Fox News has fixated on the fact that the Democratic platform for 2012 does not mention the word "God," and used a misleading graphic that points out that the Republican platform for 2012 references "God" more often than the Democratic platform has in any of the last four election years. The graphic ignores that in 2000 and 2004, the Democratic platform contained the word "God" more times than the Republican platform in those years; moreover, the 2012 Democratic platform has a section on faith.
Fox has run several segments today highlighting how the word "God" does not appear in the 2012 Democratic platform. In one such segment, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) confronted host Bret Baier over the issue, saying that the network is "harping on a trifle" and presenting the Democrats as "godless people."
In a second Special Report segment, Fox aired the following graphic:
Well look at that. The Democratic platform referenced God more often that the Republican platform in 2000 and 2004. And the 2008 GOP platform only mentioned God twice.
Does this mean that the Democrats of Al Gore and John Kerry's conventions were more God-fearing than the Republicans of George W. Bush's? Does Mitt Romney's convention love God more than the last three GOP conventions combined? Of course not. As Durbin points out, trying to draw conclusions from this exercise is either malicious or deeply stupid.
A Fox News special on budget problems facing state and local governments highlighted the case of bankrupt San Bernardino, California, and placed blame for its problems on public-sector workers and their unions. In fact, San Bernardino's finances were devastated by the recession -- the same factor that's hampering state and local budgets across the country.
Fox has engaged in a relentless and bogus effort to accuse President Obama of waging a "war on religion." That effort has become a central focus of the Romney campaign, which released an ad that adopts Fox's dishonest "war on religion" narrative.
Fox News' reporting on a July Ernst & Young report critical of President Obama's tax policies repeatedly referred to the organization as "non-partisan," even though the study was sponsored by industry groups opposed to Obama's policies - a fact that was not mentioned during Fox's reporting.
The Ernst & Young report, which was highlighted by Republican House Speaker John Boehner, claimed several policies that would result in higher marginal taxes paid by high-income earners would harm the economy. During his Special Report segment on the study, Fox's chief national correspondent Jim Angle touted Ernst & Young as an "independent research organization" and "a non-partisan group."
Later during the program, host Bret Baier followed suit, describing the organization that prepared the report as an "independent research organization" that is "non-partisan."
But what Angle and Baier never told their viewers is that the report was "[p]repared on behalf" of partisan, conservative-leaning industry organizations that have opposed Obama administration policies, including the Independent Community Bankers of America, the National Federation of Independent Business, and the United States Chamber of Commerce.
A look at the history of the study's sponsors shows just how partisan they are.
Demonstrating how easy it is for reckless media outlets to foster confusion about climate change, Fox News again misrepresented a scientific paper last night, claiming it provides "more evidence for global cooling." Over the past several years, Fox has repeatedly pushed the claim that "the Earth is actually cooling."
From last night's edition of Special Report:
Here's what Special Report anchor Bret Baier neglected to mention:
Prior to Fox News' report, the right-wing website Newsbusters published a post on the study and asked if "America's global warming-obsessed media will pay any attention to this new information." Newsbusters laughably declared that the study "thoroughly debunks global warming."
Fox's flagship "straight news" program Special Report helped advance the narrative that President Obama is weak on border security, ignoring that deportations of undocumented immigrants have increased under Obama, and that the number of border patrol agents and funding for border security efforts have also increased.
Reporting on Prince William County's controversial immigration ordinance, Special Report host Bret Baier said that whereas "President Obama is appealing to the Hispanic community with his temporary amnesty program, Mitt Romney has been focusing on border security and workplace enforcement."
Baier's reporting contributes to the false impression that Obama is weak on border security. In fact, the opposite is true.
During Obama's three years in office, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported more than 1.1 million undocumented immigrants. The annual average number of deportations under Obama is "double the annual average during President George W. Bush's first term and 30 percent higher than the average when he left office," according to ABC News. The removal of undocumented immigrants has steadily increased since Obama took office.
In addition, deportations of undocumented immigrants with criminal convictions have increased 89 percent since 2008.
A USA Today analysis noted that on average, U.S. border cities were statistically safer than other cities in their states, in part due to increased money and agents to the southwestern border. Since 2004, the number of "boots on the ground" along the Southwest border has risen by almost 85 percent.
Moreover, under Obama, seizures of drugs and weapons along the southwestern border have significantly increased.
