How Fox News is helping Trump and Project 2025’s dystopian mission – MSNBC

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Last week, a group of House Democrats launched a task force to combat Project 2025, a blueprint for Trump’s presidency, should he win in November, put together by conservative groups. Led by the Heritage Foundation with the support of over 100 other right-wing organizations, the far-right tome is a chilling roadmap for the subversion of checks and balances, the creation of new authoritarian presidential powers, and the empowerment of political appointees to Christianize the federal government.

Rather than address the substance of the lawmakers’ concerns, Heritage president Kevin Roberts denounced them as “unserious and misleading.” He accused Democrats of using taxpayer resources for “a smear campaign against the united effort to restore self-governance to everyday Americans.”

These policies are highly unpopular with voters.

Roberts’ description of Project 2025’s goals as the restoration of “self-governance” is an audacious deception. When it comes to reproductive freedom, for example, Project 2025 yearns for a government that bans abortion pills, restricts access to contraception, and gives Christian conservatives sweeping powers to impose their beliefs on others.

But as Roberts’ deception implies, these policies are highly unpopular with voters. So Trump and Republicans have been scrambling to downplay their extremist base’s deep opposition to reproductive freedom while masking their true intentions to other voters. This duplicity is not just directed at swing or independent voters who might not realize that Trump’s attempts at abortion “moderation” deliberately muddle his true intentions. It is also directed at keeping many Republicans who may have less extreme views in the dark.

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Even Fox News is shielding its viewers from Republican assaults on IVF and contraception. According to a new report from the watchdog Media Matters, the network spent just two minutes discussing the Southern Baptist Convention’s approval of a resolution condemning IVF, using this fleeting coverage solely as a prompt for former Trump White House adviser Kellyanne Conway to claim that Trump supports IVF and so does “every single Republican senator running for election this year.” Yet within about an hour of Conway making this assurance, all but two Senate Republicans filibustered a Democratic bill that would have protected access to IVF. Media Matters reports that Fox News was silent both about the introduction of the bill and about Republicans killing it.

This is part of pattern at Fox News: The network spent just three minutes on a similar Republican filibuster earlier this month blocking a Democratic bill to protect contraception access, and the network has run minimal or no coverage of various red-state efforts to restrict abortion and contraception.

Even as Fox News was downplaying the Right to IVF Act last week, though, Christian right leaders were mobilizing their base to oppose attempts to protect reproductive freedom. The Family Research Council’s political arm, FRC Action, for example, called on supporters to oppose The Right to IVF Act. The organization described the bill as part of Democrats’ “unnecessary crusade to supposedly protect IVF (which is not under threat in the U.S.)” and claimed it could lead to a parade of horribles, including human cloning and “human-animal chimeras and other forms of human embryo experimentation.” Students for Life denounced the legislation as a “eugenics bill” and Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America called it a “free-for-all for the fertility industry.”

By now it is clear that the GOP’s 2024 strategy depends on evasions and prevarications about the right’s ambitions to restrict reproductive freedom.

The contrast between the Fox News blackout and the Christian right’s moral panic shows just how anxious Republicans are about the rest of America discovering the Christian right’s extreme agenda. The GOP knows that the vast majority of Americans take contraception and IVF for granted as part of normal daily life. A recent Gallup poll shows IVF is among “the most morally accepted practices in the U.S.,” with 82% of Americans calling it “morally acceptable,” second only to birth control, at 90%.

That’s why Republicans and their Christian right allies are trying to get their core voters to forget about their friends and family members who joyfully became parents through IVF. Instead, as part of their long campaign to give fertilized eggs “personhood” status with constitutional rights, they are trying to focus the base’s attention on the possibility that fertilized eggs could be destroyed, not that they could bring a child into the life of a loving family.

Trump has proudly owned his central role in appointing the Supreme Court justices who put the final nail in the coffin of Roe v. Wade. But at the same time, he and his allies want to hide the consequences. They are doing everything they can to keep a base committed to fringe beliefs happy, while duping everyone else into believing Trump and the GOP’s views are no different from those of most Americans. By now it is clear that the GOP’s 2024 strategy depends on evasions and prevarications about the right’s ambitions to restrict reproductive freedom. Any claims that Project 2025 envisions a Republican program for Americans’ “self-governance” is yet another rhetorical bait and switch in this cynical campaign of misdirection.

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