On CNBC's The Call, while purporting to describe "the value of our money," Larry Kudlow lit a U.S. dollar bill on fire, destroying part of the bill -- a possible violation of Title 18, Section 333, of the U.S. Code.
On America's Newsroom, Bill Hemmer did not challenge Sen. James Inhofe's claim that President Obama's proposal to cap annual carbon emissions and auction the right to pollute is "the most regressive tax that you can have, because ... someone who is very poor spends a very high percentage of his or her income on ... energy that they have to buy." Hemmer did not point out that, in proposing a cap-and-trade program in his budget outline, Obama addressed the issue of higher energy costs impacting consumers differently by proposing to return "[t]he balance of the auction revenues ... to the people, especially vulnerable families, communities, and businesses."
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Linked article: Frank assails bonuses paid to executives at AIG
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On Forbes on Fox, host David Asman falsely claimed that President Barack Obama "once pledged to ban all earmarks." In fact, Obama promised to reform the earmark process and cut wasteful spending, not eliminate earmarks altogether.
No Democratic members of Congress were quoted in a Washington Post opinion article asking "members of Congress and others whether federal budget earmarks are defensible"; the three members of Congress whose responses were listed are all Republicans. This is consistent with a pattern in the media of portraying earmarks as a practice unique to Democrats.
My column this week looks at the deliberate stupidity in the news media's coverege of earmarks. Here's an example in which MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell engages in juvenile mockery of pig odor research rather than actually assessing whether it is a good idea:
CNN's Wolf Blitzer did not challenge Ari Fleischer's false claim that President Obama has a "proposal to eliminate deductions" for charitable donations and housing-related expenses. In fact, Obama's fiscal year 2010 budget proposal includes a provision to reduce to 28 percent the rate at which families earning more than $250,000 a year can take deductions for charitable donations, housing-related expenses, and other itemized deductions.
ABC's Charles Gibson falsely claimed that President Obama "says he opposes earmarks, but he signed the [omnibus] bill anyway." In fact, Obama said, "Done right, earmarks have given legislators the opportunity to direct federal money to worthy projects that benefit people in their districts, and that's why I've opposed their outright elimination."
The whole column today is a bit nutty. i.e. There aren't enough businessmen in Obama's cabinet! (Including SOS.) Of course, columnists are allowed to wander down incoherent roads, but they're not allowed to make stuff up.
Like here [emphasis added.]
The Democrats were egregious in packing the stimulus bill with pet projects that won't stimulate much except campaign contributions and in sticking with earmarks -- a symbolic outrage that Obama promised during the campaign he would eliminate.
As Media Matters has noted, the media's beloved meme that Obama promised to eliminate earmarks is pure fantasy. Not that that has stopped the press from peddling its favorite falsehood.
Second, the stimulus bill had no earmarks in it. Period. Even Fox News conceded that point:
President Obama did make sure that bulky earmarks were not in the stimulus bill.
On his Fox News program, Sean Hannity misquoted President Obama in falsely claiming that Obama, "in the [presidential] debate with [Sen.] John McCain, said, 'I'm going to go line by line. I'm going to eliminate all the earmarks.' " In fact, during the second presidential debate, Obama said that he wanted "to go line by line through every item in the federal budget and eliminate programs that don't work and make sure that those that do work, work better and cheaper." Indeed, during his presidential campaign, Obama actually promised to reform the earmark process and cut wasteful spending, not eliminate earmarks altogether.
The Politico uncritically reported Sen. Mitch McConnell's claim that the combined cost of the omnibus and recovery bills amounts to spending $1 billion an hour. Fox News' Sean Hannity and Brian Kilmeade also repeated McConnell's claim. But as Time's Michael Scherer explained, McConnell's figure is "fuzzy math that does not really mean what it seems to mean" because it is based on dividing the cost of the two bills over 50 days, when, in fact, the money will be spent over the course of many months.
On the CBS Evening News, Katie Couric stated that the omnibus spending bill was "filled with earmarks," and Chip Reid reported that the bill was "loaded with about eighty-five hundred pet projects known as earmarks, inserted by members of Congress without legislative review." But at no point did they note that according to most estimates, earmarks constitute less than 2 percent of the bill's total spending.
On The Situation Room, Wolf Blitzer did not challenge a Republican talking point repeated by Rep. Eric Cantor that the cost of the omnibus appropriations bill and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act amounts to $24 billion a day, a billion dollars an hour." That calculation is based on dividing the costs of the two bills over 50 days. But as Time's Michael Scherer noted, "[t]he omnibus is a spending bill to run the government over the course of an entire year. ... The stimulus will be paid out over several years, with most of the money going out the door over the next 18 months."