Fox News has ignored reports that contradict its baseless speculation that the White House leaked information about a foiled terror attack.
After reports surfaced in May 2012 that a foiled Al Qaeda bomb plot was leaked to the press, Fox News accused the White House of releasing the information for political gain. On Monday, Politico reported that court documents revealed ex-FBI agent Donald Sachtleben gave information to a journalist about the plot that targeted a commercial airliner. According to Politico, Sachtleben "disclosed classified information about the plot to a journalist":
The Justice Department says it's solved one of the most significant leak cases in recent memory: disclosure of an Al Qaeda airliner-bombing plot last year that had reportedly been penetrated by western intelligence services.
Former FBI agent Donald Sachtleben, 55, admitted in court papers Monday that he disclosed classified information about the plot to a journalist. The court filings don't directly identify the reporter or the news outlet, but they refer to an Associated Press report on the plot.
A federal law enforcement official who asked not to be named also told POLITICO the leaks in question were to the Associated Press.
The court papers indicate that Sachtleben, a bomb expert who was working as a contract technician at the FBI lab at the time of the leak last year, obtained information about the case from FBI lab computers after exchanging text messages with an AP reporter.
This development contradicts the scandal mongering Fox News repeatedly used to attack the White House, saying it planted the leak to help President Obama politically. On the June 11, 2012, edition of Fox News' Hannity, host Sean Hannity compared the incident to the Bush administration's Valerie Plame scandal and took a swipe at the Obama Administration, saying, "This is infinitely worse. This was super-secret":
One year later, right-wing media continued to prop up this cynical and now-debunked narrative. In a May 17 blog post, Fox News contributor Chris Stirewalt said the leak occurred prior to the 2012 presidential election because "Team Obama was very much focused on burnishing the president's commander-in-chief credentials."
The Washington Post reports today that after sitting on the story for five days, AP got the all clear from the CIA on national security on May 7, 2012. But there was a still a problem: the White House was planning to announce the operation the next day and the AP story would step on the big announcement.
The spy agency then made a proposal: wait one more day and then the AP could have the story as an exclusive for an hour. The Post says that while the news service was mulling the idea, a White House official called and nixed the one-hour exclusive, telling AP that they could have five minutes of exclusivity before the administration started pushing out the story.
Remember the timing here. This was just after President Obama had celebrated the one-year anniversary of the killing of Usama bin Laden and the administration was or would soon be pushing out stories about kill lists and a decimated al Qaeda. As Republican Mitt Romney was trying to mount his general election challenge, Team Obama was very much focused on burnishing the president's commander-in-chief credentials.
At time of posting, Fox News had yet to correct its erroneous reports.
Fox host Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that "no Republicans and no conservatives were invited" to participate in attend the anniversary of the March on Washington. Several prominent Republicans were invited, but chose not to attend.
On the August 28 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly hosted Democratic strategist James Carville to discuss the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. During the discussion, O'Reilly complained that President George W. Bush was not invited to speak. O'Reilly later claimed that "[n]o Republicans and no conservatives were invited." O'Reilly went on to respond to Rep. John Lewis' statement that "we're all in the same boat" by asking "Where's the conservative side to that boat?"
Contrary to what O'Reilly said on-air, several Republicans were invited to participate in the event, including both President George W. Bush and President George H. W. Bush. Both declined due to health concerns. According to ABC News, both Republican House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Whip Eric Cantor were invited to attend but did not do so with their offices citing scheduling conflicts:
House Speaker John Boehner was invited to participate, but with Congress - and Boehner -- out of town on recess this week, he chose to speak at the congressional ceremony marking the 50th anniversary last month. Boehner's office also points out that House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also spoke at that ceremony but weren't in attendance today.
The office of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., released this statement: "Our press office was sent a request to speak 12 days ago. The Leader is travelling in North Dakota and Ohio today. But I do point you to a piece he wrote for Yahoo yesterday."
Fox gave conspiracy theorist and Republican attorney Victoria Toensing a platform to revive repeatedly debunked myths about what happened after the September 2012 attacks on the U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya.
On the August 21 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Toensing's claims included questions about the legitimacy of the independent Accountability Review Board's (ARB) report on the attacks as a "corrupt cover-up to protect Hillary Clinton" and the myth of Benghazi "whistleblower" and diplomat Gregory Hicks' demotion.
