Fox & Friends aired a graphic that falsely claimed of the Pay for Performance Act: "Bill lets government set your salary." In fact, the bill would regulate compensation only for employees of financial institutions that have received federal assistance.
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Molly Henneberg falsely claimed, "Reconciliation was last used in 2001 by Republicans to pass the first Bush tax cuts." In fact, Republicans used the budget reconciliation process to pass several Bush initiatives after 2001, and it was used as recently as 2007.
On his Fox News program, Sean Hannity falsely claimed that "a parliamentary procedure called reconciliation" would allow the Obama administration to pass legislation "without any Republicans even having an opportunity to vote." In fact, according to the House Rules Committee's description of the budget reconciliation process, the version of reconciliation legislation agreed to during the conference process is then "brought back to the full House and Senate for a vote on final passage. Approval of the conference agreement on the reconciliation legislation must be by a majority vote of both Houses."
Fox News' Sean Hannity falsely claimed that under House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, "Republicans can't offer amendments; they can't offer alternative bills." In fact, in the 111th Congress, the House has voted on several Republican-sponsored amendments to various bills.
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Credit ABC's Jonathan Karl and Luis Martinez for taking the time to actually look into the details surrounding Judicial Watch's comical claims this week about Nancy Pelosi's air travel; claims the Noise Machine mindlessly repeated.
The ABC duo concludes [emphasis added]:
The treasure trove of documents obtained by Judicial Watch from the Department of Defense regarding Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's use of military aircraft doesn't seem to prove the organization's allegation that Pelosi has made "unprecedented demands" for the flights. In fact, it appears that Pelosi uses military aircraft less often than her predecessor, former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.
ABC found that virtually none of the Judicial Watch claims stand up to the slightest bit of scrutiny. Oh, don't act surprised.
UPDATE: Newsbusters plays dumb, ignoring the fact that the Bush White House and Pentagon demanded, after 9/11, that the Speaker of the House fly on military planes. The only way the pointless Judicial Watch story works is if you pretend it was all Pelosi's idea, which Newsbusters eagerly does:
The mainstream media has completely ignored Pelosi's diva-like demand for a $38 million (in 1998 dollars) luxury aircraft in which to fly home.
There's nothing in that sentence that's factual.
MSNBC uncritically repeated a Twitter post by Newt Gingrich in which he attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for "standing up to applaud the private jet line" in President Obama's address to Congress "while she flies around in a government jet at taxpayer expense." Gingrich has repeatedly attacked Pelosi over her use of the plane while also falsely claiming that her predecessor, Dennis Hastert, did not use one.
How long before some reporter points to this as evidence of insufficient bipartisanship on Barack Obama's part?
New York Republican Rep. John McHugh, the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, has turned down Barack Obama's invite to Monday's fiscal responsibility summit, his office tells my colleague Alex Isenstadt.
The New York congressman emerged as a tough critic of the economic stimulus package passed by Congress last week.
Citing a Congressional Quarterly article about the relationship between House members and lobbying firm The PMA Group, Sean Hannity falsely suggested that current or former House members who received PMA funds and inserted earmarks that benefited PMA clients into a 2007 bill are "all Democrats." In fact, according to CQ, 44 of 91 current or former House members who received campaign contributions from the PMA Group's political action committe or its employees from 2001-2008 and "secured earmarks for clients of The PMA Group in the fiscal 2008 defense appropriations law," are Republicans.
A couple weeks ago ABC News shanked one badly when it concocted the phony premise that it was somehow hypocritical of Obama to criticize executive pay on Wall Street (which often reaches into the tens of millions of dollars annually) because he made a lot of money as POTUS (i.e. $400,000). ABC News somehow saw a connection between the two sets of salaries.
Now ABC's Jonathan Karl returns with a similarly harebrained premise, which is this: Some members of Congress recently criticized CEOs for their use of corporate jets, but Congressmen are sometimes flown overseas for free by the Air Force while conducting official government business.
Period. That's it. Although ABC News treats it as a very big deal. Here's the unintentionally humorous headline, "Congress Travels Free on Taxpayers' Dime."
