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*.
Fox hosts Bill O'Reilly and Geraldo Rivera cited a U.S. census study which found that many poor Americans own appliances to paint entitlement recipients as lazy or unwilling to work. This analysis ignores the fact that 9 out of 10 Americans receiving entitlements are elderly, disabled, or were members of working households.
On the September 12 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly and Rivera claimed that government benefits are creating a disincentive for work. Rivera concluded that "it's one thing to be poor in India or even Mexico, it's another thing to be poor, according to these statistics, in the United States":
O'Reilly's attempt to demonize poor Americans as lazy, comfortable, or unwilling to work mischaracterizes the vast majority of Americans who receive benefits. According to a 2012 report from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), 9 out of 10 Americans receiving entitlement benefits were either elderly, seriously disabled, or members of a working household in 2010:
91 percent of the benefit dollars from entitlement and other mandatory programs went to the elderly (people 65 and over), the seriously disabled, and members of working households. People who are neither elderly nor disabled -- and do not live in a working household -- received only 9 percent of the benefits.
Moreover, the vast bulk of that 9 percent goes for medical care, unemployment insurance benefits (which individuals must have a significant work history to receive), Social Security survivor benefits for the children and spouses of deceased workers, and Social Security benefits for retirees between ages 62 and 64. Seven out of the 9 percentage points go for one of these four purposes.
O'Reilly's segment on poverty in American also dismissed a September 3 report which found that income inequality is wider than it has been in almost a century. Rivera acknowledged the report but downplayed its findings, reasoning that government entitlements create a disincentive for the poor to work and "bootstrap themselves."
Contrary to O'Reilly and Rivera's claims, the CBPP also notes that the safety net has become more work-based, as the United States has significantly reduced assistance to the jobless poor and increased assistance to low-income working families. Programs like SNAP, the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, and Medicaid have done much more to promote work over the last 30 years. For example, the EITC has boosted employment among single mothers and has produced large declines in the number of single mothers receiving welfare.
Fox continued to prove itself a safe haven for conservatives as former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld enjoyed an easy interview on Fox & Friends. Fox News chose to ignore Rumsfeld's role in the Iraq war while other outlets questioned him about manipulated intelligence and the role the war played in America's standing in the international community.
The softball questions lobbed by hosts Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson, and Brian Kilmeade stood in stark contrast to the challenging questions asked by Chris Cuomo of CNN's New Day and Savannah Guthrie of NBC's Today. The Fox interview comes on the heels of a new report detailing the cozy relationship between Fox News and Republicans and the friendly forum Fox presents to their conservative guests.
While Cuomo and Guthrie asked Rumsfeld questions about the lingering effects of the Iraq war and Rumsfeld's role in the intelligence failures leading up to it, the hosts of Fox & Friends chose to avoid any mention of Iraq. Hosts Gretchen Carlson, Brian Kilmeade, and Steve Doocy made no mention of the botched intelligence and instead asked leading questions that gave Rumsfeld an opportunity to criticize President Obama's handling of the developing situation in Syria.
Fox's treatment of the former Defense Secretary, and Republicans in general, has become a noticeable pattern. The Rumsfeld interview comes after a recent report by Harvard University's Shorenstein Center detailing Fox's unique role as a safe haven for conservative candidates.
Fox host Shannon Bream and correspondent Molly Henneberg continued Fox's relentless campaign to demonize Planned Parenthood and stoke fears about their participation in an initiative to expand health insurance. Bream and Henneberg dishonestly linked abortion with federal funds going to Planned Parenthood to cover federal funds helping enroll Americans in health insurance.
On the August 22 edition of America Live, Bream proclaimed there was "outrage over a new plan to give federal money to Planned Parenthood," and concluded that "critics are upset that the government wants to give funds to clinics that also provide abortions." Henneberg brought up the irrelevant red herring that Planned Parenthood is "the largest abortion provider in the country":
Despite Henneberg's dishonest attempt to tie the funding to abortion, the purpose of the navigators is to provide "'fair, impartial and accurate information that assists consumers with submitting the eligibility application, clarifying distinctions among [qualified health plans] and helping qualified individuals make informed decisions during the health plan selection process.'"
