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] 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.
The right-wing media are claiming that the "liberal agenda" President Obama outlined in his second inaugural address is out of the mainstream, even though polling has shown that the majority of Americans agree with Obama's stances on marriage equality, sustainable energy, and other issues.
A FoxNews.com article questioned whether 2012 was actually the hottest year on record, quoting "skeptics" who suggest a government office is manipulating data to fabricate proof of rising temperatures. In fact, statistical adjustments made by the agency are required, publicly-documented changes to correct for errors and known sources of bias in the raw data.
In January, the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) announced that 2012 was the hottest year on record in the contiguous U.S. - an announcement that Fox News ignored until one of Fox News' few liberal commentators, Bob Beckel, tried to bring it up on The Five. Soon after, FoxNews.com reporter Maxim Lott solicited the views of a few professional climate "skeptics" to claim that scientists made unjustified data adjustments to exaggerate 2012's heat.
Under the headline "Hottest year ever? Skeptics question revisions to climate data," Lott quoted Roy Spencer, a rare climate contrarian scientist who considers it his job to "minimize the role of government," and Steve Goddard, a climate denier-cum-birther writing under a pseudonym, to cast doubt on the temperature record. According to Goddard, the U.S. only "appears" to have warmed as a result of the agency's adjustments, making the data "meaningless garbage." Lott gave the final word to former television weatherman and blogger Anthony Watts, who said, "In the business and trading world, people go to jail for such manipulations of data."
But the NCDC has publicly explained that it needs to make adjustments to the raw temperature data to account for flaws that can result, for example, when stations are moved, are measuring temperatures at different times of day, or are measuring temperature with different instruments. The NCDC carefully applies these adjustments after publishing their methods in multiple peer-reviewed papers. As several scientists tried to explain to FoxNews.com, these adjustments make the temperature data more accurate:
Government climate scientist Peter Thorne, speaking in his personal capacity, said that there was consensus for the adjustments.
"These have been shown through at least three papers that have appeared in the past 12 months to be an improvement," he said.
NOAA spokesman Scott Smullen agreed.
"These kinds of improvements get us even closer to the true climate signal, and help our nation even more accurately understand its climate history," he said.
Frequent Fox News guest Peter Morici claimed that President Obama's "most effective jobs program" has been convincing job seekers to stop looking for work or settle for part-time work. But the president's policies have created millions of jobs, and economists have found that there are other reasons besides the economy that the labor participation rate has declined.
After the release of the January 4 unemployment report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Morici used a FoxNews.com op-ed to attack Obama's economic record. He wrote that if the labor force participation rate was the same today as in the Great Depression, the unemployment rate would stand at 9.7 percent. Morici also claimed:
"Convincing millions of Americans they don't want a job or compelling desperate workers to settle for part time work has been the Obama administration's most effective jobs program."
In fact, prominent economists have found that the labor participation rate is "right about where it should be." The Washington Post's Ezra Klein explained that the rate is not necessarily driven by economic conditions:
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 is reporting that gun owners are rushing to buy firearms in light of President Obama's reelection at the same time it promotes the very conspiracies about the president's gun policies triggering those sales.
A December 6 FoxNews.com article on the firearms "buying spree" reports that to gun owners, "Obama's re-election, and the apocalypse -- amount to the same thing" while also credulously quoting the unfounded claim of NRA president David Keene that, "Obama is coming right at us" and his second term will be "an all-out assault on the Second Amendment."
The simultaneous reporting of an uptick in gun sales and promotion of wild-eyed conspiracy theories about Obama's gun policies is commonplace at Fox News, despite the fact that President Obama expanded, rather than restricted, where a gun can be carried during his first term.
On the December 3 edition of Hannity on Fox News, WorldNetDaily columnist Erik Rush discussed the murder-suicide involving NFL player Jovan Belcher, alleging, "Whenever there is a high-profile gun crime the fearmongering begins, the histrionics begin, and all of this stuff really has its genesis in the political left, and particularly the big government political leftists, who want to disarm the public."
Addressing the murder-suicide involving Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, discredited gun researcher John Lott downplayed the relationship between firearm availability and the incidence of murder in a FoxNews.com column. Lott took issue with NBC sportscaster Bob Costas discussing the tragedy during halftime on Sunday Night Football. Quoting FoxSports.com columnist Jason Whitlock, Costas said, "If Jovan Belcher didn't possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today."
Lott disputed that the presence of a firearm had anything to do with the murder-suicide, writing, "Even if no weapon existed, the strength differential is so large that Belcher could have easily killed [his girlfriend Kasandra] Perkins in any number of ways."
Lott's attempt to take guns out of the equation was the latest effort by right-wing media to silence the discussion of gun violence in the wake of Saturday's murder-suicide. It is also at odds with research about the relationship between gun availability and gun violence.
As Forbes contributor Rob Waters noted, the presence of a firearm drastically increases the lethality of domestic violence incidents. Using statistics compiled by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Waters wrote that, "If a gun is used during a domestic violence assault, there's a 23-fold increased likelihood that the victim will die. Women who are victims of domestic violence are five times more likely to be killed if their abuser owns a firearm."