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Fox News Hardly Fair and Balanced on Health Care Reform

A report by Media Matters for America shows that, in segments discussing health care reform on August 10 and 11, Fox News was hardly “Fair and Balanced.” Looking at opponents of health care reform and those who support reform, Media Matters found that opponents outnumbered supporters six to one. That is 63 opponents hosted vs. only ten supporters for those two days.

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This unbalance is not the only problem with Fox News’ reporting. They’ve also reported several falsehoods recently about health care reform, including editing Obama’s comments.

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Fox News Edits Obama Quote To Promote Idea of ‘Death Panels’

Fox News‘ Bret Baier and Shannon Bream were discussing health care reform, specifically the so-called “Death Panels” they imagine will decide the fate of the nation’s elderly. Here is what they had to say:

BREAM: He often discusses his grandmother’s story. She was battling terminal cancer when she fell and needed a hip replacement. Mr. Obama has talked about the fact that he would have paid her bills out of pocket, but that whether society should be willing to pay such costs is a tougher question.

In an April interview with The New York Times Magazine, he said, quote, “So that’s where I think you just get into some very difficult moral issues. But that’s also a huge driver of cost, right? I mean, the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out here.”

Here is what Obama really said, in context, AKA the truth:

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think that there is going to have to be a conversation that is guided by doctors, scientists, ethicists. And then there is going to have to be a very difficult democratic conversation that takes place. It is very difficult to imagine the country making those decisions just through the normal political channels. And that’s part of why you have to have some independent group that can give you guidance. It’s not determinative, but I think has to be able to give you some guidance. And that’s part of what I suspect you’ll see emerging out of the various health care conversations that are taking place on the Hill right now. [The New York Times Magazine; 4/28/09]

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‘Deather’ Shows Up On Fox News

When you see some idiot making outlandish claims about the Obama Administration, there’s a good chance you’ll also see them on Fox News, a la Joe The Plumber. That’s how we got to know the “concerned father,” from a Michigan Town Hall meeting with John Dingell (D-MI), since he showed up to talk with with Megyn Kelly.

SOLA: The harm that is being done is being done by this administration and the Congress. They want to foist on us a health-care plan that they themselves will not take. I challenge Barack Obama, members of Congress — of both parties — if you believe so much in this plan, then you use it on your family before you put it on our families. What you are doing is sentencing our families to death.

We lose the right to life. Old people are discarded. Those who cannot fend for themselves are discarded. There is no liberty under your plan. And that’s the problem — the people have seen it, the people know it, you can’t hide it from the American people anymore.

If I’m a thug, fine. Don’t call my son a thug, and don’t call those old ladies and old men that are senior citizens like I am, thugs, and a mob. We are not. We are American citizens who want one thing: To be heard before you put us down.

Such has been the case at many Town Hall Meetings. So-called “concerned citizens” are disrupting important discussion and ignoring the information that could answer their questions. But they’d rather should “liar” than listen and have a rational discussion about the facts.

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Fox News Hosts Criticize Obama on Nonexistent Provision

The Drudge Report & Rush Limbaugh have floated a false accusation that President Obama has not read, or is not familiar with certain provisions of the House health care reform bill. Even after the accusations were debunked, Fox News hosts Sean Hannity, Neil Cavuto, Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade all criticized Obama for the same reason.

July 21 – Hannity (talking with Dana Perino):

HANNITY: The president is rushing Congress to produce a health care bill before the August recess, but apparently he’s not reading the bill too closely. Now listen to his response when asked by a blogger about a provision in the House bill.

OBAMA : You know, I have to say that I am not familiar with the provision you’re talking about. Let me just speak for the Obama administration.

July 21 – Your World With Neil Cavuto (does not challenge flasehood):

DeMINT: And now he wants to pass something that affects a fifth of our total economy in the next two weeks, and no one has even seen an entire bill. He doesn’t even know what’s in it, and he’s admitted it

July 22 – Fox & Friends:

DOOCY: We are going to talk to her about it. So there he is, and somebody wants to know about one particular part, section 102, because it’s very important to all of us. Let’s hear what the president had to say about it.

OBAMA : You know, I have to say that I am not familiar with the provision you’re talking about. Let me just speak for the Obama administration.

KILMEADE: And here’s — so I thought, OK, 102 — it’s over 1,000 pages.

DOOCY: Right.

