From the November 26 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Fox News misleadingly implied the Obama administration was at fault for not allowing people to keep their health insurance policies indefinitely, while hiding the fact that health insurance companies routinely alter consumer's plans every year.
Fox News misleadingly compared the Affordable Care Act's HealthCare.gov to private website HealthSherpa.com, despite the fact that the programmers previously explained to Fox this was not an "apples to apples comparison."
In response to the troubled rollout of the federal HealthCare.gov, three private programmers recently created HeatlhSherpa.com, a site which shows some health insurance plans available through the new health care law's exchanges, based on a person's zip code, income, and family size. The site does not allow users to purchase insurance, does not verify citizenship, and can only estimate tax breaks and subsidies that users might be eligible for, all functions of the HealthCare.gov website that make purchasing an insurance policy possible.
On the November 18 edition of Fox & Friends, Fox News host Elisabeth Hasselbeck ignored many of these differences in the websites' functionality to claim HealthSherpa.com was a "working healthcare website" and implied it was a preferable alternative to the "failed HealthCare.gov website." Hasselbeck interviewed Michael Wasser, one of the founders of HealthSherpa.com, who explained some of the functional differences between his site and the federal health care website:
WASSER: I think the HealthCare.gov was focused on providing an interface for everybody, multiple languages, actually signing up for the health insurance plans directly on the website. There is a much larger feature set that theirs looked at. We were really focused on reviewing plan data and giving simple instructions on how to sign up for those plans directly through the insurer.
But this is not the first time one of HealthSherpa.com's programmers have explained this faulty comparison to Fox. On the November 13 edition of Fox Business' Varney & Co., host Stuart Varney also described HealthSherpa.com as "a working alternative website" to HealthCare.gov, but was quickly corrected by one of the website's programmers, George Kalogeropoulos:
KALOGEROPOULOS: It's not really a fair apples to apples comparison to compare HealthSherpa.com to HealthCare.gov, and that's because the government website talks to the IRS for your tax status, talks to Homeland Security for immigration status, and it talks to the states. All we do is show you prices. So we say where are you, and then show you what's available and what it costs. So it's a much more limited goal.
[T]he team at HealthCare.gov is extraordinarily competent technically, I'm sure they could have done what we did, what we did technically speaking is not that complicated.
In a November 11 article, CNN's Doug Gross further explained why "it's not fair to compare the creation of Health Sherpa to the rollout of the more complicated government ACA site":
Of course, it's not fair to compare the creation of Health Sherpa to the rollout of the more complicated government ACA site, which everyone from President Obama on down has acknowledged as a horribly botched affair.
For one, you can't actually use Heath Sherpa to sign up for coverage. The site states that it's for research purposes only, and that users must verify the premiums and subsidies they find there with state health care exchanges, insurance companies or on HealthCare.gov itself.
From the February 21st edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Fox News is again using its own bogus narrative to stoke fears of a civil war in the U.S. between "makers" and "takers," after repeatedly pushing the argument that people who receive government benefits are "takers" and pitting them against "makers."
In a January 3 op-ed, Fox News columnist Arthur Herman wrote that riots in Argentina foreshadowed "a coming civil war between makers and takers" in the U.S. Herman revived former presidential candidate Mitt Romney's infamous 47 percent remarks to argue that that the government is creating a dependency nation of people "unable to fend for themselves -- and increasingly resentful of those who can." He added:
When the economy tanks and the government checks have to shrink, their only alternative is to take to the streets. That's what happening in Argentina, and in Greece; and that's where the growth of government is taking us here, as this current budget deal increases handouts -- and more and more Americans are finding that an unemployment or Social Security disability check is their only life line.
But the concept of society being divided into "makers" and "takers" is a manufactured distinction, one that Fox has pushed aggressively.
Fox News figures attacked President Obama's defense of Ambassador Susan Rice during a press conference, claiming his statement that critics of Rice "should go after me" was "absurd and chauvinistic." Fox has a history of attacking Obama and Rice, most recently by invoking Libya smears in order to derail Rice's potential nomination as secretary of state.
Fox News questioned the legitimacy of the September jobs report while simultaneously airing numbers from the report that could be perceived as bad news for President Obama and labeling them "Fox Facts."
Following the release of the report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Fox and other media outlets have attacked the report as being manipulated to help the Obama administration politically. Experts say that this is an unfounded conspiracy theory.
