Former Obama administration official Cass Sunstein writes that he received death threats and hate mail at his unlisted home address after Fox News launched a smear campaign against him. After Sunstein's nomination and confirmation in 2009, then-Fox host Glenn Beck attacked him and his work for years, invoking mass murderers, totalitarianism and conspiracy theories in conjunction with his name.
Sunstein served as Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the first Obama administration from September 2009 to August 2012.
As Mother Jones notes, Sunstein writes in his upcoming book, Simpler: The Future of Government, that Beck "developed what appeared to be a kind of an obsession with me." Sunstein compares Beck's attacks to the "Two Minutes Hate" from the classic novel 1984, where citizens were forced to watch films depicting enemies of the totalitarian party.
Sunstein also notes that he "began to receive a lot of hate mail, including death threats, at my unlisted home address. One of them stated, 'If I were you I would resign immediately. A well-paid individual, who is armed, knows where you live.'"
Conservative media have denigrated solar energy by denying its sustainability, ignoring its successes, and arguing the U.S. should simply cede the solar market to China. Yet this booming industry has made great strides, and with the right policies can become a major source of our power.
Natural gas can help the U.S. transition away from reliance on coal in the near-term if it is produced responsibly. But conservative media have dismissed the risks involved with the rapid spread of natural gas extraction to push for deregulation, attack the Obama administration, and ignore the need for a comprehensive energy policy to transition to renewable energy.
Reporting on emails selectively released by House Republicans, numerous media outlets falsely claimed the documents show Obama donor George Kaiser -- whose family foundation invested in Solyndra -- discussing Solyndra's federal loan with the White House, with Fox going even further to claim "quid pro quo." In fact, the emails occurred after Solyndra had already received the loan guarantee and do not indicate that Kaiser discussed the loan with the White House.
On at least three separate occasions, Fox Business ran a quote purportedly made by an Occupy Toronto protester who wondered why anyone would want to work long hours. In reality, the quote is fake, as it came from a "satire" piece published by The Globe and Mail.
Humor columnist Mark Schatzker published an October 21 piece in the Canadian newspaper -- headlined, "Occupy Toronto: The one-week anniversary party" -- which contained the following quote from "Jeremy, 38":
"It's weird protesting on Bay Street. You get there at 9 a.m. and the rich bankers who you want to hurl insults at and change their worldview have been at work for two hours already. And then when it's time to go, they're still there. I guess that's why they call them the one per cent. I mean, who wants to work those kinds of hours? That's the power of greed." - Jeremy, 38
The column itself is tagged as "satire" on the Globe and Mail's site. Still, as Mediaite's Nando Di Fino and TPM's Jillian Rayfield noted, conservatives bloggers passed the quote off as real. The Power Line's John Hinderaker ran the quote and later posted an update claiming, "Upon further review, prompted by my wife, I think the quotes attributed to occupiers at the linked site are jokes. Pretty funny ones, too. The point, I think, remains valid."
The fake quote didn't just fool conservative bloggers, as Fox Business repeatedly quoted "Jeremy" on-air. During the October 26 broadcast of Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard, host David Asman read the quote -- which was attributed to an Jeremy, an "Occupy Wall Street Protester" -- to criticize the protests.
Sheriff Paul Babeu of Pinal County, Arizona, a prominent anti-immigration advocate who recently formed an exploratory committee to consider a run for Congress, is a frequent guest on Fox News, and has used his platform to promote and fundraise for his potential congressional bid. Babeu is just the latest in a long line of Republican candidates that Fox News has enthusiastically promoted.
This year, Fox has continued to push the right-wing talking point that "America is a center-right country." In fact, on issue after issue, polls are clear that Americans favor progressive policies.
In June last year, Fox News' Sean Hannity was claiming that BP's voluntary agreement to set aside $20 billion to compensate people and businesses affected by the oil spill might cause them to go "bankrupt." Several Fox News figures complained about this "shakedown," and claimed BP was being "looted" and "persecuted."
BP announced its third quarter earnings yesterday -- more than double its profits at the same time last year. With this week's earnings reports we are learning, once again, that the major oil companies continue raking in tens of billions of dollars in what the Wall Street Journal called "soaring profits," while receiving billions more in tax subsidies. Meanwhile, Fox is downplaying oil profits.
Last week, Fox Business' David Asman hosted actress and environmental activist Daryl Hannah to discuss energy policy. When Asman criticized clean energy investments, Hannah pointed to worldwide fossil fuel subsidies, which are far greater than worldwide subsidies to renewable energy. Asman responded by claiming the oil industry "doesn't take a big profit margin. It ranks - I think it ranks about 114th in terms of the amount of profit that it takes for every dollar that it earns."
However, U.S. News reported in 2008 that while "the oil industry urges people to look beyond its profits to its profit margin," "profit margins across industries vary greatly based not on how well each business is doing but how capital- or labor-intensive it is. Oil is among the most capital-intensive." Another measure, U.S. News said, is the oil industry's return on equity, which is "unrivaled."
Yesterday David Asman kicked off his Fox Business show, America's Nightly Scoreboard, by claiming that Solyndra "received a very generous set of tax breaks" from the Internal Revenue Service. Asman emphasized that this was "a tax break applied for Solyndra and only for Solyndra" and suggested that "political influence" may have played a role in the IRS decision.
But the tax credit didn't apply to Solyndra at all -- it applied to a manufacturing facility that was considering installing a Solyndra solar panel system. And this ruling is hardly unprecedented: it is one of many private letter rulings issued by the IRS to clarify which technologies qualify for energy tax credits.
From the October 12 edition of Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard:
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From the October 4 edition of Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard:
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From the September 29 edition of Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard:
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Criticizing President Obama's new jobs plan, Fox Business host David Asman complained that the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act "gave people $45 to tell them how much malt liquor they were drinking and how much pot they were smoking." He also brought up a stimulus-funded study that researched "the sex lives of female college freshmen," adding that such a study "should be left up to the parents rather than government researchers." However, both of Asman's examples were contained in a 2009 Republican report blasting the stimulus and its billions in supposed wasteful projects.
Citing a report issued by Republican Senators John McCain and Tom Coburn, The Hill reported in December 2009:
GOP senators on Tuesday highlighted "pure waste" in the billions of stimulus funds spent this year, including money for fossil research in Argentina, puppet shows and to protect cruise ships from terrorist attacks.
The Obama administration has spent $217 billion in economic stimulus funds as of the end of November. A new report issued Tuesday by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Tom Coburn (Okla.), the ranking Republican on the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, concluded that $7 billion was wasted or mismanaged.
The State University of New York at Buffalo won $390,000 to study young adults who drink malt liquor and smoke marijuana. The National Institutes of Health got $219,000 in funds to study whether female college students are more likely to "hook up" after drinking alcohol.
Highlighting these examples of scientific research in such a manner misses the point, however. PolitiFact reported that the study on female college students' sexual habits was "a public health study," and the findings would be used to "to inform parents, educators, medical and public health professionals, and to guide the development of more effective health promotion and disease prevention programs."
From the September 26 edition of Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard:
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From the September 19 edition of Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard:
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