Toensing has propped up claims that have been proven false or misleading, misinformation that Fox News continues to peddle.
Her efforts to question the legitimacy of the ARB report are neither new nor credible. Toensing argued in a May 12 Weekly Standard blog post that the "report was purposefully incomplete and willfully misleading," and she claimed that the investigation did not include interviews with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. This claim has been debunked, notably by ARB chairman and career diplomat Thomas Pickering, who said he did speak with Clinton and that their conversation about the Benghazi investigation was "more than sufficient for the preponderance of evidence that we had collected to make our decisions."
During a May 10 interview with radio host Steve Malzberg, Toensing stated that Hicks, her client and Benghazi "whistleblower," was "effectively demoted" as a result of what happened during and after the attacks. This story conflicts with Hicks' own statement during congressional testimony that concerns for his family kept him from returning to Libya.
Radio host Rush Limbaugh defended the New York Times after questions had been raised about the paper's bias in coverage of Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative.
On the August 20 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show, Limbaugh criticized Media Matters and its founder David Brock for an open letter to the Times expressing "concern about a recent string of reports and columns from your publication that have done nothing but use false pretenses to cast a shadow on Bill and Hillary Clinton." Limbaugh defended the Times' coverage, claiming Media Matters exists "to lie, misrepresent, take out of context what happens in conservative media." Limbaugh went on to read portions of the letter, adding that doing so was "the most fun I've had."
President Bill Clinton recently clarified issues raised by an August 13 Times article and asked the paper for a clarification. Furthermore, The New York Times has fallen under scrutiny for assigning a full-time reporter to cover Hillary Clinton, despite the fact the 2016 presidential election is three years away and that she has not yet announced her intention to run for president.
Right-wing media figures continue to attack the Obama administration's economic recovery efforts, claiming that Democrats have virtually no plans to improve the economy, despite years of proposing legislation and laws that prove otherwise.
On the August 18 edition of ABC's This Week With George Stephanopoulos, guest and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina propped up this claim to attack Democrats:
FIORINA: There is nothing that appealing to a young person about the solution to every problem being a large, bloated bureaucracy that cannot be held accountable and whose budget continues to rise year after year. The Democrats have a single product which is: let us centralize decision-making, let us create a government program to solve a problem.
Fiorina's analysis ignores numerous proposals put forth by the White House that have been met with resistence by Republicans.
In July, Obama announced his Climate Action Plan, a three-point plan to cut carbon pollution, prepare the country for the impacts of climate change, and become a global leader in the effort to combat climate change and prepare for the impact. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was quick to criticize the plan, but a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council has said the proposal could net 210,000 jobs by 2020 and reduce energy bills.
During the 2012 presidential campaign, President Obama unveiled a plan that the Economic Policy Institute found would create 1.1 million jobs in 2013 and 280,000 jobs in 2014. By comparison, Republican nominee Mitt Romney's plan would have created 87,000 jobs in 2013 but would have resulted in the loss of 641,000 jobs in 2014.
In September 2011, President Obama laid out the American Jobs Act. Economist Mark Zandi analyzed the plan and claimed it would result in 1.9 million jobs and cut the unemployment rate by a full percentage point. The plan included $250 billion in tax cuts.
Fiorina ended by concluding that "the stimulus didn't work," but nonpartisan research suggests otherwise. In August 2010, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act "[l]owered the unemployment rate by between 0.7 percentage points and 1.8 percentage points" and "[i]ncreased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million."
While by no means a comprehensive list of proposals, the previous examples point to the importance of job creation and the detailed plans to bolster employment that have been put forth by the Obama administration.
Fox News' Gregg Jarrett attempted to diminish the record of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, smearing her legacy and asking what she has "actually achieved."
On the August 9 edition of Fox News' America Live, guest host Gregg Jarrett attacked NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt for calling Clinton "one of the most fascinating women of our time and this world." Jarrett claimed Greenblatt was "gushing like a tweenage [sic] girl when he said it." Jarrett went on to attack Clinton, claiming "I actually gave [Greenblatt] the benefit of the doubt and tried to figure out what she's achieved" before playing a clip of Clinton at a Benghazi that has repeatedly been distorted by Fox:
Fox News' Andrew Napolitano defended Jack Hunter, an aide to Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), by downplaying his history of "neo-Confederate" and "pro-secessionist" views as speaking "favorably on states' rights."
