Conservative media were unfazed by Rep. Paul Ryan's suggestion that low-income parents don't care for their children if they receive free school lunches, a response that stays true to their history of shaming low-income people.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), chairman of the House Budget Committee, helped kick off the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on March 6 with a speech on the direction of the Republican Party as the 2014 and 2016 elections approach. Ryan shared an anecdote about a child receiving free lunch from school to paint Democrats as out of touch (emphasis added):
RYAN: The Left is making a big mistake here. What they're offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul. The American people want more than that. You know, this reminds me of a story I heard from Eloise Anderson. She serves in the cabinet of my buddy Gov. Scott Walker. She once met a young boy from a very poor family. And every day at school, he would get a free lunch from a government program. He told Eloise he didn't want a free lunch. He wanted his own lunch. One in a brown paper bag, just like the other kids. He wanted one, he said, because he knew a kid with a brown paper bag had someone who cared for him. This is what the Left does not understand.
Right-wing media saw nothing objectionable in Ryan's comments. National Review Online praised his argument with the headline, "Paul Ryan's Moving Story That Explains the Difference Between Hard Work and Dependency," a take which echoes Fox News' narrative that free school lunches for children create dependency rather than encouraging hard work.
On Fox's Happening Now, correspondent Carl Cameron, reporting from CPAC, characterized Ryan's speech as taking a "middle-of-the-road tone."
Ryan's comments fit in well with conservative media's history of shaming the poor, and in particular, free school lunch programs for children of low-income families. In the past, Fox has even suggested children be forced to work for their meals.
Where else might Ryan have heard this before?
Fox News' Carl Cameron highlighted a misleading attack ad by Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli while simultaneously smearing his opponent, Terry McAuliffe, as having "had character questions for decades."
During an October 18 report on Happening Now, Cameron aired a portion of a new Cuccinelli campaign ad which portrayed McAuliffe as a "corrupt insider" by attempting to link him to Joseph Caramadre, a Rhode Island businessman who recently pleaded guilty to wire fraud. Cameron claimed that Cuccinelli has "been battling really hard" and "making sure that voters get all the goriest details about scandals that are currently under investigation related to this Democratic nominee."
Cameron did not provide any context for the ad, failing to point out that McAuliffe was only one of dozens of passive investors with Caramadre -- a group that includes a police chief, a state supreme court justice, and a Catholic priest. In fact, according to the Associated Press, "There is no allegation of wrongdoing by McAuliffe or that he or other investors knew of efforts to defraud the terminally ill."
Cuccinelli has faced his own questions regarding the ethicality of his conduct while Virginia Attorney General, something Cameron omitted.
Cameron would do well to turn a critical eye toward Cuccinelli's attacks on McAuliffe. A Washington Post fact check of a previous Cuccinelli ad found, "From what is publicly known, there are no federal inquiries directly into McAuliffe's conduct. It would be a stretch to say otherwise."
Photo Credit: Tyler Hansen.
Fox News amplified an anti-immigrant group's message that immigration reform will negatively impact African-Americans and repeated the debunked claim that the Senate immigration bill is a "job killer." In fact, the claim that immigrants steal jobs from African-Americans has been discredited as "a pernicious myth," and economists agree that the Senate bill is a net benefit for the economy.
During a segment highlighting the "DC March for Jobs," an anti-immigrant rally sponsored by the Black American Leadership Alliance (BALA), Fox News host Jon Scott stated that the group is "opposed to amnesty for some 11 million illegal immigrants and they say they are calling the Senate plans a job killer."
Scott proceeded to air comments Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) made at the rally in which he claimed that those who say the Senate immigration reform bill is good for the economy "are misrepresenting the truth." Brooks added: "It makes things worse economically. It makes things worse from an immigration standpoint."
