From the May 17 edition of Fox News' Your World With Neil Cavuto:
Loading the player reg...
FoxNews.com reported the unsurprising news that now that the federal government has reached its debt ceiling, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is taking measures to ensure that the government meets its obligations for the short-term while the White House and lawmakers attempt to reach a deal for raising that ceiling. In Geithner's words, he is taking those measures to "avoid catastrophic economic consequences for citizens."
According to FoxNews.com, those measures include "a plan to suspend investments to two government employee retirement funds, while borrowing from one of them." FoxNews.com also reported that "the move will not affect federal workers and retirees and that the accounts will be 'made whole' once the debt limit is increased."
But FoxNews.com's companion website, Fox Nation, used Geithner's responsible move to stave off economic collapse to issue an unhinged attack on the Treasury Secretary with a headline stating: "Turbo Tim Raids Pension Plans." As of 9:30 pm ET, this was the lead story on the Fox Nation and had been so for more than two hours.
Fox News White House Correspondent Wendell Goler promoted the false claim that unions are exempt from a draft executive order that would require federal contractors to disclose more information about their political contributions. In fact, the order would apply to unions that have federal contracts, such as the AFL-CIO.
Earlier today, we pointed out that Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy had provided Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) with a forum to accuse the Obama administration of creating a "Nixonian type enemies list" based on their draft executive order to require federal contractors to be more transparent with their political donations. Now Fox's "news" shows are running with the smear.
In a segment on America Live, Alisyn Camerota and Mike Emanuel pushed claims that under the proposal, "if you've given to Republican candidates, well maybe you won't get a federal contract."
Later in the hour, NDN's Simon Rosenberg pointed out that this claim is ridiculous, since much of the information the draft order deals with is already disclosed, with the order extending the disclosure to new, currently undisclosed political contribution streams:
CAMEROTA: Even if it isn't intended to be a blacklist, couldn't it somehow be abused where if you find, "Oh, interesting, this contractor has given to Republican candidates, perhaps I'm not interested"?
ROSENBERG: All of that information is already publicly available. If these companies have political action committees, then the money that they already give out to federal officeholders has been publicly available for generations.
Indeed, information on companies' political action committee donations and contributions from their officers is already publicly available online. If the Obama administration wanted to find out who those companies were giving to and use that information to inform their contracting decisions, they could do so currently through publicly available information. Note that neither Issa nor Fox has uncovered any instances of this actually occurring.
Indeed, one company, KBR, held more than $4.5 billion in federal contracts last year, seventh in the country, while giving 93 percent of its PAC's donations to Republicans. And Congressional Quartely Weekly reported in February that KBR is continuing to get government contracts during the Obama administration: "[T]he Army told reporters last year that the company, now called KBR, would have no competition and would get another extension worth $568 million to support U.S. forces in Iraq through the end of this year" (retrieved via Nexis).
As to former Bush White House aide Brad Blakeman's complaint that the information shouldn't be disclosed as part of the bidding process, the draft order makes clear that the information is being collected from bidders and distributed on the Internet precisely so that taxpayers can see it and have information on the degree to which contracting decisions are being influenced by corporate money.
As Rosenberg points out, it's curious that conservatives don't want this information out there if they don't have something to hide.
Yesterday on Fox & Friends, network "attack poodle" and possible Bin Laden deather Steve Doocy put on an absolute clinic on how to interview a GOP congressman - if you're a Republican shill whose goal is to help him levy attacks on the Obama administration.
This is not particularly surprising; Fox & Friends is famous for conducting Charmin-soft interviews of Republican officeholders and candidates. But it's worth taking a look at just how Doocy uses his position to bolster, rather than challenge, his guest, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA).
Doocy opened the interview with a statement, not a question, noting that "some lawmakers" are blaming "industry regulations" for high gas prices because they restrict U.S. drilling. Of course, this is a faulty premise; energy experts and Fox's own Stuart Varney have said that those lawmakers are wrong and that gas prices would be high regardless of U.S. drilling.
But rather than challenge Issa with those facts, Doocy simply set up the premise that Issa agreed with, introduced him, and let him tee off on the administration.
Doocy responded to Issa's attack by agreeing it was true, then asked the congressman if he believed "this administration wants lower gas prices," or if they want gas prices to rise to reduce consumption. Issa replied, "I think you hit it right on the head," agreeing that Obama wants gas to be expensive.
Doocy then moved on to another topic Issa wanted to talk about, raising the issue of a draft executive order to increase transparency in the political donations of federal contractors that the congressman will be attacking in a hearing this week. Doocy asked Issa, "you feel that this could be a way to punish the enemies of the White House. Right?" Issa replied, "absolutely," before claiming that if the order was implemented, there "could be a Nixonian type enemies list in the making."