Before an interview with Fox host Chris Wallace, America's Newsroom co-host Martha MacCallum questioned the September jobs report, which showed a drop in the unemployment rate to 7.8 percent. MacCallum said that there is "new fallout coming in over this latest jobs report. Many conservatives now speaking out, questioning the numbers in this report."
While Fox explored the supposed questions over the BLS report, on-screen graphics presented some of the report's findings as "Fox Facts." Here are those findings, and the BLS language they are derived from.
Right-wing media have insisted that President Obama is a failure because the unemployment rate has been higher than it was when President Obama took office. Now that this is no longer true, Fox is suggesting that people look at different employment statistics to judge Obama.
The latest jobs report found that the unemployment rate is 7.8 percent, the same rate Obama inherited when he took office in January 2009. Before the latest report, conservative media harped on the fact that the unemployment rate was higher than it was at the beginning of 2009.
Before today's report, right-wing media had said that Obama needs to be judged on the unemployment number. For instance, in September, conservative author Dinesh D'Souza said on Fox: "Unemployment when he came in, 7.8 percent. We are not saying it should be 2 percent, but it's higher than it was four years ago. Despite all the money and bailouts and the stimulus, Obama needs to be judged on his record."
Other conservative media figures have been highlighting the same number, including Fox & Friends co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade who claimed that the Obama campaign slogan, "Forward," was not appropriate in part because "the jobless rate is now up to 8.2" percent as compared to 7.8 percent when he took office.
But now that this talking point no longer works, Fox's Stuart Varney and Charles Payne moved the goal posts. They said Obama should be judged on a different statistic: the labor participation rate, which is a measure of the labor force as a percentage of the population.
After President Obama proposed allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for incomes over $250,000, Fox News dismissed the revenue this would bring as merely "a drop in the bucket." In the past, Fox has repeatedly characterized billions in revenue increases from the wealthy or corporations as being too little to bother with, but claimed that relatively small amounts of funding for public broadcasting and Planned Parenthood were unaffordable.
In response to President Obama's declaration of support for marriage equality this afternoon, Fox Nation ran the following headline:
Fox Nation's post linked to a Yahoo News article on Obama's announcement, which ran the headline "Obama declares support for gay marriage."
Update: Within an hour of posting its original headline, Fox Nation removed the "war on marriage" language from its post:
Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum has a habit of defending GOP talking points. During a conversation with Sen. Tom Coburn today, she continued the practice, scoffing at Democratic suggestions on how to help reduce the deficit and increase revenue:
MacCALLUM: I think everybody in this country, Democrats and Republicans across the board, know that there need to be some spending cuts in order to move -- in order to protect the country, basically, from complete default. But Democrats will tell you, as you hear all the time, that if you just, you know, tax wealthy people more, and you take, you know, raise taxes on oil companies, that you're going to go a long way to solving the problem. That's what they believe.
SENATOR COBURN: Well, they know that's not true.
Coburn went on to say that those Democratic proposals wouldn't make a dent in the deficit, adding that "this is all about politics, this is all about November, this is silly time in Washington -- unfortunately, it's silly time all the time in Washington 'cause there's no grownups up here." MacCallum replied: "I was just gonna say, I think a lot of folks feel like it extends throughout the year."
In fact, the Democrats' budget proposals amount to more than just "tax wealthy people more" and "raise taxes on oil companies" -- measures Fox News has stridently defended against in its rush to protect the rich and tax breaks for oil and gas companies.
During the April 19 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly hosted a segment attacking this week's episode of Glee for featuring a storyline about a transgender teenager struggling with her gender identity. O'Reilly was joined by Fox & Friends' Gretchen Carlson and Judge Jeanine Pirro.
Throughout the segment, O'Reilly and Carlson criticized Glee for encouraging "dopey kids" to experiment with homosexuality and possibly identify as transgender, comparing LGBT youth to smokers and "drug-fueled" celebrities:
O'REILLY: Here's the problem with a show like this, though. If you make the behavior of these people ... if children hear it, unsupervised children, okay who don't have parents watching their -- they might go out and experiment with this stuff.
PIRRO: Do you really think that this is the kind of thing that's contagious?
O'REILLY: I don't know.
PIRRO: That if kids see this, that they're going to say 'gee, I want to be a girl even though I'm not going to wear my mom's high heels tonight.'
O'REILLY: When I was a teenager and I saw James Dean smoking, it made me want to smoke.
CARLSON: I don't think that watching Glee is going to suddenly make kids want to be transgender or suddenly make them wake up one morning and say that they're going to be -
OREILLY: Experimentation. Experimentation.