Fox News chief political correspondent Carl Cameron also parroted BALA's claims, including that "the immigration reform bill as passed in the Senate would take away jobs from low-income, particularly black Americans." The segment then segued to remarks from Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who falsely claimed at the rally that if the Senate bill were to pass, "wages would ... go down, unemployment would go up," and economic output per capita "would be down for 25 years."
What Fox failed to mention, however, is that BALA "is just the latest incarnation of a shifting series of front groups for the anti-immigrant nativist group FAIR, which has been trying for years to drive a wedge between African Americans and Latinos." The group is rooted in the anti-immigrant, nativist tradition of the John Tanton network that includes designated hate groups with ties to white supremacist foundations.
Moreover, its claims about immigration reform have been thoroughly discredited by economic research.
Two reports on Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier hid Republican support for the across-the-board automatic spending cuts known as the sequester, reinforcing the right-wing narrative that President Obama is the one responsible for these cuts. In reality, a majority of Republicans in both the House and Senate voted for the bill that included the sequester.
Indeed, Republican leaders at the time touted the law as "a victory" and "a positive step forward" for reducing the deficit.
In a press release shortly after the Senate passed the Budget Control Act in August 2011, House Speaker John Boehner celebrated the law as "a positive step forward that begins to rein in federal spending" while House Majority Leader Eric Cantor touted the law as a "significant move" and said it "will finally begin to change the way Washington spends taxpayer dollars."
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan declared the law a "victory for those committed to controlling government spending and growing our economy."
But in recent weeks, Fox News and other right-wing media outlets have been aggressively pushing myths about the sequester, including that President Obama is single-handedly responsible for the looming spending cuts.
On Wednesday's edition of Special Report, Fox News' chief White House correspondent Ed Henry framed a report on the sequester around the narrative that it was an Obama initiative and quoted Republican Congressman Randy Forbes blaming Obama for it. Though the report included Democratic Sen. Max Baucus saying that Congress shares the blame for the automatic cuts, Henry did not point out that Republicans not only actively supported the idea but overwhelmingly voted for the law.
In a later segment during the same show, Fox again covered up Republican support for the sequester. Discussing the consequences of the spending cuts, chief political correspondent Carl Cameron said, "President Obama, who first proposed the sequester, and his party, are trying to blame the GOP for dire economic consequences, in particularly to the military. But in 2009 he proposed spending $14 billion less than what the military is currently budgeted for should sequester happen." Cameron did not mention the Republican support.
From the February 14 edition of Fox News' Happening Now:
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Right-wing pundits frequently use former President Ronald Reagan's name to apply a stamp of approval on anything or anyone they deem symbolic of the ideal conservative -- even when Reagan's actual record on issues ranging from taxes to the deficit deviated far from the ideological standards of today's conservative movement.
Republican darling du jour Sen. Marco Rubio (FL) is the latest to receive the Reagan badge. Ahead of his delivery of the GOP response to President Obama's State of the Union address, Karl Rove said Monday that "in Rubio, the Republicans have got probably one of their best communicators since Ronald Reagan." On MSNBC's Morning Joe, The Daily Caller's Matt Lewis called Rubio "Reaganesque." And in November 2012, pundit Cal Thomas published a column on Townhall.com titled, "Marco Rubio: A Hispanic Reagan?"
Rubio is just the latest in a long line of Republican politicians to receive the ubiquitous accolade:
Mitt Romney: Fox News figures repeatedly linked former presidential candidate Romney to the Gipper during both opinion and news shows in the months leading up to the 2012 election. Bill O'Reilly said that Romney "is going to mirror the ghost of Ronald Reagan," while political correspondent Carl Cameron said Romney, on his bus tour, spent a lot of time "sort of echoing Ronald Reagan."
Rep. Paul Ryan (WI): Fox News figures from K.T. MacFarland to Megyn Kelly compared Ryan to Reagan as part of their cheerleading for Ryan after he was chosen as Romney's vice presidential candidate.
