Fox News national security analyst KT McFarland has again claimed that Iran is on the verge of having nuclear weapons, despite the fact that there are significant questions as to whether Iran is planning to build nuclear weapons at all.
During an appearance on Fox's "straight news" program America's Newsroom, McFarland told co-host Bill Hemmer that "Iran is an expansionist country on the verge of getting nuclear weapons."
However, there are significant questions about whether Iran is even planning to acquire nuclear weapons. Indeed, 2007 and 2011 National Intelligence Estimates found no conclusive evidence that Iran is trying to build a bomb. According to Greg Thielmann, former State Department intelligence analyst and former Senate Intelligence Committee senior staffer, and Benjamin Loehrke, senior policy analyst at Ploughshares Fund (a global security foundation), the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) November 8, 2011 report is consistent with that finding.
Moreover, in January 31 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper reiterated the fact that the U.S. intelligence community does not know whether Iran will try to build a bomb.
Of course, the claim that Iran is on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons is particularly rich coming from McFarland, as she has been warning for years that Iran is just around the corner from having nukes. In December 2008 McFarland said, "Iran is probably two years away from a nuclear weapon. Now, that's really frightening. But that's two years." In April 2010 she said that "in a couple of months time -- 6 months, 9 months -- we're going to be faced with this choice: bombing Iran or letting Iran get the bomb." And just earlier this year she distorted comments by Secretary of Defense and former CIA director Leon Panetta to claim that "Iran will have a nuclear weapon in a year or sooner."
Mitt Romney won the Texas Republican primary last night, clinching the GOP's nomination for president. In response, Fox News has engaged its function as the Republican Party's communications arm and mounted an all-out push to promote Romney and attack President Obama.
This morning, Fox & Friends aired a four-minute anti-Obama attack ad. Not from any campaign or super PAC, but from Fox itself -- the video opens with the text "Fox & Friends Presents":
The ad was loaded with dishonest and misleading claims.
Later, America's Newsroom, which is one of Fox's "straight news" shows, aired a portion of host Bill Hemmer's softball interview with Mitt and Ann Romney in San Diego. Hemmer said of the interview, "If you're looking for policy, that's really not the intention for why we went to California. This is really trying to get to know this man, because he's going to be in your living rooms now for at least the next six months and possibly a lot longer after that."
Hemmer's co-host, Martha MacCallum, then suggested that the purpose of the interview had been to increase Romney's poll numbers.
From the May 30 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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From the May 25 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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Following the Obama campaign's ad highlighting Mitt Romney's record at Bain Capital, right-wing media are hysterically calling the ad an attack on private equity and even "an attack on capitalism" itself. But the ad clearly and specifically targets Romney's own work at Bain Capital -- which Romney and his campaign have repeatedly touted as crucial experience for dealing with the economy -- not private equity or capitalism as a whole.
From the May 23 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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Fox News is attempting to downplay and discredit its own poll, which found that if the election were held today, voters would re-elect President Obama by a 7-point margin. This is hardly the first time Fox has tried to distort poll findings to advance a certain narrative.
Latching onto a Congressional Research Service report commissioned by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), Fox News suggested today that government investments in clean energy hurt our military. But experts agree that investments in clean energy technology and climate mitigation benefit our national security.
The report found that the federal government has spent more than $68 billion since 2008 on climate-related activities. The majority of these funds went to the Climate Change Technology Program, which invests in renewable energy and other energy technologies that could reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Although only a small fraction of that funding -- about 0.01% -- went to the Defense Department, Fox anchor Martha MacCallum suggested that climate change programs are being funded at the expense of national security, asking: "Is the White House putting green energy ahead of defense?" And the Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore added: "I do think this national security issue is really the crux of the issue about whether we want money that should be spent to keep us safe and keep us secure going for green programs."
Let's put things in perspective. According to the Congressional Research Service, the Pentagon has spent $776 million on climate change programs over the past 4 years. This accounts for approximately 0.0002% of total defense spending over that time frame -- hardly excessive to address a problem that military experts agree poses a major national security threat.
Conservatives have seized on Vice President Biden's remarks during an Ohio campaign speech about the issues facing the middle class, characterizing Biden as "unhinged" and "deranged," and claiming the administration is perpetuating "class-warfare." But with tax levels for the wealthy at historic lows set against the stark contrast of middle-class wage stagnation and reduced economic mobility, there is every justification to be passionate about the issue.
During the May 16 edition of America's Newsroom, Fox News "straight news" anchor Martha MacCallum and Fox News contributor and The Daily Caller editor Tucker Carlson echoed complaints from the Republican chaired House Oversight Committee about the documents the Justice Department has released responding to their subpoena of files related to the failed Fast and Furious operation:
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well there were 22 questions in the last subpoena. 13 of them remain unanswered. The Justice Department hasn't forwarded documents that the House Oversight Committee has requested. And by the way some of those questions, that's the majority of questions, remain unanswered, some of them pertain directly to Attorney General Eric Holder. The Justice Department's position appears to be we can investigate this internally and so we don't need to comply with Congress. I think this is a collision course. Remember this subpoena was issued in October. It's been more than six months now and they have refused to comply. And they have not invoked executive privilege by the way. So it's not even clear on what grounds they are refusing to comply. I don't think there is any question, at least at this point, that there is going to be a contempt citation.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: Well we'll see. And it feels like stalling and feet dragging to a great extent on the part of the Department of Justice.
MACCALLUM: Because they are saying they can't fire anybody, they are doing their own investigation. That is going to take quite some time, most likely until after the election is over and that until they finish that investigation--snicker snicker--and until that investigation is over they feel it wouldn't be right to come out and talk about who they think knew more than they say they knew or exactly when Eric Holder became aware of this program that saw a law enforcement agent killed.
