Fox & Friends Against Breast-feeding, Eating Veggies? No, Just Against Michelle Obama
Blog ››› ››› CHELSEA RUDMAN
It's no secret that Fox is not a fan of Michelle Obama's anti-obesity efforts; the network has led the right-wing media's ongoing War on Nutrition. With Fox & Friends falsely declaring that Michelle Obama has tried to "ban bake sales at schools" and Glenn Beck fearmongering that the administration might make eating French fries a criminal offense, you might think Fox legitimately wants children to eat junk rather than healthy food.
On Fox & Friends today, however, the jig was up. The show had a segment applauding, of all things, an initiative designed to get kids to eat more veggies. Why? Because an actress -- backed by a corporation -- was making the call, not the First Lady.
The veggie-off came during the co-hosts' interview with actress Angie Harmon. First, the co-hosts invited Harmon to attack Michelle Obama's latest prong of her anti-obesity efforts -- a call to promote breastfeeding in the workplace and at home, which followed a study in the journal Pediatrics showing that breastfeeding could help reduce obesity in children. Co-host Gretchen Carlson started the segment by promoting Rep. Michele Bachmann's attacks on Michelle Obama's initiative, then falsely suggested the First Lady is trying to tell women "whether or not they should be breast-feeding or using formula."
From today's show:
CARLSON: I want to get her thoughts on this -- because Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has now attacked Michelle Obama, the First Lady, saying that she's creating a nanny state, or an agenda of one, by pushing women to breast-feed to fight childhood obesity. Do you think that women, Angie, should be told whether or not they should be breast-feeding or using formula?
HARMON: No, absolutely not. Because, I mean, I've breast-fed three children. One was not easy at all. One was okay, and the third one was a dream. So every child -- every baby is different. Every woman is different, and I don't think that any woman should be telling any other woman what to do with their children. You can't be judging your other women, sister Americans. Let's pull it together. Let's, you know, and it's just difficult. Every baby is different. Every child is different. Every mother is different.
Incorrect. Michelle Obama is not telling women "whether or not they should be breast-feeding." As Politics Daily's Lynn Sweet reported, the First Lady will "not use her bully pulpit to directly ask more women to breast feed." From the February 15 post:
First lady Michelle Obama will be speaking out to remove barriers to breastfeeding, Politics Daily has learned, throwing the spotlight on nursing as a way to reduce childhood obesity.
This comes as the Obama administration in the past year has made several moves to encourage breastfeeding -- including a push for more flexible workplace rules and an Internal Revenue Service ruling on Thursday that breast pumps and other nursing supplies qualify for tax breaks.
Mrs. Obama -- who has spoken in public about nursing her youngest daughter, Sasha -- is going to tread carefully in what might be a sensitive area for some women -- and not use her bully pulpit to directly ask more women to breast feed.
"Breastfeeding is a very personal choice for every woman," Kristina Schake, Mrs. Obama's communications chief, told Politics Daily. "We are trying to make it easier for those who choose to do it."
Last week, Mrs. Obama touched on breastfeeding strategy at a lunch with 10 print reporters who cover her to mark the first anniversary of her "Let's Move" anti-childhood obesity campaign.
Co-host Steve Doocy made sure to expand this faux-outrage to Michelle Obama's other anti-obesity efforts, adding at the end of the conversation, "And you know, Angie, the federal government is trying to get into our kitchen to regulate what we eat." Yes, Doocy characterized a push for healthier foods in school cafeterias -- in a bill that doesn't add to the deficit -- and a call on restaurants to offer smaller portions as some sort of Big Brother intrusion.
Yet minutes later, the conversation turns to calls for healthy eating from a different public figure: Angie Harmon. This time, though, the co-hosts happily applaud this effort to get kids to eat their veggies. On-screen text aired during the segment reads, "Eat Your Veggies: Angie's effort to have kids enjoy vegetables." With no awareness of the irony, the show also airs text reading, "Veggie Tales: Angie's vegetable agenda."
While her call for children to eat more veggies is certainly commendable, the segment ends up sounding like an ad for Hidden Valley Ranch dressing:
DOOCY: ...[M]ay I ask you about your eat your vegetables program?
HARMON: Please do!
DOOCY: Tell me about it!
HARMON: Well, I'm working with Hidden Valley Ranch and we're --
DOOCY: My favorite ranch.
HARMON: By the way, it's the only ranch to have.
HARMON: Oh, it's heaven. And they've done a study -- kids from 2 to 12 are not getting the daily recommendation of the vegetables they need.
BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): Totally true.
HARMON: Totally true. I have three of those kids in that study group and if I can get them to eat any vegetable, it's a good day.
CARLSON: But I get the point. If you -- because if you dip it, whether it's, you know, Hidden Valley Ranch or --
HARMON: No, they've actually -- the study shows that if it's --
CARLSON: -- It's Hidden Valley?
HARMON: -- Hidden Valley Ranch, kids will eat it.
CARLSON: All right!
HARMON: They love ranch dressing. They love to dip it and it's all about getting these kids healthy.
Of course, Harmon is free to partner with whatever corporations she likes in promoting whatever causes she deems worthy. But in this segment, Fox has promoted Harmon's calls for healthy eating -- backed by a corporation that does not, technically, sell the healthy foods in question -- while deriding Michelle Obama's efforts, which include calls to support women who choose to breast-feed, as well as landmark legislation that will actually get healthier food into public schools. Fox has repeatedly attacked Michelle Obama's anti-obesity efforts in the past few months. This is just the latest example of how Fox vets stories related to the White House: "Does this make the Obamas look bad? Run it!"