Fox falsely claimed that as many people watched an episode of TLC's reality show Here Comes Honey Boo Boo as viewed former President Bill Clinton's September 5 Democratic Convention speech. In reality, more than 10 times as many people watched the Clinton speech.
Fox, in their haste to make President Clinton look less influential than a former Toddlers and Tiaras contestant, got the story completely wrong. In fact, Clinton's convention speech drew 25.1 million viewers across the seven networks that carried his speech. By contrast, Honey Boo Boo drew 2.4 million viewers. Only if you compare Honey Boo Boo's ratings with Clinton's ratings among the 18-49 demographic on one cable news network, CNN, did the two tie each other.
The total numbers for the evening as provided by Nielsen showed that not only did total coverage on all networks for Clinton far surpass the ratings for Honey Boo Boo as well as the ratings for Paul Ryan's speech from the same night of the week during the Republican National Convention, they also beat the ratings for the second half of the opening game in the NFL regular season.
But you'd never know that at Fox. Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson declared that Honey Boo Boo "one-upped" Clinton and that the two "tied in viewers with 2.4 million."
The Associated Press's fact check of President Bill Clinton's DNC speech strained to find statements to check, and at one point attempted to fact-check one of Clinton's accurate assertions by bringing up Monica Lewinsky.
AP reporters Matt Apuzzo and Tom Raum claimed that Clinton repeatedly "cherry-picked facts or mischaracterized the opposition." Here's one of the "cherry-picked facts" or mischaracterizations that they identified:
CLINTON: "[The Romney] campaign pollster said, `We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.' Now that is true. I couldn't have said it better myself - I just hope you remember that every time you see the ad."
This is a direct, verbatim quote from Romney pollster Neil Newhouse as he spoke at an ABC News panel in Tampa last week.
The AP fails to explain how this claim is a "cherry-picked" fact or a mischaracterization of "the opposition," and instead lays out "THE FACTS" this way:
THE FACTS: Clinton, who famously finger-wagged a denial on national television about his sexual relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky and was subsequently impeached in the House on a perjury charge, has had his own uncomfortable moments over telling the truth. "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky," Clinton told television viewers. Later, after he was forced to testify to a grand jury, Clinton said his statements were "legally accurate" but also allowed that he "misled people, including even my wife."
That's the entirety of the AP's fact check of that Clinton statement: Clinton accurately quotes a Romney pollster, and AP responds by dredging up the Monica Lewinsky affair.
In a May 19 Human Events op-ed titled, "To Liberals, Every Woman Looks Like a Hotel Maid," Ann Coulter compared former President Bill Clinton to "rapists," alleged statutory rapists and alleged sexual predators. Fox Nation promoted Coulter's column in a May 19 post. From the op-ed:
Only in Hollywood movies are handsome lacrosse players from nice families seen as likely rapists. In real life, they look more like the 5-foot-2-inch Roman Polanski or pudgy, unathletic Bill Clinton -- or the homunculus 5-foot-2-inch Strauss-Kahn.
Coulter has previously pushed the falsehood that Bill Clinton is a rapist, as have various other right-wing media contributors.
On Fox & Friends, Dick Morris admitted he fabricated his "bombshell" claim that in 1997, then-Attorney General Janet Reno threatened President Clinton by saying that if he did not reappoint her as attorney general, she was "gonna tell the truth about Waco" -- a claim the right-wing media uncritically promoted. Following Morris' admission that his claim was actually his "conjecture based on the facts," will the same media outlets run a retraction noting that Morris has now admitted that Clinton "didn't actually say" what Morris claimed?
Right-wing media are falsely claiming that, in recent interviews and speeches, former President Bill Clinton compared the tea party movement to the domestic terrorists who carried out the Oklahoma City bombing. In fact, Clinton did no such thing; rather, he stressed the importance of citizens' ability to criticize the government, and in drawing "parallels" to the rhetoric leading to the bombing and the rhetoric today, he specifically limited his criticism to those currently advocating or encouraging violence.
In recent days, President Bill Clinton has warned that incendiary rhetoric and "demonizing the government" incited domestic terrorism during his presidency and threatened to do so again. On his April 19 broadcast, Rush Limbaugh responded by unleashing a torrent of incendiary rhetoric, claiming that the Obama administration is "ripp[ing] apart" and "overthrow[ing]" the country and blaming Clinton for the Oklahoma City bombing and the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.
Terry Krepel, a senior web editor at Media Matters and founder and editor of ConWebWatch, has a great piece up at Huffington Post about the reemergence of the Western Journalism Center. Be sure to check out the entire piece.
Here's just a taste:
How is Barack Obama's birth certificate like Vince Foster?
To answer that, we must go back to the very beginning. After leaving the Sacramento Union in 1991, Joseph Farah and former Union publisher James Smith founded the Western Journalism Center -- under whose aegis Farah later founded WorldNetDaily. (After WND was spun off as a for-profit subsidiary in 1998, the WJC's share of of it was gradually transferred over the years to Farah.)
