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:
Loading the player reg...
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.
From the March 8 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
Loading the player reg...
The New York Times published an editorial this weekend arguing that attempts to fix that state's fiscal problems will require "a sober examination of the high costs of wages and benefits, and some serious proposals to rein them in while remaining fair to hard-working government employees."
Today on Fox News' America's Newsroom, Bill Hemmer spoke with The Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore, who, after snarking about Times' editorial, misrepresented the editorial and the issues at hand.
From Fox News' America's Newsroom:
MOORE: This was an amazing story, Bill. The New York Times -- this wasn't The Wall Street Journal saying the pensions are out of control, it's The New York Times. This would be like Hustler magazine editorializing against smut. I mean, it was really kind of amazing that they had come out with these numbers saying that the pensions are out of control.
They basically endorsed a lot of the things that Scott Walker has endorsed in Wisconsin, Bill. They said we've got to do a freeze on salaries, we've got to make the public employees contribute way more to the pensions and health care benefits.
And you make an important point, Bill. This isn't just about Wisconsin, it's not just about Ohio. It's about 40 states and whether they're going to regain control of their state budgets.
Moore's claim that the Times "basically endorsed a lot of the things Scott Walker has endorsed" is deeply misleading. The editorial explicitly states that "in recent weeks, Republican politicians in the Midwest have distorted what should be a serious discussion about state employees' benefits, cynically using it as a pretext to crush unions. New York does not need that sort of destructive game playing." It goes on to say that "[u]nlike Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Governor Cuomo is not trying to break the unions. He is pressing them to accept a salary freeze and a reduction in benefits for new workers."
The Times' editorial wasn't an endorsement of Walker's proposal. It was a repudiation of it.
From the March 7 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
Loading the player reg...
On today's edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom (supposedly one of Fox News' straight news programs), co-anchor Martha MacCallum hosted Fox News contributor Karl Rove to discuss President Obama's standing in the polls. They discussed a Rasmussen Reports poll question asking "how would you rate the president as a leader," and Gallup questions about Obama's standing on economic and deficit questions. But During the nearly-four minute segment, MacCallum and Rove did not once mention the most comprehensive measure of Obama's standing -- his job approval numbers.
According to Rove, Obama "moved up after he signed the tax cut deals with Republicans and after the speech in Tucson" but that the numbers were now pointing in the opposite direction. Rove argued that the Rasmussen and Gallup numbers spelled bad news for the president, and may hurt his re-election chances.
This seemed suspicious. Did Fox have a reason for ignoring Obama's overall job approval ratings? It would seem so. Gallup's daily tracking poll currently shows that 49 percent approve of Obama's performance while 44 percent disapprove. That number has remained relatively steady since the beginning of the year with Obama's approval number generally in the high 40s and his disapproval in the low 40s. And the numbers don't jump around that much over the entire previous year.
Rasmussen's daily tracking numbers jump around a bit more. Since the beginning of the year, Obama's approval numbers has ranged from a low of 44 percent to a high of 52 percent. His disapproval numbers have ranged from a low of 47 percent to a high of 55 percent. Right now, however, according to Rasmussen, Obama's approval rating is at 49 percent, close to its high point, while his disapproval numbers are at 50 percent.
Furthermore, the Gallup numbers track closely with the RealClearPolitics.com average of the most recent polls, which show Obama at 49.7 percent approval and 44.3 percent disapproval. And aside from Rasmussen no poll included in the RealClearPolitics.com average has found more people disapproving of Obama's job performance than approving of it since mid-January.
In response to public worker protests in Wisconsin, Fox News has falsely blamed public unions for the state's budget shortfall. In fact, the deficit is reportedly due to other obligations.