In order for any message to be effective, in should be repeated. As a meme is reinforced, it becomes a narrative. Such was the case with the recent trio of Fox News programs devoted to promulgating the anti-HHS, "religious liberty" crusade of Fox friend, NY Cardinal Timothy Dolan who is also head of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops which wants a religious exemption from the birth control mandate not just for Catholic institutions but all employers whose Taliban views religious beliefs do not approve of birth control. Bill O'Reilly set the agenda with his Dolan interview on Wednesday night during which Dolan claimed that the HHS mandate is "an attack on the Church." Yesterday, Steve Doocy continued the Fox/Dolan agitprop about how the Obama administration is "at war with the Catholic Church." The meme was further reinforced on "America's Newsroom" during a discussion on the same topic.
Good conservative Catholic (one of many in Ailes' congregation) Bill Hemmer played video of Dolan's interview with O'Reilly during which, according to Hemmer, Dolan spoke of how some in the White House are trying to divide American Catholics. The chyron framed the message: "President's Allies Attempting To Divide Catholic Church." (What, what, not a "war on Catholics") Dolan's claim that the White House is trying to caricature the bishops as "judicial bullies" was ironic given that the bishops support of the failed Blunt Amendment (Thank you Olympia Snowe for helping to deep six it), which would allow all employers to opt out of paying for birth control, is nothing if not a bullying of all American women.
Hemmer tossed to right wing Republican Monica Crowley and Democratic advisor Christopher Hahn. Crowley, as expected, said it was all about "religious freedom" and attracting women back into the Democratic party. She claimed that the White House "timed this" and reinforced the Cardinal's point with her agreement that "this is an all out assault on religious freedom." She also claimed that "access to contraception is not an issue in modern day America." (If women can't afford it, they don't have access.) Hemmer chimed in that "I understand your point." Hahn got a woo sound from Hemmer when Hahn talked about recreational sex and how the church is playing around with 15th century dogma. There was some laughter about the sex comment.
Hemmer said he was suprised by Dolan's frankness about "the politics of the issue." He seemed to reveal his devout Catholicism (bonding with the Fox audience?) with the comment that "You have to be in church every Sunday to understand the Church is not letting go of the issue...It is spoken about and mentioned at the altar every Sunday and don't lose track of the voting block here." (But according to one poll, only 25% of Catholics attend weekly Mass - obviously Hemmer isn't in this group.) After Hemmer played part of the video in which Dolan said that Catholics don't like to get voting advice from bishops, Crowley blithered about how Americans don't like it when government "intrudes into religion...as this administration had done...the church does have the right to point out the assault on religious freedom..." As she spoke, video of a happy Dolan was shown. When Hahn said Catholics don't believe this, Hemmer said, "They don't?" Crowley continued to blither about how this isn't about birth control (GOP meme alert) but religious freedom (GOP meme alert).
So sort of fair & balanced but still more reinforcement of a propaganda meme that is obviously important to both Fox News and Cardinal Dolan. So it's all good....