From the March 14 edition of Premiere Radio Network's The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) bills itself as an event convened to "crystallize the best of the conservative thought in America" that will showcase "all of the leading conservative organizations and speakers." Media covering CPAC 2013 should know that the conference's speakers, from the most prominent to the lesser-known, have a history of launching smears, pushing conspiracy theories, and hyping myths about the validity of President Obama's birth certificate.
Fox News parroted the accusation that Thomas Perez, a possible Labor Secretary nominee, "worked with hardcore Islamist groups" and approved of efforts to weaken airline security measures, but that accusation is based on comments Perez made at an interfaith conference where he emphasized the need to respect civil rights when improving security protocols.
The Los Angeles Times reported on March 10 that President Obama is likely to nominate Perez for Secretary of Labor. He is currently the assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, and has been repeatedly vilified by Fox News.
On Fox & Friends First, co-host Patti Ann Browne claimed Perez has a "controversial past" and was "said to have worked with hardcore Islamist groups and applauded those who lobbied against airline security measures."
Browne did not cite evidence for her claim, but her criticism echoed a Daily Caller piece from July 2012 that claimed Perez attended a meeting in D.C. in October 2011 with "hardcore Islamists" and "complimented the Islamists for lobbying against airline security measures," almost the exact words used on Fox & Friends First.
Perez's full remarks from the October 2011 meeting reveal he praised the work done by faith leaders around the country to help combat discrimination based on national origin in airport security screenings.
Perez spoke at the October 2011 Civil Rights Summit hosted by George Washington University Law School on Arab, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian Americans experiencing discrimination and hate crimes following the September 11, 2001 attacks. The event was attended by faith leaders and advocates from many religions, including an imam and a rabbi.
While there, Perez thanked the audience for giving the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security feedback on airport safety protocols, producing more effective measures that used "a scalpel, not a meat ax" to identify threats and emphasizing the need to protect civil rights:
I talked about reflection and recalibration and let me give you two examples of the need for continuing reflection and recalibration. You may recall the Christmas Day attempted bombing on the airplane. And you will recall the aftermath of that bombing in which certain protocols were put in place that made categorical targeting, that is to say, individuals from certain countries, were categorically being asked a series of additional questions. What did we hear in the aftermath of that? We heard a lot of feedback from people in this room and leaders across the country that we could do a better job. That we should be using a scalpel, not a meat ax. And that we should reconsider what's happening.
And a few months later, as you know, and thanks to you, we did just that. And the Department of Homeland Security recalibrated what it was doing, and I think as a result, it was a more effective mechanism. Because once again, we must always remember, as Jim Cole told us this morning: Don't fall into the trap of thinking that it's either safe streets, secure borders, and secure communities or protection of civil rights and civil liberties. It will always be both.
From the March 8 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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Fox News aired a video of conservative attorney Jordan Sekulow claiming an imprisoned pastor's conversion to Christianity is the reason President Obama has "been silent" on the case, even after Sekulow praised statements from the White House and State Department in support of the pastor.
On Fox & Friends, Fox News Radio host Todd Starnes aired a video of Jordan Sekulow, a frequent Fox guest and Executive Director of the conservative American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), discussing the case of pastor Saeed Abedini, who has been imprisoned in Iran, reportedly due to his Christian faith. In the video, Sekulow interviews Abedini's wife who had not been contacted directly by President Obama or Secretary of State John Kerry.
After the interview, Sekulow declared: "I believe the government's been silent on this case with Pastor Saeed Abedini, the reason why the actual executive branch leaders have not spoken out [...] [is] because he converted from Islam to Christianity." The following voice-over claims that "the only public acknowledgement came in December, when the administration said they were aware of the case and called for his release." Starnes also highlighted the claims in a post on his blog titled "Obama Ignores American Christian Held By Iranians."
But Fox failed to note that both the White House and State Department have issued statements in support of Abedini's release, statements that Sekulow himself praised in a January 25 article on the ACLJ website: "we applaud both the State Department and the White House for these very strong statements. [...] Thanks to the State Department and White House for their statements today and involvement to secure Pastor Saeed's freedom."
From the March 1 edition of Fox News Channel's Hannity:
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Fox News' Sean Hannity followed up two days of attacks on Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) by trying to link the Muslim congressman to Louis Farrakhan, the controversial leader of the Nation of Islam. The attack was just the latest in Hannity's long history of anti-Muslim attacks on Ellison.
On the February 28 edition of Hannity, host Sean Hannity tried to link Ellison to Farrakhan:
Hannity's allegations follow a long line of smears that he and his peers at Fox News have leveled at Ellison and the Islamic faith. The attacks began as far back as 2006, when Hannity attacked Ellison's intention to take the oath of office on a Quran. Hannity suggested that using the Muslim holy book for a swearing-in was comparable to using "Hitler's Mein Kampf, which is the Nazi bible."
Fox News' Sean Hannity brushed aside Rep. Keith Ellison's (D-MN) assertion that Hannity was "immoral" for "saying things that aren't true." Yet Hannity has a long history of using his Fox News program to push false and misleading claims.
In Palin's time on Fox News, she made many false and outrageous statements. Below are the 10 worst:
Fox News Sunday will host a retired general with a record of Islamophobic comments that drew criticism from President George W. Bush to provide "expert" commentary on the recent decision to allow women in the armed forces to serve in combat roles.
