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Bill Hemmer Is Confused – Anti Abortion Member of Congress “Clarifies” Things

Reported by Priscilla - August 2, 2009 -

Fox News, as the mouthpiece for the Republican right, does provide lots of face time to the anti choice crowd. While occasionally a spokesperson for those who are pro-choice is shown, the preponderance of coverage seems to be in the other direction. In an earlier post, I described Megyn’s Kelly’s astonishment that abortion might be covered under health care reform. She spoke to an anti abortion, Republican member of congress, Joe Pitts, who spoke of what might be included in the legislation pertaining to private health plans and Republican fears that they might be forced to pay for abortion. But to Kelly’s credit (and I am loathe to give it) she provided “balance” in another interview, about the same topic, with Julie Piscitelli, formerly of NARAL. “The Live Desk” provided a platform for anti abortion zealot and Catholic priest, Frank Pavone who echoed the same sentiments as Rep. Pitts; i.e. that “abortion is not health care” – a meme that is now championed by O’Reilly pals, “Operation Rescue.” And now Bill Hemmer (July 31st) weighs into the issue with an interesting set piece (whoops, interview) with anti abortion Republican member of congress John Shadegg. While basically an informational (right wing speech) interview, the staged nature of the principal question showed, once again, that it’s not really the media – but the message that‘s important.

Poor Bill was confused: “It's still not clear to me as to whether or not taxpayer dollars in -- this health-care reform bill that you guys are debating in committee will take taxpayer dollars and fund abortions in America…Is that possible? Cue John Shadegg, a Republican from Arizona who scores, like Pitts, a 0 from Naral and 100% from National Right to Life, splains it all to Hemmer. He begins by saying that “most people who are pro life believe that the language that was passed will allow tax payer funding for abortion.” (Who cares what pro-lifers think – what does the bill say?) It adds that some of the leading opponents of public funding for abortion “believe” that the bill will mandate it. He noted that the plan was that money for abortion would be “segregated” out of the funding but would still make it back into the public funding. He made the ridiculous comment that even people who are “pro-choice” oppose public funding for abortion. (Like who, John?) As if on cue, Hemmer tries to “figure it out” and in so doing provides a synopsis of the anti abortion talking points: “It’s my understanding and correct me if I’m wrong on this. If certain taxpayer dollars are going to certain insurance agencies to cover whatever they cover an those insurance agencies are covering you for prostate cancer; but also that insurance agency covers programs that fund abortions then you could use that money, in a bit of a shell game, and divert the money that would cover the cost of an abortion.” Are we surprised that Shadegg affirmed Bill’s suspicions. (ROFL – this is the same crap that the anti abortion lobby used when Barack Obama overturned the odious “gag rule.” The anti choicers still claim that federal dollars will be used for foreign abortions, despite the Hyde Amendment, because of the same kind of “shell game.”) Shadegg said it was, indeed, a “shell game.” Shadegg whined about the bill and made the bogus claim that in five years, your health care plan will be gone. After Shadegg said that those who vote for the final bill (still in committee at the time of the interview) will be blistered; Bill tossed the ball to him in asking “by whom.” Shadegg responded that along with pro-lifers, seniors “see language in the bill that suggests that they will be counseled at the end of life to just go away” will be upset. He mentioned that although the AARP is supporting health care reform, seniors are calling Shadegg to voice their objections. (Yeah, because they are being force fed bogus bull pucky (thank you Betsey McCaughey), by right wing scare mongers, about the plan.)

Comment: Theater at it’s finest. Only one person, from the “right” side, is interviewed with no rebuttal which was certainly not provided by Bill Hemmer who gave Shadegg quite the platform for the perfunctory talking points. (One would hope that pro-choice Representatives like Rosa De Lauro or Barbara Mikluski have been or will be interviewed). But the best part was when “confused” Hemmer tried to summarize it as best he could. Turns out that he really wasn’t confused at all. Fancy that!

P.S. Check out the backround graphics which were all supposed "CBO" points against health care. Can we say "silent partner?" Or is it just more "fair and balanced real journalism?"

Update - Bill Hemmer interviewed a Democratic Representative, Eric Massa, earlier in the day. Unlike the interview with Shadegg, Hemmer was very involved in the discussion, challenging Massa on the number of uninsured. While Massa spoke, the chyron read "Is healthcare reform being pushed too fast." A background graphic informed about those who chose not to purchase health insurance. Hemmer is "hearing" that the longer health care is on the table, the "more" people are turning away from it. Public funding for abortion was not mentioned; thus, the audience is left with the impression, by an anti choice member of congress and Bill Hemmer, that there is a "shell game" going on. (Pro choice Congresswoman Rosa De Lauro was briefly featured on the Bret Baier show in a video which was a general overview of the public funding/abortion issue. I would like to see her get the kind of face time that Shadegg received.) Check out the video for the stylistic differences on Hemmer's part between both videos.

Find more videos like this on www.truveo.com.