Gov. Chris Christie (NJ): Fox Nation highlighted a column by the director of the American Enterprise Institute with the headline, "Christie's Starting to Look Like Reagan."
Sarah Palin: A post on Breitbart's BigJournalism.com said that Palin "carries the torch of liberty and American exceptionalism in the palm of her lovely hand" before calling her the "surviving embodiment of the spirit of 1776 and the Reagan reformation."
Gov. Scott Walker (WI): On Sean Hannity's Fox show, conservative radio host Mike Gallagher called Walker "the Ronald Reagan of our time."
Gov. Bob McDonnell (VA): Karl Rove, on Hannity's show, called Virginia governor Bob McDonnell "a Reaganite conservative."
Gov. Bobby Jindal (LA): In February 2008, Rush Limbaugh called Jindal "the next Ronald Reagan."
Right-wing media figures have splashed the "Reagan" label about so freely that they're in danger of rendering the compliment meaningless.
Fox News' Carl Cameron falsely claimed that Democrats are pushing for revenue increases without spending cuts in a report on the debt ceiling negotiations. In fact, President Obama and Democrats have offered billions in cuts to social insurance programs.
In a segment on ongoing negotiations to raise the debt ceiling and avoid automatic, across-the-board spending cuts, Cameron described the proposals by claiming, "Republicans want spending cuts and no more tax hikes, and Democrats want pretty much the opposite." From the January 31 edition of Special Report with Bret Baier:
In fact, Obama offered spending cuts throughout the fiscal cliff negotiations and has already cut spending. Obama offered over $400 billion in spending cuts to social insurance programs in addition to the $1.5 trillion in spending cuts included in the 2011 Budget Control Act. They also found that the spending in the act will decrease discretionary spending to "its lowest level" as a share of GDP "going back to 1962."
In a Fox News report about campaign events Mitt Romney is holding in key battleground states, chief correspondent Carl Cameron noted recent polling in Ohio and described the Romney campaign's "final sprint," set to begin in that state. Yet not once did Cameron make note of the backlash Romney is facing for running campaign ads in Ohio that falsely claim Chrysler is sending a Jeep production line from the United States to China.
During his report, Cameron pointed out how polls show Romney trailing in Ohio but that the Romney campaign "would argue that the ground game will put them over the top and that they're ready to win this."
But Cameron neglected to mention that Romney has drawn heavy criticism for running ads in Ohio that falsely claim Jeep is sending U.S. jobs to China.
At an Ohio rally on October 26, Romney said that he "saw a story today that one of the great manufacturers in this state, Jeep -- now owned by the Italians -- is thinking of moving all production to China." The Detroit News reported that Romney was apparently responding to reports "on right-leaning blogs that misinterpreted a recent Bloomberg News story earlier this week that said Chrysler, owned by Italian automaker Fiat SpA, is thinking of building Jeeps in China for sale in the Chinese market."
The following day, Romney's campaign began running a television ad in Ohio repeating the same claim -- that Chrysler is going to move Jeep production to China. The ad left "the misleading impression that the move would come at the expense of jobs here," The New York Times explained.
Chrysler, Jeep's parent company, quickly denied claims that it was considering moving Jeep production from the United States to China. The Toledo Blade reported:
Chrysler is strongly denying a report the company was considering moving all of its Jeep production to China.
The company has not been shy about wanting to build Jeeps in China, but Chrysler says it won't quit building them in the United States.
"Jeep has no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America to China," Gualberto Ranieri, the company's senior vice president for corporate communications, wrote Thursday in a blog posted on Chrysler's Web site.
"It is simply reviewing the opportunities to return Jeep output to China for the world's largest auto market."
Mr. Ranieri said in his blog that some people misinterpreted the Bloomberg story.
"Despite clear and accurate reporting, the take has given birth to a number of stories making readers believe that Chrysler plans to shift all Jeep production to China from North America ... . It is a leap that would be difficult even for circus acrobats."
