In separate reports, Fox News' Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly misrepresented the reported plans of the Obama administration to rescind a December 2008 Bush administration regulation to falsely assert that the Obama administration's decision could result in doctors' being prosecuted or discriminated against for refusing to perform abortions. In fact, federal law -- which the Obama administration cannot "repeal" -- prohibits public officials from requiring recipients of public funds to perform abortions or sterilizations in violation of their religious or moral beliefs.
Fox News' Bret Baier reported that an AP article "list[ed] a number of Democrats embroiled in ethical issues." But Baier did not point out any Republican public officials currently "embroiled in ethical issues."
In Fox News' special, Trillion with a T, Bret Baier promoted or repeated several myths and falsehoods about President Obama and the economic recovery bill, including that some of the spending in the bill -- which Obama has now signed into law -- isn't stimulus; that the bill will lead to "the government deciding which procedures you can have and which ones you can't"; that it would prohibit any religious activity in facilities receiving money; that the Obama administration advocated cutting the defense budget by 10 percent; and that Obama admitted "there might be some pork" in the bill.
Since Congress passed President Obama's economic recovery bill, several media figures have warned that Obama could suffer political consequences if the nation's economy does not improve substantially in a short amount of time. But Obama has consistently emphasized the long-term nature of economic recovery, repeatedly stating that the recovery "will likely be measured in terms of years and not months."
Fox News' Bret Baier asserted that Rep. David Obey is "under fire" because the economic stimulus bill provides more than $2 billion for the National Park Service, "the industry for which his son lobbies," and cited a Washington Times article reporting that, in Baier's words, "a spokeswoman for Congressman Obey's office says nepotism was not a factor." But Baier did not mention that the Times article also reported the spokeswoman saying the funding for parks "was included at the request of [Rep.] Norm Dicks." Nor did Baier note that Dicks has repeatedly made similar appropriations requests for national parks in previous appropriations bills.
During an interview with President Bush that aired on Fox News' Special Report, Bret Baier asked Bush, "Do you believe that there hasn't been a terrorist attack on U.S. soil in more than seven years because of the policies your administration has implemented?" The question tracked a talking point reportedly contained in a "two-page memo" that the Los Angeles Times reported "presents the Bush record as an unalloyed success" and "mentions none of the episodes that detractors say have marred his presidency."
Discussing the recount in the Minnesota Senate race between Al Franken and Sen. Norm Coleman, Fox News' Bret Baier asserted that the Franken campaign has been "dogged" in challenging questionable ballots and then aired a photograph of a ballot challenged by Franken, stating: "Franken is challenging this ... ballot, although the bubble beside Coleman's name appears to be clearly marked." However, Baier did not note or display any of the published examples of ballots that the Coleman campaign has challenged which "appear to be clearly marked" for Franken or another candidate besides Coleman.
Discussing reports that President-elect Barack Obama is considering naming Sen. Hillary Clinton secretary of state, several media figures have responded with smears, including speculation that Clinton would pursue her own agenda as secretary of state and not Obama's, references to Clinton as Obama's "enem[y]," and speculation that Obama is considering the nomination because if Clinton remains in the Senate, she poses a threat of challenging him for the Democratic nomination in 2012 and can "mak[e] trouble" for him in the Senate.
On the Fox News special Saving Our Economy, Bret Baier repeated or failed to challenge numerous false assertions about the role of affordable housing initiatives in the financial crisis and Democratic responses to the crisis.
Fox News host Brit Hume and correspondent Bret Baier suggested that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were heavily involved in the subprime mortgage market "years ago," and falsely suggested that Rep. Barney Frank has opposed stricter regulation of Fannie and Freddie. Neither Hume nor Baier noted that Fannie and Freddie were not active in the subprime market in 2003, or that Frank has supported and authored bills to strengthen oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
On numerous May 8 programs, Fox News anchors and reporters promoted the notion that Sen. John McCain is reluctant to discuss his experience as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. In fact, as Media Matters for America has documented, McCain has repeatedly highlighted that experience.
Fox News' Bret Baier claimed that in an interview on NPR, "Former Vice President Al Gore says global warming is to blame for the cyclone in Myanmar." In fact, while Gore did discuss the cyclone in the context of global warming, he also stated -- just moments earlier -- that "any individual storm can't be linked singularly to global warming."
On Special Report, discussing controversial statements by Jeremiah Wright, Bret Baier claimed that "it seemed to take Barack Obama a long time to denounce" Wright's statements, while, Baier said, Sen. John McCain denounced controversial statements from his supporters "right away." However, McCain has yet to address controversial comments John Hagee has made about homosexuals, women, Islam, and slavery, or any of the controversial comments by pastor Rod Parsley.
On Special Report, Wendell Goler falsely asserted that "the president is trying ... to get the House to pass a permanent extension of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [FISA]" and that "[t]he president threw down the gauntlet, said he's not going to accept any more extensions, that this act must be permanently renewed before it expires in two days." In fact, FISA is not set to expire February 15; the Protect America Act's revisions to FISA are set to expire.