Henneberg then attempted to portray the funds as a broken promise by the president by claiming Obama said "no federal dollars that fund Obamacare would go to abortion providers." As The Daily Beast's Amanda Marcotte notes, this is a blatant falsehood:
Well, if you're watching Fox, you'd think it's apocalyptic. Right-wing radio host Mike Gallagher acted like there was nothing more outrageous than a public health clinic getting involved in a program that helps people get better access to health care. "I always try to anticipate what my friends on the left will possibly say to try to defend this egregious about-face," he chuckled on Fox. The "about-face" is a reference to the overt lie underpinning this entire campaign against Planned Parenthood, which is the conservative claim that Obama somehow promised that Planned Parenthood as an entity would not get any federal funding under the Affordable Care Act. Obama made no such promise. He signed an executive order disallowing abortion to be covered in health-care plans sold on the exchange, but signing people up for health care should not be equated with giving them abortions or even giving them plans that cover abortion. That's like saying the Department of Motor Vehicles is casting your ballot for you by giving you the opportunity to register to vote--an outright and inflammatory lie.
Fox even read a statement by Planned Parenthood Vice President Eric Ferrero, who assured that the grants "have nothing to do with abortion and won't be used for abortion services," which would fulfill Obama's promise.
Planned Parenthood is one of 105 groups to receive federal funds under the Affordable Care Act to aid in enrolling Americans in health insurance. According to The Hill, "organizations on the other side of the ideological spectrum also received grants," including Ascension Health, the nation's largest Catholic and non-profit health system, and Catholic Social Services, an arm of the Archdiocese of Mobile, Alabama.
Fox News reported on the new North Carolina voting restrictions signed into law by Governor Pat McCrory, but misrepresented how North Carolinians actually feel about the legislation while dismissing critics' charges of racial bias in the law.
On August 12, Gov. McCrory signed into law a controversial bill that "overhauls the state's election laws" by requiring government-issued photo ID's, reducing the early voting period by one week and ending same day registration.
On Happening Now, Rick Leventhal reported that the governor's signing the bill into law was a move supported by "an overwhelming majority" of North Carolina residents. Though the voter ID provision on its own enjoys majority support in the state, the law as a whole does not. According to Public Policy Polling, only 39% of voters in North Carolina support the bill, while 50% are opposed. Additionally, 59% oppose reducing the early voting period by a week, and 68% are opposed to eliminating straight-ticket voting.
Fox News also reported that the law shortens the early voting period from 17 to 10 days but failed to mention how this provision would reduce voter fraud. Critics say the shortened early voting period would reduce minority turnout and make voting more difficult in North Carolina. CBS News reported that in 2012, Democrats cast 47% of early votes, while Republicans cast 32%. Additionally, 70 percent of blacks in North Carolina voted early in 2012. Critics of the law draw similarities to voting laws in Florida, where Governor Rick Scott cut the early voting period from 14 days to eight. A study by the Orlando Sentinel found that at least 201,000 Floridians were deterred from voting because of hours-long lines at polling stations.
According to ABC News, the law contains less stringent requirements for absentee voters: as long as they are registered, absentee voters need not show a photo ID during the voting process. As reported by The Atlantic Wire, whites cast 86.4 percent of absentee ballots, while blacks cast only 8.7 percent.
Rev. William Barber, President of the North Carolina NAACP has said the law "is trampling on the blood, sweat and tears of the martyrs - black and white - who fought for voting rights in this country."
Since 2004, only two cases of alleged voter impersonation fraud have been referred by the North Carolina State Board of Elections.
Sean Hannity hosted an hour-long special on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) titled "Universal Nightmare" that ignored the major benefits already in place thanks to the ACA.
Fox News cut away from President Obama's July 25 economic speech well before its conclusion, but Fox News personalities claimed to have watched it and gave detailed opinions on the content of the speech, even while it was still happening:
Cable news channels hosted only four women's health experts during two weeks of coverage on a Texas bill that would restrict women's constitutional right to safe and legal abortions and that experts claim would "erode women's health."