The Detroit News likewise called Romney's claim "false" and CBS News described the claim as "inaccurate"; PolitiFact rated Romney's claim "pants on fire" false, and The Washington Post's resident fact checker, Glenn Kessler, gave the ad "four Pinocchios," writing:
The series of statements in the ad individually may be technically correct, but the overall message of the ad is clearly misleading -- especially since it appears to have been designed to piggyback off of Romney's gross misstatement that Chrysler was moving Ohio factory jobs to China.
Nonetheless, Romney doubled down on the Jeep attack on Tuesday with a radio ad in Toledo, Ohio, the site of a Jeep plant. As The Washington Post's Greg Sargent explained, the radio ad "suggests that the auto bailout did not save the industry for Ohio, and saved it for China instead," and "then strongly implies that the Jeep/China news constitutes a breaking of the auto bailout's promise to Ohio auto workers -- that it proves the auto bailout is not helping them, that it has let them down."
Media outlets praised Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's speech on foreign policy, calling it "tremendous" and "a fabulous speech that exuded leadership." But the speech relied on numerous falsehoods, including many that have already been debunked.
Fox News reporter Carl Cameron helped Mitt Romney dishonestly attack President Obama's foreign policy by parroting the Romney campaign's discredited charge that Obama has been "leading from behind."
In a May New Yorker article examining President Obama's foreign policy record, Ryan Lizza quoted an unnamed Obama adviser who described the U.S. role during the successful campaign to oust former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi as "leading from behind." Right-wing media figures have long claimed that quotation illustrated weakness in Obama's foreign policy. Previewing Romney's foreign policy speech, Cameron furthered the myth:
But Lizza has explained that conservatives are misrepresenting the phrase "leading from behind."
In September, he said that the phrase was not intended to show weakness, but that it actually referred to the Obama administration's successful effort to lead "a coalition in the U.N. to get military authorization to topple Gadhafi." He continued, explaining:
So the quote actually is the opposite of what you are saying. It actually refers to the strategy that Obama used in the U.N. to get all of the nations to support the U.S.' use of force resolution, because after the Bush years it was really hard for the U.S. to go to the U.N. and get support for the use of force because Bush was really, really unpopular.
Right-wing media heaped praise on Ann Romney for her Republican National Convention speech, declaring it to be "the single most effective political speech" given by "a political wife" and claiming that "people say" she's "like your best friend's mom." This is a sharp contrast to the right-wing media's vicious smears of Michelle Obama, having attacked her appearance and claimed that she displays "uppity-ism."
From the August 28 edition of Fox News' America's Election Headquarters:
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Fox News figures have routinely invoked Ronald Reagan while discussing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan. Most recently, Fox compared Ryan to the former president by splicing together their quotes and saying that Ryan and Reagan are physically and ideologically similar.
From Fox News' August 10 news coverage:
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Fox News' Carl Cameron is helping the Romney campaign cover up the GOP candidate's hypocrisy on welfare reform.
Mitt Romney's campaign released today a new advertisement attacking President Obama for "quietly announcing a plan to gut welfare reform," referring to a Department of Health and Human Services rule change that grants states more flexibility in granting waivers to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Family (TANF) program's work requirements. A number of media outlets have pointed out a fatal flaw in Romney's attack: that in 2005, then-Massachusetts governor Romney joined several other Republican governors in endorsing similar TANF waivers. But for Carl Cameron, the facts undermining the ad took a back seat to repeating -- indeed, embellishing -- the Romney campaign message.
Reporting on the ad this morning on America's Newsroom, Cameron called the ad a "renewed attack" on Obama as "an extreme liberal," and said the Romney campaign views the TANF rule change as "just big-government liberalism putting more and more government dependency into the economic bloodstream."
Cameron's language echoed the Romney campaign's press release on the ad, which describes the president as a "devoted believer in old-school, big-government liberalism" who wants "a culture of dependency."