Zeb Colter, an anti-immigrant character from World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) that has recently drawn the ire of right-wing pundits like Glenn Beck, would be right at home in the conservative media. Many of Colter's bigoted and flawed arguments have been the right's stock-in-trade for years.
Beck targeted the Colter character on his radio show, arguing that Colter is "demonizing the Tea Party." Beck also accused the WWE of "mocking me for standing up for the Constitution." Beck's co-host Stu Burguiere complained: "It seems that the villain, the guy you're supposed to hate, is this stereotype of a conservative that I've never met."
Colter currently appears on WWE programming alongside wrestler Jack Swagger, spouting a lot of heated anti-immigrant rhetoric in the middle of a scripted feud with Mexican-born wrestler Alberto Del Rio. According to WWE, Colter's rhetoric is intended to "to build the Mexican American character Del Rio into a hero given WWE's large Latino base."
WWE explains that in order "to create compelling and relevant content for our audience, it is important to incorporate current events into our storylines."
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace allowed Bill Kristol to attack the nomination of Chuck Hagel as defense secretary without disclosing that Kristol is currently waging a full-scale campaign to oppose the nominee. Wallace further failed to challenge Kristol on his previous support of Hagel until he publicly supported a withdrawal from the Iraq War.
Fox News contributor Bill Kristol has been leading a relentless attack campaign against former Republican senator Chuck Hagel, President Obama's nominee for defense secretary. During television appearances and on his site The Weekly Standard, Kristol is actively encouraging the Senate to block Hagel's nomination. The Emergency Committee for Israel, a political advocacy group Kristol founded, has even launched an anti-Hagel website complete with attack ads.
Yet on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace asked Kristol to opine on Hagel's nomination without any mention of his advocacy to prevent Hagel from becoming defense secretary. After saying Hagel is a "controversial pick for defense secretary," Wallace directed Kristol: "Your comments on Hagel?" Kristol replied, "I don't think Chuck Hagel is the right man to be secretary of defense. We'll see if the United [States] Senate agrees with that." Kristol opposes the nomination on the false grounds that Hagel is hostile to Israel and sympathetic to Iran.
Kristol even interjected Hagel attacks into unrelated conversations.
A Media Matters analysis finds that news coverage of climate change on ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX remained low in 2012 despite record temperatures and a series of extreme weather events in the U.S. When the Sunday shows did discuss climate change, scientists were shut out of the debate while Republican politicians were given a platform to question the science.
From the December 9 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday:
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Fox's Chris Wallace falsely claimed that President Obama has proposed a plan where Congress would give up its power to control the debt limit. In fact, under the proposal Congress would still have a role in authorizing debt ceiling increases, while making it more difficult for legislators to cause economically harmful and potentially disastrous crises by holding up necessary increases in borrowing authority.
Wallace claimed on Fox News Sunday that the White House is proposing "in effect that Congress gives up its power over the debt limit." He also said to House Speaker John Boehner that Obama and Democrats "want you, Congress, to give up any powers over voting an increase in the debt limit forever."
In reality, according to reporting from The Washington Post's Ezra Klein, the administration's proposal maintains a role for Congress in approving debt limit increases. The proposal would subject attempts by the president to raise the debt limit to a congressional vote. The president can veto a resolution denying the increase in borrowing authority, and Congress can still prevent the ceiling from rising by overriding the veto.
According to Klein, the proposal "could do more to protect our economy than anything else in the debt deal." That's because a fight over the debt limit, like the one that occurred in the summer of 2011, can have negative economic consequences even if the issue is resolved before the administration loses the ability to finance government spending.
The Bipartisan Policy Center estimated that that episode cost taxpayers nearly $19 billion in additional interest costs. If Congress doesn't allow the debt limit to rise, and the U.S. was unable to pay the interest on its debt, "financial markets would unravel and the U.S. and global economy would enter another severe recession," in the words of economist Mark Zandi.
