In a New York Times article, Sheryl Gay Stolberg reported that Newt Gingrich "sees the stimulus bill as his party's ticket to a revival in 2010, as Republicans decry what they see as pork-barrel spending for projects like marsh-mouse preservation." However, Stolberg did not note that the oft-repeated Republican claim is false; the bill does not contain any language directing funds to the salt marsh harvest mouse, or its San Francisco wetlands habitat, a fact that the House Republican leadership aide who reportedly originated the claim has reportedly acknowledged.
On CNBC's The Call, while discussing the Obama administration's Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan, Larry Kudlow -- echoing remarks by Rep. John Boehner -- claimed that "the people who win here are Fannie and Freddie. The Americans who paid their taxes on time and their mortgages on time get hurt." However, as economist Paul Krugman noted: "[T]he government took over F&F months ago."
In recent days, numerous Fox Business Network hosts, reporters, and contributors have repeatedly spread the debunked claim that the economic recovery act includes funding to protect the salt marsh harvest mouse in the San Francisco wetlands. In fact, the act does not contain any language directing funds to San Francisco wetlands or the salt marsh harvest mouse living in them, a fact that the House Republican leadership aide who reportedly originated the claim has reportedly acknowledged.
In recent days, Fox News hosts and contributors have advanced the false claim -- pushed by Republican lawmakers -- that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid included a provision in the recovery bill directing that $8 billion be spent on a high-speed rail line between Southern California and Las Vegas. In fact, the bill does not direct high-speed rail funds to any specific project, and any funding would be allocated by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman.
CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight and Fox News' Hannity advanced the claim that the economic recovery bill contains $30 million to protect the salt marsh harvest mouse in San Francisco. In fact, the bill does not contain any language directing funds to San Francisco wetlands or the salt marsh harvest mouse in the San Francisco wetlands. Even the GOP aide who originated the claim has reportedly said that "[t]here is no language in the bill that says this money will go to this project."
Rush Limbaugh falsely claimed that Democrats "have reformatted the [economic recovery] bill -- they've made it a PDF file when they posted it. ... And, so, you can read every page, but you cannot keyword search it. It's not a text file as legislation normally is as posted on these public websites. They don't want anybody knowing what's in this." In fact, as Adobe Systems notes of PDFs: "You can run a search using either the Search window or the Find toolbar. In either case, Reader searches the PDF body text, layers, form fields, and digital signatures."
A New York Times essay by Jason DeParle highlighted a resurgence of the use of the word "welfare" among conservatives, this time to attack President Obama's economy recovery plan. Indeed, while economists agree that provisions in the legislation targeting needy people are among the most economically stimulative, Media Matters documents below the pervasiveness of what DeParle called the "weaponiz[ation]" of the "very word, welfare," in the media, particularly, but not exclusively on Fox News, to denounce the stimulus bill.
In purporting to "take a look back" at how the economic recovery plan "grew, and grew, and grew," Fox News' Jon Scott referenced seven dates, as on-screen graphics cited various news sources from those time periods -- all of which came directly from a Senate Republican Communications Center press release. A Fox News on-screen graphic even reproduced a typo contained in the Republican press release.
In a fundraising email "[p]aid for by The National Republican Trust PAC," Dick Morris claimed that "the Democrats want to give almost $5 billion to groups like ACORN" in the recovery bill. In fact, the bill does not mention ACORN or otherwise single it out for funding; ACORN itself has said that it is ineligible for the funds and has no plans to apply for them.
Chris Matthews said that Republicans "got some of their blood thirst going here when they learned that they could score when John Boehner went after the condoms in the -- condoms in the -- in the House version" of the recovery bill, adding that "it was a lot of fun for the Republicans to say contraception shouldn't be one of the pieces of this stimulus package." But Matthews himself also repeatedly raised, criticized, and on at least one occasion misrepresented the section of the bill dealing with contraceptives on Hardball.