Sunday, December 12, 2010

Fox Editor Directed Reporters To Use "Government Option," Not "Public Option"

Media Matters has revealed a leaked email in which a managing editor of Fox News directed network reporters to use language that casts a negative light on health care reform:

At the height of the health care reform debate last fall, Bill Sammon, Fox News' controversial Washington managing editor, sent a memo directing his network's journalists not to use the phrase "public option."

Instead, Sammon wrote, Fox's reporters should use "government option" and similar phrases -- wording that a top Republican pollster had recommended in order to turn public opinion against the Democrats' reform efforts.

Journalists on the network's flagship news program, Special Report with Bret Baier, appear to have followed Sammon's directive in reporting on health care reform that evening.

Watch as Fox's Bret Baier repeatedly interrupts NPR's Mara Liasson to clarify that the "public option" is "government run" or a "government option" (and note the latter wording on the screen below):

Liasson: We have experience with a triggered public option.
Baier: Should we say 'government option,' by the way?
Liasson: Government option, OK.
Baier: Everybody gets it.

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