In light of reports that right-wing Media Research Center president Brent Bozell was called a "hater" for his criticism of Republican leaders, Media Matters for America recalls 10 of the worst examples of Bozell's hateful rhetoric.
Fox News questioned recent remarks by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta defending the Obama administration's response to the terrorist attack in Libya, claiming that the administration had ample time to act to prevent the deaths of four Americans. But Fox omitted remarks from Panetta that directly contradicted the network's narrative that the attack unfolded over several hours.
During a weekend interview on CNN, Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, defended the military response to the September 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi, stating that there were two 20-minute attacks at the U.S. Consulate, separated by six hours:
DEMPSEY: You know, it wasn't a seven-hour battle. It was two 20-minute battles separated by about six hours. The idea that this was one continuous event is just incorrect. And the nearest -- for example, the nearest aircraft -- armed aircraft, happened to be in Djibouti, the distance from Djibouti to Benghazi is the distance from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles. There is some significant physics involved. And the time available, given the intelligence available, I have great confidence in reporting to the American people that we were appropriately responsive given what we knew at the time.
PANETTA: This is not 911. You cannot just simply call and expect within two minutes to have a team in place. It takes time. That's the nature of it. Our people are there. They are in position to move, but we've got to have good intelligence that gives us a heads up that something is going to happen.
On Monday, host Martha MacCallum cast doubt on Panetta's remarks, specifically his statement referring to the 911 call, claiming it will be a "tough statement for him to defend" given that the attack was "a 7- or 8-hour exchange." Panetta and Dempsey are scheduled to testify this week before a congressional inquiry into the Libya attack.
But MacCallum aired only a short portion of Panetta's remarks, omitting Dempsey's statement that the attack happened in two separate, short incidents.
CNN's Candy Crowley asked Sunday if President Obama pursued immigration reform "at the risk of not focusing on the economy," ignoring the fact that experts agree immigration reform will strengthen the economy, leading to higher wages, more jobs, and more tax revenue.
On CNN's State of the Union, Crowley pointed to the contraction in GDP in the last quarter of 2012 and the small increase in unemployment in January, and implied President Obama was not focused on these issues, saying "we've heard since the beginning of January gun control and immigration reform ... Does the President pursue immigration and gun control at the risk of not focusing on the economy?"
In fact, experts agree immigration reform will strengthen the economy. According to UCLA professor and immigration expert Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda, passing comprehensive immigration reform would add at least $1.5 trillion to the U.S. economy over ten years, generate $4.5 to $5.4 billion in additional net tax revenue, and create 750,000 to 900,000 new jobs. Labor economist Richard Vedder of Ohio University also found that higher levels of immigration coincide with lower levels of unemployment, and a Brookings Institution report concluded that immigrants raise the standard of living of American workers "by boosting wages and lowering prices."
In a post on The Washington Post's Wonkblog, Ezra Klein pointed out that immigration could ease many of the economic problems associated with an aging population and low birth rate:
The economic case for immigration is best made by way of analogy. Everyone agrees that aging economies with low birth rates are in trouble; this, for example, is a thoroughly conventional view of Japan. It's even conventional wisdom about the U.S. The retirement of the baby boomers is correctly understood as an economic challenge. The ratio of working Americans to retirees will fall from 5 to 1 today to 3 to 1 in 2050. Fewer workers and more retirees is tough on any economy.
There's nothing controversial about that analysis. But if that's not controversial, then immigration shouldn't be, either. Immigration is essentially the importation of new workers. It's akin to raising the birth rate, only easier, because most of the newcomers are old enough to work. And because living in the U.S. is considered such a blessing that even very skilled, very industrious workers are willing to leave their home countries and come to ours, the U.S. has an unusual amount to gain from immigration. When it comes to the global draft for talent, we almost always get the first-round picks -- at least, if we want them, and if we make it relatively easy for them to come here.
President Obama has proposed immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for the 11.1 million undocumented immigrants already in the country, better enforcement of immigration laws, and reforming the legal immigration system. According to recent polls, a majority of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, favor allowing undocumented immigrants to eventually become U.S. citizens.
As congressional leaders debate a framework for comprehensive immigration reform that will likely grant undocumented immigrants legal status, conservative media are engaged in promoting myths and falsehoods about what reform means for the country.
CNN contributor Erick Erickson is reportedly leaving the network for Fox News. During his nearly three-year tenure at CNN, Erickson repeatedly made inflammatory statements, indulged in conspiracy theories, and false statements such as the smear that Democrats support mythical "death panels."
