Congressional Republicans are borrowing from years of right-wing media attacks on federal disability benefits to justify their recent attempt to snarl funding for Social Security programs.
On January 6, Republicans in the House of Representatives passed a change to legislative rules that restricts the historically routine transfer of tax money from the Social Security retirement fund to the Social Security disability program. Such transfers have helped keep both Social Security programs solvent. In practice, the rule change makes these reallocations nearly impossible by requiring that they be "accompanied by 'benefit cuts or tax increases that improve the solvency of both funds.' " As the Los Angeles Times' Michael Hiltzik explained, because the disability fund is on track to "run dry as early as next year," this could mean "disability benefits for 11 million beneficiaries would have to be cut 20%."
In a January 6 statement justifying the rule change, Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) called the disability program "fraud-plagued." And during a January 14 event in New Hampshire on the long-term future of safety-net programs, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) claimed many who receive disability benefits are "gaming the system" and downplayed disabilities, saying, "over half of the people on disability are either anxious or their back hurts. Join the club."
The Islamophobic rhetoric spewed by right-wing media in response to the deadly attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris is just the most recent in a long history of conservative anti-Islam vitriol.
From the January 9 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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Right-wing media rushed to exploit the deadly attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris. But this is just the latest in right-wing media's long history of politicizing tragedy to push political objectives.
Fox host Eric Bolling called on the New York Police Department to engage in more racial profiling and stop-and-frisk after the terrorist attack on the offices of a satirical French magazine, but his characterization of the legality and constitutionality of race-based policing misrepresents these practices.
On January 7, masked gunmen attacked the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, a French weekly that had previously run caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. Right-wing media were quick to politicize the attack and describe it as an argument for the practice of race-based police tactics in America, even those prohibited by federal law or the U.S. Constitution. On the January 7 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck suggested that NYPD officers should be able to target certain communities without fear of being painted with "a racist brush." Hasselbeck also suggested that New York Mayor Bill de Blasio had demoralized the NYPD and threatened security by calling on the police to stop improper racial profiling.
As right-wing media have done repeatedly in the past, Hasselbeck failed to recognize that police practices must pass a threshold of constitutionality regardless of their alleged efficacy at imposing "order."
This narrative continued on the January 7 broadcast of Outnumbered, where Fox host Eric Bolling joined the panel to claim that people in New York should feel "anger" toward de Blasio for his efforts to eliminate unconstitutional stop-and-frisk policies and curb racial profiling. Bolling argued that police had used racial profiling "so effectively for so long" to target people who are "the type of person who's done it in the past." Bolling went on to wonder, "How did profil[ing] become a) unethical, b) illegal? It's throughout history been the most effective law enforcement tool." Outnumbered co-host Andrea Tantaros agreed with Bolling that "leftist mayors like de Blasio" and the Obama administration had "taken those tools away at a time when we need them the most," and claimed that "targeting mosques" was "crucial" towards uncovering terrorist activity:
Right-wing media rushed to exploit the deadly terrorist attack on a French satirical newspaper in Paris, placing blame on Democrats and citing the tragedy to push for renewed surveillance of U.S. Muslims, discriminatory profiling, looser gun regulations, and stricter immigration laws.
Luego del ataque terrorista a una revista satírica en Francia, el conductor de Fox,Eric Bolling,hizo un llamado al Departamento Policial de Nueva York (NYPD,por sus siglas en inglés) para que lleve a cabo más prácticas de detención y registro por medio de etiquetamiento racial.Sin embargo, lamanera en la que caracterizó la legalidad y constitucionalidad de este estilo de ejercer la vigilancia policial - basado en raza - no representa correctamente estas prácticas.
El 7 de enero, enmascarados armados atacaron las oficinas centrales de Charlie Hebdo, una revista semanal francesa que había publicado caricaturas del Profeta Muhammad. Los medios conservadores rápidamente politizaron el ataque y lo describieron como un argumento a favor de la práctica de tácticas policiales basadas en raza dentro de los EE.UU., incluso de aquellas que prohíbe la legislación federal o la Constitución de EE.UU. En la edición del 7 de enero del programa Fox & Friends, la co-presentadora Elisabeth Hasselbeck sugirió que los oficiales del NYPD deberían estar autorizados a enfocarse en comunidades particulares sin temor a ser pintados "con un brochazo racista." Hasselbeck también sugirió que el Alcalde de Nueva York Bill de Blasio era culpable de bajarle la moral al NYPD y que había puesto en riesgo la seguridad al exigirle a la policía que pusiera un alto a prácticas indebidas de etiquetamiento racial.
Tal y como ha sido la costumbre de los medios conservadores en el pasado, Hasselback omitió reconocer que las prácticas policiales deben pasar un umbral de constitucionalidad independientemente de su supuesta eficacia para imponer el "orden."