According to a promotion that ran on Fox News, retired Lt. Gen. William "Jerry" Boykin will appear on the January 27 edition of Fox's flagship Sunday morning political news show. The ad describes Boykin as providing "expert insight" on whether women serving in combat is "the right move going forward."
As we've previously noted:
Boykin received international attention in 2003 after the Los Angeles Times and NBC News reported on speeches he had given in full military dress at religious events suggesting that the United States was fighting a "spiritual battle" in the Middle East against "a guy called Satan" who "wants to destroy us as a Christian army." Boykin also said of a Somali fighter who said that Allah would protect him from Americans, "I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol."
(Boykin later apologized and claimed that he had meant that the man's God was "money and power.")
Boykin's remarks drew widespread criticism, including from President Bush, who said that Boykin "doesn't reflect my point of view or the point of view of this administration." Later that year a Defense Department investigation found that Boykin's speeches had violated regulations and called for the taking of "appropriate corrective action." In 2010, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee asked Boykin to testify on the Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan, then revoked that invitation following media reports of the pending testimony, with a spokesman stating that the 2003 comments "would be used to distract" from Kagan's record.
Following his retirement, Boykin has continued to offer up Islamophobic commentary, saying that "Islam itself is not just a religion -- it is a totalitarian way of life," which "should not be protected under the First Amendment"; calling for "no mosques in America" because a "mosque is an embassy for Islam and they recognize only a global caliphate, not the sanctity or sovereignty of the United States"; and stating that "Islam is evil."
Because of this history of rhetoric, the announcement that he had been selected to host a prayer breakfast at the United States Military Academy at West Point last year drew criticism from cadets, faculty, Muslim organizations, and progressive veterans groups, ultimately forcing him to withdraw.
Boykin, now executive vice president at the Family Research Council, opposes allowing women to serve in combat units, calling the decision to allow them to do so a "social experiment" from people who "have never lived nor fought with an infantry or Special Forces unit" -- a critique similar to his rationale for opposing the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. The decision to rescind the direct combat exclusion rule came after the Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously supported that policy.
Fox News' Sean Hannity lashed out at nominee for CIA Director John Brennan for identifying the term "jihad" as a legitimate tenet of Islam. But Brennan's comments are in line with mainstream thought on the term, and former President Bush expressed similar sentiments in 2005.
Right-wing attorney Jay Sekulow appeared on Fox News to argue that for-profit corporation owners' religious beliefs trump federal law when it comes to contraception, even while they take advantage of the legal benefits corporate status provides.
On America's Newsroom, host Bill Hemmer featured Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice, who is also known for claiming that President Obama was threatening military voters and promoting laws outlawing homosexuality. The show gave Sekulow a platform to promote attacks on the Affordable Care Act's provision requiring employer-provided health plans to include contraception coverage.
Sekulow's group and others have sued to block the mandate on behalf of corporations seeking to deny access to contraception on religious grounds. The results have been mixed. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit blocked the law as it applied to the owners of Korte & Luitjohan Contractors.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, however, denied Hobby Lobby, an Oklahoma-based corporation, the relief it sought.
In discussing the Hobby Lobby case, Hemmer asked Sekulow to explain "why you believe legally they win this." Unchallenged, Sekulow touted his court wins on other cases regarding the enforcement of the mandate, stating:
Well, for the same reason, Bill, we've won three cases that we brought so far. And that is the right of free exercise of religion, applies to these companies that have principles that the owners of these companies have religious convictions and to force or compel someone to violate their conscience is exactly what the free exercise clause of the constitution of the United States was designed to prevent.
But Hemmer failed to push back on Sekulow's claims and provide an accurate picture the current state of the law. In fact, the highest level ruling reached the opposite conclusion. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor (sitting as circuit justice reviewing decisions of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit), denied Hobby Lobby's request for an injunction relieving them of their obligation to provide this coverage to their thousands of female employees. She noted that:
This Court has not previously addressed similar [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] or free exercise claims brought by closely held for-profit corporations and their controlling shareholders alleging that the mandatory provision of certain employee benefits substantially burdens their exercise of religion.
Many legal scholars have also rejected Sekulow's and Hobby Lobby's position.
Hemmer also gave Sekulow a pass on his assertion that corporations, which are not human beings, have religious rights like people do. This presented an imbalanced and inaccurate view not only on religious liberty but also on corporate law. As Supreme Court analyst Lyle Denniston observed:
[B]usiness people who form corporations do so to keep themselves independent from it: one of the main advantages of the corporate form is that the owners are not targeted when their company gets sued.
Hobby Lobby and Sekulow are trying to have it both ways: when a creditor comes to collect a bill or a party sues the corporation they own, they don't have to pay because a corporation is separate. Then they turn around and claim that they are not obligated to abide by a law they don't like because they and the business are one and the same. If courts adopted the theory that corporations have religious rights, corporate owners could game the system, hiding behind corporate status when convenient and discarding it when it's not.
From the December 20 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Bill O'Reilly delivered an eight-minute monologue about the threat that "secular forces" pose to America -- using the nonexistent "war on Christmas" as an example -- but Fox News punctuated the segment with an animation telling the audience "Happy Holidays."
Fox News has repeatedly attacked people and organizations who use the word "holiday" instead of "Christmas," claiming that they are engaging in a "war on Christmas."
In November, Fox & Friends expressed outrage at the fact that Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee has used the term "holiday tree" rather than Christmas tree, only to air a segment minutes later about the show's "Holiday wish list."
From the December 11 edition of Fox News' O'Reilly Factor:
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