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Fox & Friends Promote Pro-Life Teen, Smear Ohio House Speaker, And Ignore ACLU

Reported by Priscilla - February 12, 2010 -

As I have noted on numerous occasions, Fox News does seem to play to conservative (persecuted) Christians and those who are anti-abortion. So not surprisingly, they have picked up on a topic that was all the rage in Christian, pro-life circles. The Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives had recently denied Ohio teen Elizabeth Trisler the opportunity to receive, on the floor of the Ohio House, a resolution honoring her for having won the National Right to Life Oratory contest. There was a great outcry amongst the anti-choice community. The ACLU, as well, found it a “troubling precedent.” The pressure put upon the Ohio Speaker resulted in his recanting his decision. Ms. Trisler will receive her award; but that doesn’t stop the opponents of abortion from politicizing this in order to cast Armond Budish’s original decision as an example of how those who are pro choice are oh, so persecuted. So are we surprised that Fox & Friends, who haven’t met a persecuted Christian that they didn’t like, hosted (formerly) persecuted, pro-life Christian Elizabeth Trisler. This segment was blatant anti choice propaganda – not only did it provide the pro-life talking point about how this pro-life teen was persecuted; but it also served as a vehicle to smear the Ohio House Speaker who, they believe, is representative of the intolerance of those who are pro-choice. And in the process of demonizing the Speaker, Alysin Camerota forgot to mention that the ACLU sided with the teen.

As the chyron read “Controversial” Teen Honor? OH SPKR Reverses Ban On Pro-Life Award Winner,” Alysin Camerota provided the back story of how the Ohio Speaker’s made his original decision because he was “quote, uncomfortable with the subject matter.” Camerota introduced Trisler and her mother while the chyron read, “Pro-life Teen Denied Honor, Ohio SPKR Banned Teen From Floor.” The “pro-lifers are persecuted” and “don’t we hate that nasty House speaker” themes were front and center. In response to Camerota’s question about the Speaker’s motive, Elizabeth said that Budish thought that the subject was “controversial” and “sensitive” and that meant that “he didn’t agree with me.” Camerota affirmed her point that “he didn’t agree with you.” As Elizabeth’s mother talked about how, prior to Budish’s declaration, he kept canceling her scheduled appearances, the chyron read, “Pro-life Teen Daughter Banned From Ohio House.” (Restraining Order? Don't think so!) Mrs. Trisler said that it was “petty politics.” Camerota tossed a scripted softball when she asked Elizabeth what “message” this sends to “other teenagers.” In case you didn’t get the message, the chyron read “Pro-life Teen Banned From Honor In House.” Not surprisingly, Elizabeth said that the message was that “you can have opinions as long as they follow the government’s opinions and if they disagree people are going to try to shut you up.” Camerota then read a statement from Mr. Budish in which he asserted that his original decision was not based on his personal views. The next chyron contradicted the Speaker’s statement: “Right To Life” Winner Denied: Rpt: Ohio Speaker Was Uncomfortable With Subject.” Camerota, in noting the pressure put upon the Speaker, told Tisler that "so many conservatives groups and the Ohio right to life group is on your side."

Comment: Camerota could have said that the ACLU was on the side of Elizabeth Trisler; but that would take away from the conservative belief that the ACLU are Satan worshippers who hate God fearing Christians. Can’t have Fox & Friends giving credit to Ohio Executive Director, Christine Link whose comment wasn’t all that different from Elizabeth (who didn’t mention the ACLU, either): "Instead of teaching young people that the answer is to silence those who disagree with us, legislators should be modeling how to address difficult issues thoughtfully and listen respectfully to others.” Also not noted by Camerota was the statement made by Budish’s spokesperson: "the Speaker is not going to permit politically sensitive groups to use the House floor as a platform, whether it's a gay-rights advocacy group or a right to life organization." And according to press information, the Speaker did not say that he was “uncomfortable” with “the subject.” He said he “had a problem with the subject matter.” Taken in context, his problem was what he saw as the politicization of an issue – not personal discomfort. Anyway, Elizabeth, a home schooled young anti choice crusader, will get her reward. That should have been the end of it. But not for Fox News which is politicizing the issue in order to promote anti choice talking points – and of course, the requisite persecuted Christian angle. Here’s a link to Elizabeth’s speech. In my opinion it’s full of the standard rhetoric (“lies' of the pro choice movement) and misinformation (abortion linked to breast cancer) that are spread by the anti-choice movement. Hey, she could have a future at Fox News. But regardless of my disagreement with her abortion position, I feel that she should have the right to receive her award. Budish erred – but as seen on today’s Fox & Friends he’s certainly paying for that mistake! One hopes that he’s not getting death threats and other nasty e-mails from Fox’s “pro-life” audience.