Fox doesn't disclose health care opponent Donatelli's consulting conflict of interest

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

Continuing its pattern of failure to disclose the conflicts of interest of health care reform opponents who appear on its programs, Fox News hosted Frank Donatelli -- identified only as chairman of the "Republican advocacy organization" GOPAC - who claimed that Democrats "don't really want the American people to see what's in" the Senate health reform bill "because it's so bad." Donatelli also serves as executive vice president of a public affairs consulting firm whose clients include firms in the health insurance, health care provider, and pharmaceutical industries.

Fox News allows Donatelli to attack health care bill without disclosing his conflict of interest

Donatelli identified only as GOPAC chair. During his appearance on the December 21 edition of Fox News' Happening Now, co-host Jon Scott identified Donatelli as "the GOPAC chairman, that's a Republican advocacy organization."

Donatelli uses Fox News platform to attack health care reform legislation. During his appearance, Donatelli stated: "If this bill was so good, why isn't it that the Democrats wouldn't go to the country and say, 'This is the bill that we are campaigning on, vote for us because this is such a good bill.' The fact of the matter is they don't really want the American people to see what is in this bill because it is so bad."

Donatelli is executive vice president of public affairs shop McGuireWoods Consulting. Donatelli is "Executive Vice President and Director of Federal Public Affairs for McGuireWoods Consulting," which is "a full-service public affairs firm offering infrastructure and economic development, strategic communications & grassroots, and government relations services."

McGuireWoods Consulting clients include health insurance, health care provider, pharmaceutical firms. According to its website, a "partial list" of McGuireWoods Consulting's clients include the health insurance provider association BlueCross/BlueShield, the pharmaceutical companies Novartis and Purdue Pharma, Sherman Hospital, and the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association.

Fox News repeatedly ignores the conflicts of interest of health care reform opponents

America's Newsroom failed to identify Healthcare Leadership Council as advocacy group for health insurance, health care provider, and pharmaceutical industries. On the December 14 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, guest host Juliet Huddy hosted Mary Grealy, identified as "the president of the Healthcare Leadership Council," who attacked a proposal to include allowing people aged 55 to 65 to buy in to Medicare as a "nonstarter," complaining about the current "cost-shift" from government programs to private insurers and underpayments to hospitals, and advocating instead for subsidies to purchase private health insurance. At no point did either Huddy or Grealy note that the Healthcare Leadership Council is an advocacy group composed of "a coalition of chief executives from all disciplines within American healthcare" whose members include "hospitals, health plans, pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers, biotech firms, health product distributors, pharmacies and academic health centers."

Special Report ignored Breaux's lobbying for PhRMA. On the November 10 edition of Fox News' Special Report, correspondent Carl Cameron failed to disclose that former Sen. John Breaux (D-LA), who Cameron said "warns Democratic leaders now that trying too much too fast could backfire and undermine achievable [health care] reforms," has lobbied Congress this year about health reform for the trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

Fox repeatedly provided Gingrich cover to attack health care reform without disclosing conflict of interest. Fox News has repeatedly provided contributor Newt Gingrich a forum to discuss his opposition to the inclusion of a public option and increased insurance regulations in health care reform legislation. During those appearances, Fox News has not noted that that his Center for Health Transformation -- a for-profit entity that Gingrich founded and reportedly profits from -- receives annual membership fees from several major health insurance companies, which have a financial interest in preventing the implementation of those policies.

Posted In
Health Care, Health Care Reform
Fox News Channel
Jon Scott
Happening Now
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