Fox News advanced the attack that Obama nominee Craig Becker would be an "anti-democratic and anti-free speech" member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) because he believed "employers should have no role in union-organizing elections at all." But during a congressional hearing on his nomination, Becker stated that as a board member, he would be bound by law, which includes the "indisputable" right of employers to express views on unionization.
A Harris poll released on March 24 found that a majority of Republican respondents believe that President Obama "is a socialist," "wants to take away Americans' right to own guns," "is a Muslim," "wants to turn over the sovereignty of the United States to a one world government," and "has done many things that are unconstitutional." The findings follow a year of such smears and attacks on Obama by conservatives.
On ABC's This Week, Karl Rove pushed the anonymously sourced allegation that the White House tried to intimidate Democrats into voting for the health care bill by sending "unsolicited emails to federal employees." However, White House officials have stated that the emails were sent out to everyone on a voluntary White House mailing list and are not specifically targeted at federal employees.
Though Politico has since removed an article reporting that a memo about health care it originally cited came from Democratic leaders, Fox Nation is still asserting as fact that the memo is from Democrats.
From the Fox Nation (accessed on March 19):
As we noted earlier, Politico replaced the article with the following statement:
An earlier post in this spot detailed what was purported by Republicans to be an internal Democratic memo regarding the upcoming health reform vote Sunday. Democratic leadership has challenged the authenticity of the memo. POLITICO has removed the memo and the details about it until we can absolutely verify the document's origin.
Fox News' Special Report also referenced the memo in an earlier report, citing no evidence of its authenticity.
As we've been documenting of late, Fox News has been on a tear with its anti-reform activism now that the health care reform legislation inches closer to a possible vote in Congress this week. And the one person who has received much of Fox News' ire of late is, of course, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has been a favorite target of the right since she ascended to the speakership and whose resignation they continually demand.
Well, today, discussing the "political fallout" from health care on Hannity, The Daily Caller's S.E. Cupp gleefully jumped in to heap additional scorn on Pelosi when Sean Hannity brought up Obama's and Congress' approval ratings; Cupp falsely suggested that Pelosi has a 3 percent approval rating. Cupp announced that a new poll had "Pelosi at 3 -- 3! -- 3!" Hannity interjected: "Percent?" Cupp, laughing, replied: "Yeah -- 3," adding, "Terrible." Then she laughed some more.
This 3 percent approval number for Pelosi, however, doesn't in fact exist. From the poll:
3. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Nancy Pelosi is doing as speaker of the House?
Approve Disapprove (DK)
16-17 Mar 10 31% 57 13
Democrats 56% 28 16
Republicans 9% 83 8
Independents 25% 65 10
Then you get to question 9 of the poll and you start to see the -- how shall I say? -- asinine reasoning by which the 3 percent number became Pelosi's approval number. First, the poll question:
9. Which one of following people do you have the most respect for -- President Barack Obama, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, or Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts? (ROTATE)
President Speaker Chief Justice
Obama Pelosi Roberts (All) (None) (Don't know)
16-17 Mar 10 46% 3 37 2 9 3
Democrats 76% 4 12 3 4 2
Republicans 14% 2 67 1 12 4
Independents 48% 2 35 1 11 3
See, only 3 percent of people in this poll had the "most respect for" Pelosi, not approved of the job she is doing as speaker. Either I'm dumb or my powers of comprehension have been impaired by March Madness mania and now both respect and approval mean the same thing.
Bill O'Reilly, who is ... um, very fond of attacking Pelosi, also couldn't help himself tonight, saying on his show: "One poll said -- you know what Nancy Pelosi's approval rating is? Three percent." But, unlike Cupp, O'Reilly caught himself, quickly putting his hand up and adding, "It's not a straight approval rating question -- it's who do you trust? And they listed Obama, and somebody else, and then Pelosi at 3 percent."
Final thought: Guess who conducted the poll? Two points if you picked Fox News.
It's been a week now since Robert Montgomery inaccurately claimed in an ESPN column that a federal strategy "could prohibit U.S. citizens from fishing" and a week since ESPNOutdoors.com executive editor acknowledged that there were "errors" and a lack of "balance" in the piece. But Fox Nation is still linking to Montgomery's column and suggesting that the false claim is somehow true.
When the allegation first surfaced, Fox Nation joined other media outlets in spreading the absurd claim (not the first time Fox has jumped on debunked conspiracy theories as senior fellow Karl Frisch has noted), with the Fox Business Network and Fox News' Glenn Beck joining in. Then an interesting thing happened: a March 10 FoxNews.com article reported that government documents don't contain "language pertaining to a potential ban on recreational fishing."
And still, Fox Nation won't let this one go.
