The "fair & balanced" Fox News has, not surprisingly, been aiding and abetting "Obamacare" scare stories which turned out to be as bogus as Fox's "fair & balanced" slogan. So not surprisingly, Fox is providing validation for an anti-ACA TV ad, being run by a Koch funded group, Americans for Prosperity, which purports to tell the tale of a Tennessee woman, a former Obama supporter (ahem), who has lupus, lost her health care, and is now working two jobs just to make her Obamacare payments. Yesterday, she was interviewed on Fox & Friends by Roger Ailes BFF, Peter Johnson Jr. who didn't ask her the relevant questions, posed on Politifact, which could bring either some context or some verification to her story. But the ad was played on a national "fair & balanced" network so it was all good....
The segment was part of Fox & Friends patented "Eyes on Obamacare" series which features the White House against a dark background while scary (?) music is played. The AFP ad was played over the chyron "Not So Affordable Act, Lamb's Premiums Went from $52 to $373." In the ad Emilie Lamb claims she voted for Obama but is now upset because not only did her premiums go up but she has lupus. Peter Johnson Jr. (who is Ailes' personal attorney as was Johnson's father) reported that Ms. Lamb "didn't get to keep her plan as promised" and is "working seven days a week to cover her outrageously high new premiums."
After introducing Lamb, Johnson (*who thinks of Ailes as a father figure) prompted her to speak about her situation. In "explaining" what happened to her, he emphasized the serious nature of her illness which is forcing her to pay, "wow, a lot more." Johnson escalated the agitprop by claiming that she said that the "government has its boot on the back of your neck" and asked her to "tell us what you mean by that." She cited how, in Obama's State of the Union Address, he said that "if you work hard, you can get ahead." (So did she actually make the "boot" metaphor?) and discussed her specific situation.
Johnson continued to prompt by describing how she was happy with her cancelled plan and now, with her Obamacare plan, she's "working seven days a week with lupus." He wanted to know if she was making "ends meet with this incredible increase in health care." The chyron reinforced the spoken agitprop: "What Peace of Mind, Lupus Patient Worries She Can't Pay Her Bills." She continued to speak about her plight.
Johnson's next propaganda prompt couldn't have been an more obvious: "Do you feel that you were lied to." The chyron reinforced how Lamb feels and so should you: "I'm So Angry, Woman with Lupus Furious over Obamacare Costs." Johnson claimed that Lamb is a former Obama voter and supporter and again asked if she felt Obama is a liar. On cue, she responded "absolutely, he lied" because she was "promised, over and over again" that she could keep her old policy. Johnson stressed the debilitating nature of lupus as the chyron reinforced the content of the ad: "Paying 400% More, Obamacare Forced Woman w/Lupus to Work Extra." Johnson wished her good health.
What nobody mentioned was that Lamb's former state sponsored policy was cancelled because it had a $25,000 annual limit. Tennessee, which hasn't expanded Medicaid, asked for a waiver but was denied. Nobody said what Lamb's monthly premiums, co-pays, and deductibles were. Nobody said what her income is. Politifact goes beyond the superficial treatment, given to the situation, by Johnson: "Without knowing the number of doctor trips, prescription refills or emergency visits Lamb needs, it’s impossible calculate how much each plan would end up costing her each year." They conclude: "Testimonials are a powerful tool for ad-makers but the anecdotal evidence presented in them is often atypical. In this case, the ad doesn’t present a full picture of the law’s effects."
Johnson's take was very different from commentary from a blogger with Lupus: “now will be able to receive the expensive treatments to help with her medical problems. She won’t be discriminated against for her pre-existing condition." But hey, when you're pimping propaganda, who needs facts!
*Johnson speaks of Roger Ailes as a father figure. Pg. 381 "The Loudest Voice in the Room," Gabriel Sherman