Fox News downplayed the gravity of income inequality -- proven insurmountable for a majority of the poorest Americans and detrimental to economic growth -- in order to tout a report which found that 20 percent of adults in the U.S. will be among the top 2 percent of earners at some point in their lives.
On December 9, NBC News published an Associated Press report which found that 20 percent of U.S. adults enter the wealthiest 2 percent of earners at some point in their lifetimes [emphasis added]:
Fully 20 percent of U.S. adults become rich for parts of their lives, wielding outsize influence on America's economy and politics. This little-known group may pose the biggest barrier to reducing the nation's income inequality.
Made up largely of older professionals, working married couples and more educated singles, the new rich are those with household income of $250,000 or more at some point during their working lives. That puts them, if sometimes temporarily, in the top 2 percent of earners.
On the December 9 edition of Your World, host Neil Cavuto touted the AP study as "good news" and ignored its negative implications, such as the finding that those in the top 2 percent are "less likely to support public programs, such as food stamps or early public education, to help the disadvantaged":
CAVUTO: You ever want to be in the top 2 percent? Well, you've got a 1 in 5 chance of making it -- it's true, 21 percent of Americans have been there, making the 250,000 bucks or so it takes to be among those rarefied few. That's good news, right? Well, not if you're the mainstream media. It's seen as a problem, not a triumph. To quote the Associated Press, this little-known group may pose the biggest barrier to reducing the nation's income inequality. Biggest barrier, so now, this is a problem?
Fox News contributor Charles Payne dismissed the importance of closing the income gap, saying, "People make it all the time in this country." But findings from a recent Pew report refute Payne's claim, particularly where Americans at bottom of the income ladder are concerned. According to the report, "43 percent of Americans raised at the bottom of the income ladder remain stuck there as adults, and 70 percent never even make it to the middle."
Fox News contributor Monica Crowley later described the administration's efforts to reduce income inequality as "a war on wealth" and "a war on success." However, many economists agree that policies aimed at reducing inequality also spur economic growth. Economist Robert Reich has argued for decades that economic inequality "is bad for everyone," including the very wealthy, because it hinders economic growth. Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has also contended that income inequality leads to "less growth and less efficiency."
During their discussion, Cavuto and his guests ignored the harsh realities faced by Americans excluded from the top income bracket. According to another AP report, "4 in 5 American adults struggle with joblessness, near poverty or reliance on welfare for at least part of their lives." And contrary to Cavuto's optimistic outlook, the U.S. Census Bureau found that the poverty rate increased by 2.7 percent from 2007 to 2012.
Fox News cited a study by a lobbying group with ties to the fast food industry to push debunked myths on the effects of raising the minimum wage, ignoring a wealth of economic evidence showing that increasing the minimum wage has little to no effect on employment.
On December 5, fast food workers went on strike across the nation to protest for higher pay. The December 5 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto ran a segment covering the protests, with reporter David Lee Miller claiming that "according to one university study, hiking the minimum wage - the federal minimum wage - would cost nearly half a million jobs."
Rush Limbaugh took material for his radio program from "satire" blog Diversity Chronicles, a website with strong undertones of white supremacy and misogyny which Rush described as "a website that does satire on how white men are blamed for everything."
On the November 25 edition of his show, Limbaugh highlighted a story about a controversial professor who allegedly advised his white, male students to commit suicide. After returning from a commercial break, Rush clarified that the story was a satire piece from the website Diversity Chronicle, a satirical blog which, according to Limbaugh, is "actually pretty funny." He then began to read from another Diversity Chronicle post mocking the notion of marital rape:
LIMBAUGH: That's why this outfit called Diversity Chronicle -- which is a satire website. They're actually very funny -- That's why they created the satire about the guy. Because there's a basis -- you know all good comedy has truth in it. That's what makes great comedy funny, is that there're elements of truth in it.
