Fox News trumpeted the false claim that immigrants who receive provisional status under the immigration reform proposal would get a "tax amnesty" because the bill does not mandate they pay back taxes. In fact, the bill requires that immigrants -- at least three quarters of who already pay payroll taxes -- pay a tax liability before they can qualify for provisional legal status and ensure they pay taxes before they can renew their legal status.
In a FoxNews.com op-ed, Dan Stein, president of the anti-immigration Federation for American Immigration Reform, accused the bipartisan group of senators behind the bill of giving a "tax amnesty" to undocumented immigrants because the bill does not contain language addressing "back taxes" and does not explicitly explain how taxes will be assessed. He wrote that "taxes assessed" are different from "taxes owed" and there is no proof that the proposal would require immigrants to pay anything:
While this sounds good at first blush, "taxes assessed" is not the same as "taxes owed." A tax assessment occurs when the IRS officially records that a person owes money because an individual files a tax return, or the IRS audits an individual - whether or not he has filed a return - and records how much the person owes.
The bill requires aliens to only pay taxes that the IRS has assessed at the time they apply for ["registered provisional immigrant"] RPI status.
If the IRS had no knowledge that the individual had been working here, there would obviously be no tax liability assessed and the alien has nothing to satisfy for the purpose of getting RPI status.
In fact, immigrants who apply for provisional legal status would have to pay taxes. The bill states that immigrants may not receive provisional status until any federal tax liability is satisfied in accordance with regulations to be established by the Secretary of the Treasury. This gives the IRS the discretion to decide how a tax liability will be administered to immigrants seeking the legal status. If an immigrant is granted legal status they would still be required to pay taxes during that period as well.
Fox News largely underreported the news of the first openly gay male athlete in major American sports, while one Fox News contributor resorted to mocking the player's decision to publicly identify as gay.
On April 29, NBA center Jason Collins became the first professional athlete in a major American sport to come out as gay, writing in a story for Sports Illustrated:
I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay.
The announcement was a major development in the sports community following months of debate and speculation about if and when a male professional athlete in one of the major American sports would identify as gay.
Despite the significance of Collins' announcement, Fox News barely covered the story, dedicating less than ten minutes on April 29 to the story - significantly less time than coverage on CNN (48 minutes) and MSNBC (29 minutes) - according to a Media Matters analysis:
Fox's underreporting wasn't limited to its on-air coverage. While most major news websites prominently displayed Collins' announcement on their home page, the story barely earned a hyperlink on FoxNews.com:
Never one to miss an opportunity to attack LGBT Americans, Fox News Radio reporter Todd Starnes mocked Collins' announcement, tweeting "the NBA is turning into GLEE":
*Media Matters searched news transcripts provided by Snapstream for the terms "gay" and "Collins" on April 29. Reruns and teases for upcoming segments were excluded.
Fox News contributor Erick Erickson wrote a FoxNews.com piece on the Boston bombings that attacked Islam as a religion that "cannot ... peacefully coexist with other religions" and suggested "multiculturalism" helped lead to the bombings.
In his piece, Erickson wrote, "In the past decade we have seen that not all Muslims are terrorists, but just about every terrorist has been a Muslim." He also claimed that "contrary to the political correct," "[c]ompared to all other religions in the Twentieth and Twenty-first century, only Islam seems to generate people willing to kill for their religion."
Erickson suggested that societal emphasis on "multiculturalism" led the Boston bombing suspects to turn to radical Islam because immigrants aren't expected to "assimilate into American society." In a tweet linking to his piece, Erickson said:
Erickson has a long history of inflammatory remarks: he has endorsed white-men-only scholarships, defended Rep. Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" comments, and has said "violence" is "extremely common ... within much of Islam."
Fox News and Fox News Latino are again reporting the same story using different lenses to appeal to both their conservative audience and a growing Latino culture.
The Associated Press announced this week that it would no longer refer to undocumented immigrants as "illegal immigrants," saying:
The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term "illegal immigrant" or the use of "illegal" to describe a person. Instead, it tells users that "illegal" should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally.
Explaining the change, AP Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll stated that the wire service was "ridding the Stylebook of labels" in other areas and to be consistent, the term "illegal immigrant" will no longer be used. The new entry reads in part: "illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant. Acceptable variations include living in or entering a country illegallyor without legal permission."