CARLSON: But experimentation. I'm with you on this Bill because I wholeheartedly believe, in today's society, that kids are experimenting with homosexuality. We see it in celebrities who maybe just do it on the side, and it may be drug-fueled.
O'REILLY: If you make it glamorous in a program like Glee, which is undeniably a good program... a lot of these dopey kids are confused about who they are. They're confused.
PIRRO: Yeah, but you know what Bill, that's one of the things you can't change about yourself because you think it's interesting or it's new.
O'REILLY: But do you want to encourage experimentation in these areas?
CARLSON: Why do we have rules for anything then Bill?
PIRRO: We all parent our kids but you can't parent their sexuality. You're saying they have a choice in it.
CARLSON: No I'm not saying this is suddenly going to turn somebody gay, but I totally agree with Bill that this causes kids to experiment. And if we didn't- why do we have any rules in society then if we don't try and set some parameters for our children to live their lives? I just think that this is way over the top. [emphasis added]
O'Reilly and Carlson's fear-mongering is reminiscent of last years Fox News meltdown over Chaz Bono's appearance on Dancing with the Stars. Back then, medical professionals widely condemned the idea that transgender people on television could cause kids to identify as transgender.
John Oldham, president of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), stated that there was "no evidence" that television shows could induce Gender Identity Disorder in young people. Dr. John Grohol, editor-in-chief of PsychCentral, agreed, writing that there isn't a "shred of scientific evidence to support such a ridiculous premise."
On Thursday, FoxNews.com published an article parroting right-wing criticisms of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) over an allegedly "homoerotic" website it created to promote safe-sex practices among gay men. According to FoxNews.com:
The National Institutes of Health has spent millions of dollars over the past decade to fund the construction of an HIV-prevention website that, among other sexually explicit features, includes a graphic image of homosexual sex and a Space Invaders-style interactive game that uses a penis-shaped blaster to shoot down gay epithets.
[T]he site used unorthodox methods to get subjects' attention and keep them interested. The site includes pornographic images of homosexual sex as well as naked and scantily clad men. It includes several risqué interactive features, like the Space Invaders-style arcade game.
Fox's reporting is based on complaints raised by the anti-gay hate group Traditional Values Coalition (TVC), which started complaining about the "gay porn" website earlier this week. The article quotes TVC president Andrea Lafferty, who condemned the funding of "cockamamie grants" during tough economic times.
The FoxNews.com article prioritizes focusing on the "homoerotic" aspects of the website – and that lens seems to have trickled down to the rest of the network. Fox Nation quickly picked up the story:
Fox's obsession with gay pornography, of course, wildly misrepresents the purpose of NIH's "Sexpulse" website. The website is part of a broader effort to determine the effectiveness of internet-based interventions into public health problems. Far from being a "homoerotic" porn website, Sexpulse is geared towards encouraging safe-sex practices by using programming targeted at sexually active gay men. As the Star Tribune reported in 2008:
At first glance, Sexpulse looks like a sexually explicit gaming website, with provocative pictures of nude men, cartoons and cheeky icons. But it's not a game. Far from it.
The website, in development at the University of Minnesota, is the newest strategy to slow a second wave of the HIV/AIDS epidemic rising among young gay and bisexual men.
A lot of health education websites are "Debbie Downers," said Michael Allen, chief executive officer of Allen Interactions. The company is working with Rosser and other experts at the university to build the site. "They [other websites] are constantly trying to scare you or tell you how bad things are," Allen said.
Sexpulse is different. It's fun, funny and designed to change behavior both through education and boosting self-esteem, Allen said -- the model he uses for all kinds of e-learning.
"If we don't change people's behavior, we are not doing anything that matters," he said.
Sexpulse sports 14 compartments with titles such as Hit the Gym, addressing body image, and Sex Calculator, which helps the user understand what leads him to do something risky. There is a practice chat room with tools for teaching how to set expectations.
This isn't the first time that Fox has ginned up one of TVC's anti-gay meltdowns about NIH funding. Last July, the same FoxNews.com reporter, Judson Berger, peddled TVC's outrage over an NIH-backed study that allegedly focused on the penis sizes of gay men. TVC's criticism of the study was eventually determined to be both inaccurate and misleading, but that doesn't appear to have deterred Fox from relying on the group for its anti-gay horror stories.
From the June 5 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday:
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From the February 8 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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