Fox News reported a story that claimed President Obama's premiums would increase under the Affordable Care Act. But Fox's comparison of health coverage for federal employees to ACA exchanges is dishonest because the two types of insurance are fundamentally different and the comparison invokes a "worst case scenario."
On the October 25 edition of America's News HQ, co-host Alisyn Camerota claimed a new report showed "if the president were buying insurance in Wisconsin, his total premium and out-of-pocket costs would skyrocket." She added that his total premium would rise from $21,707 a year to $32,200 under the law.
Camerota did not state where the report she cited came from. It actually came from the conservative Washington Examiner writer Paul Bedard, who cited a Wisconsin insurance broker to claim that if Obama "chose to leave the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program," got the most expensive family plan, and exhausted his health care coverage "in a worst case scenario," Obama's premium could jump 48 percent.
But comparing the Affordable Care Act's health exchange to coverage to FEHB is a dubious comparison. Uwe Reinhardt of The New York Times' Economix blog pointed out that the FEHB plans are community-rated, which makes the prices lower than in the exchanges: "This means the premium quoted by a particular insurer was the same for every individual (and analogously for families), regardless of the health status or age of the insured." By contrast, Reinhardt wrote:
Wall Street Journal editorial board member Stephen Moore altered his previous position on the effect of Obamacare on the growth of part-time jobs to push the dubious claim that health care reform will increase part-time work in the future.
On the October 23 edition of Fox News' America's News HQ, co-host Bill Hemmer interviewed Moore on the potential effects of Obamacare implementation on the growth of part-time work. When asked by Hemmer if the law has already played a role in increasing part-time work, Moore responded, "We are going to probably see that number [of part-time employment] rise next year, because that's when the Obama requirements really take effect. In January."
Moore's position, that Obamacare is not currently increasing part-time work, reverses his previous stance on the subject. Moore has played a significant role in creating and perpetuating the myth that the reform is the driving force behind increasing part-time work.
Since the beginning of 2013, the Wall Street Journal editorial board -- of which Moore is a member -- has published as least four editorials claiming that Obamacare is directly linked to the growth of part-time work at the expense of full-time employment.
Indeed, Moore has repeated these claims directly. In a July 5 WSJ Live segment on the "ObamaCare Jobs Report," co-editorial board member Mary Kissel asked Moore what was behind the rise in part-time work in the June jobs report. Moore responded, "clearly Obamacare."
Moore's decision to finally acknowledge facts that have long been noted by professional economists is a welcome change. Unfortunately, his admission came while pushing yet another unsubstantiated claim; that part-time work will increase when the employer mandate -- penalties for which were delayed until 2015 -- takes effect.
In an analysis of the effect of Obamacare on employer practices, economists Dean Baker and Helene Jorgensen noted that initial indications of an increase in part-time work resulting from Obamacare would have materialized by January 2013, "since under the original law employment in 2013 would serve as the basis for assessing penalties in 2014." Jorgensen and Baker conclude by noting that that in the first few months of 2013, before the mandate was delayed on July 2, "employers [did] not appear to be changing hours in large numbers in response to the sanctions in the ACA." If this evidence has any implications for the future, there will be no part-time work shift as a result of Obamacare, as Moore suggests.
Indeed, after previously suggesting that the law may cause part-time job growth, Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, said recently of the part-time work claim: "I don't see it in the data."
From the October 22 edition of Fox News' America's News HQ:
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Right-wing media dishonestly accused President Obama and the Justice Department of "McCarthyism," "extortion," and carrying out a "vendetta" against JPMorgan Chase (JPM) after the two parties reached an historic $13 billion settlement over the company's role in the 2008 financial crisis. The attacks characterized the settlement as politicized "medieval justice," excusing JPM's responsibility for its own alleged wrongdoing and those of Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual -- two entities which played a large role in the collapse that were later acquired by JPM.
From the October 21 edition of Fox News' America's News HQ:
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Fox News is preemptively deflecting blame from Republicans for their refusal to set up state-based health insurance exchanges, which media reports say contributed to problems with the federal health insurance exchange website HealthCare.gov.
Media have examined the design problems plaguing HealthCare.gov since its launch on October 1 that are causing delays for millions of Americans who have tried accessing the website, problems that the Obama administration has acknowledged and is working to fix. Reports show that the problems started years ago.
States had to notify the federal government by mid-February if they intended to create their own exchanges. A February 18 post on The Washington Post's Wonkblog explained that nearly all of the states that failed to set up their own exchanges were Republican-led, as demonstrated by the following graph:
Media reports show that this partisan decision by Republican governors has contributed to the federal government's problems launching HealthCare.gov, but Fox has already worked to prevent Republicans from shouldering any of the blame for those issues. Discussing a speech that President Obama was scheduled to give later that day, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade said on October 21:
KILMEADE: I just have a hunch that there will be some element of this whether he'll say, "If it wasn't for Republicans fighting it the whole time, if it wasn't for people pushing back on it, it would have been a lot easier." I think somehow that's going to be twisted in there.