Carroll further said that the term "ends up pigeonholing people or creating long descriptive titles where you use some main event in someone's life to become the modifier before their name."
In an article reporting the AP's move, Fox News Latino featured a photo of a woman holding up a sign that read, "No human being is illegal":
The Fox News Latino article, headlined " 'Illegal Immigrant' Dropped From Associated Press Stylebook," referred to the term "illegal immigrant" as "controversial" and included quotes from racial justice organization The Applied Research Center, which publishes Colorlines.org.
By contrast, FoxNews.com highlighted the story on its front page with a picture of what appeared to be immigrants climbing over a border fence. The headline on the photo read: "AP Rules: Don't Call Him an... 'ILLEGAL?'"
Fox Business host John Stossel contradicted himself within just a few paragraphs over whether the "free market" can remedy pollution.
In a FoxNews.com column, Stossel acknowledged that the "free market ... doesn't offer a practical remedy to pollution," but went on tout "capitalism" as the answer to pollution just a few paragraphs later:
Originally, environmental rules were a good thing. I love the free market, but it doesn't offer a practical remedy to pollution. I could sue polluters for violating my property rights, but under our legal system, that's not even close to practical.
So in the '70s, government passed rules that demanded we stop polluting the air and water. Industry put scrubbers in smokestacks. Towns installed sewage treatment. Now the air is quite clean, and I can swim in the rivers around Manhattan.
Throughout the world, most reductions in pollution have been achieved because of capitalism, not government control.
Fracking for natural gas reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
Even much-hated coal and oil provide benefits. [emphasis added]
Stossel was right the first time. Experts from across the political spectrum say that when the "free market" does not account for the external costs that fossil fuel production imposes on society, the government must step in to put a price on pollution. As Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman put it:
Externalities like pollution are one of the classic forms of market failure, and Econ 101 says that this failure should be remedied through pollution taxes or tradable emissions permits that get the price right. [...] So if you really believed in the logic of free markets, you'd be all in favor of pollution taxes, right?
Krugman highlighted a 2011 study by centrist economists which found that coal imposes more costs on society than any other industry and may be "underregulated" as its price does not account for these damages.
Discredited gun advocate John Lott argued against a draft United Nations Arms Trade Treaty by invoking two debunked NRA conspiracy theories and claimed that it would lead to international regulation of gun ownership and national gun registries for lawful gun owners.
United Nations member states met this week to negotiate an international arms trade treaty with the stated objective of establishing "the highest possible common international standards for regulating" international trade in conventional arms and to "eradicate the illicit trade in conventional arms and prevent their diversion." In a March 28 editorial on FoxNews.com, Lott claimed that the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) would "regulate individual gun ownership all across the world." He went on to say that the treaty would force countries to maintain "a national control list" so that they could regulate weapon brokering between states.
In fact, both the U.N. draft of the arms treaty and the Obama administration made clear that the agreement would not infringe on the Second Amendment rights of U.S. citizens. The U.N. draft reaffirmed in its preamble " the sovereign right of any State to regulate and control conventional arms exclusively within its territory, pursuant to its own legal or constitutional system." The U.S. Department of State added that the final treaty must not cross key "red lines" in order to receive U.S. support, which included that "the Second Amendment to the Constitution must be upheld" without infringements upon "sovereign control" of domestic gun laws:
Fox News contributor Erick Erickson attempted to make the case that marriage equality poses a threat to religious freedom, but his only evidence was a list of examples irrelevant to same-sex marriage.
In a March 26 column for FoxNews.com, Erickson warned that "gay marriage and religious freedom are incompatible," adding that marriage equality supporters aim to "punish and silence" those who disagree with them.
To support his claim, Erickson listed a number of examples meant to highlight the conflict between marriage equality and religious liberty. But none of his examples are actually about same-sex marriage. In fact, most of them come from states where same-sex marriage is still illegal, and almost all of the examples pertain to non-discrimination laws, not marriage laws:
Fox News contributor and self-identified "comedian" Stephen Crowder published a transphobic FoxNews.com column smearing a transgender Mixed Martial Arts fighter by repeatedly referring to her as a male and incorrectly accusing her of having an unfair advantage over her opponents as a result of "being a man."
In a March 20 FoxNews.com column, Crowder railed against transgender MMA fighter Fallon Fox, repeatedly depicting her as a male who's interested in "beating up women":
Let me paint you a picture: your daughter is playing a contact sport. Say, football or hockey. She's gone from being your little girl to becoming a beautiful young woman. Opposite her on the field (or ice), is somebody who once was a man, until he decided that he didn't feel like being one anymore.