Farah likes to peddle the story that the WJC was founded "to fill a growing void in my industry's commitment to investigative reporting" and that its "mission was not ideological." In fact, the WJC didn't do all that much actual investigating; its main function was to attack the Clinton administration by promoting conspiracy theories surrounding the death of deputy White House counsel Vince Foster -- it accepted $330,000 in donations from then-Clinton-hater Richard Mellon Scaife toward that end, and other conservative foundations contributed as well -- and it went dormant as soon as Clinton left office.
Now that there's a Democrat in the Oval Office again, guess who's back?
The first hint of the WJC's resurrection came last August with a WorldNetDaily commentary by Andrea Shea King touting Jerome Corsi's factually dubious anti-Obama book, asserting that the book contains "legitimate questions about Obama that the author meticulously documents in the book's nearly 700 footnotes." The article contained the tagline, "This column was commissioned by the Western Journalism Center."
After undergoing a slight name modification -- it now prefers to call itself the slightly more highfalutin'-sounding Western Center for Journalism -- the WJC website is functional again, if only as a blog linking to other articles trashing President Obama and the so-called "liberal media" in general while offering no original commentary. According to its archives, blog posts began sporadically last September, but the blogging efforts have ramped up over the past few months. All posts thus far are anonymous.
On Hannity & Colmes, discussing reports that "Senate Candidate 5" in the criminal complaint against Gov. Rob Blagojevich is a reference to Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., Sean Hannity asserted that Jackson "gave an emotional -- and he gave a very passionate defense of his conduct here" and that "he came off as very credible and believable to me." Hannity added, "[B]ut there's always a skeptical side of me. You know, in the back of my mind I hear that voice, 'I did not have sex.' You know, I hear Bill Clinton."
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New York Daily News columnist Michael Goodwin falsely suggested that former President Bill Clinton has not disclosed "the paid speeches that he gives around the world." In fact, the sources and amounts of Clinton's speaking fees are disclosed annually in Hillary Clinton's Senate disclosure forms.
In an article about whether Sen. Hillary Clinton would accept the position of secretary of state in an Obama administration, The New York Times reported that aides to President-elect Barack Obama "have been reviewing Mr. [Bill] Clinton's business dealings, focusing on the array of his post-presidential activities, some details of which have not been made public. That includes the identity of most of the donors to his foundation" and "the source of some of his speaking fees." But the Times did not note that the source and amount of all of Bill Clinton's speaking fees of $200 or more are disclosed annually in Hillary Clinton's Senate disclosure forms.
On Hardball, Chris Matthews used reports that President-elect Barack Obama might nominate Sen. Hillary Clinton as secretary of state to "rehash" 1990s-era smears and scandals involving the Clintons. Matthews invoked Linda Tripp and hosted Rep. Dan Burton, whom Matthews asked to discuss the false accusation that Vince Foster was murdered, and Christopher Hitchens.
Media have continued to respond to reports that President-elect Barack Obama is considering naming Sen. Hillary Clinton secretary of state with the smear that she (or Bill Clinton) might pursue her own agenda as secretary of state and not President-elect Barack Obama's, including the assertion that "Obama may wake up one day and discover that Hillary has decreed a new 'Clinton Doctrine' of foreign policy."
On MSNBC Live, Andrea Mitchell followed Contessa Brewer in airing a heavily cropped version of former President Bill Clinton's remarks on Meet the Press in which Clinton seemingly declined to respond in the affirmative when asked by Meet the Press host Tom Brokaw if he would say he "admire[s]" Sen. Barack Obama and "think[s] he's a ... great man." Mitchell called Clinton's comments "hardly an endorsement" of Obama and "not as effusive as you would expect." But Mitchell did not air or otherwise note Clinton's statements moments later that he "certainly admire[s]" Obama and that Obama's "greatness will ... become apparent" when he is elected president.
Misquoting and misrepresenting what he described as a "pretty provocative" remark by former President Bill Clinton, Tom Brokaw claimed that Clinton said, "[Y]ou've got candidate X and candidate Y. Candidate X, you agree with everything that he stands for, but you have some real doubts about his experience. Candidate Y only believes in half the things but you really trust his experience -- who you gonna vote for?" But Clinton did not raise the issue of "experience" in his remarks, and Brokaw did not mention -- as he did when discussing Clinton's remarks earlier on MSNBC Live -- that Clinton said the hypothetical he described "has nothing to do with what's going on now."
KSFO's Lee Rodgers said of Sen. Hillary Clinton's speech at the convention, "With that screechy, fingernails-on-the-blackboard voice of hers, it is impossible for Hillary Clinton to deliver a great speech." Rodgers later said that Bill and Hillary Clinton are hoping Sen. Barack Obama "falls flat on his face so the Hilldebeest can have another run in four years, and Billy Bentpecker can hide behind the curtain in the Oval Office telling Hillary what he wants her to do as president of the United States."