This morning, Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson and guests Stuart Varney and Noelle Nikpour went right to work planting a seed in viewers' minds: Is President Obama's appointment of General Electric CEO Jeffery Immelt as head of a new Council on Jobs and Competitiveness a "payback" or "pay off?"
Here's Varney kicking off the baseless accusations that Obama "paid off" Immelt for what Varney claimed was Immelt's "dutiful services running NBC for the Democrats":
VARNEY: You could also say this is a payoff. This is Mr. Immelt of GE, which owned, formerly, NBC, which was turned into an arm of the Democratic Party in the run-up to the elections of 2008 and for the next two years after that. Maybe he's being paid off for his dutiful services running NBC for the Democrats.
Later on Fox & Friends, Carlson adopted Varney's claim and used it to invite Nikpour, a Fox News contributor, to attack Obama. Echoing Varney, Carlson asked, "Is putting Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of GE, payback -- because GE used to control NBC and NBC rooted very loudly for President Obama when he was campaigning. Is it payback?" Nikpour responded by saying, in part: "It's all about paying back someone who's helped you along the campaign. I mean, he's shown this with the unions and for everything else. It's payback. It's pay-to-play system; it's a Chicago-style of politics."
So, in Fox & Friends' world, it's not at all possible that Obama's selection of Immelt, as The Associated Press reported, "underscor[es] the administration's efforts to build stronger ties to the business community."
Nope. It's a "payoff" that's indicative of the administration's "Chicago-style of politics."
On Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson and Fox News contributor Andrea Tantaros accused the mainstream media of showing a "bias" by "ignoring" the story that Tucson shooting victim James Eric Fuller threatened a Tea Party leader at a town hall meeting. In fact, virtually every major media outlet covered the story immediately and repeatedly, including ABC, which Tantaros specifically singled out for attack.
The right-wing media attacked First Lady Michelle Obama for wearing a red dress to the White House State Dinner, suggesting she did so to honor "Commie Red China." The right has a history of seeing political messages in Michelle Obama and other administration figures' attire.
In advance of the House GOP's health care repeal vote, Fox News hosts, contributors, and guests have repeatedly misinformed about the health care reform bill with attacks ranging from falsely claiming that the bill "did not include incentives for wellness" and that the bill will cause jobs "to be lost," to rehashing old falsehoods such as that the bill does not reduce the deficit because it creates "10 years of revenue against six years of expenses."
In advance of Sarah Palin's interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, Slate's David Weigel proposed a new definition to the neologism "Hannitize": "to clean up a messy situation with a softball interview." Indeed, Hannity has become the go-to interviewer for right-wing figures following scandal or controversy.
Fox News' extensive coverage of the new Republican House majority has so far ignored the fact that the GOP is reportedly embracing the use of the self-executing rule -- commonly referred to as "deem and pass" -- to mandate federal budget limits. By comparison, Fox figures repeatedly attacked Democrats for considering using the rule during the health care debate, dubbing it "demon pass" and questioning its constitutionality.
The past year found Fox & Friends solidifying its position as part of the campaign arm of the Republican Party through a barrage of attacks on President Obama, Islam, immigrants, health care, climate change, and by relentlessly campaigning for the GOP leading up to the midterm elections. Media Matters offers a look back at some of Fox & Friends' most outrageous moments of 2010.
PolitiFact recently named "a government takeover of health care" as its 2010 "Lie of the Year" -- a lie that Fox News hosts and contributors have repeatedly promoted.
On the December 9, 2010 broadcast of Talk Radio Network's The Savage Nation, host Michael Savage invited listeners to call in and discuss interactions between fathers and their daughter's first-dates, and took a call from Marcia from New York. Savage hung up on Marcia and went off on a bizarre rant in which he stated that she had "a voice that you know already came out of La Cage aux Folles."
The french farce La Cage aux Folles tells the story of a drag performer and his partner who host a dinner for their son's very conservative future in-laws (The play was later revived for American audiences as The Birdcage).
Savage has a history of homophobic rantings. In 2003, Savage was removed from MSNBC after telling a caller to "get AIDS and die." In 2007 Creative Artist Agency (CAA) decided to stop representing Savage after he attacked Melissa Etheridge for thanking her wife at the Academy Awards and asserted that married gay couples' raising of children amounts to "child abuse" and "makes me want to puke."
Right-wing media have recently echoed or promoted Rep. John Mica's (R-FL) call for private firms to replace the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in providing airport security. But experts have said that privatized airport security had previously led to numerous security lapses, and private security firms were regularly criticized over lax hiring and training practices