Fox News is latching on to benign White House renovations in order to stoke fears that President Obama is "building a bunker" under the White House:
Fox's big scoop comes courtesy of a big hole dug into the White House lawn. According to The New York Times, the General Services Administration says the construction is connected to "an elaborate renovation of the building's aging air-conditioning and electrical systems."
The Times also reported speculation that the construction might be related to an emergency White House operations center that already exists beneath the East Wing of the White House, which dates to World War II and the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration.
Vice President Cheney was famously taken to the PEOC on September 11, 2001. And this is not the first time in recent years that underground operations center has been expanded. As the Washington Post reported:
There's already the underground Situation Room, which was renovated and expanded to 5,000 square feet in 2007, and the nuclear bomb shelter below the East Wing, where Vice President Richard B. Cheney was taken on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. And who knows what else sits beneath the White House? A tunnel to the State Department? A secret passage to the Treasury?
With all that subterranean space, think of the White House not just as a 200-year-old, neoclassical Federal-style mansion, but as the tip of an iceberg. Think of what you don't see. It's a building with roots, which in D.C. is not uncommon.
And the Washington Post reported last year when construction began that the White House regularly undergoes upgrades concealed from public view:
Big construction projects - most of them unannounced, unexplained and done at undisclosed cost - are not uncommon at the White House.
Often they are hidden behind tall fences or even in buildings shielding them from view. A major project undertaken during the Reagan administration was situated near the East Wing and lasted for many months, concealed from public sight. It was widely believed to be connected with the underground bunker known as the Presidential Emergency Operations Center, or the PEOC.
The PEOC has served 12 administrations and can hardly be called Obama's bunker.
Discussing the 2012 presidential election, Sean Hannity is promising that his "involvement is going to be very heavy next year." If past programming is any indication, it will be a boon for the GOP.
While Hannity refused to go into detail about his plans, he has allowed his show to be used as a free and open forum for Republican candidates in the past. In 2010, Hannity allowed Republican Sharron Angle to appeal directly to his Fox News audience for campaign contributions while running for a Senate seat in Nevada. Hannity's role in using his forums to help Republicans running for office has become so transparent that Republican Christine O'Donnell reportedly told a group of GOP strategists, "I've got Sean Hannity in my back pocket, and I can go on his show and raise money by attacking you guys."
Hannity's programming "involvement" in the 2008 presidential election consisted of leading what he called the "Stop Hillary Express." The "Stop Hillary Express" later became the "Stop Obama Express," when Barack Obama became the Democratic nominee.
Hannity's involvement in the 2012 election to date has already included a segment on his Fox News show brazenly dubbed the "Hannity Primary."
One can only imagine what 2012 has in store for the GOP's man inside Fox.
In continuing to defend Herman Cain, the right-wing media have tried to connect one of Cain's accusers to the Obama administration. The Drudge Report said that the woman in question, Karen Kraushaar, "works in the Obama administration," while The Blaze said she "works for the Obama administration." However, Kraushaar also held positions in the federal government during both the Bush and Clinton administrations.
According to the story from The Daily that first named her publicly, Kraushaar has served in several government agencies:
Karen Kraushaar currently serves as a communications director at the Inspector General's Office of the Treasury Department, a position she has held since last year.
After the settlement, Kraushaar served as a spokeswoman for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, the predecessor of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. She was a chief spokeswoman during one of the agency's most controversial immigration cases -- the custody battle over Elian Gonzalez, a Cuban boy rescued at sea who was then held by Florida relatives against the will of his father in Cuba. The boy was eventually returned to his dad.
In 2003, Kraushaar was a communications specialist for the Tax Advocate Service, an independent arm within the Internal Revenue Service that helps impoverished taxpayers.
In addition, the head of the agency Kraushaar reportedly works for now, the Treasury Department inspector general's office, is a Bush appointee.