You would think that Doocy would pause at the invocation of President Nixon, especially since Issa was discussing what "could" happen while citing absolutely nothing to support the idea that it "would" happen. Nope! Instead, he replied, "And the thing about an executive order, and I don't have to tell you, Congressman, is the fact that when the president issues something like that, then he does an end run around the will of the Congress."
Issa responded "absolutely," then accused the Obama administration of compiling an "enemies list" a few more times. Doocy again declined to take issue with the characterization, bringing the interview to a close and adding, "Didn't know about some of that."
It's hard to imagine how that's possible, since he was the one setting up every statement Issa made.
Conservative media figures have claimed that the National Labor Relations Board is seeking to ban companies from moving to states with lax labor laws by filing a complaint against Boeing's decision to move the production facility for its new 787 Dreamliner to South Carolina. In fact, the NLRB's general counsel has alleged that Boeing moved its 787 production line in retaliation for strikes by Boeing workers at its Seattle-area plant, which, if proven true, constitutes a clear violation of federal labor laws.
From the May 9 edition of Fox News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor:
Loading the player reg...
From the May 9 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program:
Loading the player reg...
John Stossel -- who believes that private businesses should have the right to engage in racial discrimination -- devoted another segment of his Fox Business show to attacking the Pigford lawsuit that provided recompense to black farmers who were victims of systemic discrimination by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Stossel set the segment up as a debate between Al Pires, a lawyer who represented the black farmers, and serial liar Andrew Breitbart, who has attacked Pigford as part of his eight-month smear campaign against former USDA official Shirley Sherrod, who first came to prominence after Breitbart posted a deceptively-edited video of a speech she gave that falsely portrayed her as a racist.
Stossel and Breitbart didn't make any new claims about Pigford. Rather, they rehashed the same tired distortions that we've previously debunked -- that the case is a "scam" and the claimants don't deserve their money.
But the segment was notable for Stossel's refusal to acknowledge that there was real, systematic discrimination against black people by the USDA. Recall that back when Stossel argued that "private businesses ought to get to discriminate" on the basis of race and called for the repeal of part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he at least acknowledged that the government should not discriminate.
In this case, there is clear evidence that the government discriminated against black farmers. As the Congressional Research Service found, a report commissioned by USDA revealed that "from 1990 to 1995, ... minorities received less than their fair share of USDA money for crop payments, disaster payments, and loans." Furthermore, the federal judge overseeing the Pigford case also found that there was systemic discrimination against black farmers.
But just like the last time he did a segment on Pigford, Stossel refused to acknowledge that discrimination had occurred, preferring instead to attack the people claiming discrimination and their attorneys.
From the May 5 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
Loading the player reg...
A couple of months ago, J. Christian Adams put up the following breathless headline on the Pajamas Media blog: "Bombshell: Justice Department Only Selectively Complies with Freedom of Information Act (PJM Exclusive)." In the post, Adams claimed that the Obama Justice Department has "politicized compliance with the Freedom of Information Act. According to documents I have obtained, FOIA requests from liberals or politically connected civil rights groups are often given same day turn-around by the DOJ. But requests from conservatives or Republicans face long delays, if they are fulfilled at all."
If anyone had asked us, we would have warned them not to take the bait without closely double-checking Adams' claims. After all, Adams is a long-time Republican activist who appears to be willing to promote any falsehood in order to attack President Obama's Justice Department. However, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee did fall for Adams' claims, pressing DOJ on whether it has politicized FOIA responses.
As we've noted, Attorney General Eric Holder has already testified that he looked into the issues raised by Adams' blog post and "I can assure you there is no ideological component with regard to how we can respond to FOIA requests." Now, the Justice Department has sent a detailed response to a letter from Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) answering Adams' claims, and the response shows that the "bombshell" Adams touted was actually a total dud.
It turns out that Adams' claims are based on falsehoods and apples-to-oranges comparisons. In fact, the letter shows that Adams even lied about the FOIA request made by his own organization, Pajamas Media, in his original post.
In a Pajamas Media blog post, New Black Panthers fabulist J. Christian Adams reports on a request from the town of Southbridge, Massachusetts to the Justice Department to monitor upcoming elections. Adams thinks that he's really trapped the Obama DOJ in a way that proves his central theory that the Obama DOJ is willing to protect minorities from voter discrimination but not willing to protect white people.
Unfortunately for him, he's entirely wrong about why the town is requesting monitors. His trap unravels quickly after that.
