MSNBC's Ratigan Accuses Conservative Guest of Lying about Government-Funded Abortion

MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan has a habit of shouting down conservative guests, but he demonstrated a new low when he accused Cathy Ruse, senior fellow at the Family Research Council, of “lying” about abortion in the health care debate during a Nov. 10 discussion with her and Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL.

“Cathy, you can't, just coming on television and lying is not journalism nor is it actually beneficial to the country,” he told her.

Ratigan didn't stop there. Throughout the six minute segment, he told Ruse that if she would “come inside the domain of the facts, it makes for a more productive conversation.” He called her assertion that the Stupak amendment does not block women from access to abortion coverage through private insurance companies “nonsense,” and stated that “it's more beneficial” for Americans “if the debate is had inside the domain of reality.” Ratigan implored Ruse to “operate in the factual reality” and told her he was “going to ask her to go away” if she just wanted “to talk” instead of answering his questions.

The irony is that Ratigan was the one not “operating in the factual reality.”

For instance, Ratigan's “lying” comment was his response to Ruse's explanation of what the Stupak amendment did.

“The Stupak amendment did two things. It prohibits federal funding for covering elective abortions but it allows private insurers to carry coverage of elective abortions so long as no federal tax dollars are involved,” she explained.

It's a conclusion also drawn by the left-leaning, government-funded NPR. “The Stupak amendment does not apply to private insurance bought with private money,” reported NPR's Andrea Seabrook.

Ruse had stated in the very beginning of the discussion, “Before the Stupak amendment passed, Americans would be forced to pay for other people's elective abortions.” Ratigan interrupted her to insist, “That's not true.”

It's a line Ratigan has followed since last summer. He claimed on August 10 that “subsidized abortion” was simply “one of the rumors inside this health care debate,” despite an August 5 AP article that reported otherwise. 

“Health care legislation before Congress would allow a new government-sponsored insurance plan to cover abortions, a decision that would affect millions of women and recast federal policy on the divisive issue,” the agency reported.

Ratigan also took it upon himself to lecture Ruse about “productive conversation.” In doing so, he falsely insisted that elective abortion would not be covered through a health care exchange, and implied that Ruse hated the government.

Listen, Kathy, in the future if you could just come inside the domain of the facts, it makes for a more productive conversation. I recognize it's gratifying to cast the accusations because it gets people worked up. It's fun, and you're like gah, the government. I hate the government. Or the government is paying for abor- but it's not what's going on here. There is an exchange that's being established by the government, upon which private insurance could be bought and sold with private individuals, and the argument in Stupak is that exchange should not be a place where elective abortion can be conducted. It's more beneficial I think to the whole country, if the debate is had inside the domain of reality as opposed to this, sort of just nonsense.  

NPR's report disputed Ratigan's claim about the exchange.

Private insurance companies that offer a health plan through the exchange are allowed to cover abortion. But if they're going to, the companies must also offer another plan that is identical in every way, except that it does not cover abortion.

So, say you're buying insurance with your own money, and you get it through the exchange. You can choose a policy that covers abortion, or one that doesn't. But if you're getting help from the government to buy that insurance — in the form of a tax subsidy — you may not choose a plan that covers abortion. You are still allowed to buy a supplemental policy with your own money.

Back in August, Ratigan claimed MSNBC would “separate fact from fiction on the health care debate.”

But separating fact from fiction is difficult when he refuses to recognize fact as fact, and instead clings to liberal ideology.

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