Fox & Friends today interviewed a member of the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) to attack the Affordable Care Act without disclosing his ties to the anti-health care group. NFIB member and small business owner Mike Paine appeared on the program to claim that the health care bill will hurt his business, an attack that has been repeated by other NFIB members.
During the interview, Fox & Friends co-host Dave Briggs asked Paine to explain, "[w]hy, in your opinion, does Obamacare hurt small businesses like yours?" Paine went on to talk about his uncertainty over the law and claimed he believed President Obama wants to get rid of employer-based health care:
At no point during the interview did Briggs mention that Paine was a member of the NFIB, a group that has spent millions opposing the health care reform law, even though the NFIB's Twitter account promoted his appearance on Thursday:
The NFIB has long been involved in the effort to overturn the Affordable Care Act. Salon.com's Alex Seitz-Weld noted that the NFIB is the lead plaintiff in one of the lawsuits against the law that went before the Supreme Court, and reported that the group's lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act "cost at least $2.9 million in 2010 alone." He also reported that:
The NFIB presents itself as the "nonpartisan" voice of small businesses, but liberal critics charge that, much like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the NFIB has become a partisan conservative attack dog.
The group has given vastly more to GOP candidates than to Democrats, with over 90 percent of its contributions going to Republicans for the past 15 years, on average. So far this year, they've given almost $300,000 to GOP candidates and just $3,500 to Democrats. Crossroads GPS, the 501(c)4 arm of Karl Rove's American Crossroads, also gave $3.7 million to the NFIB last year.
But Paine isn't the only small business owner affiliated with the NFIB that Fox has hosted to criticize health care reform, and it isn't the first time they failed to disclose the guest's NFIB membership.
The blog Balloon Juice pointed out that a small business owner named Joe Olivo recently appeared on NPR and NBC News to bash the Affordable Care Act - without his membership in the NFIB being disclosed. Olivo has also appeared several times on Fox to criticize the law:
Wow--two news organizations covering the same story scoured the nation for a random small business owner to comment on that story--and they both found the same one! How'd that happen? What are the odds?
Well, as it turns out, Joe Olivo of Perfect Printing turns up quite a bit in public discussions of this and other issues. Here he is testifying against the health care law before House and Senate committees in January 2011. Here he is on the Fox Business Network around the same time, discussing the same subject. Here he is a few days ago, also on Fox Business, talking to John Stossel about the law. Here he is discussing the same subject on a New Jersey Fox affiliate.
Go to many of these links and you find out something about Joe Olivo that NPR and NBC didn't tell you: he's a member of the National Federation of Independent Business. NFIB's site and YouTube page promote many of Olivo's public appearances. He was the subject of an NFIB "My Voice in Washington" online video in 2011.
A Nexis search shows that Joe Olivo has been hosted by Fox News and Fox Business six times since July 2010, and in those appearances he criticized health care reform and claimed it will hurt his business - without his membership in the NFIB being disclosed.
UPDATE: Balloon Juice notes that National Federation of Independent Business member Joe Olivo appeared on NPR again on Sunday -- and again, his affiliation with the NFIB was not disclosed:
He was being interviewed by Guy Raz on All Things Considered on the subject of a bill championed by Senator Tom Harkin that would raise the minimum wage. (Needless to say, Olivo's against the idea.)
No mention of his NFIB ties--none. And there's none in the audio version of the story. (Olivo comes in at about 7:06.)
What's odd is that the Olivo interview is followed by a chat with Bill Dunkelberg, NFIB's chief economist. He's ID'd as an NFIB guy. (He also thinks that maybe we shouldn't have a minimum wage at all.) But Olivo gets no such ID.