Adams claims that the town is requesting monitors because of a recently posted billboard in the town which recommends people voluntarily show identification at the polls. Adams responds:
So what is more intimidating: black panthers with billy clubs, or billboards urging citizens to voluntarily show photo identification? I'd lay odds that right now inside the Voting Section, you'd find more votes for the billboard. The two photos, the lady on the billboard vs. the black panthers, serve as a DOJ Rorschach test. Hold both up, and watch what happens in the next few weeks.
Adams is correct that Latino advocates have said that the billboard is "meant to intimidate Latino voters." But that's not why Southbridge asked for DOJ monitors. As you can read by clicking on one of the links that Adams helpfully includes in his post, the town contacted DOJ in response to Tuesday's election. During that election, according to the town clerk and a local judge, Latino voters were allegedly targeted for intimidation by tea party groups.
J. Christian Adams sure packed a lot of falsehoods and poisonous comments into one op-ed attacking the Obama Justice Department. As we've already pointed out, Adams falsely claimed that DOJ "stopped the debut of the Amazon Kindle." He also employed falsehoods and smears to attack Justice Department attorney Varda Hussain because of her prior work representing detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
But that's not all. Adams also has the audacity to attack the Justice Department for employing an attorney who used to work for D.C. Legal Aid Society, an organization that provides attorneys for residents of Washington, DC, who are involved in civil court cases but are too poor to afford attorneys.
In a piece for the Washington Examiner, Adams writes:
Who did Holder pick to head the unit inside civil rights to bring civil rights lawsuits against police departments and prisons? Why none other than Jonathan Smith, formerly of the Prisoners Legal Services Project and the D.C. Legal Aid Society, two anti-police and anti-prison guard antagonist groups. Hopefully America's police unions will take note of Smith's hiring when deciding presidential endorsements next year.
What's so bad about the D.C. Legal Aid Society and the Prisoners Legal Services Project?
The D.C. Legal Aid Society states that it provides "civil legal aid to individuals, families and communities in the District who could not otherwise afford to hire a lawyer." You would think the civil rights division would be a good place for someone whose career includes providing legal representation to those who can't afford it.
Indeed, the ethical rules for District of Columbia attorneys state: "A lawyer should participate in serving those persons, or groups of persons, who are unable to pay all or a portion of reasonable attorney's fees or who are otherwise unable to obtain counsel."
So, rather than paint Smith as "anti-police" for his work at the D.C. Legal Aid Society, one might say that Smith was fulfilling his ethical duties as an attorney to provide representation to those who can't afford it.
New Black Panthers fabulist J. Christian Adams attacked Department of Justice attorney Varda Hussain for previously defending terror suspects and suggested she was one of the purported "activist lawyers" hired by the Obama DOJ. But Hussain is one of several attorneys hired during the Bush administration who previously represented Guantanamo Bay detainees, and several Bush administration officials have criticized attacks against lawyers who represented terror suspects as "inappropriate" and "wrong."
If you are wondering if there was any lie about the Obama Justice Department so absurd that even New Black Panthers fabulist J. Christian Adams wouldn't push it, today is the day to eat some crow.
In an op-ed in The Washington Examiner, the rightwing activist cites as an example of "bizarre cases have come out of the Holder Civil Rights Division" that "DOJ stopped the debut of the Amazon Kindle because it was not in Braille." Problem 1 with this claim: the Kindle debuted in 2007, during the Bush administration. Problem 2: DOJ didn't block the Kindle's debut.
Adams seems to have a lot of trouble getting the facts right on this; back in August 2010, he offered the similarly false claim that Amazon "tried to sell a talking Kindle reader, but Justice said it couldn't because the button to make the Kindle talk didn't have Braille."
Here's what actually happened: In June 2009, the National Federation of the Blind and the American Council of the Blind filed suit against Arizona State University on behalf of a bind student after the university announced plans to participate in a pilot program to use the Kindle DX in the classroom. ASU was one of several universities to participate in this program. According to NFB, the program was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act because:
The Kindle DX features text-to-speech technology that can read textbooks aloud to blind students. The menus of the device are not accessible to the blind, however, making it impossible for a blind user to purchase books from Amazon's Kindle store, select a book to read, activate the text-to-speech feature, and use the advanced reading functions available on the Kindle DX.
The advocacy groups also filed complaints with DOJ, which began an investigation of the use of Kindle in classrooms. The impact of these efforts was swift and positive for the blind. Under pressure, Amazon began improving the Kindle to be more accessible to the blind. In January 2010, the groups -- joined by DOJ -- settled with ASU, citing "making improvements to and progress in the accessibility of e-book readers" and the university's agreement that they would "strive to use devices that are accessible to the blind.