It’s not breaking news that Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has been engaging in some serious false witnessing when it comes to women’s health care and the Church’s full assault on it in the name of, um, freedomz ‘n stuff. Dolan has fully embraced his new role as de facto mouthpiece for the Republican Party, happily appearing on TV to do the party’s dirty work of blasting President Obama and the Democrats, while conveniently ignoring the many positions of the Republican Party—like the Ryan budget plan—to which the Church supposedly objects, but without threats of lawsuits, hunger strikes, or calls for violent resistance.
But on Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer helped the cardinal and the Republican Party by repeating these blatant falsehoods about the health care mandate to cover birth control:
Well, there was certainly no duct tape on your mouth when the president came out and let it be known that his health care plan included Catholic institutions having to buy birth control pills for their employees in churches, in schools, and in hospitals.
Epic fail, Bob. While that absurd claim has been repeated ad nauseum by Republicans and bishops, it’s also 100 percent false. The president’s mandate—from the very beginning, even before he tweaked it to “accommodate” the faux concerns about religious liberty—specifically exempts churches. (An exemption, by the way, that should be unnecessary, since Catholics don’t use birth control, right?)
As for Church-affiliated institutions, like schools and hospitals, the president gave them a special loophole too by allowing them to opt out of the mandate and shift the burden of coverage directly onto the insurance companies:
The new compromise offered by the White House is that the insurer for the religious entities in question, rather than the employer, would be responsible for providing contraceptive coverage free of charge for employees. Insurers would also be responsible for informing employees of those benefits.
So, in other words, what Schieffer said was completely wrong. And the following five-minute lie-filled rant from Cardinal Dolan about how women’s health care violates freedomz ‘n stuff was also the sort of thing one might expect a Very Serious Journalist such as Schieffer to actually correct. But when such a Very Serious Journalist as Schieffer clearly has no idea what he’s talking about, I guess it makes sense that he’d sit there and nod along with the cardinal instead of challenging him to make sure the audience at home gets the facts instead of the spin. You know, like a Very Serious Journalist should.