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On Special Report, Fox Spun GOP Health Care Talking Points Into News

Reported by Guest Blogger - November 19, 2009 -

Guest blogged by Nayef

On Monday, (11/16/09), Special Report discussed health care reform in a not-so fair and balanced way that just happened to take Republican Mitch McConnell’s spin and present it as news. With video.

Host Bret Baier began the report by mentioning a recent AP poll which found the public split over their support.

AP noted the following: “When poll questions were framed broadly, the answers seemed to indicate ample support for Obama's goals. When required trade-offs were brought into the equation, opinions shifted - sometimes dramatically.” Baier did not mention this observation from the AP, which allowed him to add that “lack of broad public support is just one of the problems facing senate’s top democrat as he prepares to unveil his plan.”

Next, reporter Jim Angle showed Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell stating that none of the 99 senators actually saw the bill as it is still with Harry Reid, the Democratic Senate Majority Leader. Fox viewers saw McConnell demanding senators have enough time to look at the bill. So how exactly is this a problem? Angle reported nothing to put McConnell’s partisan comments in context. It was not just speculation but GOP hype presented without verification.There was also no Democratic view presented as balance.

Angle also made much of the opposition to abortion restrictions from Democrats. So in this case, “fair and balanced” meant presenting Republican and Democrat opposition to the bill instead of presenting support and opposition.

The bill’s cost was also discussed based on the analysis of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The analysis “predicts that between 2010 and 2019, the overall national health expenditures would increase by $289 billion, or 0.8%, from baseline projections established earlier this year.” Misleadingly, the Fox report says “national expenditure would increase by $289 billion.” The $289 billion figure is in fact an offset in projection over the next 10 years but the Fox report omits both key phrases.

Although Baier noted in the beginning of his report that there is an “even split” on the health care bill, no view supporting the bill was presented. 3 arguments against; 0 arguments for.