Senate Democrats have made a mountain out of a molehill of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s past statements regarding abortion, hoping to frame the federal judge as a zealous opponent of abortion precedents. In an act of protest journalism, much of the mainstream media has answered that call, highlighting innocuous Kavanaugh speeches and legal rulings to make the unconvincing case that he will overturn Roe v. Wade.
At least one fed-up reporter has had enough, however. When CNN advanced a Democratic lie that accused Kavanaugh of calling all contraceptives “abortion-inducing drugs,” Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume blasted the network, asking: “How dishonest can a news organization be?”
The former Special Report host was referring to questions that first emerged during an unexceptional moment in Kavanaugh’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, when Sen. Ted Cruz, a pro-life Republican from Texas, asked the nominee about something he said during a court case involving religious objections to providing health coverage for contraceptive care.
Explaining why he dissented from a majority ruling that required religious groups to fill out a form to opt-out of contraceptive coverage or face a fine, Kavanaugh explained: “That was a group that was being forced to provide a certain kind of health coverage over their religious objection to their employees and under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the question was: First, was this a substantial burden on the religious exercise? And it seemed to me quite clearly it was.
“It was a technical matter of filling out a form in that case,” Kavanaugh added. “They said filling out the form would make them complicit in the provision of the abortion-inducing drugs that they, as a religious matter, objected to.”
While no one took issue with the judge’s answer while in session, it didn’t take long for Democratic lawmakers, activists, and the mainstream press to completely misconstrue Kavanaugh’s meaning. Planned Parenthood was the first to twist his words, and even CNN pointed out that the group intentionally left out the all-important “they said” in Kavanaugh’s testimony and making it appear that the “abortion-inducing” description was his own.
Except, as National Review’s Carrie Severino reported, Kavanaugh was directly quoting the plaintiff’s brief in the case that he was asked about, as jurists are wont to do when drafting opinions. Of course, that explanation wasn’t good enough for Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Beth Lynk, who said: “In reaching for a term to describe all types of birth control, the word he chose was ‘abortion-inducing drugs.’”
Soon, presidential hopeful and California Sen. Kamala Harris (D) joined the fray, taking to social media to lambast the 53-year-old nominee and arguing that Kavanaugh’s words were about “punishing women:”
Kavanaugh chooses his words very carefully, and this is a dog whistle for going after birth control. He was nominated for the purpose of taking away a woman’s constitutionally protected right to make her own health care decisions. Make no mistake – this is about punishing women. pic.twitter.com/zkBjXzIvQI
— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) September 7, 2018
Next, the media joined in, with the Huffington Post reporting that “[Kavanaugh] referred to contraception as “abortion-inducing drugs,’” without noting that he was directly quoting a plaintiff’s brief. And while CNN admitted that some “supporters” felt that Kavanaugh “was summarizing the argument of a religious group,” they ultimately worked to undermine that characterization and concluded that his views “drew scrutiny in Washington.”
Enough is enough
Responding to the dishonest reporting, Fox’s Brit Hume had harsh words for CNN in particular, lambasting the cable news network for failing to check their facts:
He was stating the position of a party to a case. How dishonest can a news organization be? Fact check much? https://t.co/0Qb9D2P1z3
— Brit Hume (@brithume) September 8, 2018
According to the communication and marketing firm Edelman, only 42 percent of Americans trust the news media. America’s “informed public” even now reportedly trusts their media less than all of the 28 countries polled in a survey.
If the media continues to pull the wool over the eyes of their viewership, these numbers will only continue to decline. Luckily, there are still honest journalists like Hume who will continue to do their homework and take major news networks to task for spreading blatant lies and misinformation.