On the March 9 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly and former CNN host Lou Dobbs suggested that undocumented immigrants "dodge taxes," with O'Reilly asserting that the notion that they pay taxes is "crap." In fact, according to the Congressional Budget Office and the Social Security Administration, undocumented immigrants pay all kinds of taxes, including individual income, sales, property, and social security taxes.
Never one to miss an opportunity to attack President Obama, the first lady, or health care reform on his radio show (not necessarily in that order), Rush Limbaugh managed to hit all three in the span of a few seconds today while mocking Obama's health care summit. Limbaugh, referring to Obama's anecdote about having to rush his daughters to the emergency room, stated:
LIMBAUGH: Any person in America, from the richest guy in the country to the cheapest, poorest illegal immigrant can do exactly the same thing Obama just described and that's go to the emergency room. And Tom Coburn made that point. Everybody gets treated in this country. That's not what we're here talking about. We're talking about fraud, waste -- we just need to get it out of there.
Now, why, since Obama just described this wonderful system where his two daughters -- two fat daughters, according to his wife -- his two fat daughters came down with some sort of a disease and had to rush them to the emergency room, why design a system that destroys the very best private health care that he says he's so thankful for?
Limbaugh cited no evidence that Michelle Obama -- who has made it a personal goal to raise awareness of, and combat, childhood obesity -- has ever once referred to her daughters as "fat." Obama did mention her children during an appearance on Fox News' Huckabee, where she talked about her impetus for starting the Let's Move campaign:
MICHELLE OBAMA: I come to this issue more so as a mom than a first lady and I shared my story before because this is really how I became aware of the issue just in my own kids. You know, life has changed for families a way that I can see: We're busier; we're less active; you know, our kids watch more TV; sometimes it's hard to get outside; drive-thru fast food is easier and cheaper; and as a result, you know, we're seeing the effects on our kids and I saw it on mine. And it was because of my pediatrician that just sort of waved a red flag, you know.
MIKE HUCKABEE: What did he say?
MICHELLE OBAMA: He said, you know, he monitored our kids' body mass index. He didn't just do it for our kids, but he did this throughout his practice because he was seeing obesity rates increase. It was in an urban African-American setting and he saw those trends, so he did it for all of his patients. And he just said, you know, it -- you know, this -- the trajectory isn't what it should be so you may want to think about doing something. And I didn't know what to do. So we just started making some really small changes in our diet: more water, less fruit juices, more vegetables, I cooked a little bit more -- you know, even though we still had to go out because we were busy -- made sure my kids weren't sitting in front of the TV -- no TV during the week. Little things like that.
HUCKABEE: No TV for your kids during the week?
MICHELLE OBAMA: During the week -- you know, just on the weekend, and now they have homework, so you know they're really busy. So with those minor changes, I saw the impact on my kids almost immediately. So when I got to this position, I thought, you know, families don't even know how modern day life has really changed the way our kids move and eat, and if I didn't know, you know, what about communities where people aren't even talking about this issue? So, I thought that this platform would give me an opportunity to shine a light, to give more information to parents, to talk about health of food in schools, to talk about access and affordability issues, so it is really personal for me.
She made similar comments during an event in late January where she talked about the concerns of her children's pediatrician, who she said "warned that he was concerned that something was getting off-balance" and "cautioned me that I had to take a look at my own children's BMI." The AP further reported:
Obama said parents often recognize that kids in general don't eat right and aren't exercising enough, but "we always think that only happens to someone else's kids, and I was in that position."
"Even though I wasn't exactly sure at that time what I was supposed to do with this information about my children's BMI, I knew that I had to do something," she said. "I had to lead our family to a different way."
The first lady said that over the next few months she made some small changes that got her daughters back on track. No more weekday TV. More attention to portion sizes. Low-fat milk. Water bottles in the lunch boxes. Grapes on the breakfast table. Apple slices at lunch. Colorful vegetables on the dinner table.
"It was really very minor stuff, but these small changes resulted in some really significant improvements, and I didn't know it would," Obama said. "It was so significant that the next time we visited our pediatrician, he was amazed. He looked over the girls' charts and he said, 'What on earth are you doing?' "
Did I miss the part where she called her daughters "fat"?
Reporting on the Democrats' possible use of the reconciliation budget process to pass health care reform, media outlets have advanced the Republican criticism that reconciliation is "an end-run around the normal legislative process." However, the procedure has been used repeatedly by Republicans, and, as NPR has pointed out, reconciliation has been used to pass major changes to health care laws.
Fox News personalities have suggested that at least 19 Obama administration officials and nominees should resign, be fired, or have their nominations blocked. They have also called for both Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to step down.