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Fox News Not An Arm Of The GOP? Hannity And Bachmann Team Up To “Tell Nancy Pelosi What She Can Do With The Pelosi Health Care Plan”

Reported by Ellen - October 31, 2009 -

Sean Hannity announced at the beginning of his show last night (10/30/09), “We have spent the last 24 hours analyzing this massive (health care reform) legislation.” But he offered his viewers almost no information about it other than political spin that just so happened to be Republican-centered. Instead of an actual analyst or expert on health policy, he chose extremist and conspiracy theorist Michele Bachmann as the only guest. No Democrat got comparable time. It was soon clear that Bachmann’s real qualifications were her willingness to spew anti-health care reform talking points – truth be damned – and that she had a tea party-like protest planned in the halls of Congress. With video.

Just as he and Jamie Colby (guest hosting On The Record) did the night before, Hannity had the pile of papers that he claimed was a printout of the bill on his desk as a prop. Demonizing the bill over its length just so happens to match current Republican talking points about it. Hannity held up pages from what he claimed were the only five pages that mattered. The pages he held up had large block letters saying, “ABORTION,” “HIGHER TAXES” and “DEATH PANELS,” among two others, that were obviously not part of the bill. Laughably, he called the actual bill “smoke and mirrors.” Hannity added, “Those five pages are the only ones that Americans really need to read and these are the things they need to know about.” So much for “we report, you decide.”

Bachmann wasted no time getting to her attack. “This is the crown jewel of socialism… what Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have wanted from the very beginning.”

She and Hannity went on to insist that Page 92 of the bill provided that people will not be able to keep their private health insurance. “(Page 92) says specifically that people can’t purchase private health insurance after a date certain,” Bachmann said. Actually, Page 92 says nothing of the sort. Hannity and Bachmann seem to have been thinking of Page 94. As Media Matters reported in its debunking of the very same claim by Rush Limbaugh (what a coincidence!), “the provision at issue states that private individual policies can be sold, but only through the Health Insurance Exchange and subject to its regulations.” It also allows the purchase of current plans to be grandfathered in under certain conditions. Furthermore, the Exchange specifically includes “a Premium Plus plan through which people will have options to purchase coverage for additional health care benefits that are not included in the core benefit standards.” For two people presenting themselves as experts on the bill on a news network, it’s astonishing how much they didn’t know.

“Tens of millions of Americans would be forced into the government system… and there won’t be any private insurance alternative,” Hannity later said, incorrectly.

Bachmann moved on to her next falsehood, one that has been used by other Republicans: “Christina Romer, President Obama’s economic advisor said we’re looking at about 5.5 million jobs lost if this bill goes into play.” As PolitiFact noted in their investigation of that claim, Romer never said that. PolitiFact wrote, “The number comes from calculations made by the Republican staff of the House Ways and Means Committee, based on ideas in two papers co-authored by Romer, who was an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, before joining the administration.” Because of the questionable math involved and the distortion about Romer, PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter reads “False” on this one.

Then, after whipping up their audience with all those falsehoods (and more I haven’t gone into but you can see them in the video), the two turned to blatant advocacy. “The clock is striking 11:59. We need people not only to call their representatives and visit their district offices… I’m asking people to come to Washington, D.C. by the carload and next Thursday at noon, I’ll be at a press conference on the steps of the Capitol. I’d love to have every one of your viewers join me so that we can go up and down through the halls, find members of Congress, look at the whites of their eyes and say, ‘Don’t take away my health care.’”

“They’ll be hiding,” Hannity said.

“This doesn’t have to pass,” Bachmann continued. “And I don’t think it will pass if we can get people to literally, physically come to Washington, D.C. next week… We need to pay a house call on Nancy Pelosi and tell her what she can do with the Pelosi health care plan.”

Apparently, that was not enough hate for Hannity. “Are we witnessing an attempt by Pelosi, Reid and President Obama and the Democrats to radically reshape American society? …Are they attempting to change American society, fundamentally, at its core?” he “asked.”

Of course, Bachmann thought so. “Yes, and they already have… You can’t, with a straight face, say that we’re a free market, capitalist state, country any more.” She continued by saying that the bill is Unconstitutional. “Fair and balanced” Fox never told its viewers (you know, the ones who are supposed to be the deciders) that many prominent legal experts have debunked that conservative talking point.

As the segment ended, Bachmann could barely contain her joy as she said that the Blue Dog Democrats “are clearly on the fence.” She added, “That’s why this is such an exciting opportunity for us… This is our liberty and tyranny moment. This is it! This is about patriotism and manning up. And if we can get Americans literally by the busload to come to Washington, D.C. next week, look their Member of Congress in the eye, pay a house call on Congress, and say ‘Don’t you dare take away my health care,’ … we’ll stop this.”

After another plug for her event, Hannity said, “Maybe I’ll have to show up and observe this so our cameras can see democracy in action.”

It's funny, but while Bachmann was crowing about patriotism and participation in democracy, and asking Americans from all over the country to visit different Representatives (not just their own, presumably), she refuses to accept emails from anyone outside her district. But you can telephone. So if you can't make it to Washington either to support the bill or to let Bachmann know she does not represent the country which consistently supports a public option for health insurance, you can call her office at (202) 225-2331.