Some media outlets are distorting comments made by President Obama claiming he admitted he doesn't have a "complete strategy" to fight the terrorist group the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL). But the full context of the remarks -- which were reported correctly by a number of media outlets -- shows that Obama was only referencing the complete strategy of training and equipping of Iraqi soldiers.
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly resorted to anti-Semitic imagery in an effort to smear George Soros, describing the Jewish philanthropist and businessman as a "shadow puppet master" who "has his tentacles into political organizations."
On the March 18 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly warned viewers that the American people have a responsibility to counter so-called "anti-capitalist violence on display" in Europe. He deplored what he claimed is "crazy left-wing economic stuff" on its way to taking root in the United States as a result of the economic agenda championed by President Obama, Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and 84-year old philanthropist George Soros, whom O'Reilly declared "the most frightening of all." He continued (emphasis added):
O'REILLY: Soros has now taken his ill-gotten gains and is financing the most radical left-wing organizations in America. He is the shadow puppet master behind corrupt far-left groups like Media Matters. Soros has his tentacles into political organizations like the Center for American Progress, which has provided operatives for the Obama administration, some of whom are now going over to Hillary Clinton's campaign. Few Americans even know who Soros is, but the 84-year old uber-leftist is behind much of the political strife in this country.
Depictions of Jewish people as "puppet masters" controlling the government and the media are anti-Semitic stereotypes that go back decades. O'Reilly's claim that Soros' "tentacles" have infiltrated the upper echelons of political society is also a play on overtly anti-Semitic imagery. The white supremacist, neo-Nazi online forum Stormfront.org contains a trove of examples, including a March 19, 2013 post called "The 6 Tentacles of Jewish Supremacy Revealed." The image of a Jewish octopus engulfing the globe or ensnaring political institutions dates back to at least the 1930s, when it was a common theme in Nazi propaganda.
In 2010, then-Fox News host Glenn Beck was condemned by Jewish groups in part for using similar negative stereotypes and for accusing Soros of being a Nazi collaborator who helped "send the Jews" to "death camps."
An Argentine historian has discredited Bill O'Reilly's claim that the riot he covered in 1982 as a CBS News correspondent was a combat situation, where "many were killed." In fact, according to the historian -- an expert on the Falklands war -- "there were no people killed at the protests."
As Mother Jones and many of his CBS News colleagues have casted doubt on his claims, O'Reilly has continued to defend his accounts of covering the Falklands War as a reporter for CBS News, which repeatedly created the impression he was in a combat zone.
In his book The No Spin Zone, O'Reilly claimed the 1982 Buenos Aires protest he covered was "a major riot" where "many were killed." In a September 27, 2008, interview on CNN's The Kalb Report, O'Reilly described the protest, saying, "the Argentine troops shoot the people down in the street. They shoot them down. It's not like rubber bullets or gas, people are dying ... it's unbelievable, I mean, people just falling, like bing, bing, bing, bing, bing." And on the March 25, 2008, edition of his show The Radio Factor, he said:
O'REILLY: When I got shot at I was covering the Falklands war and I was based in Argentina in Buenos Aires [...] And when the Argentines surrendered to the British there was a huge riot in Buenos Aires. I was in the middle of that riot when Argentine soldiers came out of the barracks and got into the streets and actually shot people dead in the street, because people were rioting. And it wasn't like warning shots or rubber bullets or teargas. They were shooting people dead.
But an Argentine historian told The Washington Post's Erik Wemple that "there were no people killed at the protests":
Seven of Bill O'Reilly's former CBS News colleagues who were with the Fox host in Buenos Aires have challenged his account of the riot he has recently come under fire for describing as a "combat situation." As contradictions to O'Reilly's account of his 1982 reporting on the Falklands War build, O'Reilly has responded to critics with personal attacks.
After Mother Jones called into question O'Reilly's accounts of covering the Falklands War as a reporter for CBS News, which repeatedly created the impression he was in a combat zone, O'Reilly lobbed personal attacks at Mother Jones writers David Corn and Daniel Schulman. Calling Corn a "guttersnipe liar," and a "disgusting piece of garbage," O'Reilly denied the allegations and insisted the riot he covered in Buenos Aires was "certainly combat."
But according to a February 22 CNN report, seven of O'Reilly's former CBS News colleagues who were present with him in Buenos Aires have also challenged his account of the riot as a "combat situation," and his "description of a CBS cameraman being injured in the chaos":
Did O'Reilly's photographer get "run down" and bloodied?