Carlson's comments echo the reporting of his employee, Daily Caller reporter Matthew Boyle, who has written numerous articles about Fast and Furious over the past few months. His pieces almost invariably include the line, "Holder has failed to comply with Issa's Oct. 12, 2011, subpoena," or some variation thereof and often include the claim that DOJ has been nonresponsive to 13 of the subpoena's 22 questions.
These reports minimize the fact that DOJ has released extensive and detailed information about what documents the agency has released to Issa. According to DOJ, responsive documents to 16 of the 22 questions contained in Issa's subpoena have been turned over to the House Oversight Committee or been made available for viewing by Oversight Committee staff. DOJ has stated that no responsive information exists to one of the questions. Additionally, DOJ has stated it does possess documents responsive to the five remaining questions in the subpoena and additional documents responsive to the other categories, but that it is unable to release this material because it is either relevant to ongoing criminal investigations or prosecutions or is deliberative and therefore protected by executive privilege.
But Fox News and The Daily Caller would rather regurgitate Republican talking points than admit that there are two sides to this story.
Fox News is questioning a $5.9 million grant awarded to a University of Chicago health initiative from the Department of Health and Human Services, alleging that the White House is the reason the Chicago initiative received the grant. Fox anchor Bill Hemmer described the program as "run by President Obama's longtime friend and frequent golf buddy, Eric Whitaker" adding:
HEMMER: This initiative is connected to the University of Chicago medical center. Michelle Obama has a connection there; Valerie Jarrett has a connection there; David Axelrod has a history as well.
Fox contributor Alfonse D'Amato took it even further, saying, "They'd have you believe that out of the thousands of applicants ... that they won this on the merits. That's a lot of nonsense." He continued: "It really cries out to be investigated. If you really believe that they won this grant without the White House," then "you'd have to believe in the tooth fairy." He later stated that this "cries out to be investigated and really, Congressman [Daryl] Issa investigations subcommittee, they should really have a hearing on this."
Fox News is pushing fatally flawed analogies to defend Mitt Romney from criticism over his jobs record at Bain Capital, pointing to the Obama administration's green energy loans and the successful rescue of the U.S. auto industry. These comparisons crumble under scrutiny, as leveraged buyouts are different from providing bankruptcy financing or loans.
This week Fox News reporter Doug McKelway has repeatedly made a claim that only two months ago he said was false.
It has to do with the EPA's recently proposed rule limiting carbon dioxide emissions from future power plants. In a report on March 27, McKelway acknowledged that the rule applies only to "new U.S. power plants," saying it "grandfathers in existing coal plants" and "grants a 12-month waiver for plants under construction."
But yesterday, as we noted, McKelway was on America's Newsroom saying the rule could shut down a quarter of existing coal plants. He said the same thing last night on Special Report, and the companion article posted at FoxNews.com wrongly asserts that "older plants" are subject to the new standard.
Bad memory? Bad intent? Bad journalism, at any rate.
The FoxNews.com article also said 200,000 jobs in the coal industry are threatened by the rule, a claim that Fox Nation turned into a headline. We cannot find the source of this figure and Fox did not cite anyone. Again, the newly proposed rule does not apply to existing coal plants.
In fact, some major coal-powered utilities basically shrugged at the rule, saying they didn't have plans to build any new coal plants anyway. As energy analyst Rob Barnett concluded in recent report, the proposed rule "probably wouldn't shift current investment patterns in the power sector" since "natural-gas plants already have a compelling price advantage."
During a Fox segment today about an investigation into thousands of Florida residents who have allegedly registered to vote, even though they're not U.S. citizens, anchor Bill Hemmer referred to voter ID laws that, in this case, would not address the problem. Discussing the story with guest Hans Von Spakovsky, a Pajamas Media blogger and former DOJ Civil Rights Division official who has pushed for adopting these laws, Hemmer asked:
HEMMER: But, here are what the critics are saying: The minority and the college students, those are the people you are after. You're trying to affect the outcome of an election, whether it's on the county level, or the state level, or ultimately what we saw in 2000, on the national level. How do you respond to that charge?
Fox even aired this voter ID law fact during the segment:
However, as the Miami Herald reported, the problem here has to do with the fact that legal residents, non-citizens who have photo IDs -- including driver's licenses -- appear to have registered to vote:
Nearly 2,700 potential non-U.S. citizens are registered to vote in Florida and some could have been unlawfully casting ballots for years, according to a Miami Herald-CBS4 analysis of elections data.
The bulk of the potential non-citizen voters are in Florida's largest county, Miami-Dade, where the elections supervisor is combing through a list of nearly 2,000 names and contacting them.
An analysis of a partial list of 350 names showed that about 104 have cast ballots going as far back as 1996.
Even if voters are on the list, it doesn't mean they're not eligible to cast a ballot.
The Herald added:
Consider the case of Miami's Maria Ginorio, a 64-year-old from Cuba, who said she became a U.S. citizen in August 2009. She said she was angered by a letter she received asking her to go to the elections office to document her status. Ginorio, who said she typically votes by absentee ballot, is ill and homebound.
"I'm not going to do anything about this,'' Ginorio said. "I can't. I guess I won't vote anymore. I say this with pain in my heart, because voting is my right as a citizen.''
Citizens like Ginorio were flagged as potential ineligible voters after the state's Division of Elections compared its database with a database maintained by Florida's Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, which records whether a new driver is a U.S. citizen when he or she gets a license.
As a result, some citizens could appear to be non citizens now because the DHSMV computer system doesn't automatically update when someone becomes a citizen, said Chris Cate, a spokesman with the Florida Division of Elections.
From the May 9 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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