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On the October 29 edition of Fox News' Studio B Weekend, Fox News anchor Julie Banderas "dare[d] Media Matters [for America] to tune in at 5 o'clock to watch" her "talking about [actor] Michael J. Fox and [nationally syndicated radio host] Rush Limbaugh." Banderas issued the "dare" as a way to "test the left," saying that "the left blogs love to bash Fox because we're fair and balanced." "Dare you," Banderas added and then looked straight into the camera and repeated, "I dare you -- tune in at 5."
Later that day, during an exchange with Fox News analyst Kirsten Powers on Big Story Weekend, Banderas said that she was "appalled by what Rush Limbaugh said" and that "his facts were a little mixed up." She also said that Limbaugh "didn't really do his research, and he doesn't exactly know what dementia is," adding that Limbaugh's comments made her "angry." Banderas was referring to the controversy surrounding Limbaugh's baseless assertion that Michael J. Fox either "didn't take his medication or he was acting" in a recent campaign advertisement for Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill, as noted by Media Matters.
During the discussion, Powers claimed that "there actually are some substantive problems with the Michael J. Fox ad that I think are fair criticisms, such as claiming his opponent doesn't support stem cell research. Not true. Doesn't support federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, which are really two completely different things." In fact, as Media Matters documented, in his McCaskill ad, Fox stated that McCaskill's Republican opponent, Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO), "opposes expanding stem cell research," and Talent has indeed opposed expanding some forms of stem cell research. As Media Matters has noted, while Talent supports adult stem cell research, he is opposed to stem cell research that involves "destroying a human embryo." Talent has also opposed a proposed Missouri constitutional amendment to legalize stem cell research in the state and has voted against easing the restrictions President Bush imposed on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
Banderas' challenge to Media Matters was first noted by the weblog Johnny Dollar's Place.
From the October 29 edition of Fox News' Studio B Weekend:
BANDERAS: Oh, and wait, can I just say one other thing? I'm going to test the left. You know how the left blogs love to bash Fox because we're fair and balanced? Well, we're gonna be talking about Michael J. Fox and Rush Limbaugh. And I dare Media Matters to tune in at 5 o'clock to watch -- and listen -- what I have to say about that. Dare you. I dare you -- tune in at five.
TRACE GALLAGHER (host): Dare taken.
From the October 29 edition of Fox News' Big Story Weekend:
BANDERAS: All right. I want to turn to the Michael J. Fox controversy this week because I personally am appalled by what Rush Limbaugh said. I find that his facts were a little mixed up. And he perhaps didn't really do his research, and he doesn't exactly know what dementia is, for example. My father has Parkinson's, and I gotta tell you, I was angry. These are the type of ads that I don't know if they really work. If you make your voters angry, why in the world would your voters want to vote for you?
POWERS: Well, I think that the -- I think these are actually very effective ads, and I think that Rush Limbaugh made a huge strategic mistake if he was trying to discredit the people that are making these claims. Because there actually are some substantive problems with the Michael J. Fox ad that I think are fair criticisms, such as claiming his opponent doesn't support stem cell research. Not true. Doesn't support federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, which are really two completely different things. But what Rush Limbaugh did was he just made these sort of vicious attacks that have nothing to do with anything, that weren't true, and just completely distracted from the actual issue that the voters are facing.