A memo obtained by Media Matters shows how Fox News staffers were directed to use the preferred Republican phrase in place of "public option" in the Obama health care plan. Howard Kurtz at The Daily Beast:
Luntz, who counseled the GOP on how to sell the 1994 Contract With America, told the Fox News host to stop using President Obama’s preferred term for a key provision.
“If you call it a public option, the American people are split,” he explained. “If you call it the government option, the public is overwhelmingly against it.”
“A great point,” Hannity declared. “And from now on, I'm going to call it the government option, because that's what it is.”
On Oct. 27, the day after Senate Democrats introduced a bill with a public insurance option from which states could opt out, Bill Sammon, a Fox News vice president and Washington managing editor, sent the staff a memo. Sammon is a former Washington Times reporter.
“Please use the term ‘government-run health insurance,’ or, when brevity is a concern, ‘government option,’ whenever possible,” the memo said.
Sammon acknowledged that the phrase "public option" was “firmly ensconced in the nation’s lexicon,” so when it was necessary to use it, he wrote, add the qualifier “so-called,” as in “the so-called public option.” And “here’s another way to phrase it: ‘The public option, which is the government-run plan.’”