After conservative blog Free Beacon revealed that Hunter "spent years working as a pro-secessionist radio pundit and neo-Confederate activist," Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano defended Hunter in a post on his blog, calling him a "brilliant" and "gifted aide" who "possesses profound intellectual honesty." Napolitano claimed that Hunter's only "sin" was "having spoken favorably of states' rights:
Jack's sin in their eyes was having spoken favorably of states' rights, and negatively of Lincoln. They can't seem to recognize that states' rights--even secession--does not equal racism; it constitutes a brake on the feds' march to totalitarianism. Most modern day states' rights advocates recognize the sovereignty of the states and their inherent ability to nullify and avoid federal violations of the Constitution in order to protect life and liberty from an overgrown, intrusive federal leviathan that literally now interferes in or spies on every facet of our lives. And most historians and legal scholars who appreciate personal liberty and limited government recognize that the history of Lincoln's assaults on civil liberties is a topic capable of divergent views and worthy of exposure.
The Free Beacon reported that Hunter, who also worked as a South Carolina radio host for more than a decade and called himself the "Southern Avenger," often wore a mask emblazoned with the Confederate battle flag during public appearances. According to the Free Beacon, he has chaired the secessionist group League of the South, advocated white pride, disparaged Hispanic immigration to the United States, and supported the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth.
Napolitano has hosted Hunter on the Fox Business program Freedom Watch to discuss Senator Paul without acknowledging that Hunter worked for Paul.
Hunter has been featured in other right-wing media outlets as well. He has written more than 50 articles for The Daily Caller, regularly appeared on Fox Business, and helped author books with then-Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Paul.
Napolitano has defended extreme positions in the past, including 9-11 truther conspiracies, once claiming on Alex Jones' radio show, it's "hard for me to believe that" World Trade Center Building 7 "came down by itself."
After claiming that Fox News prevented him from discussing immigration during a recent interview, radio host Rush Limbaugh walked back his comments, insisting that there is no Fox News policy in place that censors him from talking about immigration.
Limbaugh appeared on the July 2 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends for an interview on political unrest in Egypt. Later that day, on The Rush Limbaugh Show, Limbaugh claimed a Fox producer refused to let him discuss immigration and its effect on the GOP. Limbaugh said at the time that Fox was "not interested in bringing this subject up," going on to say that it was "quite telling."
On the July 9 edition of his radio show, Limbaugh walked back his comments, emphasizing that he and Fox News were "on the same team," later saying that "this whole drummed-up thing between Fox and me" is "all B.S.":
Fox News host Martha MacCallum attacked access to clinics offering abortions in Texas, taking issue with the fact that the clinics offer abortions at all, and not that a recently defeated state bill would have imposed so many new restrictions as to render most clinics legally inoperable.
During the July 1 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, co-host MacCallum called into question Texas State Senator Wendy Davis' filibuster that defeated Texas' Senate Bill 5 (SB5) which, if passed, would have been one of the nation's most restrictive abortion laws. Critics of the bill said it would have shuttered all but five of the 47 clinics that provide abortions in Texas. MacCallum attempted to discredit this claim, saying, "That makes you just wonder how many of these clinics are surviving on the fact that they are performing abortions, if so many of them would have to close if indeed it were able to pass":
MacCallum scoffed at the restrictions that SB 5 would have enacted, but medical experts in Texas oppose the bill. The Texas district of American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) issued a statement against the bill, saying it "sets a dangerous precedent by legislating the practice of medicine and places women at risk by denying access to safe, legal reproductive health services."
ACOG added that the bill's requirement that clinics offering abortions must maintain the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers would create "additional standards that single out abortion services from other outpatient procedures."
MacCallum is not the only Fox News personality who has called into question Davis' fight to keep abortion accessible for women or the only one who has attempted to misrepresent support for her efforts. Fox contributor Laura Ingraham asked Davis on her radio program and via Twitter: "Which kids that you see on the playground shouldn't be there?" And a panel on Fox News Sunday attempted to depict SB 5 as having far more support than polls show in anticipation of Texas Gov. Rick Perry's promise to hold a July 1 special session of the state legislature to revive and pass the bill.
Fox News will air a one-hour special titled Benghazi: The Truth Behind The Smokescreen which purports to provide "a comprehensive look at all of the new developments in the story." But Fox is not a credible source on Benghazi, having littered its coverage of the incident with myths, misinformation, and outright falsehoods.