Fox figures parrot Cliffs Notes conservatives' criticisms about length of Senate Finance health care bill

››› ››› JUSTIN BERRIER

Following the release of the 1,502-page Senate Finance Committee health reform bill, Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich and Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy parroted conservative bloggers' complaints that the bill is excessively long. Specifically, Gingrich repeated RedState managing editor Erick Erickson's claim that the bill is longer than "the last two Harry Potter books," while Doocy amplified HotAir blogger Allahpundit's criticism that "[a]t a steady clip of two minutes per page, working a full eight-hour day, you'd be through it in just under a week."

Gingrich echoed Erickson's comparison of the bill's length to that of Harry Potter books

Erickson: Bill "has more pages than the last two Harry Potter books." In an October 19 RedState post, Erickson wrote: "The Baucus bill has more pages than the last two Harry Potter books. Keep in mind that the last Harry Potter book was so thick they're making it into two movies instead of one."

Citing "somebody," Gingrich said bill is "bigger than two Harry Potter novels." The next day, in an interview on Fox & Friends, Gingrich said that "somebody pointed out to me that this bill is bigger than two Harry Potter novels." From the October 20 edition of Fox & Friends:

GINGRICH: Remember, by the way, this is only one of five health bills that are currently being sort of shoved together by the Democrats so, my guess is -- and somebody pointed out to me that this bill is bigger than two Harry Potter novels. And I suspect less fun to read.

BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): Hopefully it's less fiction than Harry Potter. And no one flies away at the end.

Doocy amplified Allahpundit's claim about reading bill at "two minutes per page"

Allahpundit: "At a steady clip of two minutes per page, working a full eight-hour day, you'd be through it in just under a week." On October 19, Allahpundit wrote on the blog HotAir: "At a steady clip of two minutes per page, working a full eight-hour day, you'd be through it in just under a week. Seems like a good time to start a pool on how long the final bill will be after amendments, mergers with other drafts, etc. Pencil me in for 1,830 pages. Do I hear 2,000?"

Doocy: "two minutes per page, eight hours a day, you would be done in just under one week." The next day, Doocy echoed Allahpundit's claim, saying of the bill, "There you have 1,592 pages. Now think about it this way, if you read two pages per minute. ... Do it this way. Two pages, two minutes per page, eight hours a day, you would be done in just under one week."

Fox & Friends criticisms continue: "Who's going to read" "that pile of paper"?

Hosts feature print out of "massive" bill. A copy of the Finance Committee bill was printed out and repeatedly shown on air during the hosts' discussion of the legislation's length, with onscreen text reading, "Sweeping Health Plan; Massive Bill Is Backbone For Dem Reform."

Kilmeade: "Wait a second. I've never seen 1,502 pages." After Doocy noted that the bill is "1,502 pages long," Kilmeade commented, "Wait a second. I've never seen 1,502 pages." While looking through the copy of the bill, Kilmeade commented, "Wait a second, wait a second, wait a second. Don't move. I think I see the public option." In fact, the Senate Finance Committee legislation does not include a public option.

Carlson: "Who's going to read all of that?" Co-host Gretchen Carlson stated: "The Baucus bill -- how many legs does that have? ... How many lives does that have? Fifteen hundred pages long -- we do know that. Who's really going to read all of that?"

Doocy: "The big question is, how many U.S. senators are actually going to read that pile of paper?" After noting how long it would take to read the bill at two minutes per page, Doocy commented: "The big question is, how many U.S. senators are actually going to read that pile of paper?"

Transcript

From the October 20 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:

DOOCY: All right, now its time for your news by the numbers. Let's talk about Senate Bill 1797. It is 1,502 pages long.

CARLSON: Look, it's right there.

KILMEADE: Wait a second. I've never seen 1,502 pages.

DOOCY: It is true. Take a look.

CARLSON: Thank you, Joel.

DOOCY: Thank you, thing. I need a truss.

CARLSON: Thing.

DOOCY: There you have 1,592 pages. Now think about it this way, if you read two pages per minute.

KILMEADE: Yes?

CARLSON: How long would it take?

DOOCY: You know what? Do it this way. Two pages, two minutes per page, eight hours a day, you would be done in just under one week. The big question is, how many U.S. senators are actually going to read that pile of paper?

KILMEADE: None. Nobody.

DOOCY: Oh, good one.

KILMEADE: Wait a second, wait a second, wait a second. Don't move. I think I see the public option.

[...]

DOOCY: Ladies and gentlemen, we have right here this great big thing. This is the -- this is the Senate version of the health care bill. And I've got the front page, and I'm just going to make an amendment. This is, as you can see, a really long bill, 1,502 pages, and you know what? Take a quick look, because it is going to change quickly because now goes that process, it's like making sausage -- everybody just starts jamming stuff into this thing.

KILMEADE: Just in the Senate.

DOOCY: Just in the Senate. This is just the Senate one; the House one is a completely different tree killer.

[...]

CARLSON: The Baucus bill -- how many legs does that have?

DOOCY: To stand on?

CARLSON: How many lives does that have? Fifteen hundred pages long -- we do know that. Who's really going to read all of that? We're going to ask former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

DOOCY: Yup, there he is.

CARLSON: There he is. Hi.

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