Right-wing blogs seized on initial reports of an attempted shoe bombing on a domestic flight over Denver -- reports which later turned out to be inaccurate -- as an opportunity to politicize what they believed to be an attempted terrorist attack.
Following the House of Representatives' passage of the Senate health care reform bill, Fox News' On the Record with Greta Van Susteren has featured an imbalanced roster of guests to discuss constitutional challenges to the legislation. Between March 21 and April 6, Van Susteren hosted 15 guests who claimed the bill is "unconstitutional," including many attorneys general who are planning to sue over the bill, compared to only one guest who argued the bill is "constitutional"; Van Susteren also hosted one attorney general who is involved with the legal challenges, but said only that the legislation was "unprecedented" without taking a position on its constitutionality.
Steve Doocy and Newt Gingrich falsely claimed that the Obama administration is considering "a scheme" to "abolish 401(k)s" and "migrate Americans to a government-run program so the politicians would then have your money." In fact, the administration has not proposed moving retirement savings to a government-run system -- it is considering ways to promote annuities sold on the private market as a voluntary alternative to lump-sum cash payments in retirement.
Appearing on Fox & Friends, Dr. Jack Cassell, who posted a sign outside his practice instructing people who voted for President Obama to "seek urologic care elsewhere," falsely claimed without challenge that under the health care reform law, hospice care is "going to be totally cut in 2012," adding, "[T]hey want you to die a slow and painful death." In fact, the health care bill does not eliminate reimbursement for hospice providers, and health care analysts have noted that "hospice was not a major target of cuts."
In an April 1 editorial, The Washington Times falsely claimed that the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act was "removed" from the Senate's health care bill and re-introduced "in the lengthy reconciliation bill at the last minute," because it "wouldn't have obtained the 60 votes needed." In fact, the CLASS Act was in both the House and Senate's original health care bills, passed the Senate with 60 votes, and was not included in the reconciliation bill.
In a March 30 Hot Air post, Ed Morrisey advanced the falsehood that the health care reform bill does not reduce the deficit because it did not include the so-called "doctor fix." However, there is no reason the "doctor fix" should be included in the cost of health care reform since the issue predates the health care reform debate and will need to be resolved regardless of health care reform's outcome.
Right-wing media have accused Rep. Henry Waxman and the Obama administration of "tyrannical" actions after Waxman announced a hearing looking into several large corporations' assertions about prescription drug costs related to health care reform. According to Waxman, the companies' claims "appear to conflict with independent analyses."
On the March 29 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Politics Daily columnist Matt Lewis advanced dubious claims first made by the Wall Street Journal that certain provisions relating to overhauling student loans in the reconciliation bill were added to benefit "a handful of favored nonprofit companies." The legislation in question eliminates the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program, which, as the New York Times reported, gave commercial banks "guaranteed federal subsidies to lend money to students, with the government assuming nearly all the risk." Under the legislation, qualifying state-based nonprofits would be able to continue servicing federally subsidized student loans. Lewis and the Wall Street Journal suggested that this provision was added to benefit, as Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy put it, "some of" the Democrats' "nonprofit pals."
Their evidence? The Journal claims that one of the "several dozen nonprofit firms" that could be affected by this legislation, ALL Student Loan, "may have helped its cause by retaining the services of Vincent Reusing, a lobbyist whom the Chronicle of Higher Education has described as a 'personal friend' of" Rep.George Miller (D-CA). Lewis repeated this charge on Fox & Friends. Without explaining how, the Journal claims that ALL Student Loan counts as one of the "favored nonprofits" who will be receiving a new "revenue stream" from this legislation. But considering the Journal itself admits that ALL Student Loan is only one of "several dozen nonprofit firms" that could benefit from the legilsation, it's hard to see how this provision was included in order to benefit one nonprofit who hired one lobbyist who may or may not be a "personal friend" of one of the lawmakers involved in drafting the legislation.
On March 27, Fox News continued its political activism by aggressively promoting that day's Tea Party Express rally, which targeted for defeat Sen. Harry Reid and other members of Congress who support health care reform. The rally was sponsored by a political action committee run by Republican consultants and headlined by Fox News contributor Sarah Palin, whose speech Fox broadcast live.
The Drudge Report is the latest to push the completely baseless smear that Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) "sold" his health care vote for "airport grants," a claim Stupak has strongly denied. In fact, there is no evidence for this charge; indeed, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) awarded grants in 47 states -- including one in Minority Leader John Boehner's district -- as part of a decades-old airport improvement program.