CNN has interviewed seven people who were there for CBS, and none of them recall anyone from the network being injured.
"If somebody got hurt, we all would have known," Alvarez said.
In a Friday interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, O'Reilly said the photographer's last name was Moreno. Roberto Moreno was there for CBS. He now lives in Venezuela, and he declined to comment to CNN.
But Mia Fabius, who was the office manager for the CBS Miami bureau at the time, has stayed in touch with Moreno for decades, and she said Moreno has never spoken about any injury in Argentina.
Further, Fabius said no injury report was ever filed.
ABC News and CBS News helped potential GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney dredge up discredited attacks on Hillary Clinton in their reports on an upcoming speech by Romney. The attacks smear Clinton's diplomatic work with Russia as secretary of state and scandalize comments she made on trickle-down economics that were taken out of context by the media.
Reports from two news networks hyped excerpts from Romney's planned speech at Mississippi State University on Wednesday night that will be targeted at Clinton. Both ABC and CBS News articles uncritically reported that Romney will be criticizing Clinton's "clueless" efforts to "reset" U.S.-Russia relations during Mr. Obama's first term.
But the "reset" moment that media outlets frequently cite as the primary example of Clinton's dealings with Russia while serving as secretary of state does not accurately portray her tenure. Clinton's successful negotiations with Russia resulted in in an agreement that allows the "U.S. military planes to transport lethal materiel over Russia to Afghanistan," reducing reliance on Pakistan for transporting cargo. Clinton also expressed serious concerns with Russia's 2011 elections, and warned that Russia was trying to "re-Sovietize" Eastern Europe and that Vladimir Putin would attempt to consolidate Russian control over eastern Ukraine if the opportunity presented itself.
Both ABC and CBS also highlighted another misleading attack against Clinton from Romney's upcoming speech, where he will assert that Clinton "doesn't know where jobs come from in the first place," an apparent reference to a scandal invented by the media over Clinton's statement that tax breaks for the rich don't cause companies to create jobs. CBS portrayed Clinton's remarks on tax breaks for the rich as a slip-up:
In his speech text, Romney takes a swipe at Hillary Clinton for telling voters during the 2014 midterm campaign, "Don't let anybody tell you it's corporations and businesses that create jobs."
"How can Secretary Clinton provide opportunity for all if she doesn't know where jobs come from in the first place?" Romney is expected to ask. "We need a president who will do what it takes to bring more good paying jobs to the placement offices of our college campuses."
After her remarks sparked a round of mockery from her opponents on the right, Clinton claimed she misspoke and said she meant to say that the economy grows when companies create good-paying jobs in America, "not when we hand out tax breaks for corporations that outsource jobs or stash their profits overseas."
This attack on Clinton's remarks, omits crucial context used by right-wing media outlets to scandalize the comments. The full context shows that Clinton's statement was in reference to tax breaks for the rich, and argued that trickle-down economics is not successful at creating jobs (emphasis added):
CLINTON: Don't let anybody tell you that raising the minimum wage will kill jobs. They always say that. I've been through this. My husband gave working families a raise in the 1990s. I voted to raise the minimum wage and guess what? Millions of jobs were created or paid better and more families were more secure. That's what we want to see here, and that's what we want to see across the country.
And don't let anybody tell you, that, you know, it's corporations and businesses that create jobs. You know, that old theory, trickle-down economics. That has been tried. That has failed. That has failed rather spectacularly.
One of the things my husband says, when people say, what did you bring to Washington? He says, well I brought arithmetic. And part of it was he demonstrated why trickle down should be consigned to the trash bin of history. More tax cuts for the top and for companies that ship jobs over seas while taxpayers and voters are stuck paying the freight just doesn't add up.
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that he had no role in hyping the myth that Muslim "no-go zones" exist throughout France, just days after Fox News apologized for spreading the fiction. In fact, O'Reilly previously cited the so called "no-go zones" as one of the contributing causes of the Paris terror attacks.
On January 17, Fox correspondent Julie Banderas apologized for the network's coverage "regarding the Muslim population in Europe" in the days following the terrorist attacks in Paris, explaining that there is no credible evidence to support the existence of Muslim "no-go zones." Several other Fox hosts offered additional apologies throughout the day.