From the November 25 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday:
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Wall Street Journal editorial board member Kimberley Strassel claimed that President Obama has "moved the goalposts" by calling for ending the Bush tax cuts for the top two percent of taxpayers -- despite the fact that Obama has advocated for that policy in both his 2012 and 2008 presidential campaigns.
On the November 18 edition of Fox News Sunday, Strassel criticized Obama for supposedly insisting that tax rates on upper-income taxpayers must rise to the level they were during the Clinton administration as part of a deficit reduction plan, stating, "The president has now moved the goalposts and said, 'Well, it isn't just revenue, it has to be a specific kind.' " When host Chris Wallace pointed out that Obama "did mention this once or twice during the campaign," Strassel responded, "Yeah, he did, except for the question is, are you going to stick on what you campaigned on, or are you going to find a compromise in the end?"
As Wallace correctly noted, Obama regularly advocated ending the Bush tax cuts for wealthier taxpayers during the campaign, which contradicts Strassel's assertion that Obama "moved the goalposts." A July 9 USA Today article, for instance, reported that "In a White House ceremony, Obama said lower tax rates should end for Americans making more than $250,000 a year." Obama is continuing to advocate the same position: Politico reported on November 17 that Obama "repeated his call Saturday for Congress to extend the Bush-era middle-class tax cut without delay" and urged Congress not to "hold the middle class hostage while Congress debates tax cuts for the wealthy."
Obama, in fact, has been advocating the end of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy long before the 2012 campaign:
Further, contrary to Strassel's suggestion that Obama's continued advocacy for ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy precludes him from reaching "a compromise in the end," Obama has said he's "open to new ideas" if another solution achieves his goals. The Associated Press reported on November 14: "Asked if he viewed it as a deal-breaker if Republicans refused to allow the top tax rate to revert to 39 percent from the current 36 percent, [Obama] said, 'I just want to emphasize I am open to new ideas if the Republican counterparts or some Democrats have a great idea for us to raise revenue, maintain progressivity, make sure the middle class isn't getting hit, reduces our deficit.'"
From the November 11 edition of Fox Broadcasting Company's Fox News Sunday:
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Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace falsely suggested no assistance was deployed to Benghazi, Libya, during the attack on September 11, continuing the right-wing media myth that President Obama abandoned Americans to die there. In fact, assistance was deployed from Tripoli to Benghazi on the night of the attack.
From the October 28 edition of Fox Broadcasting Company's Fox News Sunday:
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Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace aired a deceptively edited video of President Obama's September 12 Rose Garden address to advance the Mitt Romney lie that Obama waited 2 weeks before calling the attack on a U.S. Consulate in Libya an act of terror.
In the days since Romney falsely claimed that Obama did not immediately call the deadly September 11 attack in Benghazi at act of terror, Fox has aggressively tried to muddle the conversation and introduce false ambiguity in Obama's initial comments.
Wallace claimed he was going to show "what actually happened" when Obama first addressed the attack. He then aired a video that clearly fast forwarded through portions of the speech.
Here is Obama's September 12 speech as aired by Fox:
Yesterday, four of these extraordinary Americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi .... We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others .... Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks .... No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation.
Wallace claimed that Fox excised portions of the speech "to show that there was quite a gap between various things that he was discussing."
But what Fox edited out of the tape is critical to understanding that Obama was very clearly discussing the Consulate attack when he said that "no acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation." In fact, the very next sentence in Obama's speech discussed the victims of the Consulate attack, which he called "this terrible act."
This is what Obama actually said, with the portion aired by Wallace in bold:
Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks. We mourned with the families who were lost on that day. I visited the graves of troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetery, and had the opportunity to say thank you and visit some of our wounded warriors at Walter Reed. And then last night, we learned the news of this attack in Benghazi.
As Americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases, lay down their lives for it. Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those both civilian and military who represent us around the globe.
No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done.
It is only possible to pretend that there is any ambiguity over whether Obama was calling the Benghazi attack an act of terror if you edit the tape.
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace repeatedly pressed senior Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod to explain why requests for additional security for Libyan diplomats were not heeded. But Wallace failed to clarify that the requests for additional security were focused on the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, not the consulate in Benghazi that was the target of a terrorist attack.
