Fox News' purportedly objective daytime news programs have a couple of business "experts" that they regularly host to comment on economic issues. One is Stuart Varney, who, by his own admission, is "very partisan" and who has repeatedly advocated for Republican Congressional victories on Fox. Another is oil man Eric Bolling, who, both on and off the air, has proven to be a far-right ideologue as well.
On the Fox Business Network, Bolling hosts a 10PM opinion show, a goal of which is to "beat liberalism/socialism/'progressivism' back to where it came from," according to Bolling. As evidenced by frequent rants on his Facebook page (posted below), Bolling sees himself as a die-hard warrior against liberals in the fight to save America -- which is all well and good so long as it stays on his opinion program.
But Bolling has appeared on Fox News Channel's "straight news" shows (America's Newsroom, Happening Now and America Live) 10 times in just the past two weeks, where he is presented as an authoritative analyst brought on to explain economic developments or data, "break it down," and "put it in perspective for us," in the words of two Fox anchors. Today, Bolling appeared on America's Newsroom to discuss President Obama's latest remarks on energy, and co-host Martha MacCallum told viewers that Bolling "has followed all this, you know, traded oil commodities for 20 years so he knows whereof he speaks."
Fox's "straight news" programs couldn't get away with hosting Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck to break down the latest jobs numbers, so why is Bolling any different? Perhaps if his economic expertise or insight was such that we could have confidence that he wouldn't let his stark political views interfere with his analysis, then maybe I could be convinced that his Fox News appearances are appropriate. But that's simply not the case (despite Bolling's declaration that his knowledge is superior to that of Energy Secretary Steven Chu.)
From the March 31 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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Fox News' Bill Hemmer mischaracterized public opinion as strongly opposed to union rights, citing what he himself called an "unscientific poll." In fact, actual scientific polls - including a Fox News poll - have shown widespread public opposition to restricting collective bargaining rights for public employees.
Today, Fox News' Oliver North took to the airwaves to complain that President Obama didn't seek congressional authorization before intervening in Libya.
"Quite frankly, it's unparalleled in my entire experience in the military going all the way back to the 1960s," North complained. "Every president has gone to the Congress to get a resolution to support whatever it is he wanted to do. And [Obama] doesn't ask the Congress because he doesn't know what he wants to do."
People whose memories extend further back than the start of the Obama administration might find North's statement a bit surprising.
They might, for instance, remember that back when North was a Marine colonel serving in President Reagan's White House, he helped run a secret -- and illegal -- operation to sell weapons to Iran (in an ill-conceived effort to win the release of American hostages there) while using the proceeds to support the Contra rebels in Nicaragua. Beyond simply not authorizing the scheme, Congress had explicitly prohibited it.
Here's how independent counsel Lawrence Walsh described the Reagan administration's violations of U.S. law and efforts to "deceive Congress" in the Iran-Contra Scandal:
The Urban Institute recently published a report contradicting the claim often pushed by Fox News that the health care reform law will "kill jobs." But Fox's Bill Hemmer nevertheless used the institute's report to attack health care reform and its "effect on jobs."
In the year leading up to and following the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the right-wing media engaged in a campaign to spread fear about what could happen if health care reform passed. One year after the health care reform was signed into law, Media Matters looks back at the most egregious attempts by the right-wing media to scare the American public into opposing the legislation.
In honor of the one year anniversary of the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Media Matters presents a timeline of one of the most disgraceful and pernicious myths about the law--death panels.
Fox's oil man, Eric Bolling appeared on America's Newsroom this morning to push, yet again, for increased domestic drilling. Guest host Rick Folbaum used the opportunity to push a new Fox News poll to back up Bolling's analysis telling him, "you're not alone when you say drill":
RICK FOLBAUM (guest host): Now I know you. And I know that when it comes to government intervention, you're more of a hands-off kind of guy. But should the government do something to try to get these gas prices under control.
BOLLING: Absolutely, absolutely.
FOLBAUM: Like what?
