On today's edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson hosted Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) to promote the Republican bill which would reduce spending to prevent the automatic, across-the-board cuts to the federal budget enacted as part of the debt ceiling agreement. Carlson introduced the segment by claiming Republicans were "try[ing] to stop $78 billion in automatic cuts from the Department of Defense" but that "Democrats appear to be using the threat of cuts as a bargaining chip."
But Carlson is giving only one side of the debate. While promoting GOP efforts to stop the sequestration cuts, and attacking Democrats for attempting to stop the bill, Carlson failed to mention that Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) tried to introduce his own bill to avoid sequestration, one that would similarly avoid cuts to the defense budget but was blocked by House Republicans. House Democratic leaders pointed out that, unlike their proposals, the GOP bill would pay for the cuts by slashing "programs for struggling Americans."
From a May 7 New York Times article:
The Republican-led House this week will lay bare the choice between social programs and Pentagon spending in an age of austerity when it takes up legislation to slice $261 billion from food stamps, Medicaid, social services and other programs for struggling Americans over the next decade to stave off more than $50 billion in military spending cuts scheduled to take effect next year.
The new legislation starkly lays out the costs of that pledge. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bill would push 1.8 million people off food stamps and could cost 280,000 children their school lunch subsidies and 300,000 children their health insurance coverage through the federal and state Children's Health Insurance Program. Elimination of the social services block grant to state and local governments would hit child abuse prevention programs, Meals on Wheels and child care.
A quarter of the cuts in the bill would come from programs for the poor. Cuts to Medicaid, food stamps and subsidized insurance premiums under the health care law make up more than a third of the package's savings, or $108 billion over 10 years.
From the January 17 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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From the January 13 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Responding to the Obama administration's announcement of an overhauled defense strategy that will guide cuts in defense spending, Frank Gaffney wrote in a January 10 post on Andrew Breitbart's Big Peace wrote that "[t]his is the first time in memory that a president has voluntarily eviscerated the armed forces of the United States and redeployed what remains so as to create acute vacuums of power in time of war."
Gaffney further wrote: "If even the defense reductions, downsizing and disengagement that it envisions come to pass -- let alone those in prospect if the cuts associated with the pending sequestration legislation are imposed, the United States will not simply expose its people, allies and vital interests to attack. It will invite such attack."
However, as Media Matters has noted, experts have said that the proposed plan is fiscally responsible while keeping America the "world's most dominant military."
From Gaffney's piece:
Listening to Barack Obama laying out what he calls his new defense strategy, my first reaction was, "Here we go again." Having basically written off the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mr. Obama is falling prey to a temptation several of his predecessors found irresistible in peacetime: Cut defense expenditures. Shrink the military. And hope the rest of the world will neither notice nor take advantage of our weakness.
Something is decidedly different, however. This is the first time in memory that a president has voluntarily eviscerated the armed forces of the United States and redeployed what remains so as to create acute vacuums of power in time of war. Unfortunately, I am referring not just to the war in Afghanistan that we continue to be engaged in, for the time being at least.
Under such circumstances Mr. Obama's "revised defense strategy" is a formula for disaster. If even the defense reductions, downsizing and disengagement that it envisions come to pass -- let alone those in prospect if the cuts associated with the pending sequestration legislation are imposed, the United States will not simply expose its people, allies and vital interests to attack. It will invite such attack.
Gaffney has previously fearmongered that repealing the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy could lead to reinstatement of the draft.
Following the Obama administration's announcement of an overhauled defense strategy that will guide cuts in defense spending, the right-wing media have claimed President Obama is "weakening national security" and marking a "new milestone" in "America's strategic retreat." But experts have said that the proposed plan is fiscally responsible while remaining "the world's most dominant military."
From the November 22 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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From the August 1 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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Today, Mike Huckabee voiced support for certain Defense Department cuts proposed by the co-chairmen of the White House National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform on Fox & Friends, while Sarah Palin urged Republicans to oppose defense cuts.
Palin wrote "An Open Letter to Republican Freshmen Members of Congress" on her Facebook page today:
You need to say no to cutting the necessities in our defense budget when we are engaged in two wars and face so many threats - from Islamic extremists to a nuclear Iran to a rising China. As Ronald Reagan said, "We will always be prepared, so we may always be free."
Fox News' America's Election HQ, Foxnews.com, and Fox Nation highlighted Palin's letter.
