Fox News Primetime Shows Ignored Arizona Abortion Ban Ruling

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This week Fox News received its marching orders from its favorite viewer: Donald Trump. As the former president attempts to soften his platform on abortion rights — claiming on Monday that he now supports states setting their own laws despite recently floating a national ban — the network is lauding the purported shift away from support for a national ban as the “right” move for Republicans battling post-Roe electoral backlash. 

On Tuesday, the Arizona Supreme Court revived an 1864 law that will place a near-total ban on abortion in the state, and level criminal penalties against abortion providers. While the decision was the leading topic of discussion at virtually every news outlet, Fox News’ most-watched shows completely ignored the ruling. In the first test of what GOP “states’ rights” abortion policy looks like since Trump’s announcement, the network once again reaffirmed its status as a propagandistic mouthpiece for Republican political aspirations — and not an actual news agency. 

A review of transcript data by Rolling Stone found that between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET, peak cable news viewing hours, Fox’s primetime shows mentioned the Arizona Supreme Court decision exactly zero times. 

The Ingraham Angle, Jesse Watters Primetime, Hannity, and Gutfeld! all failed to acknowledge the leading news story of the day. Instead, the shows spent a significant amount of time accusing NPR of hiring too many Democrats and fear-mongering about transgender athletes and the NCAA along with their regularly scheduled diatribes about immigrants and the Biden administration. The trend was first spotted by the progressive watchdog Media Matters. 

The only significant mention of abortion policy found in the shows reviewed by Rolling Stone was a segment on Jesse Watters Primetime in which Fox host and former Trump administration White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany speculated that Vice President Kamala Harris had gone through media training over Christmas break and has been deployed by the Biden administration to carry out “abortion hit jobs.” 

When Fox did cover the ruling, their assessment was predictably abysmal. During Tuesday’s broadcast of Kudlow on Fox Business, guest Mark Simone told host Larry Kudlow and viewers that “if you had to travel to another state to get an abortion, it’s not the worst thing in the world […] Buying a bus ticket to go somewhere to get it is not worst thing in the world.” 

So why did Fox’s enthusiasm for a states-rights-based approach to the restriction of reproductive rights fizzle out so quickly? Likely because the Arizona ruling was immediately unpopular with vulnerable Republicans in the state, and the country at large. 

Senate candidate Kari Lake, U.S. Reps. Juan Ciscomani and David Schweikert, and Arizona State Rep. Matt Gress, quickly came out against the ruling — despite having previously endorsed the law or similar hardline anti-abortion policies. 


Republicans are caught between their long-standing commitment to the destruction of reproductive autonomy and the reality that the overturning of Roe v. Wade and their continued attempts to curtail abortion access have been an electoral disaster. Placed alongside Trump’s record boasting about his role in the end of Roe, and his repeated endorsements of a national ban, Arizona’s ruling is likely to exacerbate voters’ fears that Republicans will continue to push for stringent restrictions on reproductive health services. 

In the face of this tug of war, it’s no wonder that Fox News — an outfit dedicated to helping Republicans increase their hold on power — would choose to bury its head in the sand rather than risk honesty with its viewers. 

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