Enter Fallon Fox, a male-to-female transgendered person, who has now decided to make a living by beating up women.
Unless you were born and raised a woman, you don't go around hitting chicks.
Crowder's insistence on referring to Fox as a male is clearly meant to be derogatory. Mentally, physically, and legally, Fox is considered a woman. Given she also self-identifies as a woman, Crowder is violating basic journalistic standards by failing to identify a transgender person by his or her stated gender. As Bleacher Report's Matt Juul recently wrote:
While it's fair to debate the possible advantages of Fox's physical attributes (although there's increasing scientific evidence that she has zero advantages), referring to her as a man is disrespectful and is not even close to being factually accurate. [emphasis added]
Fox News contributor and conservative columnist Cal Thomas promoted the popular right-wing talking point that marriage equality would create a slippery slope toward polygamy and marriage with children, despite the fact that this myth has been consistently disproven.
In a March 12 column for FoxNews.com on "what we ought to be asking gay marriage advocates," Thomas posed the question - if same-sex marriage is legalized, what reason can be given for denying polygamous marriages or marriages with underage children?:
What advocates for same-sex marriage should be asked is whether they consider any other human relationship worthy of similar constitutional protection and based on what standard? The Constitution doesn't guarantee the right to marry. States, not the federal government, issue marriage licenses.
Current laws restrict "underage" marriage, as well as polygamy. If same-sex marriage is approved, what's to stop polygamists from demanding legal protection and cultural acceptance?Justice Antonin Scalia predicted as much in 2003 in his dissent of the Lawrence v. Texas case, in which the Court struck down the sodomy law in Texas. So I ask, if "fairness" and "equality" are the standard, isn't it also "unfair" to "discriminate" against polygamists who wish to live in "loving" and "committed" relationships?
Since we are rapidly discarding the rules for living and social order set down in a book found in most motel room drawers, what is to replace it? Opinion polls? Clever legal arguments? Fairness? What exactly does "fairness" mean and who decides what's fair? Many things may seem "unfair," but not all can, or should, be addressed by courts. [emphasis added]
FoxNews.com featured an op-ed today by Colin Hanna, head of the conservative group Let Freedom Ring, pushing federal lawmakers to "address quickly and responsibly" the threat facing the film industry from "intellectual property pirates." This is important, according to Hanna, because "Hollywood sets the tone for the world for the industry while adding billions to the U.S. economy annually. Everyone wants to see American movies and everyone, it seems, wants to be in the movie business -- even if they have to break the law as the price of entry."
Hanna's over-the-top lobbying for Hollywood and regulatory action that favors the film industry is likely owed to the fact that the Motion Picture Association of America has paid Hanna to do exactly that -- a fact that Fox News neglected to disclose.
The MPAA's 2011 tax disclosure form (the most recent available) shows a $10,000 payment to Let Freedom Ring for the purpose of "promot[ing] the film industry."
Let Freedom Ring received that grant just as the MPAA and major media companies were gearing up to push the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) through Congress. Hanna wrote an op-ed in December 2011 advocating SOPA's passage, and Let Freedom Ring launched an online petition backing SOPA and PIPA as "important pieces of legislation that are consistent with the Founders' view that property rights are important, even vital to America's success."
The campaign failed, and SOPA and PIPA were famously brought down through a combination of grassroots activism and opposition from big-name online entities like Google and Reddit. That failure left a bad taste in Hanna's mouth. His March 7 op-ed took an oblique and supremely hypocritical dig at the groups that killed SOPA and PIPA:
Congress has tried to address this issue before, but pressure campaigns relying on false information and hysterical allegations of government over-reach -- perhaps funded by entities who do not believe that someone else's intellectual property rights should be a barrier to their ability to make money -- dissuaded legislators from taking action. That must not be allowed to happen again. [emphasis added]
Yeah, we can't have outside actors funded by interested parties attempting to influence legislators on intellectual property issues. That'd be outrageous.
Fox News psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow attacked President Obama's State of the Union address as the "psychological projection of an abandoned boy's vision" and claimed Obama has a message of distrusting initiative that is "remarkably toxic" to young people's "psychological well-being."