By contrast, on Fox & Friends today, Huckabee argued in favor of the defense cuts proposed by the White House commission:
DAVE BRIGGS: I was surprised, though, that the right wasn't as outspoken about some of the defense cuts that we need to make. A hundred billion dollars slashed out of that beast of a defense budget. It's unpatriotic to come out and talk about the defense budget, but their Pentagon is accepting airplanes that they don't even need.
HUCKABEE: They don't need and that they don't want. And what happens is, we're still designing a lot of military hardware for a war that we don't plan to fight. And, Robert Gates the Defense Department secretary, who I think has done an excellent job, and he has been one of those willing to grind sacred cows into hamburger and serve it rare, has really helped to identify ways in which we can keep ourselves strong, not cutting the military strength and not hurting veterans. There are two things Americans don't want to do, number one, get weak and, number two, hurt the veterans who kept us free. But those priorities don't have to be bloated with a lot of stuff that really is not about keeping us safe and protecting and caring for veterans. So yes, there are areas of the defense budget that need to be looked at honestly.
This isn't the first time that Palin has been at odds with another GOP official and Fox News contributor. We've noted the charges lobbed between Palin and Fox News contributor Karl Rove and their allies as a prelude to the 2012 Republican presidential primary.
The Drudge Report is attempting to link $8.7 billion in Iraq reconstruction money that the DOD reportedly cannot account for to the Obama administration by blaring the headline "Defense Dept. can't account for $8.7 billion" under an image of President Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. But the Associated Press article Drudge linked to reported that the funds in question predate the Obama administration.
From the Drudge Report, accessed July 27:
In fact, the Associated Press article Drudge links to makes clear that the funds in question were "withdrawn" from the U.N. Security Council's Development Fund for Iraq "between 2004 and 2007."
From the July 27 AP article:
A U.S. audit has found that the Pentagon cannot account for over 95 percent of $9.1 billion in Iraq reconstruction money, spotlighting Iraqi complaints that there is little to show for the massive funds pumped into their cash-strapped, war-ravaged nation.
The $9.1 billion in question came from the Development Fund for Iraq, which was set up by the U.N. Security Council in 2003. The DFI includes revenues from Iraq's oil and gas exports, as well as frozen Iraqi assets and surplus funds from the defunct, Saddam Hussein-era U.N. oil-for-food program.
Iraq had given the U.S. authorization to tap into the fund, which is held in New York, for humanitarian and reconstruction efforts, withdrawing that approval in December 2007.
With the establishment of the Coalition Provisional Authority, which ran Iraq shortly after the start of the U.S. invasion in 2003 until mid-2004, about $20 billion was placed into the account. The $9.1 billion audited by the Iraq reconstruction inspector general were funds withdrawn from that account between 2004 and 2007.
Sean Hannity falsely claimed that President Obama is "cutting troops' pay" and "cutting back on the military spending now as we speak." In fact, the Obama administration requested an increase in soldiers' salaries and also requested a larger overall defense budget for fiscal year 2011.
In a Washington Examiner column, the Heritage Foundation's James Carafano falsely claimed that the Obama administration is "refusing to modernize the U.S. [nuclear] arsenal" and is "cutting back on defense." In fact, the administration's Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) includes "significantly increased investments" to modernize America's nuclear weapons infrastructure, and each of Obama's two defense budget requests have increased the budget by billions of dollars.
From the April 6 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program:
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Fox Business' Stuart Varney baselessly claimed that the Obama administration was using inflated cost estimates of $1 million per year per soldier to deploy additional troops to Afghanistan in order to "introduce the pressure to leave" and that the Pentagon's estimate for cost per additional soldier deployed to Afghanistan is "closer to $600,000." However, the Pentagon reportedly acknowledged that the lower estimate does not include additional essential costs such as constructing additional facilities, providing support forces, intelligence assets, weapons, and other equipment, and one Pentagon comptroller memo that did include such costs reportedly estimated the cost to be between $750,000 to $1,250,000 per soldier per year, placing the White House estimate in line with the Pentagon.
Fox News' Bill Hemmer did not challenge Rep. Trent Franks' criticism of the Obama administration for proposing to reduce the missile defense budget, failing to note that Defense Department officials have testified that the cuts allow them to more effectively manage the fleet of interceptors that counter rogue state threats.
Carl Cameron reported that House Republicans are opposing President Obama's war spending bill because it contains funds "improper in a war funding bill." But Republicans passed numerous supplemental war spending bills during the Bush administration that contained non-war spending.