Glenn Beck doesn't just shape and propagate the GOP party line; now he's feeding talking points to Republican presidential candidates, too. After Beck distorted a speech by Obama, GOP Presidential candidate and former Fox News contributor Rick Santorum repeated Beck's falsehood.
The talking point began its life in an April 13 post on Beck's website, The Blaze, by Beck's co-host Stu Burguiere:
Obama: USA wasn't a great country until 1965.
Not an exact quote, but that's exactly what he's saying here...right?
So, we would not be a great country without Medicare, Social Security, unemployment, and Medicaid? Well, we didn't have all of them until 1965. [The Blaze, 4/13/11]
Beck promoted the falsehood on his radio show -- on the same day that he interviewed Santorum over the phone:
The great thing about this president is I learn something new every day. Every single day I learn something about my country that I did not know: for instance, that America was not a great country up until about 1965. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 4/14/11]
And Santorum repeated the falsehood yesterday while announcing his candidacy for president. From The Associated Press:
SANTORUM: Obama recently discussed "Medicare, Medicaid and unemployment insurance. He said, 'The country is a better country with those programs. I will go one step further,' he said. 'America was not a great country until those programs.' America was a great country before 1965."
THE FACTS: Santorum misquoted Obama's April 13 speech, when the president said: "We contribute to programs like Medicare and Social Security, which guarantee us health care and a measure of basic income after a lifetime of hard work; unemployment insurance, which protects us against unexpected job loss, and Medicaid, which provides care for millions of seniors in nursing homes, poor children and those with disabilities. We are a better country because of these commitments. I'll go further -- we would not be a great country without those commitments."
Santorum neglected to note that Obama included Social Security, a popular program created in 1935. And Obama did not say America "was not a great country" before 1965, the year that ushered in Medicare and Medicaid. He implied the nation would not be great now had it failed to implement the safety-net programs when it did.
Neil Cavuto kicked off his Fox News show with this misleading image suggesting that the stimulus is responsible for 1.8 million lost jobs:
In fact, multiple non-partisan studies have said that the stimulus saved or created millions of jobs. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the stimulus raised employment by 1.4 to 3.6 million and the White House Council of Economic Advisers estimates that the stimulus increased employment by between 2.1 and 2.5 million.
Thursday Fox Business' Andrew Napolitano grievously mischaracterized Education Department rule changes that will end federal aid for for-profit schools that fail to help students obtain gainful employment. He said:
The job market has been sluggish, but that's not stopping the Obama administration from requiring for-profit colleges to produce gainful employment or face being shut down by federal education officials. That means if a culinary or nursing school fails to prove that graduates make enough income to pay off their student loans, then the government will hang the closed sign on their windows. Why is it the government's business to regulate what kind of income students make from their first jobs out of college?
But according to the Los Angeles Times, the federal government will simply refuse to give tax dollars to schools that fail to deliver gainful employment:
Under the rules, programs would remain eligible for federal aid if they meet at least one of three tests in a given year: at least 35% of former students are repaying their loan balance; yearly educational-debt payments of typical graduates account for a maximum of 12% of their total income; and those payments account for no more than 30% of their discretionary income.
Programs would have to fail all three tests in the same year for three out of four years before losing aid eligibility.
For-profit colleges enroll about 12% of U.S. higher-education students, but they use about one-quarter of federal student grants and loans and account for 46% of student loan dollars in default, the Education Department said. [Los Angeles Times, 6/2/11]
Some schools may close if they stop receiving government aid -- Reuters reports that federal student aid "accounts for around 90 percent" of for-profit colleges' revenue -- but Napolitano should applaud the end of for-profit education's "dependency" on a federal money. Apparently only senior citizens and poor people who are "dependent upon big government" receive Napolitano's scorn. Big business does not.
Video of Freedom Watch is below the jump:
With the debt ceiling looming, Neil Cavuto is channeling his inner Glenn Beck and warning that violent riots, like those in Greece, are coming unless we make drastic spending cuts.
"Time to get serious," he warned. "Take a look at Greece. Out of dough, out of time, out of patience. So beware those Greeks bearing fists; they're just setting the stage -- for us."
Later on his Fox Business show, Cauvto elaborated:
We fix our sights on Greece because I am telling you Greece is coming here. Angry workers there were told the government gravy train is over, time to cutback. Angry state workers here protesting the same message and not all inclined to cut anything back. Now, it's been less violent so far here but I am fixing to tell you, fix your sights on Europe because all that is coming here.
