been taken from across the street where there were 70-100 people. “So there were quite a few demonstrators there.”

Cavuto pressed on with his quest to tarnish the pro-reform side. Some people would shrug off the incident as “a bizarre but unusual incident,” Cavuto said. But, he added, “Guys like you worry about the escalation of violence… those that start with pushing and shoving, to later biting, to God knows what… You have to look at this as something that could potentially escalate, right?”

No, not really. “I don’t know that there would necessarily be an escalation here.” Buschow said. He pointed out that this incident had occurred around an issue “where there are a lot of emotions and certainly this isn’t what the Founding Fathers intended for people to do in debating things in public but our goal here is to find out the facts of the case. We’re seeking the truth and whatever that turns out to be.” He also noted that he had received several conflicting reports about who the aggressor had been. “… Ultimately the decision (regarding prosecution) will be up to the court.”

Cavuto said hopefully, “But ultimately, if the courts find this fellow, if he’s the fellow, bit off deliberately Bill Rice’s finger, he could be in jail for a few years at least?”

“He could be in serious trouble, absolutely,” Buschow replied.

Satisfied at last, Cavuto ended the interview.