Right-wing media figures have responded to immigration reform by invoking the oft-repeated conservative argument that legalizing immigrants will enlarge the "welfare state." In fact, the announced immigration reform proposal would prevent newly legalized immigrants from receiving federal benefits for an extended period of time; moreover, immigrants in general are less likely to receive welfare benefits.
Conservative media figures, as well as other conservatives, criticized the National Rifle Association for releasing an ad that politicized the protection afforded to President Obama's daughters, calling the ad "over the line" and "beyond the pale." MSNBC's Joe Scarborough strongly criticized the ad and the NRA, saying, "this extremism is so frightening."
Fox News' Bob Beckel was shouted down by his Five co-host Greg Gutfeld for attempting to report that 2012 was the hottest year on record in the contiguous United States. This was the network's first mention of the record heat, which has been covered by every major news outlet except for Fox.
Reporting the news on The Five, Beckel started to say "For all the global warming deniers, 2012 was the hottest year on record," before Gutfeld interjected by shouting: "Lies."
Beckel's attempt to discuss the record heat announcement was the first time it earned a mention on Fox News, though all other major news outlets, including all the network news, PBS, CNN, and MSNBC, reported on the worrying milestone. His co-host's attempt to silence him is just the latest example by Fox figures to downplay climate change and its consequences.
CNN's Piers Morgan hosted noted radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to discuss his petition to deport Morgan because of his views on gun control. Jones is a 9/11 truther who has a history of inflammatory and baseless remarks.
On Monday's edition of Piers Morgan Tonight, Morgan asked Jones to explain his "Deport Piers Morgan" petition. Jones responded with a lengthy tirade that filled two segments. His comments included pushing the debunked myth that "more guns means less crime," claiming that "1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms," referring to antidepressants as "mass murder pills" that cause people to commit violence, and claiming that "megabanks" have "taken everybody's guns but the Swiss and the American people, and when they get our guns, they can have their world tyranny."
Jones is one of the country's leading conspiracy theorists. Here are just a few examples of conspiracy theories Jones has promoted:
Jones has also pushed numerous conspiracy theories about weather control, mass sterilization, and the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. In June 2012, Jones' Infowars.com promoted the myth that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was using drones to spy on Midwestern ranchers. Finally, the radio host has declared that Obama's birth certificate is a fraud.
Jones' lengthy history of pushing absurd conspiracy theories should disqualify him from being mainstreamed on media outlets such as CNN.
CNN guest and Wall Street Journal editorial board member Stephen Moore misrepresented House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's comments on taxes, falsely claiming that she said "we've got to tax the middle class." In fact, Pelosi said that while tax increases for upper-income Americans are "not off the table," she does not want to bring in more revenue "at the expense of the middle class."
CNN's Erin Burnett Outfront played a clip of Pelosi appearing Sunday on CBS' Face the Nation and saying that tax increases for upper-income earners are "not off the table" in future spending negotiations. Moore then claimed that "we've only had this tax increase on the rich for what, 72 hours, and already people like Nancy Pelosi are saying, well, we've got to tax the middle class."
However, the full context of Pelosi's remarks reveal that Pelosi, during her appearance on Face the Nation, clearly stated that she is not interested in raising taxes on the middle class:
BOB SCHIEFFER (host): People who are listening to you this morning are going to say she's talking about more taxes, she's talking about bringing in more, in one way or another, by increasing taxes.
PELOSI: One thing I'm not talking about is bringing in more at the expense of the middle class, at the expense of the middle class. That is not something -- and that was what we were fighting all along in this because, to the extent that you diminished the tax cut, the tax change at the high end, you would have to claw down into the middle class to get more revenue.
SCHIEFFER: Are you then saying to the upper classes, get ready, you're going to have to pay some more, this is not the end of it?
PELOSI: Well, I'm saying that's not off the table.
SCHIEFFER: That's not off the table?
PELOSI: That's not off the table. But not in terms of tax rates but in terms of other considerations.
SCHIEFFER: You're talking about deductions and other things.
PELOSI: And the rest.
SCHIEFFER: What would be some of the things that you think, on the upper-income people, what kind of deductions are you talking about?
PELOSI: As I said, I'm not going into particulars.
SCHIEFFER: You're not going into --
PELOSI: Put it all -- put it all on the table and see what is working.
She concluded that any further tax increases should "not ... reach down to the middle class."