The Fox News logo has the words "Fair& Balanced." However, their top brass, when challenged on their apparent lack of said qualities, claimed that the "opinion" shows, despite being part of the channel represented by the logo, are exempt from being "fair & balanced." But when you have Fox "straight news" tag teaming with Fox opinion on a right wing issue that Roger Ailes wants communicated, you have a steaming pile of propaganda. Such is the case with Fox's promotion of the views of the Catholic Church regarding the mandate that they, as well as secular employers, provide free birth control to their workers under their health care plans. Fox & Friends has run seven segments promoting the church's position. Fox News has run four in which only one was "fair & balanced." And yesterday, "straight news" guy Bill Hemmer gave us the fifth report about this issue which featured yet another opponent of the policy as well as the Fox "fact" that "Plan B" is an "abortion pill." "Fair & balanced" at its finest!
Words matter. In virtually all of the segments on this topic, the phrases connoting agitation, such as "up in arms" and "all fired up," are being used to describe those who oppose this policy. The phrase "war on religion" is also being bandied about by hosts, guests, and chyrons. So it was no surprise to hear Bill Hemmer say that "religious organizations are up in arms about what they feel is the White House war on religious freedom." The reality is that is only "some" religious organizations are upset and others are pleased about the ruling; but you aren't hearing about that on Fox. You are hearing about the opposition which was represented, on this segment of "America's Newsroom," by an attorney from the, as Michelle Malkin expressed it during her Hannity rant, "wonderful" Becket Fund which is representing a Catholic college that is challenging the policy. Hemmer didn't mention that.
Hanson's guest, senior counsel for the right leaning Becket Fund, Hannah Smith, spoke about her group's challenge to the policy. Hemmer (another conservative Catholic in Ailes' stable of conservative Catholics) then promoted, as fact, Catholic dogma: "The issue is contraception, right? But it also goes to providing the abortion pill." FACT CHECK - Emergency contraception prevents implantation of a fertilized egg. As the medical community (and other faith communities) do not believe that pregnancy begins until implantation it is not universally considered an abortion. If a woman is pregnant EC does not induce an abortion. The mandate DOES NOT include the real abortion pill, RU 486.
Smith stated that "many believe" that these drugs cause abortions and that this sentiment is not just a Catholic issue, that "many groups" oppose these "abortion causing drugs," and that it "spans many religious faiths." No mention was made of those large faith communities who have no problem with this type of contraception and that groups who have taken an official position are Catholics, evangelicals, and Orthodox Jews. After playing WH press secretary Jay Carney's comments regarding access to birth control, Smith claimed that the government "has already acknowledge that contraception are widely available" and that most employer plans already provide these drugs and services at clinics, Planned Parenthood, on the internet, at hospitals so "it's not about access" but forcing these groups to pay for it.
So let's see if "fair & balanced" Hemmer will interview an attorney involved with cases pertaining to contraceptive equality and the Catholic Church. Or somebody, anybody, who will admit that many Catholic hospitals and schools already offer plans that cover contraception. And while Ms. Smith blithely says that birth control is cheap and accessible, she represents a cause dedicated to shutting down Planned Parenthood and if that happens, good luck getting an appointment at neighborhood clinics whose limited resources are strained by increasing caseloads. And why should women, who work at Catholic institutions, not have the same kind of coverage as those in the secular world?
If Fox were "fair & balanced," maybe they could speak with this woman who says this: "My husband works at a Catholic hospital so our family health insurance doesn’t cover any kind of birth control at all. If I need to go to the doctor to discuss birth control, that doesn’t get covered either. So if I wanted the pill, a diaphragm, or IUD, not even the consult appointments would be covered by my insurance."
If Fox News were fair & balanced.....Meanwhile, the bishops get some nice free PR that parish newsletters could never match!
The US Council of Catholic Bishops should be investigated by federal authorities.