For example, this Diversity Chronicle website right now is running a piece, 'Brave Woman Comes Forward To Denounce Former Husband's Repeated Rapes.' 'After several years of silence a brave and heroic thirty eight year old woman has come forward to denounce her former husband's repeated rapes over the course of their marriage. Despite her numerous appeals, local law enforcement however refuses to treat her allegations seriously. These sexist, male-chauvinist, largely white male officers actually state that by her own account she was not 'legally raped.'"
Rush choked up with laughter as he read the line describing the officers, who did not take allegations of marital rape seriously, as "sexist, male-chauvinist[s]." He then said of the site, "It is a website that does satire on how white men are blamed for everything."
The Diversity Chronicle blog describes itself as "a News web site focusing on news events relating to diversity of all kinds," but a disclaimer claims "the original content on this blog is largely satirical."
A scan of the list of blogs Diversity Chronicle recommends reveals a number of "white nationalist" blogs, including American Renaissance (amren.com), a white supremacist think tank. The site also recommends various articles with titles such as "Pedophilia More Common Among 'Gays'" and "Virgin Brides Less Likely To Divorce." Under a section labeled "Eugenics," Diversity Chronicles links a website supporting "humanitarian eugenics." The "Institute for Historical Review," which deals largely in anti-Semitism and Holocaust-denial, is also in the list of recommended websites.
Right-wing media are dismissing President Obama's and Congressional Democrats' work on filibuster reform, a diplomatic agreement with Iran, and immigration reform as merely attempts to distract from the Affordable Care Act.
Network nightly news broadcasts have served as a conduit for House Republicans to attack Obama administration initiatives through committee hearings -- all part of the GOP's "aggressive campaign," according to a recent New York Times report, to hold committee hearings and rely on media to cover the hearings' chosen narrative.
CNN's Kate Bolduan insinuated that the administration could have done more in sending military support to Americans under attack in Benghazi during an interview with a Republican congressman, an intimation which feeds into what military experts have deemed a "cartoonish" view of military capabilities.
On the November 18 edition of CNN's New Day, host Kate Bolduan interviewed Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) about last week's closed-door congressional hearing with CIA personnel in Benghazi at the time of the 2012 attacks. The pair discussed whether there was a lull in fighting between the two main waves of attacks, as the official timeline lays out. Bolduan prompted (emphasis added):
BOLDUAN: The reason the question of a lull is key to this investigation is because there's been a question all along, is could more support have been brought in -- would air support have made any difference? The administration argues no, because they believe that it was over after the first attack. So do you believe that's accurate?
Bolduan is insinuating that the administration's response time was somehow influenced by the belief that the first wave of fighting ended and was followed by a lull. She offers no actual evidence to support this. And, in fact, the administration has repeatedly said that the military ordered an immediate military response upon learning of the incident, and military experts have repeatedly testified that the response represented the best of our military's capabilities.
Then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta ordered the Marine Corps' Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST), stationed in Spain, to deploy to Libya "as fast as you can" after the first attack began. But the unit encountered logistical issues, as former diplomatic security agent Fred Burton and journalist Samuel M. Katz explained:
There was never a question concerning U.S. resolve or the overall capabilities of the U.S. military to respond to Benghazi. There was, however, nothing immediate about an immediate response. There were logistics and host-nation approvals to consider. An immediate response was hampered by the equation of geography and logistics.
Panetta testified in a February 7 hearing that "there was not enough time, given the speed of the attack, for armed military assets to respond."
Robert Gates, who served as Secretary of Defense during the Bush and Obama administrations, said in a May interview that the idea military assets could have arrived in Benghazi more quickly represented a "cartoonish impression of military capabilities." According to Gates, getting a force to Benghazi from outside the country "in a timely way would have been very difficult if not impossible." He also explained that "given the number of surface to air missiles that have disappeared from Qaddafi's arsenals I would not have approved sending an aircraft, a single aircraft, over Benghazi under those circumstances."