Esta narrativa continuó en la edición del 7 de enero de Outnumbered, en la que el conductor de Fox Eric Bolling se incorporó al panel para alegar los neoyorquinos deben estar furiosos con de Blasio por sus esfuerzos para eliminar la inconstitucional práctica de detención-y-registro y reducir el etiquetamiento racial. Bolling argumentó que la policía ha usado el etiquetamiento racial "de maneras muy efectivas por mucho tiempo" para enfocarse en personas que son "el tipo de sujeto que ya lo ha hecho antes." Bolling continúo para preguntarse en voz alta "¿Cómo es que etiquetar se volvió a) no ético, b) ilegal? Ha sido a lo largo de la historia la herramienta más efectiva para el mantenimiento del orden." La co-presentadora de Outnumbered Andrea Tantaros coincidió con Bolling en que "alcaldes de izquierda como de Blasio" y la administración Obama "nos han quitado esas herramientas en el momento en que más las necesitamos" y argumentó que "tener a las mezquitas como objetivo" era "crucial" para descubrir actividades terroristas:
Fox News co-host Eric Bolling claimed unequivocally that minimum wage increases "cost jobs, period," citing the story of a Michigan restaurant that closed after the state increased its minimum wage in September. In fact, the unemployment rate in Michigan has decreased since the wage increase took effect.
On the January 5 edition of The Five, Bolling criticized minimum wage increases that took effect in states across the U.S. on January 1. Bolling highlighted the case of a Michigan restaurant that closed after the state raised the minimum wage as evidence for his claim that "minimum wage rate hikes do cost jobs, period."
But Michigan's unemployment rate has fallen after the state increased the minimum wage. Starting on September 1, 2014, Michigan's minimum wage rose from $7.40 an hour to $8.15 an hour. In the months following the wage increase, the unemployment rate fell from 7.2 percent in September to 6.7 percent in November, the lowest since April 2006.
Conservative media personalities have long ignored the public's overwhelming support for wider access to birth control, instead pushing long debunked myths that birth control is cheap and easy to access, is only about preventing pregnancies, and can cause abortion.
Here are the facts behind right-wing media's three biggest myths about birth control:
This year saw landmark reports on climate change, detailing the ever-increasing scientific certainty that human activities are driving catastrophic climate change and that action needs to be taken to prevent the worst effects. Yet despite the fact that more Americans than ever support action on climate change, conservative media went to ridiculous lengths to cast doubt on the scientific consensus behind global warming, citing everything from free market economics to witchcraft, touting conspiracy theories and predictions of an "ice age," and even fulfilling Godwin's law.
Here are the 11 dumbest things conservative media said about climate change this year:
11. Bill O'Reilly: "It's Easier To Believe In A Benevolent God, The Baby Jesus" Than Manmade Climate Change. On the December 16 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly led a discussion on whether or not it is easier to believe in the birth story of Jesus than in manmade climate change, positing that it is "easier to believe in a benevolent God, the baby Jesus, than it is in some kind of theory about global warming." When his guest pointed out that 97 percent of climate scientists agree that human activities are driving global warming, O'Reilly baselessly countered, "I wouldn't put it that high. I've read a lot about it." He concluded: "[I]t's a choice -- people choose to believe."
Conservative media issued catastrophic predictions and myths about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2014, despite ample evidence that the health care law is working. Media Matters looks back at six claims about Obamacare that didn't pan out for the right-wing media this year.
This year saw clean energy technologies become cost-competitive with fossil fuels and gain prominence worldwide. The fossil fuel industry, desperate to stymie clean energy's continuing expansion, enlisted conservative media to do their bidding and attack clean technologies in every shape and form. From stoking fears about public transit being a form of "government control," to providing one-sided stories falsely predicting clean energy's downfall, here are the media's six most absurd attacks on clean energy this year.
1. 60 Minutes Produces "Poor Piece Of Journalism" To Attack Clean Energy
In January, CBS' 60 Minutes aired a report titled, "The Cleantech Crash," which attempted to label clean energy a "dirty word." The report was widely criticized by reporters, government officials, and clean energy advocates alike for offering a one-sided look at renewable energy and narrowly focusing on a few failures while ignoring the majority of clean energy's success. Two of the guests interviewed in the report later criticized it for selectively airing their comments to provide an overly negative portrait of the industy and for "fail[ing] to do the most elementary fact checking and source qualification."
Further, the report made no mention of climate change, which as energy reporter Dana Hull pointed out is "the whole point of cleantech, after all: using the promise of technology and innovation to try to wean our economy off of fossil fuels."
From the December 15 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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From the December 12 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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Fox News hosts rushed to minimize the severity of interrogation methods used by the CIA during the Bush administration in the wake of a Senate report outlining the agency's brutal techniques. Here are some of the network's worst attempts to trivialize torture.