Fox News repeated the conservative myth that there is an emerging "culture of dependency" and a "culture of entitlement" because of the supposed notion that people would rather collect food stamp benefits than work. In fact, most beneficiaries of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are working-class Americans who already have jobs, and most leave the program after one year.
Media figures cheered Republican Mitt Romney's performance in the first presidential debate, claiming he offered specifics and an economic plan to contrast with that of President Obama. In fact, independent analysis shows Romney provided vague details at best.
Daily Caller editor-in-chief Tucker Carlson put aside his past reverence of Newt Gingrich to lash out at Gingrich's criticism over the Caller's so-called "bombshell video" showing then-Sen. Barack Obama talking about race issues in front of African-American clergy members in 2007. Carlson and others hyping the five-year-old video claimed it was evidence of "divisive class warfare and racially-charged rhetoric."
During an appearance on Fox News' America Live, while attempting to defend his decision to release the video, Carlson was made aware of Gingrich's criticism. Carlson responded: "Who cares what Newt Gingrich said?"
Gingrich yesterday discounted the video, agreeing that Obama's record as president has a "far greater impact" on the election. Gingrich said: "I don't think this particular speech is definitive."
Other conservatives have also questioned the video's importance, saying the 2007 speech holds little significance in the current presidential race.
Carlson's dismissive response is in contrast with his past comments praising Gingrich. In 2009, he referred to Gingrich as "the soul" of the GOP and "the intellectual center of the Republican Party -- the smartest, most energetic guy." More recently, Carlson praised Gingrich for the "great job" he did calling Obama the "food stamp president."
Right-wing media are offering GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney advice for the upcoming presidential debate. They suggest Romney should push economic myths to attack Obama's record, "smack the president," and get under Obama's skin.
Fox News was forced to address yet another dishonest chart last week, which it aired to paint a misleading picture of President Obama's handling of the economy. Fox has a habit of displaying error-laden and deceptive graphics to reinforce conservative attacks on the Obama administration.
Fox News misrepresented Mitt Romney's statement that supporters of President Obama are the 47 percent of Americans who "pay no income tax" and "believe that they are victims."
Fox claimed that Romney was actually talking "about our country becoming an entitlement society and too dependent on government," and presented polling showing that most Americans agree with him.
But Romney's 47 percent remark was not simply an argument that Americans are becoming "too dependent on the government," as Fox anchor Gregg Jarrett and the poll claimed. Romney disparaged Obama supporters, saying:
ROMNEY: There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them.
Romney also declared: "My job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
But on Happening Now, Jarrett and his guest Steve Hayes hyped the findings of a Fox News poll that asked respondents if they agreed with "what Mitt Romney said on the tape about our country becoming an entitlement society and too dependent on government." Jarrett claimed that 63 percent of Americans think Romney is right. Jarrett's guest Steve Hayes said that while Romney "made an argument that had some problems with it," it is "indisputable" that Romney's "broader case is true."
Fox has defended Romney's comments since they were first revealed, but it seems clear the only way the network can get Americans to buy into its defense of the comments is by mischaracterizing them.
Fox News adopted GOP analysis of polling data to inflate President Obama's disapproval ratings among middle class voters. But while the graphic Fox & Friends aired cited a recent Politico poll as the source of its data, Fox's numbers came from a Republican analysis of the poll and not from the poll's actual data.
During today's broadcast of Fox & Friends, the show aired a graphic of new polling data that purported to show high disapproval numbers for Obama among middle-class voters across a series of crucial election issues such as the economy and Medicare:
Those numbers mirror numbers found in the "Republican Poll Analysis" of the Politico poll:
[M]iddle-class families also hold a majority disapproval rating on the job Obama is doing as president (45 percent approve, 54 percent disapprove), and turn even more negative toward Obama on specific areas; the economy 56 percent disapprove; spending 61 percent disapprove; taxes, 53 percent disapprove; Medicare 48 percent disapprove; and even foreign policy 50 percent disapprove.
The actual Politico poll numbers are several percentage points lower:
- 52% disapprove of Obama's economic policies
- 57% disapprove of the federal budget and spending
- 47% disapprove of tax policies
- 45% disapprove of Medicare policies
- 45% disapprove of foreign policy
The discrepancy between the poll's actual data and the Republican spin comes from the definition of the middle class. According to the results, 83 percent of those polled were defined as "middle class" by household income. Ed Goeas and Brian Nienaber, the authors of the Republican analysis, reweighted the poll results based on their estimate of the middle class as a percentage of the electorate, which yielded higher disapproval ratings.
The Fox & Friends co-hosts did not note the difference.
Fox News is distorting President Obama's economic agenda by pushing the straw-man argument that taxing the entirety of millionaires' incomes would fund the government for less than three months. In fact, Obama has proposed no such thing, and this Republican talking point obscures the billions in revenue that would be generated from letting the Bush tax cuts expire for wealthy households.
Dismissing evidence to the contrary, conservative media this week claimed the Obama administration is considering releasing Omar Abdel-Rahman, also known as "the Blind Sheikh," who was convicted of planning terrorist attacks against the U.S. Even after administration officials denied accusations that Abdel-Rahman may be released, right-wing media continued to push the claim.
The Washington Times yesterday published a misleading account of a United Nations treaty that seeks to promote equal rights for people with disabilities, arguing that it threatens U.S. sovereignty. In fact, this interpretation amounts to nothing more than fearmongering since what the treaty calls for, non-discriminatory treatment of people with disabilities, is already U.S. law.
In the piece titled "Does The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities void US sovereignty?" Washington Times Communities columnist Bryana Johnson claimed that the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities voids U.S. sovereignty because of a clause in the treaty that she claimed "demands that all American law on the subject be conformed to the standards of the UN."
In fact, the treaty demands -- to use Johnson's word -- that we meet our own basic human rights standards and not discriminate against the 56.7 million Americans currently living with a disability.
Article 4 of the treaty, which Johnson cited as raising "the sovereignty issue," states:
1. States Parties undertake to ensure and promote the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons with disabilities without discrimination of any kind on the basis of disability. To this end, States Parties undertake:
a. To adopt all appropriate legislative, administrative and other measures for the implementation of the rights recognized in the present Convention;
b. To take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to modify or abolish existing laws, regulations, customs and practices that constitute discrimination against persons with disabilities;
c. To take into account the protection and promotion of the human rights of persons with disabilities in all policies and programmes;
d. To refrain from engaging in any act or practice that is inconsistent with the present Convention and to ensure that public authorities and institutions act in conformity with the present Convention;
e. To take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability by any person, organization or private enterprise.
Indeed, U.S. law already meets the standards the treaty requests. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) "prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, State and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications." If a law, policy, or program is found to be discriminatory, the government has the power, through the Department of Justice, to enforce the ADA on both a private and public level.