Bill O’Reilly was at his most condescending and paternalistic last night as he ignored the encroachments Republicans are trying (and often succeeding) to make on women’s reproductive rights. He blithely insisted to his female guest, “Nobody is messing around with women’s reproductive rights.”
O’Reilly began the segment with a mistruth: "As The Factor reported, former White House communications director Anita Dunn now representing (Sandra) Fluke free of charge."
In reality, O’Reilly has theorized that Dunn represents Fluke. But what he actually reported is that the large PR firm Dunn works for represents Fluke. What O’Reilly hasn’t reported is that Dunn has specifically said she is not involved in Fluke’s account.
When guest Cathy Areu came on to argue against O'Reilly, he dived right into misrepresenting women’s concerns. "Let me get this straight: because Rick Santorum doesn’t believe in birth control, women’s reproductive rights are under assault in the United States?"
Of course, it’s not about Santorum, per se, but about a host of Republican actions. As Think Progress wrote:
The conservative war on women shows no signs of abating. The last few weeks have given rise to half a dozen bills that try to limit or eliminate a woman’s access to reproductive health care. Just this week, Arizona took up a bill that ups the ante: It would require women to prove to their employer that they are not using contraceptives to avoid getting pregnant…
…IT’S HAPPENING EVERYWHERE: The attempts by conservatives to control women’s health seems to be an epidemic these days. Arizona’s bill doesn’t stand alone as far government overreach in the name of religious freedom — in fact it’s not even the only disastrous women’s health bill in the state. In Mississippi, the legislature is looking at legislation that would effectively close the only abortion clinic in the entire state. Kansas is supporting an anti-abortion measure that would cause the Kansas University Medical Center to lose its accreditation. Wisconsin has banned private health insurers from offering abortion coverage. In Idaho, a similar bill would force women to go to crisis pregnancy centers if they wanted an abortion. And Idaho also — along with nine other states– has passed a bill that requires women to have an ultrasound before an abortion.
Sadly, Areu did not seem to have all her facts at hand and allowed O’Reilly to keep the argument about the Republican presidential candidates. When O’Reilly asked her to come up with an “anti-woman” statement by Mitt Romney, she didn’t seem to recall Romney’s recent remark: Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that. Nor did she seem to know he supported the recent anti-contraception Blunt amendment in the U.S. Senate as well as the “personhood” amendment in Missouri last fall. Even Missourians nixed that bill that would have defined a fertilized egg as a legal person. Plus, Romney did not exactly make a stand on behalf of Fluke when she was relentlessly attacked by Rush Limbaugh recently.
Looking blankly at O’Reilly, Areu said, “Well, I do like Mitt Romney and Tag Romney.”
O'Reilly was probably trying not to gloat. He said, “Here’s my point. Nobody is messin’ around with women’s reproductive rights, alright? One guy, Rick Santorum stated his belief and now Rosie O’Donnell and Angelica Huston believe that somehow their right to not reproduce or whatever is under assault. It seems to me that’s a giant leap… Am I wrong?”
Instead of pointing out just how wrong he is, Areu went off on a tangent about how Bush administration cuts to birth control aid to Africa led to higher rates of abortion.
O’Reilly allowed as how targeting women votes by scaring them was a “pretty smart” move by the Obama administration. Then he reiterated that women’s rights “are intact.” He added, “Title X gives free birth control. You can get free birth control anywhere.”
Areu didn’t even seem to know that Republicans want to eliminate Title X.
Memo to Areu: When Fox News invites you to discuss a topic, you can bet that the real subject will be the politicization of the topic. In other words, no Fox Newsies care whether or not women in Africa are having more abortions, they care whether or not they can shoot down a Democratic or liberal talking point, politician, personality or agenda. Period.
Send it to Ripley. There’s finally something NEW to put in “Believe It or Not.”
The above strawman argument was the first thing Areu should have gone after. But, no, instead she allowed BOR to set up the whole discussion with a dishonest premise. Argh!
It was so frustrating watching Areu. She was completely unprepared with the facts necessary to call out BOR’s misinformation and spin (lies). Just where the hell has she been?! Like Ellen noted, nothing about the loss of abortion clinics, the Blunt fiasco, etc. Nothing about what Visitor55 mentioned and how it’s big government coming between a patient and her doctor (something that BOR and the GOP supposedly despise). And BOR is still being allowed to get away with the Title X spin without anyone noting that the GOP wants it defunded! Double argh! For crying out loud, the facts to directly challenge BOR are out there in plain sight yet Areu couldn’t bring herself to do any of her homework. BOR was being condescending towards the issue and was practically laughing at how unprepared she was. A weak, unprepared Dem opponent means that BOR’s bullsh!t prevails yet again. Gawd. Too bad it couldn’t have been Sally Kohn taking him on.
Is it me or is he starting to act more desperate,he never has liked being corrected on anything but of late he seems to be even more short tempered when someone doesn’t agree with him.He is and will always be, a disgusting pathetic ass, hungry for attention and acknowledgement.
Unfortunately, the liberal guests, like Alan Colmes when he was Hannity’s regular co-host, usually back down and don’t have all the facts for the debate at hand. It can be very depressing to watch one of them wither in front of obvious mistruths being spoken. But at the same time, these guests are clearly aware that they are only being brought on to be knocked down – since the show is really about O’Reilly or Hannity getting their moment to put them down rather than being about a real examination of the issues.