Expressing outrage that a video showing a "defaced flag" with "graffiti splattered all over it" is a finalist in a Democratic National Committee contest, Fox News and Sean Hannity ignored desecration of the flag by Fox News' own Glenn Beck, with Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin declaring that "the defacing of the flag, of course, is well within the mainstream of far-left propaganda tactics." President Bush also previously defaced a U.S. flag.
A Washington Times editorial -- being promoted on the Fox Nation -- claimed that "[a] large number of studies show children raised in a family with a mother and a father perform much better in everything in life"; in fact, studies show that children raised by gay or lesbian parents suffer no adverse effects in their psychosocial development. Additionally, the editorial distorted the words of Chai Feldblum, President Obama's nominee to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, to suggest she did not support marriage, when, in fact, she said "marriage is a normatively 'good' framework for most people to aspire to."
Saying, "Words will not express my contempt," Lou Dobbs told listeners he was "outrage[d]" by a report that the group Organizing for America's website had listed as a finalist in a health care video contest a video in which a mural of the United States flag is "splattered with health care graffiti until it's covered completely by black paint." But conservatives' purported "outrage" over the video is undercut by the fact that Fox News' Glenn Beck and President Bush previously defaced U.S. flags.
Following the release of what Fox News itself called "heavily edited tape" of conservative James O'Keefe's visit to a Philadelphia ACORN office, Fox News ran captions stating, "Exposing ACORN: New Video Shows Unlawful Actions." In fact, in the heavily edited video, there is no evidence of any ACORN worker engaged in any "unlawful actions," and moreover, ACORN workers filed an incident report with Philadelphia police following O'Keefe's visit.
From the October 21 edition of Fox News' On the Record with Greta Van Susteren:
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From the October 14 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
From the October 14 edition of Christian Broadcasting Network's 700 Club:
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As part of their smear campaign against Obama Education Department official Kevin Jennings, conservative media figures including Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Ann Coulter have compared Jennings to film director Roman Polanski, stating -- in the words of Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers -- that "there needs to be zero tolerance for this kind of stuff," specifically citing Jennings and "the Roman Polanski stuff." Thus, media conservatives are smearing Jennings -- who counseled someone who was of age at the time and who has said he did not have a sexual relationship -- with the outrageous suggestion that he is comparable to Polanski, who was charged with rape and pleaded guilty to having sex with a girl who was 13 at the time after allegedly plying her with drugs and alcohol.
In separate interviews, Fox News hosts Bill Hemmer and Greta Van Susteren allowed Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) to attack the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) on the grounds that in 1999 and 2000, one of its leaders embezzled from the group. However, at no point did either Hemmer or Van Susteren note that in 2008, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) stated that its treasurer had embezzled more than $600,000 from the organization over the course of several years.
From the October 7 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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Since Fox News and Andrew Breitbart has been positively obsessed with the ACORN videos I'm sure this will be right up their alley. NOT.
This afternoon, Mayor Michael Bloomberg will announce the results of an unprecedented undercover investigation of illegal sales at gun shows by the City of New York. At 2pm, you'll be able to see the investigation's undercover videos at: GunShowUndercover.org.
From a press release issued by the office of Mayor Bloomberg:
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the results of a wide-ranging undercover investigation by the City of New York into illegal gun sales. The investigation, which covered seven gun shows in three states, proves on video how easy it is for criminals to buy firearms at gun shows. 35 of 47 gun sellers sold to people who said either they probably could not pass a background check or to apparent "straw purchasers." The videos will be available on www.nyc.gov/gunshow. The accompanying report, Gun Show Undercover, also available online, documents the extent of the gun show problem, the City's investigative techniques, and offers recommendations on how illegal sales can be prevented.
The undercover investigation sent professional investigators to seven gun shows in Nevada, Ohio, and Tennessee to determine whether sellers would engage in two types of illegal transactions. The first involves private sellers selling guns to people who they thought could not pass a federal background check. The second involves licensed dealers conducting illegal straw sales, which are sales made to accomplices posing as buyers in order to help the real buyer avoid a criminal background check.
"The gun show loophole is a deadly serious problem – and this undercover operation exposes just how pervasive and serious it is," said Mayor Bloomberg. "We are sending a copy of our detailed report Gun Show Undercover to every member of the United States Congress. We'll work with Congressional leaders to pass legislation closing the gun show loophole. This is an issue that has nothing to do with the Second Amendment; it's about keeping guns from criminals, plain and simple."