Right-wing media figures have repeatedly criticized Obama administration officials for claiming that the U.S. will default if the debt ceiling is not raised by October 17, instead claiming the U.S. could prioritize payments to bondholders as a way to avoid default. But economists note that the threat of default is real and that the prioritization alternative proposed by Republicans is not a long-term solution.
From the October 7 edition of Fox News' America's News HQ:
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Fox Business host Melissa Francis erroneously claimed that previous government shutdowns in the 1990s did not harm the economy, a notion that is in direct opposition to economic evidence.
On the October 1 edition of Fox News' America's News HQ, host Bill Hemmer discussed the ongoing government shutdown with Francis. During the discussion, Francis chided President Obama for claiming that previous shutdowns in the 1990s harmed the economy, claiming that data show "that wasn't the case."
Francis' argument rested upon the fact that over earlier shutdowns, GDP growth remained relatively strong and stabilized at levels above pre-shutdown rates. The Daily Caller presented a similar argument in an article on September 29, claiming the "economy boomed" during previous shutdowns.
While Francis is correct that growth remained strong over the 1995 and 1996 shutdowns, this doesn't answer the question of what growth would have been like in absence of a shutdown.
According to Joel Prakken, senior managing director at Macroeconomic Advisers, those shutdowns shaved 0.25 percentage points off GDP growth for the end of 1995, mostly due to federal employee furloughs. Furthermore, the Office of Management and Budget estimated that the total cost to the federal government from those shutdowns at more than $2 billion in today's dollars.
While Francis is quick to dismiss that economic growth would be affected in the current shutdown, independent analysis shows this is not the case. According to Bloomberg:
Mark Zandi of Moody's Analytics Inc. estimates a three-to-four week shutdown would cut growth by 1.4 points. Zandi projects a 2.5 percent annualized pace of fourth-quarter growth without a shutdown. A two-week shutdown starting Oct. 1 could cut growth by 0.3 percentage point to a 2.3 percent rate, according to St. Louis-based Macroeconomic Advisers LLC.
Fox News' Gregg Jarrett repeatedly pressed Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA) to declare that the Obama administration has been engaged in a "cover up" of the September 2012 attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya.
On the September 21 edition of America's News Headquarters, co-host Jarrett demanded to know why a reluctant Meehan would not describe the administration's response to Benghazi as a "cover up," asking the congressman several times why he wouldn't use the phrase. Watch:
JARRETT: Is this a cover up, and is it blatant?
MEEHAN: Well, it is certainly not a thorough investigation in the way that it was advertised. And that's the key. They've been relying on this as if it was a dispassionate--
JARRETT: You don't want to call it a cover up.
MEEHAN: -- and thorough investigation, and it's not.
JARRETT: How come you don't want to call it a cover up?
MEEHAN: Well, you know, you can call it a cover up. I think they asked the right questions --
JARRETT: No, why don't you call it a cover up? That's what I'm asking.
MEEHAN: Because I think -- I want to see accountability. I think that they're asking questions, but they're failing to ask the right people the questions, all the way to the top.
JARRETT: Well and it's been a year, which is ridiculous.
During his interview of Meehan, Jarrett continued his trend of pushing a number of debunked falsehoods about Benghazi, including falsely claiming that President Obama was sleeping the night of the attacks and that no rescue effort was sent to Benghazi. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has stated that Obama was "well-informed" during the attack, and a photo of Obama meeting in the Oval Office with his National Security advisors the night of the attacks has been available on the White House Flickr page since October 2012. Furthermore, as experts have repeatedly made clear, help was sent to Benghazi, and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has called out those who claimed more could have been done to rescue those in Benghazi for having a "cartoonish impression of the military."
Jarrett's desperate attempt to get Rep. Meehan to use the label is not the first time Fox News has suggested there is a Benghazi "cover up," and continues the network's repeated creation and promotion of lies, smears, and conspiracies related to the attacks.
Watch the full segment:
Fox News reporter Shannon Bream has become a reliable proponent of right-wing efforts to discriminate against LGBT people, using her national platform to validate religious extremists who claim that any LGBT protections infringe on religious liberty and freedom of speech.
Before joining Fox News in 2007, Bream practiced corporate law in Tampa, FL. In 2000, she left her legal career to pursue journalism, eventually getting noticed by Fox News' Brit Hume. She joined Fox as the network's Supreme Court reporter and is the host of Fox's Sunday show America's News Headquarters.
Bream is also a devout Christian who claims to have been inspired by the work of the notoriously homophobic conservative activist Jerry Falwell. Bream attended Falwell's right-wing Liberty University for her undergraduate degree, and in May of 2013, she became the first woman to deliver the keynote address at her alma mater's commencement ceremony.