On the January 20 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, during a discussion about the Parisian mayor Anne Hildalgo's announcement that she intends to sue Fox News for its "prejudiced" coverage following the attacks, O'Reilly denied that the Fox apology was about the Muslim "no-go zone" myth in France. He insisted that it was only about Steve Emerson's ludicrous claim that the entire English city of Birmingham was Muslim-only and nobody else went to the city. O'Reilly also denied that he had anything to do with the "no-go zones" claim (emphasis added):
O'REILLY: All right, we got a minute. The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, said she's going to sue Fox News for reporting on so-called no-go zones in Paris. They're dominated by Muslims and police hesitate to go in there -- at least that has been the reportage in some places. I didn't have anything to do with this. But I will point out that the mayor is a socialist.
But on January 9, O'Reilly cited Muslim "no-go zones" in France as a cause behind the terror attacks in Paris (emphasis added):
O'REILLY: France brought a lot of this terrorism on itself. We just talked about the no-go zones that they allow. They allow, 10 percent of the population is Muslim. They are all in there, they're radicalized, they don't assimilate.
UPDATE: O'Reilly also claimed that Fox News "isn't even seen in France, because they block it." But The Washington Post's Erik Wemple reports that a Fox spokesperson confirmed that the network reaches 13,680 homes in France but has a limited reach because it is only available in English and broadcasts on a U.S.-based schedule.
Fox News contributor and radio talk show host Erick Erickson declared that "the terrorists won in Atlanta" after right-wing media falsely claimed that Atlanta's anti-gay fire chief was terminated for his religious beliefs.
On January 6, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed dismantled conservatives' claims that Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran was fired over a book that he wrote which contains anti-gay remarks, explaining that Cochran's lack of judgment in distributing the book to his employees, and not following instructions regarding his month-long suspension over publishing the book without notice to the city, is what led to his termination.
On January 7, hours after a horrific terrorist attack against staffers of the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris that left 12 people dead, Erickson wrote a blog post that likened the LGBT community to terrorists for objecting to the former Atlanta fire chief's book, and stated that "the terrorists won":
A publisher published something that offended. It mocked, it offended, and it showed the fallacy of a religion. It angered.
So the terrorists decided they needed to publicly destroy and ruin the publisher in a way that would not only make that destruction a public spectacle, but do it so spectacularly that others would think twice before publishing or saying anything similar.
The terrorist wants to sow fear. The destruction of an individual is not just meant to be a tool of vengeance, but a tool of instruction. It shows others what will happen to them if they dare do the same. It is generates self-regulating peer pressure. Others, fearing the fall out, will being to self-police and self-regulate. They will silence others on behalf of the terrorists. Out of fear, they will drive the ideas from the public square and society will make them off limits.
So they demanded the Mayor of Atlanta fire the Chief of the Fire Department for daring to write that his first duty was to "glory God" and that any sex outside of heterosexual marriage was a sin.
And the terrorists won in Atlanta.
Bill O'Reilly interviewed former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke about GOP Rep. Steve Scalise's address to a white supremacist group in a segment Duke turned into a bizarre defense of his reputation.
Scalise, who has a leadership position in the GOP as the House Majority Whip, has apologized for speaking to a white supremacist conference in 2002. Conservative media are divided on whether Scalise is a victim of the media, or made a mistake serious enough for him to resign his leadership post.
During his January 5 Fox News appearance, Duke denied he was ever a white supremacist, insisting that his organization, the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO), was "a chartered human rights organization," and described affirmative action programs as racially discriminatory. Duke gave cover to Scalise, insisting that he can't be sure if Scalise ever addressed his organization. O'Reilly pushed back against Duke's insistence that he was never a white supremacist, saying "don't sit here and tell me that you're not trying to promote the cause of the white people, because you are."
As the interview ended, Duke held up a picture of President Obama labeled "Communist Terrorist Murderer."
Duke also appeared on CNN on January 3, where Michael Smerconish pressed him to acknowledge that the Holocaust occurred.
Watch the interview below:
Right-wing media websites continued to undermine their credibility in 2014 by peddling a number of false, ridiculous, and bigoted smears. Here are the top smears from conservative websites The Daily Caller, Breitbart.com, and The Washington Free Beacon.
Fox News personalities co-opted a fatal hostage situation in Sydney, Australia to justify torturing terror suspects.