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Bill Hemmer Uses Bart Stupak Interview To Promote Anti Choice Propaganda

Reported by Priscilla - February 27, 2010 -

The Republican right is anti-choice. Thus, as the mouthpiece for the Republican right, Fox “opinion” shows seem to tilt towards the anti-choice camp. But according to the “suits” at Fox News, the afternoon shows are straight out “news” – and not opinion. So, one might expect these shows to be “fair and balanced.” And for the most part, they do make an effort towards that end; but sometimes they slip into propaganda mode with an issue that is near and dear to the hearts and minds of the Republican and religious right. As abortion is one of those hot button issues, it’s not surprising that some Fox “news” coverage might be a teensy bit biased. Earlier this week, Bill Hemmer, provided a nice little shout-out to the anti-choice community. But then he did that before. At least he’s consistent.

In August, 2009, Fox “news” guy Bill Hemmer, interviewed Republican anti-choice Congressman John Shadegg who argued that the congressional health care bill, at that time, provided federal funding for abortion. Despite the available information to the contrary, Hemmer didn’t provide any refutation. The final House bill contained an anti-choice amendment, introduced by Democratic anti-choice Congressman, Bart Stupak. The final Senate bill does not contain this draconian provision and now that it’s time to “reconcile,” Stupak, his anti-choice pals in Congress, and the Catholic bishops aren’t happy campers. So not surprisingly, Hemmer provided Congressman Stupak with a nice platform from which to spout his not unexpected anti choice talking points while Hemmer presented an anti choice claim regarding the White House proposal . At least Hemmer is consistent!

Hemmer’s interview (February 24th) with Bart Stupak was just as much of a set piece as the interview he did with Shadegg. He set the tone immediately with the question of whether the health care bill is “on life support.” He said that his guest “thinks so as long as the current language in the current Senate bill doesn’t change…” The chyron read: Rep. Stupak (D) Blasts Abortion Language In Pres’ Health Plan.” (There is no mention of abortion in “Pres’ Health Plan) To Hemmer’s question regarding why he objected to the Senate bill, Stupak claimed that it provided for federal funding of abortion. He then asserted that the Senate language would allow for public funding and that the President has “gone with the Senate language.” Rather than offering any counter claims regarding Stupak’s allegations, Bill (who obviously hasn't read the President's proposal) gave Stupak a nice, wet kiss with “you know that amendment that you got through in the House side, you attracted a lot of votes to your side.” He added that 64 Democrats voted in favor of it “because of the language you drafted.” (That total is about one fourth of the Democrats. All Republicans voted for it. The actual margin that got this travesty passed got down to about three key votes). Hemmer asked if a bill that maintains Senate abortion language could pass with “moderate Democrats saying that this is not the place we want to go right now.” Stupak referenced “other problems” with the bill. (No mention of the concern that the public option was dropped) When Stupak started to talk about other Democratic areas of concern, which might have revealed that Stupak wasn’t in synch with Republicans, Hemmer steered it back to abortion. Hemmer articulated the anti-choice and anti-Obama meme: “pro-life groups are saying that the White House proposal would actually funnel billions of dollars toward those who want to carry out abortion procedures and use tax payer dollars to do it. That would, essentially, expand the language that’s currently in the Senate bill.” He wanted to know if Stupak was aware of that. Stupak continued with no use of federal dollars for abortion, blah, blah, blah. The chyron underscored Hemmer’s propaganda: “Rpt: Senate Bill Will Provide More $ To Fed Funded Abortions.

Comment: Can we say partisanship in news? If Hemmer wanted to have been “balanced,” he could have provided a rebuttal to the anti-choice, Stupak argument about how the Senate bill supposedly funds abortion. According to the text of the bill, women receiving federal subsidies for health care would pay for separate abortion coverage and the insurers would segregate the monies so as to ensure that no federal money would be used. It is similar to language proposed, in the House, by Congresswoman Lois Capps, who is pleased with the Senate’s “reasonable” approach – as opposed to Stupak’s amendment which would bar any insurance company, receiving subsidies, from offering health plans which cover abortions. But Hemmer’s job is to promulgate pro-life, anti-Obama (whom the “lifers” hate) talking points and he did it well. Notice that Hemmer didn’t cite the Senators who state that their bill doesn’t allow federal funding. And what “report,” regarding Senate abortion language, was the chyron referring to? Could it be a report, from the National Right to Life, which makes the bizarre claim that Obama’s proposal to increase funding for community health centers will, surreptitiously, fund “abortion on demand” at those centers? Who knows? But we do know that Hemmer is supposed to be “real news,” “fair and balanced.” Go figure!