Fox News' Sean Hannity claimed that "the federal government and the state and local governments take about 50 percent of our income." Hannity's claim is contradicted by the conservative Tax Foundation, which has calculated that Americans' total tax burden has never exceeded 33.6 percent of income in a given year.
CNN's Dana Bash falsely claimed that a controversial provision inserted into an emergency spending bill by Mississippi Republican Sens. Trent Lott and Thad Cochran would fund a rail line that Lott and Cochran "want to be built." In fact, the $700 million appropriation would fund the senators' efforts to move the existing CSX freight line despite the fact that, following Hurricane Katrina, CSX rebuilt the line at a cost of between $250 million and $300 million.
Time White House correspondent Mike Allen granted anonymity to Bush administration sources promoting new White House chief of staff Joshua B. Bolten's five-point "recovery plan," which Allen reported 'is aimed at pushing him [President Bush] up slightly in opinion polls and reassuring Republican activists." Allen also allowed an unnamed "Republican frequently consulted by the White House" to attack Democrats over rising diplomatic tensions with Iran.
On the April 20 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, Pat Buchanan falsely claimed that "the Dow Jones [Industrial Average] hit a record today" and that "the stock market is at an all-time high." In fact, none of the three major U.S. stock market indices reached record highs on April 20.
Fox News' Jim Angle falsely suggested that the U.S. has begun to close its trade deficit with China. Noting that Chinese President Hu Jintao "said China is shifting away from a reliance on exports to the U.S. to fuel its economy and moving, instead, toward more consumption at home," Angle uncritically reported that, according to President Bush and Hu, "that is already happening, to some extent, as U.S. exports to China increased last year by 21 percent." However, Angle failed to note that imports from China to the U.S. increased nearly 24 percent during the same period, further widening the U.S.-China trade deficit by 25 percent over 2004.
NBC News' Andrea Mitchell falsely suggested that the United States, unlike China, does not import oil from Venezuela and Nigeria. However, according the Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA), the United States imports significant quantities of oil from Venezuela and Nigeria. In fact, in January 2006, Venezuela was the second-largest source of imported oil to the United States, after Canada.
Bill O'Reilly asserted that homeless people will "not support themselves" because they "want to get drunk, or they want to get high ... or they don't want to work [because] they're too lazy." In fact, debilitating mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and manic depression, physical and sexual abuse, abject poverty, and other involuntary health conditions such as diabetes and cancer are among the leading causes of homelessness in America; additionally, 25 percent of the homeless population is reportedly under the age of 18.
Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that "[m]ost Republicans didn't want" the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was signed by the United States, Mexico, and Canada. In fact, in both the House and the Senate, congressional Republicans voted overwhelmingly in favor of the agreement.
Chris Matthews baselessly asserted that "I don't think the Democrats are any better" than Republicans when it comes to "fiscal responsibility." In fact, a comparison of the records of the two most recent presidents -- Bill Clinton and George W. Bush -- shows that budget deficits shrank under Clinton, eventually resulting in large budget surpluses, while deficits have ballooned to record levels under Bush.
Fox News' Andrew P. Napolitano uncritically touted Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) as one of few members of Congress who are able to reject pork-barrel government projects. Napolitano made these remarks during a conversation with Tom Schatz, the president of Citizens against Government Waste, who also said that McCain is one of the "very few" lawmakers "who don't take these kinds of projects." In fact, McCain recently introduced a bill to spend $10 million in federal money to establish an Arizona law center in tribute to late Supreme Court Justice William H. Rehnquist, which critics have argued is a "classic" pork-barrel project that "funnel[s] money directly to a home-state institution for a project that should find financing elsewhere."
Discussing a recent report by Citizens Against Government Waste detailing wasteful government spending or so-called "pork," ABC News Washington correspondent Jake Tapper claimed on Good Morning America that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) "is such an opponent of pork he's almost kosher." Tapper apparently overlooked a bill recently introduced by McCain asking for $10 million in federal money to establish a law center in his home state as a tribute to the late U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist.
Continuing to mischaracterize polls showing that the public prefers Democrats over Republicans on handling taxes, Chris Matthews acknowledged that "the latest polling shows that people trust Democrats more" on taxes, but still stated that the polls referred to "tax cutting" and suggested that the results were surprising because "nobody has ever accused the Democrats of tax cutting." In fact, the polls asked more broadly about tax policy, not merely "tax cutting," and contrary to Matthews's suggestion that Democrats do not cut taxes, numerous Democrats have enacted or proposed tax cuts in recent years.
On CBS' The Early Show, co-host Harry Smith allowed Mary Matalin to tout new White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten's "extraordinary credentials, credibility and experience, and relationships on the Hill with his work" as director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) without ever informing viewers that as OMB director, Bolten oversaw the 2006 budget, which the White House predicts will produce the largest deficit ever.
Robert D. Novak claimed that "Bush has explained that he has not vetoed any spending bills because they [Congress] generally follow his overall limits even though individual earmarks are unacceptably high." Bush, however, has stated in unqualified language that Congress has "met those targets" he has set for spending and has declared his willingness to veto "if they overspend," despite the fact that Congress has -- on at least one occasion -- exceeded Bush's limit by billions of dollars.
On the CBS Evening News, Washington correspondent Bob Orr characterized a recent Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations proposal allowing tax return preparers to sell information from returns to third parties as spelling out a "loophole of sorts" that has "been around for more than 30 years." In fact, in permitting sales to third parties, the new proposal would allow tax preparers to do something they are not currently permitted to do; under current law, they can pass on such information only to affiliates.