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Posted at 2:13 PM ET, 12/ 9/2010

Can't say 'public option' on Fox News? Try these instead!

By Alexandra Petri

foxnewspic.jpg

That's at least two words you can't say on television.

Recently, an e-mail from Washington managing editor Bill Sammon at Fox News instructing reporters to refer to what has been termed the "public option" as the "government option" whenever possible. The text of the e-mail, sent to Fox producers, ran as follows, as reported by Media Matters:

From: Sammon, Bill
Sent: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 8:23 AM
To: 054 -FNSunday; 169 -SPECIAL REPORT; 069 -Politics; 030 -Root (FoxNews.Com); 036 -FOX.WHU; 050 -Senior Producers; 051 -Producers
Subject: friendly reminder: let's not slip back into calling it the "public option"
1) Please use the term "government-run health insurance" or, when brevity is a concern, "government option," whenever possible.
2) When it is necessary to use the term "public option" (which is, after all, firmly ensconced in the nation's lexicon), use the qualifier "so-called," as in "the so-called public option."
3) Here's another way to phrase it: "The public option, which is the government-run plan."
4) When newsmakers and sources use the term "public option" in our stories, there's not a lot we can do about it, since quotes are of course sacrosanct.

Michael Clemente, the senior vice president for news at Fox, replied stating he preferred the third option.

But why stop there?

Here are what I assume terms 5 through 10 were:

5) If you have to say "public option," try adding a clause after it, like, "The public option, which is terrible and will destroy the American way of life as we know it," or "The public option, or as I like to call it, Hitler."

6) "Instead of 'public option,' say "the public option, which is like a black hole that swallows all that is good and beautiful on this earth, taking and taking and giving nothing back, similar to my ex, Krista -- HEY, KRISTA, IF YOU'RE WATCHING, THERE IS A CEELO GREEN SONG THAT APPLIES TO YOU VERY WELL! I HOPE YOU ENROLL IN GOVERNMENT-RUN HEALTH CARE, BECAUSE I HAVE LIMITED CONFIDENCE AT BEST IN THE GOVERNMENT-RUN SYSTEM'S ABILITY TO KEEP PEOPLE ALIVE."

7) Please use the term "He Who Shall Not Be Named" to refer to the public option, or, when brevity is a concern, "Lord Voldemort."

8) Here's another way to phrase it, "The public option, which recently ate my grandmother."

9) If possible, instead of referring to the public option, make a strangled noise that sounds like you sat on a duck and say, "Must be my condition. I'm so glad I have private health-care insurance."

10) Instead of referring to the public option, sigh and begin singing "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot." Get a glassy look in your eyes. Murmur, "How soon, Lord? How soon?" This basically conveys the same message.

By Alexandra Petri  | December 9, 2010; 2:13 PM ET
Categories:  Bad Advice, Petri, Reality? Television, Top Lists  | Tags:  America, Fox News, healthcare  
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Comments

The serial killer formerly known as the public option.

Posted by: veritasinmedium | December 9, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Bonus if they can manage footage talking about the "public option" from outside any sort of middle eastern medical facility so that they can link it in people's minds to terrorism.

Fox needs to be required to register as a lobbying organization. Obviously their main product is the news that they make up.

Posted by: Nymous | December 9, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

We should tear down this obscenity one brick at a time! Much of the nations problems indeed the worlds problems come back to Murdock and his cadre of liars, spinmeisters, propagandists, and sensationalists. How anyone could stomach a single word from this group of hate-spewing traitors to basic decency and fundamental values of America?

Posted by: CHAOTICIAN101 | December 9, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Just another example of politically biased rhetoric from a network that claims to be fair and balanced. Thses guys are just a right wing mouthpiece that spreads lies and propaganda for thie cause. Too bad that there are enough ignorant iditos out there that believe any lies told to them are facts. Fox, don't go away mad, just GO AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: raca1234 | December 9, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I though George Carlin was the only guy who could say the 7 words you can't say on TV

Posted by: kageees | December 9, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

my first read of this author/authoress and commentors, and probably my last; rather like looking in on an insane asylum, where one might actually find more sanity than here

Posted by: myonecomment | December 9, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

"Can't say 'public option' on Fox News?"

