Fox Editor Told Journalists Not to Use The Term "Public Option"

An e-mail supposedly leaked from Fox's Washington managing editor Bill Sammon, illustrates how Sammon instructed the network's journalists not to use the term "public option" when covering the health care reform debate last Fall, according to Media Matters.

Instead, Sammon outlined a number of other phases to be used:

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.

According to Media Matters, the day the e-mail was sent, journalists on Fox's Special Report used Sammon's recommendations instead of "public option," as had previously been used.

Sammon spoke to The Daily Beast and said that he felt the term "public option" "is a vague, bland, undescriptive phrase," and that after all, "who would be against a public park?"

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