Private Sellers Exploited the Gun Show Loophole
Even though private unlicensed sellers are not required to run background checks using the FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check system, it is a federal felony for them to sell guns to people they have reason to believe are prohibited purchasers (such as felons or the mentally ill). In purchases attempted on 30 private sellers, the undercover investigator showed interest in buying a gun by asking about stopping power or by dry-firing the weapon. After agreeing on a price, the undercover would indicate that he probably couldn't pass a background check. At that point, the seller is required by law to refuse the sale – but only 11 out of 30 sellers did so. Investigators found private dealers who failed these integrity tests at every show, including two sellers who failed at multiple shows. In total, 19 of the 30 private sellers approached failed the integrity test.
The 11 sellers who terminated the sale confirmed that private sellers know the law. As one seller in Columbus, Ohio, explained "I mean even as a private citizen, I'm kind of allowed a certain latitude, but once you say that [you can't pass the background check], I'm kind of obligated not to...I think that's what the rules are."
The investigation also revealed that some private sellers are in fact apparently "engaged in the business" of selling firearms without a federal license, in violation of the law. For example, one seller sold to investigators at three different gun shows and acknowledged selling 348 assault rifles in less than one year.
Licensed Dealers Sell to Straw Purchaser at a Gun Show
Undercover investigators also approached licensed dealers at gun shows and simulated straw purchases. A straw sale, a violation of federal law, occurs when a dealer allows someone who is not the actual buyer of the gun to fill out the paperwork and undergo the background check. Each integrity test of licensed dealers involved two investigators. The first was a male investigator who played the role of a person who wants to purchase a handgun but does not fill out any of the required paperwork. The other investigator, a female, served as the "straw" and appeared to be buying the handgun on behalf of the male. This scenario is typical of the straw purchases identified by ATF in its training program, which is designed to teach licensed dealers how to spot straw purchases.
All but one (16 of 17, or 94%) licensed dealer approached by City investigators failed the integrity test by selling to apparent straw purchasers. Only a dealer at a gun show in Niles, Ohio ended the sale after the straw attempted to fill out the paperwork.
Through the licensed and private seller scenarios, investigators purchased 38 guns in total, 36 semi-automatic handguns and 2 assault rifles.
About the Investigation
A team of 40 private investigators supervised by the firm Kroll, a global leader in business intelligence and investigations, worked for four months to capture video of gun shows. Licensed as private investigators in 17 different states, the investigative team has more than 460 years of combined law enforcement experience, including retired federal agents and police officers. Every investigator who participated in the integrity tests was required to complete an intensive training program designed and administered by Kroll.
From the October 6 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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It's nice to see that some media outlets are starting to pay attention to deliberation in the Senate over the reauthorization of expiring PATRIOT Act provisions. It's less nice when, as in this FOX News report, "paying attention" means "peddling outrageous falsehoods." To be sure, the issue can be dauntingly complicated, but these are enormous howlers that the most elementary fact checking ought to catch. Many of the false claims appear to echo this Wall Street Journal op-ed by former attorney general Michael Mukasey, which is similarly misleading. Let's review.
I think it's telling that opponents of common-sense civil liberties safeguards don't seem to think they can make their case without wildly misrepresenting the facts about both investigations and the changes legislators have actually proposed. They have to make it sound as though people are trying to eliminate important investigatory powers altogether—which nobody is arguing for—because it's awfully hard to argue against reasonable and carefully crafted privacy protections if you're honest about what they actually entail. And isn't it a little rich that a network that is forever warning us that we're on the verge of descending into fascism should be so hostile to any suggestion that there ought to be some moderate limits on government surveillance? I'd have thought having a Democrat in the White House might make it acceptable to care about the scope of executive power to spy on Americans again.
From the October 2 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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Conservative media figures including Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, and Newt Gingrich have called for an investigation of ACORN's activities and its supposed link to President Obama and Democrats, often while spreading misinformation about ACORN. However, these same media figures opposed or downplayed investigations into scandals involving the Bush administration, including the controversial firing of nine U.S. attorneys in 2006, the outing of the identity of Valerie Plame, and alleged torture and prisoner abuse by U.S. officials.