Fox Nation is continuing to promote a wild misquotation claiming that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson called Republicans "jack-booted thugs" in a speech at UC-Berkeley. In fact, as Politico noted on Friday when video of the speech was posted, Jackson used the term "to refer to her own employees, jokingly borrowing language that the EPA's critics have used to describe the agency's workers."
Here is what Jackson actually said:
JACKSON: You may have heard that EPA intends to triple its budget and add 230,000 new regulators to cut greenhouse gas emissions from sources like -- be prepared -- backyard grills and cows. In truth, we put forward a tailoring rule months ago, a common sense plan to tailor greenhouse gas standards so that we could exempt small sources, like small businesses from regulations, and focus the country's regulatory attention on the largest sources of greenhouse gasses. A massive expansion was never a possibility, and the people who cited the 230,000 new EPA jack-booted thugs knew that.
The misquote originated from a story by E&E News, which has since issued a correction. As of posting time, Fox Nation has yet to retract its post and correct the misquote. Still, Fox Nation has found time to put up posts this weekend on various other topics.
Rush Limbaugh rarely needs a reason to launch attacks on first lady Michelle Obama. This week, he was given the perfect opportunity to further his attacks when he parroted unsubstantiated claims from the Drudge Report that claimed "Michelle Obama [was] furious with cooking queen Paula Dean [sic]."
The Drudge headline linked to a National Enquirer article alleging that Michelle Obama "is now furious with Southern cooking queen PAULA DEEN for crowing that the first lady, a healthy-eating advocate who's waging a war against childhood obesity, pigs out on fattening foods." The Enquirer quoted an unnamed source saying, "Michelle's spitting mad. ... She thinks Paula is trying to smear her and her family just as the 2012 presidential election race swings into gear."
The Enquirer further reported:
The trouble first began before Barack Obama was even elected president in 2008, when Michelle made a guest appearance on Deen's popular "Paula's Party" show and revealed that fried shrimp was her family's favorite meal.
Then in an interview after filming the program, Paula quipped that Michelle would be serving high-fat, greasy and sugary foods in the White House if Obama won the election!
Now Paula is rehashing those attacks on Michelle in an attempt to plug her latest cookbook and offset Michelle's new book about eating healthy, noted the source.
"She's no different than the rest of us," Paula said about Michelle in a new interview.
Paula added: "She probably ate more than any other guest I ever had on the show! She kept eating even during commercials. Know what (the Obamas') favorite foods are? Hot wings. Y'know -- those kinds of foods that aren't necessarily top-of-the-list healthy foods."
LIMBAUGH: I read all of this, and nowhere do I see Moochelle getting around to denying what Paula Deen is saying. All Moochelle's upset about is that Paula Deen is saying it. But Moochelle's not denying liking all that food. Just mad that Paula Deen's saying so.
LIMBAUGH: By what measure or standard is Michelle Obama qualified on these subjects? So, she's first lady. That means she's qualified to tell everybody else how to eat, what to eat, when to eat, and where to eat? And not just food advice. Moochelle is now giving parenting advice. What makes her think most parents in this country need lectures from her about parenting? I mean, the arrogance of these people, folks, it's just astounding.
In the wake of its widespread phone-hacking scandal and subsequent shareholder lawsuit, News Corp. has been included in a new study from GMI, a research firm that rates 4,200 of the world's most actively traded companies. GMI's "Risk List" is a report of 10 companies "whose weak governance, poor environmental or social records or misaligned compensation structures present hazards to investors that aren't adequately reflected in their current valuations." From GMI:
Many high-profile corporate disasters have been attributed, in large part, to poor corporate governance. A recent example is the scandal that has encompassed News Corporation, where allegations of phone hacking were presaged by failing governance ratings based on severe weaknesses in the quality of board oversight.