BOLLING: Yeah, drill. It certainly won't affect a gallon of gasoline tomorrow, but it will affect the world gasoline and world crude oil markets that I'm talking about, right now. I have been over this 100 times, but when George Bush lifted the moratorium on offshore drilling, the prices tumbled. They went from $147 to $33, in six months. It wasn't a long time -- over a course of years, it was 6 months. It was dramatic and not because we got one single barrel out of the ground within that six-month period, it's because the policy was to drill more and that's really the only way we're going to get it. Especially with what's going on in japan. Now we are hearing Ed Markey in Massachusetts and Senator Lieberman and now Chuck Schumer here in New York, saying, hey, maybe we better rethink our nuclear policy. If you do that, that's own going to drive the price of oil straight up because If you're not going to use nukes you're going to use some form of oil, fossil fuel and that's more demand for that.
FOLBAUM: You're not alone when you say drill. Another Fox poll shows that 40% of Americans think that new drilling would be the best way to handle the crisis right now with gas prices on the way up. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 3/18/11]
However, those poll results Folbaum cites are based on a false premise that more drilling will significantly reduce the price of oil and gasoline -- a premise that even Fox's "very clearly partisan" analyst, Stuart Varney, has dismissed.
From the March 16 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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Fox News' Bill Hemmer and Dr. Manny Alvarez suggested that the health care reform law will lead to people "need[ing] a prescription for everyday items like aspirin." They based this claim on a provision in the law that merely requires people who buy medications using money from tax-free medical spending accounts to have prescriptions for those purchases.
Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum granted legitimacy to the claim that 85 percent of U.S. mosques are led by extremists. This claim has been spread throughout the conservative media, but studies of the Muslim community have debunked the claim and an academic who has studied Muslims in America called it "nonsense."
The conservative media has steadily advocated for Republicans to force a government shutdown, with a recent piece in the Washington Examiner saying that a shutdown "doesn't sound that bad." At the same time, however, conservative media figures are pushing the talking point that a shutdown would be the Democrats' fault.
Imagine for a moment that a major newspaper published a front-page story pointing out ties between a Democratic member of Congress and the terror group Hamas. Imagine if the paper reported that the member of Congress had told attendees at a pro-Hamas rally to "pledge ourselves to support those brave men and women." Imagine if the paper reported that a judge had thrown him out of a Hamas murder trial as an "obvious collaborator."
Imagine that rather than deny any of those allegations or renounce his past support for a terrorist organization, that Democratic member of Congress told the paper that Hamas was a "legitimate force."
How do you think Fox News would respond?
They'd be doing wall to wall coverage, wouldn't they? There would be theme music and a logo -- "Terrorist In The House?" with that question mark if he was lucky. He'd be denounced by the network's daytime hosts, and Fox's crack terrorism "experts" would be called upon to question how he could remain in Congress.
And Heaven help him if he were to venture onto the network to defend himself; he'd be subject to withering criticism and probably have "Terrorist Sympathizer" added to his captions.
The reason I bring this up is that the New York Times published a front-page story today on Rep. Peter King's (R-NY) unrepentant support for the IRA. And I'm not seeing any of the above hoopla on Fox.
The story finally came up during King's interview on America's Newsroom. Watch how Martha MacCallum handles the issue:
Notice how she doesn't even start the interview with the incredible disclosure that the chairman of the Homeland Security committee has supported a terrorist organization. When she gets around to it, she asks an open-ended question, then sits silently as he completely ducks the question, choosing to talk not about his support for the IRA but instead about how much he has been praised for his work on the Northern Ireland peace process.
That's about it. Apparently satisfied with King's non-answer, MacCallum moves on to other topics.
And that's how Fox News handles the revelation that a GOP congressman supported a foreign terror group.
Fox figures and guests have continued their aggressive promotion of Rep. Peter King's (R-NY) upcoming hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims.
As Fox aggressively promotes Rep. Peter King's controversial hearings on Muslim radicalization, Media Matters looks at the long history of anti-Muslim rhetoric on Fox and from Fox personalities.