On Fox & Friends, Gretchen Carlson allowed Steve Adubato to misrepresent President Obama's February 24 address to Congress in order to claim that Obama engaged in "class warfare." After Adubato suggested that Obama did not refer to people who "bought houses they shouldn't have bought because they can't afford them," Carlson responded: "Good point." In fact, contrary to Adubato's suggestion, Obama did refer to people who "bought homes they knew they couldn't afford from banks and lenders who pushed those bad loans anyway."
On his radio and television shows, Bill O'Reilly advanced the falsehood that "the average autoworker now makes 70 bucks an hour." In fact, a recent Barclays Capital analysis reportedly found that the average U.S. autoworker is paid "an average of $55 an hour in wages and benefits."
On Fox News, Sean Hannity repeated the false GOP talking points that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act directs that funds be spent to protect the salt marsh harvest mouse in San Francisco and on a high-speed rail line between Southern California and Las Vegas. In fact, as Rep. Joe Sestak noted in response to Hannity, the bill does not contain any language directing funds to the salt marsh harvest mouse or its San Francisco wetlands habitat, nor does the bill include a provision directing that funds be spent on a high-speed rail line between Southern California and Las Vegas.
Fox News' Neil Cavuto stated that President Obama "misstate[d]" the facts on the U.S. corporate tax rate structure, and purporting to "correct" him, claimed that the U.S. corporate tax rate is "at a high 35 percent ... the highest in the industrialized world. That is un-debatable and unequivocal." In fact, while the U.S. statutory corporate tax rate is 35 percent, according to the Government Accountability Office, "Statutory tax rates do not provide a complete measure of the burden that a tax system imposes on business income." Additionally, World Bank and GAO data indicate that the U.S. effective corporate tax rate is lower than 35 percent and lower than several developed economies.
On Hannity, Bo Dietl falsely asserted that "[t]en years from now" there will be only two workers for each Social Security beneficiary. He added, "The problem is there's going to be bankruptcy in Social Security and then the pension system." In fact, the 2008 Social Security trustee's report estimates that the ratio will fall from more than 3 workers for every beneficiary to a 2.2 ratio by 2030, not in "[t]en years." Furthermore, Social Security will be able to pay full benefits until 2041, at which point it will be able to cover 78 percent of benefits if no legislative changes are made.
On The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that prior to the housing crisis, Rep. Barney Frank had been "pumping it that poor people ought to be given mortgages 'cause everybody has a right to a house." In fact, Frank has consistently taken the position that the government should focus on the expansion of affordable rental housing, rather than enacting policies geared toward universal home ownership.
Citing a Congressional Quarterly article about the relationship between House members and lobbying firm The PMA Group, Sean Hannity falsely suggested that current or former House members who received PMA funds and inserted earmarks that benefited PMA clients into a 2007 bill are "all Democrats." In fact, according to CQ, 44 of 91 current or former House members who received campaign contributions from the PMA Group's political action committe or its employees from 2001-2008 and "secured earmarks for clients of The PMA Group in the fiscal 2008 defense appropriations law," are Republicans.
On Fox News' Glenn Beck, Tracy Byrnes baselessly asserted that Namasté Solar Electric Inc. -- the company whose president introduced President Obama at the signing of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act -- has a "progressive, maybe even socialist, internal structure," and during her report, on-screen text falsely claimed that "all employees are paid the same." In fact, according to Namasté's website, "starting salary depends upon experience."
On The O'Reilly Factor, Karl Rove falsely claimed that Rep. Barney Frank "was one of the more prominent opponents of [housing] reform in 2004 and 2005." In fact, Frank supported efforts to enhance regulatory oversight on mortgage brokers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2005, and he has long championed policies that emphasize low-income home rentals as opposed to homeownership.
Fox News' Greta Van Susteren did not challenge Sen. Jon Kyl's false claim that the economic recovery plan is "going to be wasting an awful lot of money, putting permanent programs in place that over a 10-year period ... are going to spend $3.27 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office." Kyl's assertion echoed the false claim in a Washington Times editorial that CBO estimated that the full cost of the bill would reach $3.2 trillion by 2019. In fact, more than half of the $3.2 trillion figure comes from the cost of permanently extending more than 20 provisions in the recovery bill, which the bill does not do.
Glenn Beck falsely claimed that "the average UAW [United Auto Workers] worker" earns "[a] hundred and fifty-four dollars an hour if you look at -- you know, if you add in all of the benefits." In fact, a recent Barclays Capital analysis reportedly found that U.S. automakers "pay an average of $55 an hour in wages and benefits to hourly workers."
In Fox News' special, Trillion with a T, Bret Baier promoted or repeated several myths and falsehoods about President Obama and the economic recovery bill, including that some of the spending in the bill -- which Obama has now signed into law -- isn't stimulus; that the bill will lead to "the government deciding which procedures you can have and which ones you can't"; that it would prohibit any religious activity in facilities receiving money; that the Obama administration advocated cutting the defense budget by 10 percent; and that Obama admitted "there might be some pork" in the bill.
In recent days, Fox News hosts and contributors have advanced the false claim -- pushed by Republican lawmakers -- that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid included a provision in the recovery bill directing that $8 billion be spent on a high-speed rail line between Southern California and Las Vegas. In fact, the bill does not direct high-speed rail funds to any specific project, and any funding would be allocated by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman.
Since Congress passed President Obama's economic recovery bill, several media figures have warned that Obama could suffer political consequences if the nation's economy does not improve substantially in a short amount of time. But Obama has consistently emphasized the long-term nature of economic recovery, repeatedly stating that the recovery "will likely be measured in terms of years and not months."