For years, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp has raised social concerns about the effects of concentrated media ownership on public discourse. The recent phone hacking scandal has brought additional scrutiny of the company's journalistic standards and ethics, as well as its relationships with various government agencies. The short-term investment impact of the hacking story has been less than clear: after an initial dip, the company's share price has rebounded to the level it enjoyed before the scandal broke. However, we believe that the company's poor governance contributed to its recent problems, and may continue to put investors' interests at risk.
The report also warned investors that despite recent changes, "there is little indication that the quality of the company's governance is improving":
Although there have been some high-profile management resignations and a few name changes at the board level since the recent scandal, there is little indication that the quality of the company's governance is improving -- particularly in the crucial area of the relationship between the board and Murdoch. As an example, the company's investigation into the phone-hacking scandal is being led by directors with strong ties to the company and the Murdoch family. Investors in the company -- who include a vast swath of the investing public, due to its inclusion in the S&P 500 index -- may be vulnerable to further fallout from weak board oversight in the future.
Discussing the recent uproar over Hank Williams Jr. invoking Adolf Hitler while criticizing President Obama, Bill O'Reilly said that it is "always bad to use Nazis in analogies." But O'Reilly himself has a long history of using Nazi analogies.
Fox Nation is misrepresenting comments House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), made at the 2011 New Yorker festival to claim she said that "class warfare" is "enshrined in our founding documents." In fact, Pelosi was simply saying that crying "class warfare" at policies aimed at strengthening the middle class is an illegitimate claim given that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are enshrined in the constitution.
Here is what Fox Nation alleged was said:
What Pelosi actually said was that cries of "class warfare" were an illegitimate "defense" employed by conservatives to criticize policies aimed at strengthening the middle class. Pelosi was discussing the growing percentage of people living in poverty and rising inequality. During her comments Pelosi praised investors, but warned "let's not forget the workers" and cautioned against an "erosion of the middle class." She also said:
PELOSI: Most people in the country, no matter how poor they are, believe they're in the middle class, and that's where they want to be. And, we have to honor that aspiration.
So, we think that they can say all they want about class warfare. Am I missing something here? Perhaps you'll tell me during the Q & A as to why that is an illegitimate charge in a country that has life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as part of its founding documents and has fairness and opportunity as some of its guiding principles.
Right-wing media have attacked President Obama by seizing on his comment that America "had gotten a little soft." But Obama said that the United States is a "great country" and that he "wouldn't trade our position with any other country on Earth" because "[w]e still have the best universities, the best scientists, and best workers in the world. We still have the most dynamic economic system in the world."
Following an interview President Obama gave to a television station in Orlando, Florida, in which Obama praised the United States as "a great, great country that had gotten a little soft" and talked about things that can be done to improve upon the best system in the world, CNN contributor Erick Erickson took to Twitter to call him "a jerk."
Here are Obama's full comments from the interview with WESH anchor Jim Payne:
OBAMA: One of the reasons that I ran for president was that wages, incomes had flatlined at the same time that costs had gone up. I think that people had thought that opportunities had become more constricted for the next generation. And that's why making sure that we're revamping our education system; making sure that we've got world-class infrastructure; investing in basic science, and research, and technology; making sure that we are moving manufacturing back to the United States and that we are being tough with our trading partners -- making sure that they are not taking advantage of us -- I mean, there are a lot of things that we can do.
The way I think about it is, is that this is a great, great country that had gotten a little soft, and we didn't have that same competitive edge that we needed over the last couple of decades. We need to get back on track, but I wouldn't trade our position with any other country on Earth. We still have the best universities, the best scientists, and best workers in the world. We still have the most dynamic economic system in the world. So we just need to bring all those things together.
Obama sure comes off as an anti-American president here, doesn't he? He points out that the United States is a great country that could stand to be even greater with some improvement and he gets attacked not only by Erickson, but by The Drudge Report and Glenn Beck's The Blaze as well.
In her book, America by Heart, Sarah Palin described the United States as a great country that also has "flaws." Would Erickson call Palin a "jerk" for acknowledging that?