Honestly, does that come as news to anyone in America? Do voters actually think that Congressmen, and their wives, pay their own airfare and fly commercial flights when they're part of a Congressional delegation visiting, for instance, Afghanistan or Iraq or even Europe? I mean really, how dumb does ABC News think Americans are?
The sheer stupidity of the report is just jaw-dropping, though. Here's an example:
Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., has taken four taxpayer-financed trips to nine countries over the past four years, despite criticizing corporate executives for flying on private jets to Washington and asking for taxpayer handouts.
Follow? Ackerman has taken four trips in four years (as a reader you're supposed to be outraged), even though Ackerman has criticized "corporate executives for flying on private jets to Washington and asking for taxpayer handouts."
But what's the connection? In an extraordinary move, CEO's of private companies recently turned to the federal government for billions in bailout assistance and caught flak for using corporate jets to fly to D.C. Ackerman though, is a Congressman paid by the government and approximately once a year takes government-paid flights overseas to represent the United States, just as Congressmen have done for decades.
How on earth are those two set of facts even remotely connected? And why did Karl embarrass himself by pretending he couldn't tell the obvious differences between the two?
P.S. Note that ABC reports the airfare practice is bipartisan, but for some reason only Democrats get mentioned by name in the report.
Remember how during the stimulus debate, the media kept insisting that Republicans had "taken control of the debate," were "driving the message" and all those other phrases journalists love to use in order to pretend that something is happening other than the media deciding to pay more attention to the GOP's arguments? How we kept hearing that congressional Republicans got their groove back by effectively painting the Democrats as big-spending coastal liberals?
Well, earlier today, Politico's Glenn Thrush noted a new Gallup poll that he thought showed that approval of congressional Democrats had spiked, while approval of Republicans had dropped. Turns out, Thrush misread the poll; it didn't measure approval of the two parties.
But it led me to wonder what the public does think of the two parties' congressional leaders. Is all that noise we've been hearing about Republicans having The Big Mo legitimate, or is it another case of the media being badly out of touch with the American people?
If you guessed "out of touch" -- and, really, why wouldn't you? -- you nailed it.
CNN conducted a poll just a little more than a week ago that found 60 percent approval for Democratic leaders in congress, and 39 percent disapproval, for a net of +21 points. Republican leaders in congress, however, had won the approval of 44 percent of the public, while 55 percent disapproved, for a net of -11 points.
That's a 32 point gap between the net approval for the Dems & the GOP. That's huge.
But the Republicans have produced a web video featuring a 32-year-old Aerosmith song, so get ready for several days of cable news pretending the GOP is, indeed, "back in the saddle again."
A Wall Street Journal article mischaracterized a section of H.R. 1, stating: "In a staff report describing the bill, the House said treatments found to be less effective and in some cases more expensive 'will no longer be prescribed.' " However, neither the House discussion draft nor the House bill implements federal requirements banning the use of "treatments found to be less effective and in some cases more expensive." In fact, the section of the bill the article referenced establishes a Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research and calls for funding to "be used to accelerate the development and dissemination of research assessing the comparative effectiveness of health care treatments and strategies."
CNN, along with much of the Beltway press, was busy yesterday hyping what might happen when Democrats in the House and Senate met to negotiate the final stimulus bill:
Now that the Senate has passed its economic recovery package, it's time for the really hard part -- trying to reconcile the differences between House and Senate versions of the plan without losing the support needed to pass the final version in both chambers. Senate Democrats are downplaying talk of a contentious battle ahead.
Well, so much for for bitter negotiations battle. Reminds me of how the press was hyping the "bruising" battle that was supposed to unfold around Eric Holder's AG confirmation hearing. That too, never materialized.
The press sure likes to stress how badly things might get for Dems, no?
NBC News' John Yang baselessly suggested that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is rushing an agreement on the economic recovery bill because she "has a congressional delegation trip to Italy scheduled to leave on Friday, and of course, the speaker's maiden name is D'Alesandro, and she would dearly love not to miss that trip." In fact, Pelosi has said, "If we don't have [a bill] by the time of the Presidents recess, there will be no recess."