Fox misrepresented recent remarks by Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein to suggest that she is undermining Democrats' attempts to rebut charges that U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice is unfit to be Secretary of State. In fact, Feinstein has strongly defended Rice, saying that the attack on Rice "has to stop."
The attacks on Rice stem from her appearance on Sunday morning political shows on September 16 to describe what the administration had learned about the attacks on a diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya. Since then, Fox and congressional Republicans have sought to scandalize Susan Rice's appearance in those interviews and use them as ammunition in a campaign to prevent her from being nominated as secretary of state. But David Petraeus, who was CIA director at the time of the Benghazi attack, has reportedly testified that Rice's comments were based on unclassified talking points provided by the intelligence community that Petraeus himself approved.
Rice's opponents have disingenuously seized on the fact that language in the talking points Rice used originally pointed to Al Qaeda affiliates as the perpetrators of the attack, but the language was changed to refer more generally to "extremists."
During the November 20 edition of Fox & Friends First, correspondent Doug McKelway reported on the attacks on Rice and claimed: "The fallout from the scandal is now dimming Ambassador Rice's prospect for the job of secretary of state." McKelway then reported that House Republicans had sent a letter opposing Rice and added: "Congressional Democrats' defense of the White House in this matter is partly being weakened also by the powerful chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, a Democrat, who has vowed to find out who specifically took the Al Qaeda language out of the CIA talking points."
Feinstein said she would hold hearings on the Benghazi talking points during a November 18 Meet the Press appearance. But during the same appearance, Feinstein strongly defended Rice, saying she had reviewed all of Rice's comments on the Sunday shows and did not understand why Rice "was being pilloried" for her comments:
FEINSTEIN: What has concerned me about this is really the politicization of a public statement that was put out by the entire intelligence committee, which Susan Rice on the 16th, who was asked to go before the people and use that statement, did. I have read every one of the five interviews she did that day. She was within the context of that statement. And for this, she has been pilloried for two months. I don't understand it. It has to stop. If it continues, it's going to set up once again a partisan divide in these -- the House and the Senate, which Congressman Rogers and I have tried to overcome and have overcome with some success with respect to the intelligence committees.
Fox previously cherry picked comments made by Feinstein's during her recent Meet the Press appearance, to make it seem as though she was going to investigate whether the White House had nefariously edited intelligence community talking points regarding the attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi.
During the second presidential debate, a town hall participant asked how the candidates planned to fix workplace inequality, "specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn." Fox News reporter Doug McKelway labeled this figure a "myth," but research shows that even when adjusting for all variables known to affect earnings, women are consistently paid less.
This week Fox News reporter Doug McKelway has repeatedly made a claim that only two months ago he said was false.
It has to do with the EPA's recently proposed rule limiting carbon dioxide emissions from future power plants. In a report on March 27, McKelway acknowledged that the rule applies only to "new U.S. power plants," saying it "grandfathers in existing coal plants" and "grants a 12-month waiver for plants under construction."
But yesterday, as we noted, McKelway was on America's Newsroom saying the rule could shut down a quarter of existing coal plants. He said the same thing last night on Special Report, and the companion article posted at FoxNews.com wrongly asserts that "older plants" are subject to the new standard.
Bad memory? Bad intent? Bad journalism, at any rate.
The FoxNews.com article also said 200,000 jobs in the coal industry are threatened by the rule, a claim that Fox Nation turned into a headline. We cannot find the source of this figure and Fox did not cite anyone. Again, the newly proposed rule does not apply to existing coal plants.
In fact, some major coal-powered utilities basically shrugged at the rule, saying they didn't have plans to build any new coal plants anyway. As energy analyst Rob Barnett concluded in recent report, the proposed rule "probably wouldn't shift current investment patterns in the power sector" since "natural-gas plants already have a compelling price advantage."
Both mainstream and conservative media outlets have responded to the recent spike in gasoline prices by circulating talking points rooted in politics rather than facts. As a whole, these claims reflect the misconception, perpetuated by the news media, that changes in U.S. energy policy are a major driver of oil and gasoline prices.
As the employment outlook improves, Fox News is advising Republicans to focus on blaming President Obama for rising gasoline prices -- a claim with no relation to economic fact.
In a Newsweek article titled "Roger's Reality Show," Howard Kurtz wrote that Fox executives acknowledge that the news channel "took a hard right turn." This admission confirms what has long been clear: that Fox's news division has been slanted.
Tonight, one of Fox News' supposedly "straight news" correspondents, Doug McKelway, promoted Republican efforts to derail a case brought by the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) general counsel against Boeing.
On Special Report with Bret Baier, McKelway aired lots of footage of Republican members of Congress attacking the NLRB but gave short shrift to the complaint against Boeing. Regarding the specific allegations against Boeing, McKelway reported only that "the National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint against Boeing for moving the production from Washington state, calling the move quote 'discriminatory' against Boeing's unionized workers."
However, the NLRB has charged Boeing with much more than "discriminatory" behavior towards unionized workers. The complaint filed by the National Labor Relations Board states that Boeing illegally retaliated against unionized workers for engaging in lawful strikes.
The complaint also alleges that Boeing made "coercive statements to its employees that it would remove or had removed work from the Unit because employees had struck" and that Boeing "threatened or impliedly threatened that the Unit would lose additional work in the event of future strikes."
Moreover, as Media Matters has documented labor law experts agree that if the allegations filed by the NLRB against Boeing are true, the Boeing case would be "a classic violation" of labor laws.
