Although Roger Ailes is not a Catholic, he appears to have put his "news" channel at the service of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops who have their Roman collars in a knot about the Obama administration's birth control mandate. Starting next year, religious institutions which are not exclusively for the promotion of Catholic dogma (colleges, hospitals, Catholic Charities) will be subject to the requirement that their female workers and students receive free birth control in their health plans. While some of these institutions already provide free birth control and Viagra, the bishops claim that the mandate violates core Catholic teachings. Enter, stage right, Fox News which has provided ongoing validation for the concerns of the Catholic men in black. Such was the case on yesterday's alleged "news" show, America's Newsroom, during which head of the ladies auxiliary of the American Taliban "Concerned Women for America," Penny Nance, was had a case of her trademark right wing vapors over this mandate and in so doing advanced trademark right wing zombie lies one of which is the claim that the mandate includes abortion drugs - a claim that is also advanced on "fair & balanced" Fox.
Patti Ann Browne, subbing for Bill Hemmer, conducted the interview. (Interestingly, Patti might be, as is Hemmer and co-host Martha MacCallum another one of Ailes' large stable of conservative Catholics as she is a graduate of St.Francis Prep School which is the largest non-diocesan Catholic school in the country.) She began by reporting that the Obama administration's "controversial" birth control mandate was going into effect starting yesterday, August 1st. She then either lied or misinformed her audience by saying that "most businesses, including Catholic institutions must now ensure that their health insurance provides birth control coverage to employees." The truth is that enforcement of this rule, for religious employers, has been delayed by a year. She introduced her guest, Penny Nance, without noting that Concerned Women forAmerica is a conservative group.
Nance, last seen on America's Newsroom whining about condom distribution, was just, goodness gracious, all a flutter about this truly evil mandate that "is an assault on religious freedom" for everybody. Browne didn't mention that other faith communities have no problem with it. Nance, a committed Christian, then told a big, fat Christian lie when she said that this forces employers and individuals to pay for abortion, inducing drugs as well as contraceptives." One more time - the mandate does not include abortion inducing drugs such as RU 486. It does include emergency contraception which only the Catholic Church and not the reality based medical community, thinks is abortion inducing. While she spoke, the side chyron contradicted Patti's opening statement by informing the viewers that the coverage requirement for religious institutions won't begin until 2013.
Rather than point out how other women's and civil liberties groups claim that the "religious liberty" argument is a demand for special privilege to discriminate against women, Browne commented that Ms. Nance disagrees with the the Obama administration claim that they have tried to accommodate the religious organizations. Nance shook her pretty lil head and asserted that it's an "accounting gimmick" and "Americans" are having to "pay for something that violates their consciences." Nobody said anything about how the women, who are receiving and who will use this benefit (including OMG, Catholic women), are already, in many cases, paying for their health care plan. She claimed that this is a "give me to the left" (as opposed to criminalizing abortion which is a "give me" to the Christian right?)
Again, Browne provided no rebuttal but summed up Nance's position that Obama is doing this to "shore up the single women's vote." Nance caught the ball and ran with it and continued her line of agitprop which, with her claim of increased health care costs of $2100, was straight out of the RNC. As she spoke, pretty Patti nodded her head. No mention was made that a Nebraska judge recently threw out a bunch of birth control mandate related lawsuits.
So rather than real "news," this segment was merely a right wing "call and response" but it was chock full of information provided at no additional cost by the GOP and the Catholic Bishops. Gotta love that "fair & balanced" Fox News.