Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon last year ordered newscasters not to use “public option” in discussing President Obama’s healthcare plan, according to memos obtained by

The website cited a “leaked” e-mail from Sammon that told staffers to refer on-air to “government-run health insurance,” the “government option,” “the public option, which is the government-run plan,” or—when necessary, “the so-called public option.”

The e-mail was sent Oct. 27, 2009.

Republican pollster Frank Luntz, appearing Aug. 18, 2009 on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program, criticized Hannity for referring to “public option.” Luntz said, “If you call it ‘public option,’ the American people are split,” but that “if you call it the ‘government option,’ the public is overwhelmingly against it.”

Sammon on Oct. 27, 2009, sent an e-mail to the staffs of the “Special Report Fox News with Bret Baier, Fox News Sunday,, and other reporters and producers at the network with the subject line: “friendly reminder: let’s not slip back into calling it the ‘public option.’”

The health insurance bill that was passed provided for no government-operated plan. Only private-industry plans will be available to those who must now purchase health insurance.

Sack Sammon, Says Potter

Wendell Potter, author of "Deadly Spin," which criticizes the healthcare industry’s PR on proposed healthcare legislation, called on News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch to fire Sammon.

Said Potter in a statement that has run on the Huffington Post and other media:
“I am calling on Fox’s so-called journalists and the network’s producers, many of whom I know and have worked with over the years, to denounce Sammon’s partisan approach to reporting and commentary.

“I am further calling on them and the news staff at the Wall Street Journal, also owned by Murdoch, to dedicate themselves to truly being ‘fair and balanced’ and to familiarize themselves with the profession’s code of ethics.”

Potter is currently on a 20-city tour promoting his book.

He is in Corte Madera, Calif., today at 7 p.m. at Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd.

Potter Schedule Thus Far

Other appearances thus far scheduled are:

San Diego, Dec. 13, 7 p.m., Warwick’s
Pasadena, Dec. 14, 7 p.m., All Saints Episcopal Church
Atlanta, Jan. 4, 2011, 7:15 p.m., Decatur Library
Miami, Jan. 5, 8 p.m., Books & Books
Austin, Jan. 7, 7 p.m., BookPeople
Raleigh, N.C., Jan. 11, 7:30 p.m., Quail Ridge Books, co-sponsored by North Carolina Policy Watch.
Nashville, Jan. 12, 7 p.m., Davis-Kidd Booksellers
Memphis, Jan. 13, 6 p.m., Davis-Kidd, Laurelwood Center
Chicago, Jan. 18, 11:45 a.m., The Standard Colub
Minneapolis, Jan. 19, 4 p.m., Univ. of Minn. Bookstore
Denver, Jan. 20, noon, Univ. of Colorado, LEADS Program, Anschutz Medical Campus.
Salt Lake City, Jan. 21, 7 p.m., The King’s English