Other military experts, like Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs retired Admiral Mike Mullen, agree that the military did everything they could that night.
In fact, even the House Republicans' own report on the Benghazi attack undermines Bolduan's insinuation that the administration could have deployed additional forces that night (emphasis added):
The House Armed Services Committee also examined the question of whether the Defense Department failed to deploy assets to Benghazi because it believed the attack was over after the first phase. The progress report finds that officials at the Defense Department were monitoring the situation throughout and kept the forces that were initially deployed flowing into the region. No evidence has been provided to suggest these officials refused to deploy resources because they thought the situation had been sufficiently resolved.
Fox News continues to push myths about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), baselessly claiming it will undermine religious freedom. In fact, ENDA contains explicit language providing for an exemption for religious organizations from the law.
ENDA, introduced in Congress by a bipartisan group of senators and scheduled for a Senate vote as early as next week, would ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. An overwhelming majority of Americans support the law, including a majority of Republicans, Catholics, and senior citizens. Small businesses and Fortune 500 companies alike support policies protecting LGBT employees.
On the October 30 edition of Fox News' Special Report, host Bret Baier introduced a segment on ENDA and stoked fears that it could endanger religious freedom, saying, "some people want religious freedom to take a backseat to another kind of freedom":
Fox News hosted discredited documentary filmmaker Dennis Michael Lynch to attack an immigration rally that took place on the National Mall in Washington, D.C, accusing non-English speaking participants of being undocumented and attacking participants for "climbing on some of the statues."
On October 8, several thousand demonstrators gathered on the Mall to call on lawmakers to pass comprehensive immigration legislation that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants:
[T]housands of activists -- from young children wearing white T-shirts that read "Don't Deport My Dad" to activists cheering and waving signs that proclaimed: "No Human is Illegal" -- gathered on the Mall on a cool October afternoon. More than a dozen congressional Democrats and four House Republicans came before the crowd to push for a reform bill in the House.
Fox News reported on the rally by hosting filmmaker Dennis Michael Lynch, who characterized the protest as an "illegal immigrant rally." On the October 9 edition of America's Newsroom, host Bill Hemmer spoke to Lynch who likened the protest to a "rock concert" and said, "I felt like I was back down in Texas along the border where there's no fence and you say, 'come on in!' I mean, they were welcomed."
Fox News host Gretchen Carlson expressed shock over voter fraud realities during an interview with contributor Julie Roginsky, claiming "most states cannot brag about" the .00174 percent voter fraud rate in North Carolina. Contrary to Carlson's claim, the rate of voter fraud found in North Carolina is typical, and even higher than the nationwide rate.
On the September 30 edition of Fox News' The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson, Roginsky and guest Dee Dee Benkie joined Carlson in a discussion on the Justice Department's lawsuit against North Carolina over its strict new voting laws. Carlson was taken aback when confronted with the low rates of voter fraud in North Carolina, claiming, "that sounds like they're the best state in the nation, which I will look into after this show, because most states cannot brag about that":
Carlson should not be shocked. According to a study by News21, a part of the Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education, "analysis of 2,068 alleged election-fraud cases since 2000 shows that while fraud has occurred, the rate is infinitesimal." Nationwide, cases of voter impersonation that resulted in convictions or guilty pleas accounted for about .00000013 of the 197 million votes cast for federal candidates between 2002 and 2005.
A state-by-state map reveals that the number of confirmed voter fraud cases in North Carolina is in step with many other states. Some states, like New York and Louisiana, have even lower rates. In Pennsylvania, where a voter ID law has been blocked several times, there have been five cases of voter fraud since 2000.
Fox News rushed to defend a GOP plan to cut $39 million from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), misportraying the program as riddled with fraud and abuse and downplaying the effects those cuts would have on families with children. In reality, fraud amounts to less than 1 percent of the total program, and the cuts would take benefits away from 3.8 million people*.