During her speech, Bream urged the graduating class to live a life guided by the kind of Christian principles espoused by Falwell, challenging them not to "stand silently" as their "most deeply held beliefs are being questioned in the public square":
Now is not the time to stand silently by as your most deeply held beliefs are being questioned in the public square. Speaking up is rarely easy when the world is actively waiting to discredit and misconstrue what you have to say. But we have Christ as our model. He didn't care what others thought of him. He hung out with prostitutes and tax collectors. He loved them, never condemning them but also never condoning their sin. He spoke boldly and unapologetically in a way that made him a very unpopular guy and ultimately cost him his life. We are not called to live some kind of watered-down version of that truth. In fact, it is just the kind of life the Dr. Jerry Falwell I knew would expect his Liberty grads to live. [emphasis added]
Bream went on to urge the graduating class to fight against "religious oppression" while "never backing down" from "scriptural absolutes":
Not talking about politics, and I personally don't care what party you do or don't belong to. This is about right and wrong, unwavering absolutes, respecting life, loving our neighbors, yeah, as much as we love ourselves, purging our lives of the secret sins that we've convinced ourselves is just no big deal, living in humility, defending those who cannot defend themselves, fighting to end religious oppression against men and women and children all across the globe and never backing down from the scriptural absolutes we must stay tethered to. [emphasis added]
Bream also called on her audience to bring their fight for religious liberty into their workplaces, asking, "if we don't, if you don't, who will?":
Now along with religious liberty, one of the most important things our country has granted from its inception is freedom of speech. There are ways to disagree without compromising, to debate without annihilating each other, but it requires us to know what we believe and why. There are men and women who have fought and died for those freedoms, our very brave service members, and we must never allow the lives sacrificed in pursuit of the goals of liberty and freedom for all to be forgotten or in some way diminished because we are fearful of taking up the cause into our homes and our workplaces, whatever our sphere of influence. If we don't, if you don't, who will? [emphasis added]
Bream's comments offer a glimpse into the kind of narrative she's been working to promote at Fox News, where she's consistently given airtime to right-wing religious extremists and hate group spokespersons who claim their free speech and religious liberty are threatened by even the most basic protections for LGBT people.
From the September 1 edition of Fox News' America's News HQ:
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Fox News aired only muted footage of President Obama's speech promising to help veterans and ease the backlog of veterans' disability claims, enabling Fox figures to criticize the claims backlog without actually listening to the president's efforts to correct the problem.
Obama spoke before the Disabled American Veterans' convention in Orlando, Florida, on August 10, where he addressed the "unacceptable" backlog in applications to receive disability benefits at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The president promised veterans that although there remains much progress to be made, the backlog has been reduced by nearly 20 percent in the last several months. During the speech, Obama also discussed his proposals to give veterans greater access to education and job opportunities.
On America's News HQ, host Uma Pemmaraju interrupted an on-going interview with Fox contributor and former senator Scott Brown in order "to take our viewers out to Florida, where President Obama is speaking to a crowd of veterans, disabled and other veterans there." However, rather than allowing viewers to hear Obama's actual address, the two spoke over the president in order to give their own opinion on veterans' benefits claims. Pemmaraju gave a summary of Obama's "expected" comments and offered Brown a platform to disagree, saying, "Now the administration is claiming that there's been a 20 percent reduction in the backlog, but as far as I understand it, Senator, you find fault with that."
Over the past three months, Fox has amplified the voices of two anti-immigrant guests, Michael Cutler and Dennis Michael Lynch, hosting them at least 13 times to rail against immigration reform and bash immigrants. Cutler, a former immigration officer, has an extensive history of associating with anti-immigrant, nativist organizations. Lynch is a documentary filmmaker whose expertise on immigration seems to stem only from directing two anti-immigrant films that have been heavily promoted by nativist organizations.
After hyping the claim that the "totalitarian" Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) displayed bias against conservative groups by not granting fee waivers, Fox News has ignored a report refuting that allegation.
The conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) claimed in May that the EPA waived fees for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for liberal groups "about 90 percent of the time," while denying conservative groups the waivers "about 90 percent of the time." Fox News brought up the scandal on at least 12 occasions (dedicating over 18 minutes of airtime)*, hosting CEI's Chris Horner, Republican congressmen and others who blasted the disparity as representative of the "totalitarian" "life on Obama's animal farm." Fox News host and purported energy expert Eric Bolling even bizarrely claimed that this practice would "hit us at the pump":
However, a Politico analysis found a "much more modest disparity": liberal groups received the waivers 52 percent of the time, while conservative groups received them 39 percent of the time. Politico's analysis differed from CEI's in part because CEI counted a late response to a fee waiver request as a denial even if the EPA eventually granted the waiver, and because Politico included smaller green groups in its analysis. Fox has not covered the analysis as of 11 a.m. ET on July 23.
Politico noted that there are several factors that complicate attributing this small gap to political bias: