While Fox News claims that its actual "news" is "fair & balanced," much of its alleged "news" programming serves a blatant right wing agenda. That Fox "news" is the media outlet for the most radical extremists in the anti-abortion movement was underscored in a recent Bret Baier piece. Alleged news man Baier provided a national media platform for anti-abortion fanatics who are exploiting the tragic death of a young woman who died during a late term abortion. While the family was grieving their loss, anti-abortion activists, who were able to obtain confidential information about the patient, blasted the woman's name and picture across the internet. Her family was accused of, among other things, being bad Catholics and baby killers. The fanatics claim that the doctor "murdered" the patient while the reality is that she died from a rare complication that also happens in childbirth. Baier's biased report, in advancing the anti-abortion narrative about the doctor's malfeasance, further exploited this woman and defamed her memory. "Real journalism" at it's finest!
In early February, 29 year old school teacher JM bled to death during a late term abortion at a Maryland clinic. The abortion was done because of fetal abnormality. Both she and her husband had welcomed the pregnancy and had a web site devoted to the anticipated child. Immediately after her death, anti-abortion extremist and pal of anti-abortion domestic terrorist Randall Terry, Jill Stanek, revealed the woman's name and posted a pictures of her, gleaned from internet and the family's baby registry's website. Stanek claimed that she got all the information, including medical details, from an informant who seems to have *violated the law by revealing confidential medical records. The anti-abortion craziness took on a life of its own. Vigils were held outside the clinic (Fr. Frank Pavone in attendance) where signs were held with the woman's name and picture. Operation Rescue demanded that the doctor lose his license and he be charged with murder. Anti-abortion blogs were full of hatred directed against this woman and her family. Along comes Fox News.
On February 18th Bret Baier, described the upcoming segment as being about "a woman, her baby, and her doctor." (So already he's setting up the premise of malfeasance by the doctor). He tossed to Shannon Bream whose past coverage of reproductive issues has had a pro-life bias. The first thing she said was the Maryland Medical Examiner's office and the local police were investigating the death of JM after "witnesses say that she traveled from NY state to Dr. Leroy Carhart's Germantown clinic for a late term abortion." (Who were the "witnesses"? Anti-abortion activists?) Bream read part of JM's obituary including the baby's name. She reported claims from a local right to life group that they have incriminating paperwork from the doctor who, allegedly, left town after the abortion. A militant anti-abortion dentist and Carhart harasser, Dr. Grace Morrison, was shown accusing Carhart of not providing good care.
Bream then showed an "undercover video" done by (drum roll please) "pro-life activist," Planned Parenthood sting video producer, and Fox fave Lila Rose. In the video Carhart is shown telling a woman that a late term abortion, involving a fetal abnormality, is safer than giving birth which, unsaid by Bream, is actually true. Sweet lil Lila was shown saying that Carhart "shouldn't be able to continue in this business where he's making millions off of killing children that could survive outside the womb and sometimes killing women." That Maryland prohibits post viability abortions, unless the mother's health is in danger or the fetus has an abnormality, wasn't mentioned. Also not noted is the harassment that Carhart has been subjected to and the fact that he has never been charged with a crime, let alone convicted.
Bream reported that the woman's mother in law was upset about the publicity surrounding the death - which is what Fox News is now part of. She added that Carhart is under investigation, in Maryland, for separate issues. (An investigation was closed in 2011. The only current investigation is based on an Operation Rescue complaint that Carhart is "dumping biohazardous waste, private patient medical information, and dangerous drugs." Yes, they go through his trash).
In reacting to the shameless invasion of a woman's privacy, Amanda Marcotte says it best: "Any attempts to pretend that the anti-choice movement isn't a bunch of organized misogynists who mindlessly want to sacrifice women's futures and even lives for the hell of it should be put to rest by this disgraceful abuse of a woman's memory, simply because they disagree with her choice to end a pregnancy gone wrong." For aiding and abetting this disgrace, the fair & balanced Fox News is shameless!
*Bridget Dunlap's coverage, on RH Reality Check, of the possible legal issues is excellent