MSNBC's Wagner Hypes 'Republican Assault on Women's Health,' Omits Four Female GOP Senators Voted for Blunt Amendment

March 2nd, 2012 6:14 PM

After airing a clip of a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee ad featuring female Democratic candidates for key U.S. Senate races this November, MSNBC's Alex Wagner effusively praised the campaign ad as an excellent response to the "Republican assault on women's health." The ad "really isolates the guys in Congress who are voting for this" and the women that stand as bulwarks against this," Wagner gushed. Panelist Lynn Sweet, Washington bureau chief  for the Chicago Sun-Times agreed, adding, "The smartest line was said by Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator, when he said that if there were 83 women in the Senate, not 83 men, they wouldn't  even have a debate on birth control and contraception."

Yet at no point in the segment on the March 2 Now with Alex Wagner did the host or anyone else bring up the fact that of the 17 women members of the U.S. Senate, four of them, all Republicans, voted for the Blunt Amendment, which would allow private employers to opt out of insurance coverage for procedures or drugs that violate their religious or moral convictions, such as contraception.

Of those four female Republican senators who voted for the Blunt Amendment,  one was very conservative, (Sen. Ayotte), one moderately-conservative (Sen. Hutchison), and two were moderates (Sens. Murkowski and Collins), as judged by their lifetime American Conservative Union scores of 95, 89.53, 68.25, and 50.77 respectively.

Eighty percent of female Republican senators voted  for the Blunt Amendment, as did 5.6 percent of Democrats, three male Democratic senators -- Casey of Pennsylvania, Manchin of West Virginia, and Nelson of Nebraska. In other words, Republican female senators had more diversity of opinion on that issue than Democratic male senators.

Also of interest is the fact that MSNBC producers aired a clip of the ad which completely excised the network's starring role. Viewers saw only a clip of the ad from its 28-second mark, beginning with a narrator's voiceover over a screen capture of a New York Times editorial entitled "The War on Women."

But in the preceding 27 seconds, MSNBC and NBC clips were featured prominently amid sound bites from other media outlets. Heres's the relevant transcript for that portion[:

[Ad begins with "War on Women" emblazoned on screen]

ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC, on camera: Republicans "War on Women"

NBC's KELLY O'DONNELL voiceover over images of stock images of protest signs, protesters: Provoked outrage today.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC Nightly News anchor voiceover: Contraception

WILLIAMS on camera, "Birth Control Politics" the story tag on screen: Reproductive rights, birth control

WOLF BLITZER, CNN anchor: The uproar over contraception.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Welcome to the Culture Wars 2.0

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE PUNDIT on MSNBC, "War on Women's Health" the onscreen tag: It's partisan politics being played out on women's bodies.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN, voiceover over B-roll of male religious leaders at congressional hearing: The political debate that some are calling the war on women's health.

ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC, on camera, onscreen graphic reads "Gender Gap": So, today, the House Republicans held a hearing on the whole health care contraception issue. Congress members walked out of the hearing because there were no women witnesses.