KILMEADE: So it’s no big deal. Maybe we are demanding too much.

The fact of the matter is that the provision referenced by Hannity, Cavuto, Doocy & Kilmeade does not exist. How did this start? A blogger asked Obama to comment on a claim made in a July 15 Investor’s Business Daily editorial. The blogger claimed that the bill “will make individual private medical insurance illegal.” Obama responded, “You know, I have to say that I am not familiar with the provision you’re talking about.” – because it does not exist.

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Sean Hannity ‘Slams’ Obama on Behalf of Mayo Clinic

On July 21, Sean Hannity uttered another falsehood about Obama and health care reform. Hannity incorrectly stated that the Mayo Clinic “slams the president’s [health care] proposal.” Furthermore, Hannity referred to it as Obama’s “nanny state, cradle to the grave, womb to the tomb, nationalized health care socialized system.”

Hannity must not keep up with current events. On July 16, the Mayo Clinic did issue a statement, criticizing the House bill for “fail[ing] to use a fundamental lever — a change in Medicare payment policy — to help drive necessary improvements in American health care.” However, the Obama Administration has suggested revisions to address Medicare payment rates, which the Mayo Clinic then applauded.

The May Clinic’s Health Policy blog stated, “We applaud the direction” of the Obama administration’s IMAC proposal, adding, “This, and other, bold concepts have the potential to ‘bend the cost curve’ in U.S. health spending without compromising health.”

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Fox News Uses Anti-Abortion Graphic in Health Care Reform Discussion

Borrowing the following graphic from the American Life League (ALL), a Christian pro-life organization, Fox News promotes its anti-choice agenda while discussing health care reform.

The “growing… growing… gone.” graphic is from ALL’s 2008 Pro-Life T-shirt Day. Regardless of anyone’s views on abortion, the decision to run such an image is purely subjective and does not provide anything to support a factual news report. So, why did Fox News use it?

To anyone who says that the above graphic doesn’t matter, then shouldn’t Fox News run one that states, “Against abortion? Don’t have one” the next time they bring up the issue?

Would that help, or harm Fox News’ agenda? Keep in mind that real news should be agenda-free.

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Sean Hannity Spreads Health Insurance Falsehood

Sean Hannity has been caught making stuff up about health care reform again. I love the comments and emails about how Fox News reports the truth. Take a look at the following and tell me how, exactly, is Hannity reporting the truth…

HANNITY: — artificial deadline — but the more people become aware of what’s in this thing, if we look at the provisions of the bill, it’s pretty astounding. For example, if you’re not — if you don’t have private insurance the year that this bill is passed, you can’t get that later on from your employer.

In fact, section 311 of the tri-committee House health care reform bill allows employers to meet coverage requirements by offering employees “coverage under a qualified health benefits plan (or under a current employment-based health plan (within the meaning of section 102(b))) in accordance with section 312.”

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Bret Baier’s Health Care Reform Falsehood

On Fox News’ Special Report, Bret Baier stated, “President Obama spent a good deal of time at that news conference [on June 23] talking about health care reform, and Canada’s medical system has been cited as a possible model.” Later, Fox News correspondent Molly Line also referenced Canada’s health care system.

The idea that Obama’s health care reform ideas are similar to those of Canada or the UK has previously been debunked.In fact, this is what Obama had to say about modeling our health care system after those countries:

So I think we can accomplish it. Now, whether we do it exactly the way European countries do or Canada does is a different question, because there are a variety of ways to get to universal health care coverage…

I don’t think the best way to fix our health care system is to suddenly completely scrap what everybody is accustomed to and the vast majority of people already have. Rather, what I think we should do is to build on the system that we have and fill some of these gaps.

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Fox News Takes Obama Health Care Quote Out of Context

A video clip used by Wendell Goler of Fox News shows President Obama supposedly supporting a European style universal health care system. The problem is that Obama doesn’t. The quote was the President paraphrasing a question during an online Town Hall event and was taken out of context. Here is the full actual quote from Obama:

I actually want a universal health care system; that is our goal…whether we do it exactly the way European countries do or Canada does is a different question, because there are a variety of ways to get to universal health care coverage… I don’t think the best way to fix our health care system is to suddenly completely scrap what everybody is accustomed to and the vast majority of people already have. Rather, what I think we should do is to build on the system that we have and fill some of these gaps.

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