On the October 14 edition of Fox News Sunday, Wallace started his interview with Axelrod by discussing the deaths of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans in an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and airing a statement made by Vice President Joe Biden in the October 11 vice-presidential debate that "we did not know they wanted more security there." Wallace then said to Axelrod: "Just the day before, several State Department officials testified under oath that there were repeated requests for more security that were rejected. What is the vice president talking about?" Wallace later asked Axelrod, "Let me ask you directly: Does the president take personal responsibility for the fact that repeated requests for more security were made and were rejected, and that that may have contributed to the death of those four Americans? Does he take personal responsibility for that?"
But Wallace failed to explain that the requests for extra security were focused on the embassy in Tripoli, not the consulate in Benghazi, and that State Department officials believe that even if the requests had been granted, they would likely not have changed what happened in Benghazi, because they would have been ill-equipped to respond to the large scale of the assault. As The New York Times reported:
In the weeks leading up to the attack last month on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, diplomats on the ground sounded increasingly urgent alarms. In a stream of diplomatic cables, embassy security officers warned their superiors at the State Department of a worsening threat from Islamic extremists, and requested that the teams of military personnel and State Department security guards who were already on duty be kept in service.
The requests were denied, but they were largely focused on extending the tours of security guards at the American Embassy in Tripoli -- not at the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, 400 miles away. And State Department officials testified this week during a hearing by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that extending the tour of additional guards -- a 16-member military security team -- through mid-September would not have changed the bloody outcome because they were based in Tripoli, not Benghazi.
While it is unclear what impact a handful of highly trained additional guards might have had in Benghazi were they able to deploy there, some State Department officials said it would probably not have made any difference in blunting the Sept. 11 assault from several dozen heavily armed militants.
"An attack of that kind of lethality, we're never going to have enough guns," Patrick F. Kennedy, under secretary of state for management, said at Wednesday's hearing. "We are not an armed camp ready to fight it out."
Wallace is muddling facts and geography by overlooking that the security was targeted for the Tripoli embassy, not a consulate hundreds of miles away.
From the October 14 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday:
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Right-wing media are offering GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney advice for the upcoming presidential debate. They suggest Romney should push economic myths to attack Obama's record, "smack the president," and get under Obama's skin.
Two Fox News Sunday panelists suggested that Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, did not properly emphasize the fact that there is an ongoing investigation into the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. In fact, in the interview that they were referring to, and throughout her appearances on the Sunday talk shows, Rice repeatedly noted that the investigation was ongoing and that its results would ultimately reveal what happened.
This suggestion feeds into the right-wing conspiracy theory that the Obama administration has been purposefully deceptive in its public statements about the investigation.
Today on Fox News Sunday, Christian Science Monitor reporter Liz Marlantes questioned why Rice, during a September 16 appearance on Fox News Sunday, didn't simply say, "We're investigating, we don't really know very much yet." Later, Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham similarly asked why Rice didn't say, "We have an ongoing investigation, and I'm really not going to say anything more. We're going to learn more."
But in her September 16 appearance, Rice stressed the fact that it was important not to jump to conclusions before the investigation was completed, but shared the administration's "best current assessment" (emphasis added):
RICE: Well, first of all, Chris, we are obviously investigating this very closely. The FBI has a lead in this investigation. The information, the best information and the best assessment we have today is that in fact this was not a preplanned, premeditated attack. That what happened initially was that it was a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired in Cairo as a consequence of the video. People gathered outside the embassy and then it grew very violent and those with extremist ties joined the fray and came with heavy weapons, which unfortunately are quite common in post-revolutionary Libya and that then spun out of control.
But we don't see at this point signs this was a coordinated plan, premeditated attack. Obviously, we will wait for the results of the investigation and we don't want to jump to conclusions before then. But I do think it's important for the American people to know our best current assessment.
In her appearances throughout September 16, Rice repeatedly emphasized that the investigation was ongoing and would provide the definitive answer to what happened. Her statements mirrored those of other administration officials.