This is a paradigmatic example of how Fox's "straight news" operation works: It's hyping the latest GOP effort to tilt the playing field against workers while almost completely ignoring the allegations that a company is violating its workers' rights.
Fox News' supposedly "straight news" reporters recently asserted that federal investments in clean energy are wasteful and that the costs of green jobs outweigh the benefits. These claims are contradicted by several studies showing clean energy investments create more jobs than several other types of investments.
In a series of segments called 10 Ways to Save the Economy, Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier promoted conservative talking points on the financial crisis, stimulus package, estate tax, and deregulation. The segments also frequently echoed the viewpoint of Fox News' conservative opinion programming. None of the ten segments advocated measures favored by progressives to help the economy.
From the July 1 edition of Fox Business' Lou Dobbs Tonight:
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Download Fox News' brand new iPad app and you'll notice something curious: there's an ExxonMobil advertisement on nearly every page, sometimes filling the whole screen. Click on it and you can watch a video of a smiling ExxonMobil geologist touting the natural gas boom. As the tech news website Mashable reported, this is because "Exxon is the exclusive launch partner for Fox News' iPad app":
"We decided we wanted to work with one sponsor," [Fox News' Jeremy] Steinberg said, explaining that there are always question marks surrounding a launch, so Fox News wanted a partner comfortable with that. He said Exxon, which is in the midst of a new branding campaign, thought the app was a perfect platform for broadcasting its message.
It makes sense that one of the biggest funders of interest groups that obfuscate the threat posed by global warming would team up with the news outlet that has done more than any other to promote misinformation about climate science.
The partnership further undermines ExxonMobil's 2008 pledge to stop funding groups "whose positions on climate change could divert attention" from the need to develop secure, clean energy. As an internal email revealed last year, it has been the policy of Fox News to question even the basic fact that the planet has warmed in recent decades.
Climate change is not the only issue on which ExxonMobil might find Fox News' coverage agreeable. Last month in the midst of both soaring profits for big oil and attempts by Congressional Democrats to roll back oil companies' tax breaks, ExxonMobil's spin could be heard on Fox News.
With the notable exception of Bill O'Reilly, many on Fox eagerly passed along talking points first outlined by ExxonMobil vice president of public affairs Ken Cohen in a series of blog posts designed to preempt any backlash against Exxon's massive first quarter earnings report.
From the June 2 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:
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While the Senate Finance Committee hosted executives from five major oil companies to evaluate the necessity of certain tax breaks enjoyed by their industry, Fox took to defending the profits of these companies using a misleading comparison between industry profits and taxes placed on the gas that is sold to American consumers.
It began with the usual suspects, Fox Business' Stuart Varney and Andrew Napolitano. On his Fox Business show, Varney marveled at a statistic Napolitano cited which suggests that while oil companies only make 7 cents for every gallon of gas sold, the government collects a full 88 cents per gallon. Needless to say, Varney and Napolitano lamented the injustice of oil executives having to defend their comparatively meager profits while the government gets away with this egregious "gouging":
Napolitano claims that he's getting these statistics from a recent document published by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. However a search of the publications issued by the CBO in the past month shows no such calculation. Who did recently push these numbers? Why, none other than ExxonMobil.
Fox News correspondent Doug McKelway falsely suggested that increased offshore drilling would prevent high gas prices. In fact, even the Bush administration Energy Department said that expanded offshore drilling would not substantially affect oil prices any time soon.
Doug McKelway, the reporter who unknowingly aced a job interview with Roger Ailes when he was fired from WJLA last year for lying about President Obama, was on Fox News' America Live this afternoon reporting on the White House's reversal of course on Medicare reimbursements for doctors providing voluntary annual end-of-life counseling -- the non-controversial policy that was mutated by the right into "death panels."
And demonstrating that he's clearly a better fit at Fox News than at a real news outfit, McKelway kicked off his report as follows: "Do death panels live or do they die? That is the question. It appears that they have died once and for all."
Nope. They haven't died. Because they never lived. Because they don't exist, and never have.
But he wasn't done there. McKelway pointed to the New York Times report I linked to above and singled out a quote from an anonymous administration official saying that the rule change "should not affect beneficiaries' ability to have these voluntary conversations with their doctors." I don't even know how to describe McKelway's interpretation of that comment:
MCKELWAY: But still, and this is the interesting thing about this, the White House has left a little bit of wiggle room in all this. Listen to what an unnamed White House official told the New York Times today. Quoting now: "This should not affect beneficiaries' ability to have these voluntary conversations with their doctors." Now in other words -- and I'm curious, Megyn, what you might think of this as a lawyer -- what it means, as best we can understand, that patients can discuss anything they want to with their doctor, it's just that it's not going to appear in print at any time, and the White House is basically absolving itself of any responsibility of any connection to anything written in literature in the Federal Register to that effect.
I'm completely flabbergasted as to what he's yammering about here. The White House says that Medicare beneficiaries will still be able to meet with their doctors for voluntary end-of-life counseling, and McKelway thinks this means that the White House is trying to "absolve[e] itself of any responsibility"? For what? Is he saying that the White House had a nefarious plan to encourage elderly Americans to meet with doctors and now they're trying to disavow it? Or enact it secretly? Does he think that the law provided for these voluntary conversations? Does he have any idea what the hell he's talking about?
My guess would be no. He's completely clueless and a complete joke of a journalist. But since he's repeating right-wing talking points and ignorantly blathering about the Obama White House, Fox News will probably promote him.
Watch McKelway's segment below the jump to get a sense of just how hopelessly lost this hack is.