After hosting claims that the EPA acted "lawless[ly]" by regulating greenhouse gas emissions, Fox News' flagship "straight news" program Special Report has ignored an important court ruling that undermines Fox's narrative.
During a campaign stop today, Mitt Romney suggested that "the message" to take away from Gov. Scott Walker's recall victory in Wisconsin is that the United States doesn't "need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers." The media largely ignored this comment in favor of amplifying Republican attacks on President Obama's remarks about private sector job growth.
Two days after lending credence to birther conspiracy theories, Bret Baier, host of Fox News' flagship "straight news" program, Special Report, acknowledged today that the White House released President Obama's long-form birth certificate in April 2011.
On Monday's edition of Special Report, Baier reported that Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett had threatened to remove Obama from the Arizona presidential ballot without mentioning that Obama made his birth certificate public four years ago, and that, as FactCheck.org has noted, it "meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship." During that segment on Monday's show, Baier also did not mention that, amid a relentless birther attack by Fox, the White House also released Obama's long-form birth certificate.
Baier drew fire from journalism veterans and ethics experts for having failed to note that birther conspiracy theories were meritless, with one experienced news person calling the report "a complete abandonment of integrity and responsibility."
Tonight, Baier updated the story, reporting that Bennett is now satisfied that Obama was born in the United States and has withdrawn his threat to kick Obama off the ballot and noting that "last April, the White House released his long-form birth certificate."
From Special Report:
BAIER: Arizona's Secretary of State says the case is closed in the birth certificate kerfuffle stemming from his request that Hawaii provide additional verification President Obama was in fact born there.
As we have reported, Aloha state officials have repeatedly confirmed President Obama's birth in the state, and last April, the White House released his long-form birth certificate.
Today, Secretary of State Ken Bennett in Arizona explained he only pursued the issue on behalf of constituent requests, adding, quote, Hawaiian officials 'complied with the request and I consider the matter closed.' Bennett said Tuesday, if his actions embarrassed the state of Arizona he was sorry.
Journalism veterans and ethics experts are criticizing Fox News' Bret Baier for treating as credible the false claim that President Barack Obama might not have been born in the United States, with one experienced news person calling his recent coverage of the issue "a complete abandonment of integrity and responsibility."
Baier, often viewed as among the more credible news people at Fox News, reported in a news brief Monday night that Arizona Republican Secretary of State Ken Bennett threatened to remove Obama's name from the Arizona ballot if Hawaii officials didn't prove to his satisfaction that Obama was born in Hawaii.
Baier stated: "Bennett says he is not, quote 'a birther' but wants to clear up the issue for concerned Arizonans." But Baier failed to "clear up the issue" for Fox's viewers by stating outright that President Obama was, in fact, born in Hawaii, as indicated by his birth certificate and a contemporaneous newspaper announcement of his birth.
This marked at least the third time this year that Baier reported on developments in the debunked 'birther' movement without providing this crucial context.
By contrast, Fox News' own Shepard Smith stated in 2011: "Well, he has produced a birth certificate. It shows his mother gave birth to him in Hawaii. It is stamped and sealed by the state of Hawaii. It is confirmed, and Fox News can confirm the president of the United States is a citizen of the United States, period."
In a radio interview Tuesday Bennett stated he had withdrawn the threat and told listeners: "If I embarrassed the state, I apologize." The Arizona Republic reported that a "Hawaii official sent Bennett's office verification of birth for President Obama on Tuesday, according to both Bennett and Hawaii officials."
Baier did not respond to several requests for comment.
Several veteran journalists and media critics criticized Baier for his reporting on the subject.
"Whatever the motivation of Arizona's secretary of state it is a complete abandonment of integrity and responsibility for any news gatherer or disseminator not to ask the questions necessary to put a report on the secretary of state's actions in a context that would allow the reader or viewer of the report to make a decision on how he or she can use the information," said Bill Kovach, co-founder of the Committee of Concerned Journalists and former Washington, D.C. bureau chief of The New York Times. "In this case there is a rich history on the subject that raises deep and serious question about the motivation of anyone questioning President Obama's qualification for holding office including his citizenship and matters surround the time and place of his birth. To ignore this rich history of facts is irresponsible."
Tom Fiedler, dean of the College of Communication at Boston University and former executive editor of The Miami Herald, cited Baier's error of omission.