In a February 13 FoxNews.com op-ed, Ablow continued his campaign of attacking Obama's policy proposals by highlighting his non-traditional upbringing. Ablow claimed Obama's State of the Union address was "psychologically predictable" because he was "abandoned as a boy by his father, and then his mother." He also attacked Obama's policy proposals on stronger gun laws and health care, asserting his core message was toxic to the "psychological well-being" of young Americans:
The president is psychologically predictable. He does not surprise. Having been abandoned as a boy by his father, and then his mother, only to then learn that his grandmother feared people of his race, he seems inherently to distrust individual initiative and intention and to place his trust only in the collective--i.e. the state. What benefits a burgeoning central authority is good for all. When a child's guardians keep letting him down in profound ways, that child can grow up to want a lot of power himself and distrust the idea of giving anyone else very much.
Many millions of young Americans listened to Barack Obama on Tuesday night, as they have listened to his core message for nearly five long years. And his message has remained remarkably consistent and remarkably toxic to their psychological well-being: Do not rely on yourself. Entitlement Nation will parent you, until you forget about growing up, period. Stay on your parents' health insurance, even if you are 18 and in great health and would rather -- wisely or not -- use that money to start an Internet company in your basement. It's okay to blame rich people if you can't earn money.
Welcome to the psychological projection of an abandoned boy's vision of how much you can rely on other individuals and on yourself. The less, the better. When your mother and father take off on you as a kid, when your white grandmother seems to fear people of color, you probably figure putting any trust in individuals is crazy.
Right-wing media figures distorted Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta's congressional testimony to attack President Obama over the response to the terror attack on the Benghazi consulate. In fact, Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey explained that the attack occurred in two waves separated by large blocks of time, and White House officials were engaged with military throughout the incident.
Multiple Fox News personalities have suggested the Justice Department's lawsuit against Standard & Poor's is 'political retribution,' either papering over or outright ignoring the facts behind the suit. However, the S&P investigation began well before U.S. credit was downgraded, and a raft of internal emails suggest the company may have knowingly inflated securities ratings.
Rush Limbaugh said that "it's up to me and Fox News" to stop immigration reform. Fox News digital politics editor Chris Stirewalt appears to be answering the call, characterizing possible provisions for same sex couples in immigration reform as a "poison pill" proposal from President Barack Obama as part of a campaign to "enrage the right, divide the GOP and set the table for a Democratic victory in 2014."
BuzzFeed reports that the White House framework for immigration reform will include provisions for opening up green card eligibility for same sex couples. Heterosexual couples routinely have access to permanent resident visas via marriage, while same sex couples do not because the Defense of Marriage Act bars federal recognition of same sex marriages.
Stirewalt's column again spotlights the role of Fox and other elements of the conservative media in policing the Republican Party in order to prevent the passage of legislation alongside Democrats. President Obama discussed this dynamic in an interview with The New Republic: "If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you'll see more of them doing it."
As Reuters reported, "There are at least 28,500 same-sex couples in the United States in which one partner is a U.S. citizen and the other is not, and 11,500 same-sex couples where neither partner is a U.S. citizen." By that measure, proposals on this issue would affect at least 80,000 people in a same sex relationship.
Immigration Equality, a pro-reform group, estimates that 45% of these couples also have children, who of course would be directly affected by these immigration reforms.
Charles Krauthammer accused President Obama of "reactionary liberalism" in his inaugural address for supporting Medicare, which Krauthammer described as "increasingly obsolete." But Krauthammer has attacked Obama and Democrats in the past for what he falsely described as efforts to cut or destroy the program.
In a column posted at the Washington Post and FoxNews.com, Krauthammer claimed Obama's inaugural address "was a paean to big government" that attempted to "defend unyieldingly the 20th-century welfare state" and "expand it unrelentingly for the 21st." As evidence, Krauthammer pointed to Obama's pledge to safeguard Medicare:
The first part of that agenda -- clinging zealously to the increasingly obsolete structures of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid -- is the very definition of reactionary liberalism. Social Security was created when life expectancy was 62. Medicare was created when modern medical technology was in its infancy. Today's radically different demographics and technology have rendered these programs, as structured, unsustainable. Everyone knows that, unless reformed, they will swallow up the rest of the budget.
But Krauthammer previously attacked President Obama and Democrats for what he falsely claimed were cuts to Medicare in the Affordable Care Act, and defended Rep. Paul Ryan's controversial budget from claims that it did the same.