How can Fox News say with a straight face that their flagship "news" program is "fair & balanced" when its host blatantly pushes anti-choice mythology about the origin and substance of a Texas anti-abortion bill. I guess we shouldn't be surprised given that alleged news host Bret Baier has, on other occasions, used his position to promote anti-choice propaganda including the lie that Pres. Obama supports infanticide. He even hosted a Fox documentary about the horrors of Dr. Gosnell's clinic in order to advance the anti-choice meme that what Gosnell did was representative of all abortion clinics. Last night, during a discussion of Texas state senator Wendy Long's amazing filibuster, Baier and right wing journalist Steve Hayes managed to misrepresent the draconian anti-abortion bill and - ready for it - throw Gosnell into the mix. Fox News - "fair & balanced" as always!
Baier reported on the filibuster and showed video related to the event that included comments from Sen. Wendy Davis and two anti-choicers, both of whom claimed that this bill "protects" Texas women who are "vulnerable." (As if!) Susan Milligan, of US News & World Report, spoke about how the effort to "shut a woman up" doesn't reflect well on the GOP. That's when Baier launched into agitprop mode: "The bill itself has been a confusing issue for some folks. It does not ban abortion across the board in Texas, banned the procedure after 20 weeks of pregnancy, that's the twelfth state to do so, require clinics to upgrade their facilities to become ambulatory surgical centers and they'd need admitting privileges within 30 miles and THAT BASICALLY IS IN DIRECT RESULT OF THE GOSNELL SITUATION in Philadelphia."
FACT CHECK - According to official press accounts, the sponsor of the bill, Sen. Glen Hagar's bill was based on fetal pain. While Gosnell was cited by some supporters of the bill, it doesn't seem to have been an overriding factor but Baier made it a Fox fact and the focus of the discussion. What Baier didn't mention is that 20 week abortion bans have been struck down in Idaho and Arizona. He also didn't say that the requirement that abortion be performed at surgical centers means that Texas would be left with only five abortion clinics. He didn't mention that religious hospitals won't grant admitting privileges to abortion doctors or doctors who are not local residents because they fly into the areas where they perform abortions. Not mentioned was the effective ban on telemed abortions. The Fox audience was not informed that the Texas Hospital Association and the Texas chapter of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists oppose the bill.
Steve Hayes took the propaganda ball and ran with it: "I think the Gosnell comparison is apt for another reason." He castigated journalists who tweeted about the filibuster "with enthusiasm" because - Fox Propaganda Alert - "there is no issue on which reporters are more one sided than the issue of abortion." In pushing an anti-choice meme, he accused the mainstream media of ignoring the "riveting" Gosnell trial. He claimed that Davis "mischaracterized" the law" while "the national political scene explodes with her efforts."
Krauthammer blamed both sides for "procedural" problems and described those in the gallery as a "mob" - a description that he didn't, as far as I know, apply to angry teabaggers disrupting town hall meetings in 2009. He accused the pro-choicers of trying to prevent a vote. Baier read the part of Gov. Rick Perry's call for a new session in which he cited the "need for decorum."
So there you have it folks. "Fair & balanced" Bret Baier promoted the newest anti-choice and Fox enabled meme that Gosnell's crimes show the need for further restrictions on abortion. Never mind the reality that Texas has been pushing back on abortion rights for years, especially under the present governor who wants to end abortion in Texas while, at the same time, presiding over a state with the highest number of uninsured children. But Perry and his ilk have other priorities, like defunding Planned Parenthood and refusing the federal Medicaid expansion which, if taken, would help all those "vulnerable" Texas women far more than laws that take away abortion access.
Gosnell is just a smokescreen for the GOP/Fox News war on women. As seen by Long's filibuster and her support, women are fighting back against laws that, contrary to Baier and Hayes, are a big deal. You want "mischaracterization?" Look no further than the "fair & balanced" Bret Baier.
It’s interesting that the Davis filibuster got the treatment it did from Fox News, given that they pretty much ignored it while it was happening, and that they actually played up the idea that it was unsuccessful when the Texas GOP tried to say that she had broken the rules and that they’d passed their bill anyway. This is in direct contrast not only to the bizarre tea party disruptions of various town halls in 2009 and 2010, but to Fox News coverage of the Rand Paul filibuster earlier this year. Except that, of course, Fox News supported the Rand Paul action and they certainly didn’t support this action. When Ingraham got to discussing this filibuster in her interview, she initially sounded supportive of Davis, but it quickly became clear she was being extremely sarcastic.