I'm sure it's talked about all the time. It's called Public employee union dues...

Posted by: illogicbuster | December 9, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

A Taste of Their Own Medicine Department: I humbly suggest (tho' I'm far from the first) such appellations as "Fox so-called 'news'", "the radical rightist propaganda organ otherwise known as 'Fox News'", and "'Fox News', or as we prefer to call it, the fascist cabal that seeks to obliterate the last three centuries of American societal progress".

Also, RE the Cee-Lo reference: Cee-Lo performed the cited hit on The Colbert Report a couple of weeks ago... substituting, for the words that would have been bleeped repeatedly, "Fox News". To great approval. How fitting!

Posted by: nan_lynn | December 9, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

The Fox News ban of the phrase, “public option”, was the result of a study provided by the health insurance lobby which found that only 8 out of 33 people disliked the term “public health insurance plan”, while 30 out of 33 disliked the term “government run insurance plan.”
http://www.politico.com/static/PPM156_grp_focus_group.html

All 33 people said they disliked the phrase, “Fox News”, stating that it should be called the “Republican run propaganda plan.”

Posted by: divtune | December 9, 2010 11:52 PM | Report abuse


You guys should stop complaining because, one the health care we have now isnt as good as it was supposed to be. also the law has just been signed so give it some time. so if u want to say u have the right to choose tell that to ur congress men or state official. If you do not have insurance and need one You can find full medical coverage at the lowest price check http://ow.ly/3akSX .If you have health insurance and do not care about cost just be happy about it and trust me you are not going to loose anything!

Posted by: williamdawson | December 10, 2010 3:18 AM | Report abuse

Public objects will be cared for and debated. Private objects are the pursuit of happiness. Dress optional can vary. Strapless dress requires understanding of cantilever engineering. Public option requires Astrodome logic and playing bball on painted grass for Great Society. High Society will play on real grass in Bermuda.

Posted by: jobandon | December 10, 2010 4:51 AM | Report abuse

P.S. Bermuda, 'shorts option'. Leave the pretty girls for the guys with no imaginations.

Posted by: jobandon | December 10, 2010 4:58 AM | Report abuse

jobandon,

Three Jims ran off with pretty girls. Cantilever collapse imminent. Radical surgery needed to trim fat. Private objects not playing cricket cricket.

Posted by: divtune | December 10, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

=====
myonecomment wrote:

my first read of this author/authoress and commentors, and probably my last; rather like looking in on an insane asylum, where one might actually find more sanity than here
=====

Best comment and user name ever! Let me respond by saying to you what most of my first dates said to me:

"Have a nice life!"

Posted by: divtune | December 14, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Anything from media matters can't be taken with a pound of salt. Anyone that supports the socialist in my book can't be believed
There is fox and then there are socialist/national socalist workers party that hate America
Fox fair and balanced others are mouthpieces for the Obama and his purpleshirted thugs with jackboots on the throat of truth

Posted by: buzzyanpat | December 16, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Anything from media matters can't be taken with a pound of salt. Anyone that supports the socialist in my book can't be believed
There is fox and then there are socialist/national socalist workers party that hate America
Fox fair and balanced others are mouthpieces for the Obama and his purpleshirted thugs with jackboots on the throat of truth

Posted by: buzzyanpat | December 16, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Anything from media matters can't be taken with a pound of salt. Anyone that supports the socialist in my book can't be believed
There is fox and then there are socialist/national socalist workers party that hate America
Fox fair and balanced others are mouthpieces for the Obama and his purpleshirted thugs with jackboots on the throat of truth

Posted by: buzzyanpat | December 16, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

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