"An error of omission is the more insidious error because it typically escapes being corrected," Fiedler said in an email. "Nothing in his report is inaccurate. The problem lies in Baier's failure to include one additional fact: that, in due regard for the laws of Hawaii, the president has released an official copy of his birth certificate stating as legal fact that his mother gave birth to him in Honolulu. The state of Hawaii accepts this. The U.S. State Department accepts this."
Fox News' flagship "straight news" program, Special Report, dedicated a segment to Arizona's secretary of state Ken Bennett saying that he might remove President Obama from the Arizona presidential ballot because he "has been asking for two months for Hawaii officials to prove President Obama was born there" but hasn't received an answer that satisfies him.
BRET BAIER (host): Arizona's Secretary of State Ken Bennett says he has been asking for two months for Hawaiian officials to prove President Obama was born there. Hawaiian officials won't budge until Bennett satisfies a number of requirements, and both sides disagree about whether he has actually done it.
Bennett says he might remove President Obama from the ballot in Arizona if the proof doesn't arrive from Hawaii soon, a move Democratic critics say is politically calculated and aimed at capturing support from a fringe group of Republicans as Bennett weighs a run for governor. Bennett says he is not quote "a birther" but wants to clear up the issue for concerned Arizonans.
Baier did not mention that Obama made his birth certificate public four years ago, and as FactCheck.org noted, it "meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship." Nor did Baier mention that, in the midst of a relentless birther attack by Baier's network, the White House also released Obama's long-form birth certificate.
In January Baier also gave undo credence to birther conspiracy theories. On January 7 Baier did a segment highlighting birther arguments saying some in the birther movement call Obama's birth certificate "a fake" and "others say the real issue is that he's not a natural-born citizen." Less than a month later, Baier updated the story, again giving credence to the birther movement.
In addition, Baier's report comes on the heels of a Wall Street Journal article that similarly treated birtherism as one legitimate side in a factual dispute.
Both the Journal and Fox News are owned by News Corp.
Conservative media are once again hyping the amount of oil in the U.S. by including oil shale, ignoring that oil companies have found no profitable way to develop that resource.
The most recent flood of misinformation came after testimony by the Government Accountability Office's Anu Mittal about "oil shale," a sedimentary rock that when heated at high temperatures can produce liquid fuels (except gasoline) with a larger carbon footprint than conventional liquid fuels. While some conservative outlets claimed it was major news, the testimony -- which was based on an October 2010 GAO report -- contained no positive developments for oil shale, which has long been known to exist in large amounts in the U.S. but is not commercially viable. Earlier this year, energy expert Robert Rapier wrote, "It is not at all clear that even at $100 oil the shale in the Green River formation will be commercialized to produce oil." Even an editor at the right-wing blog The American Thinker acknowledged that "any large scale operations" for oil shale development would be "prohibitively expensive at this time." And just recently, Chevron gave up its oil shale lease in Colorado.
Mittal noted in her testimony that no technology to develop oil shale "has been shown to be economically or environmentally viable at a commercial scale." But Fox News' nightly news show and CNSNews.com, a project of the conservative Media Research Center, failed to mention that oil shale is not currently commercially viable. Breitbart.com and Investor's Business Daily incorrectly suggested that oil shale is not being developed because of Obama administration policies, rather than economic considerations. And Powerline suggested that oil shale is in fact viable because of the "advance of extraction technology," seemingly confusing oil shale with tight oil from shale rock, which can be extracted via horizontal drilling and hydrofracking.
It's interesting to see that the same people who dismiss the enormous potential of solar and wind power and attack investment in renewable energy are hyping the potential of oil shale. A December 2011 Congressional Research Service report, which classified oil shale as a "sub-economic" resource, stated that "despite government programs in the 1970s and early 1980s to stimulate development of the resource, production of oil shale is not yet commercially viable."
From the May 9 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:
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Several media outlets have distorted comments by an EPA official, falsely suggesting that he said "oil companies should be crucified." In fact, the official was using an analogy, which he has since apologized for, to describe a common approach to regulatory enforcement: making examples out of those who break the law.
Declaring that he "has had enough" of "national news programs" that mislead American voters, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly said he will now aim to tell viewers "every time I see craziness in the national media during the campaign." However, the examples of "craziness" O'Reilly cited, including the myth that "Obama was not born in America," have all been promoted on Fox News -- something he did not mention.