During the Gosnell trial, Amanda Marcotte wrote an interesting article about how anti-choice forces were "gaslighting the media and the public." She explains that gaslighting refers to "emotional abuse where the abuser deliberately denies reality and tells blatant lies" in order to disorient the victim who eventually can't recognize reality. This strategy, she notes, was inherent in right wing media Gosnell coverage which tied Gosnell to legal abortion when the reality is that lack of access drove desperate women to Gosnell. As an example of media obfuscation, she cited Fox contributor Kirsten Powers' anti-choice rhetoric - despite Powers' claim to be a Democrat. Fox's coverage of the Texas abortion law involves more gaslighting in that their focus on the supposed reasonableness of the 20 week ban obfuscates the greater issue of lack of access to reproductive health care which Powers thinks is no big deal. On this week's Fox News Sunday, the gaslighting continued with Nina Easton's anti-choice propaganda which even used one of Powers' bogus talking points as well as the now standard Fox attack on Wendy Davis.
The panel discussion, about the draconian Texas abortion law, did meet the standards of "fair & balanced" as the panel was evenly divided between pro and anti-choice sentiment with the moderator, John Roberts, not taking sides. What was noteworthy was Nina Easton's commentary which reinforced all the anti-choice memes that Fox has been promoting. Despite its claim to being "fair & balanced," Fox doesn't seem to be interested in interviewing anybody who opposes the law; but rather, Fox hosts and their guests have advanced anti-choice talking points about how awesome this measure will be when, according to women's advocacy groups and the medical community (Kelly's ophthalmologist guest not withstanding) this bill will really hurt women.
Given that Easton once said that teen pregnancy should be "celebrated" so as not to encourage them to have abortions, it's not surprising that she would articulate anti-choice talking points which began with an attack on Wendy Davis. She described Davis as a "legislator who stood up and became and became suddenly, among the chattering class...a hero of women and what was she opposing, she was opposing a bill that it would make it illegal to abort a baby after 20 weeks." (Gaslight #1 - no mention of the other negative aspects of the bill). She claimed that a majority of women and Americans support this. (Gaslight #2 - polls vary according to the way the question is asked with one poll showing a majority of Texas opposing the bill.)
She accused Davis is being held up when she is "trying to say that they would close down abortion clinics when in fact they're trying to bring them up to health standards." (Gaslight #3, many of the rural clinics will not be able to comply with the standard which are more restrictive that those for other, more serious surgery. They will be forced to close which is what the anti-abortion movement and the Texas GOP want.) When Roberts made the point that this will be the effect, Easton advanced Powers' point that this argument was made in Pennsylvania and "some closed down and "it wasn't nearly what the pro-abortion right crowd said it was." (Gaslight #4, clinic requirements no big deal - Reality - in PA, which arguably has more resources than rural TX, had 22 clinics. Now they have 13.)
Easton claim that Davis is saying that "she's being bullied by men." ( Gaslight #5, The men in the legislature tried to shut down her filibuster with bogus reasons) More irony with her comment that Davis' claims "miss the issue" which is "abortion and a wide spread public acceptance, in this country, for limiting abortion." (Gaslight #6, the main opposition to abortion is centered in conservative states and states with GOP governors and legislatures such as Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Abortion rights are still strong in totally blue states.)
Roberts asked why this issue, that wasn't big in the last election cycle, is coming up now. Both Easton and Brit Hume responded - wait for it - the Gosnell case. (Gaslight #7, Gosnell had nothing to do with safe, legal abortion.) When Hume said that the public is rejecting this "barbaric" practice and asserted that the fetus is "fully developed" by 20 weeks. (Gaslight #8 - this is just not true. The 20 week thing is based on bogus fetal pain studies. The fetus is not considered to be fully developed until the 24th week - "viability") Easton chimed with standard anti-choice talking point, "it's a baby." (Gaslight #9, an emotional argument which is irrelevant to the real substance of the bill.)
Once again, no discussion about the limited health exceptions for the 20 week ban. No discussion on how some women will be forced to travel 800 miles for an abortion and how many of these clinics also dispense birth control. No discussion about unnecessary "admitting privileges" which abortion doctors won't get - particularly from Catholic hospitals which, in some cases, are the only game in town. There was not and has never been, in any of discussions on the law, mention that 20 weeks bans have been declared unconstitutional. The focus was on how outrageous it is for pro-choicers to support killing "babies," rather than the real issue of women's health.
Ah, the fog of "fair & balanced" Fox News gaslighting.