We look at these things and think, oh boy, if we had cutbacks we wouldn't act like that. We wouldn't be throwing Molotov cocktails or shaking our fist and God knows what else in the air. I think we would, actually.
Fox News hosts and analysts helped portray Sarah Palin's bus tour, organized by her Political Action Committee, as an effort to revitalize Palin's "brand." Palin then sat for an interview on the bus tour with Greta Van Susteren, who devoted the first half of her Fox News show to what Fox itself is describing as an effort to renew interest in Palin's brand.
O'Reilly advised the GOP to "explain" that Obama is driven by social justice and "scare" them by saying he is "pushing the country over a cliff" on his show tonight. In fact, Glenn Beck's daily show on Fox News has pushed just those points - revealing Fox News' role as the GOP's communications arm once again.
On his Fox News show, Beck has relentlessly pushed the claim that Obama is committed to the "evil" cause of social justice. In one instance, Beck said:
BECK: [E]verything that is getting pushed through Congress, including this health care bill, are transforming America and they are all driven by President Obama's thinking on one idea: reparations. You crazy right-wing extremist!
Before you say anything, President Obama is against reparations. He, himself, said so. He said that, but what the media didn't report on conveniently during the election ignores the reason why he is against reparations. As I warned before the election, he doesn't think that reparations would go far enough.
Quote, "I fear that reparations would be an excuse for some to say, 'We've paid our debt,' and to avoid the much harder work."
BECK: Obama is no dummy. He knows that he would never pass reparations. He knows he would never pass any of this stuff. This is all affirmative action.
He also knows we can't afford health care. He knows we can't afford cap-and-trade and more stimulus bills.
But see, that's assuming that he wants to take care of somebody's health. It's assuming that he wants unemployment numbers the way we all understand unemployment numbers, and he said that he wants to take care of the environment.
But I don't think those are his goals. That's a nice bonus.
His goal is creating a new America, a new model, a model that will settle old racial scores through new social justice. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 7/23/09, transcript via Nexis]
O'REILLY: If the Republicans want to defeat President Obama, they have to explain him to the country. Because I don't believe most of the country understands the President and how he is driven by one thing and one thing only, and that is social justice. Above all else, that's what he wants. And in theory that's good. But in practice, it's pushing the country over the cliff. So as much as he's personable and sincere, the country's going over the cliff. And if the GOP can't make that case, it's gonna lose.
O'Reilly later added: "I think you're going to have to scare the American people a little bit."
Beck is Fox News' fearmongerer in chief. In the past he has accused the Obama administration of "taking you to a place to be slaughtered," and creating "slavery." He's also smeared Obama himself as a "Marxist" who may not be a Christian. Here's an example of the hyperbolic rhetoric coming from what even Beck's colleagues call his fear chamber:
BECK: So what does Obama do, he says, boy, I'm not -- I'm just out of stuff to do. What else could I possibly do to the American people?
President Obama, why don't you just set us on fire? For the love of Pete, what are you doing? Do you not hear -- do you not hear the cries of people who are saying stop? We would like some sanity in our country for a second.
We didn't vote to lose the republic. We didn't vote for any of this stuff. We voted for change.
BECK: We can disagree with each other on policies, but Good Lord Almighty, man, please. Some of us don't agree with all of the policies. We'd like to have a country left in the end of four years. No need to set us on fire. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 4/9/09]
O'Reilly has previously demonstrated that Beck's conspiracy theories and fearmongering will continue to get play on Fox News even after Beck's departure. Today he made it clear that Beck's anti-Obama campaigning will continue to get play as well.
Fox News figures have aggressively pushed national debt as the number one issue facing America -- a message that echoes what many top Republicans have said. Yet experts argue that job growth and the economy should be our top priority instead -- a sentiment shared by voters, according to public opinion polls.
Fox News, continuing its role as the communications wing of the Republican Party, has adopted the GOP talking point that Democrats are using "'Mediscare' Attacks" against Rep. Paul Ryan's plan to replace Medicare with vouchers.
Glenn Beck deceptively edited Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu's comments to Congress to suggest they were a rebuke of President Obama, who purportedly "played into the hands of radicals." In fact, Netanyahu made clear that his comments were not a denunciation.
As attention turns to speculation that May 21, 2011, will be the Biblical day of rapture, Media Matters revisits a litany of fringe right-wing media figures who foretold that President Obama might just be the Antichrist - the latest in a long line of world leaders presaged as "the beast."