From the January 24 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:
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Media conservatives are condemning President Obama for using the word "hostage" as a metaphor while discussing negotiations. Yet Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush also used the same rhetoric in describing their political opponents.
Los Angeles Times blogger/former Bush aide Andrew Malcolm writes:
Back in 1994 when Bill Clinton received a lesser shellacking from voters angry over his liberal policies, he took three months to follow Dick Morris' advice, adopt some Republican goals like welfare reform as his own and declare out of the blue, "The era of big government is over." The result: An easy 1996 reelect for him.
Like Fred Barnes before him, Malcolm inexplicably ignores the effect an improving economy had on Clinton's re-election. As political scientist Brendan Nyhan has noted, "Clinton's move toward the center … may have helped somewhat to boost his margin above what we would have otherwise expected, but the driving force in 1996 (as in every election) was the state of the economy." (As Nyhan acknowledges later in the post, there is evidence that Clinton's move to the center is itself overstated.)
And as for Malcolm's suggestion that Clinton's adoption of "Republican goals like welfare reform as his own" resulted in an "easy 1996 reelect": Nonsense. First, Clinton had long made welfare reform a goal of his own. And by the time he signed legislation on August 22, 1996, Clinton had already built a comfortable lead over Bob Dole -- even after vetoing welfare legislation twice. When Clinton vetoed a welfare reform bill on January 9, 1996, he was trailing Dole in Gallup polling. By the time he signed a bill in August, Clinton had established a solid double-digit lead that reached 20 points on multiple occasions. So, basically, Malcolm is completely wrong.
Especially not the new generation of right-wing players led by the likes of Andrew Breitbart. Sure, they pretend to be practicing journalism. I mean, their sites have bylines. The pieces are (supposedly) edited, and then they appear under catchy headlines. But the junk being cranked out on right-wing political sites has nothing to do with journalism (i.e. fairness and facts) and everything to do with whiney, often hate-filled propaganda.
I'm just sorry I'm the one who has to inform Fred Barnes.
As Think Progress noted, Fox News' Barnes recently appeared at a conservative activist event and urged Republican partisans to "infiltrate" the mainstream media [emphasis added]:
Barnes and some other media critics argue that the broader, more liberal media still decide the daily story and political agenda, so he's calling for a two-pronged war. One goal is to develop conservative reporters. "We need more smart, young people in journalism," he argues, "to infiltrate—infiltrate!—the mainstream media. It can be done."
Then he wants wealthy conservatives to build media outlets. Citing the millions of dollars thrown at political campaigns, he says "there is a lot of money out there that can be used to start new magazines, to buy television networks, to buy newspapers, to start newspapers—so much can be done."
First, the obligatory irony alert: Barnes, who works for the openly partisan Weekly Standard and who cashes a paycheck from openly partisan Fox News, wonders why conservatives don't build openly partisan media outlets?
But with regards to Barnes' point about getting "smart, young" people into journalism, it's simply not going to happen. As Media Matters has been endlessly documenting, right-wing attempts to practice "journalism" routinely reveal themselves to be little more than hoaxes.
Barnes and I actually agree, though. It would be good for politics and journalism if smart, young conservatives opted for reporting and actually committed themselves to practicing the craft. There's simply no indication conservatives have any desire to do so, not when facts are frowned upon within the Republican Noise Machine.
From the November 16 edition of Fox News Channel's Special Report with Brett Baier:
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Writing opinion pieces for Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal must be the easiest assignment in journalism, mostly because it appears that editors make no requirements that conservative writers back up their claims. Better yet for scribes, they allow writers to make claims that are not only profoundly false, but provably false.
The latest example of his lazy trend comes courtesy of Fred Barnes today, who insists it's not the economy that voters are most upset about.
Barnes [emphasis added]:
A funny thing happened on the way to the midterm election. The economy was in bad shape, with high unemployment, slow growth and a lingering housing crisis. Yet it wasn't the paramount issue in the campaign.
Of course, virtually all the polling data published to date makes clear that Barnes has it exactly backwards and that concerns over the economy have been far and away the number one issue among voters.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday also indicates that the economy remains, by far, the top issue on the minds of Americans. Fifty-two percent of people questioned say the economy's the most important issue facing the country.
Does anyone in America, besides Fred Barnes, think the economy hasn't been the top issues on the minds of Americans this elections season? Apparently the only other people who believe that are the ones who publish the WSJ's opinion page.
Barnes goes on to stress how it was health care reform, not the economy, that doomed Democrats and is driving voters away this election season.
Again, polling results completely undermine Barnes' claim:
According to a recent monthly Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, healthcare reform isn't drawing voters to the upcoming November Congressional elections.
Voters asked to name the most important issue contributing to how they will vote listed the economy first, followed by dissatisfaction with government. Healthcare reform came in third.
Specifically, the top two issues are the economy (surprise!) and dissatisfaction with the government and were selected as priorities among 45 percent of voters. Just 13 percent picked health care reform.
But shhh, don't tell Barnes and the team at the WSJ.
Conservative media have falsely suggested that Germany's fiscal austerity policies spurred that country's recent economic growth, at times arguing that the United States should therefore have cut spending instead of borrowing to stimulate the economy. In fact, Germany -- which launched stimulus spending and increased the deficit in response to the recession -- has not yet implemented its planned cuts, and economists say Germany's recent improvement is largely due to conditions favorable to its export-based economy.
Media conservatives, led by Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, are comparing a Florida church's plans to burn Qurans on the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks to plans to build an Islamic community center in Manhattan.
From the September 7 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:
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In June, Fox News figures downplayed job growth numbers by pointing out that many of the jobs created were temporary census positions. Now, those same Fox figures are hyping net job losses over the summer while ignoring that the losses are largely explained by the conclusion of those same temporary census positions.
During the run-up to the Iraq war, some of the worst purveyors of misinformation about Iraq had a home at Fox News, and their ranks have swelled considerably since then. Media Matters takes a look at the track record of wrong predictions and shoddy analysis about the war in Iraq by many of Fox News' contributors and analysts.
From the August 30 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:
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Conservative media have long made a habit of bogus stock market analysis that furthers the right-wing agenda rather than shedding light on the business world, crediting right-wing figures and causes for gains, and blaming progressives for market declines, even in the face of evidence to the contrary.
We pointed out back in April that Fred Barnes was one of many, many Fox News figures who have engaged in activism for Republican candidates or causes. Specifically, we noted that Barnes had keynoted fundraisers for Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) and for the Palm Beach County Republican Party.
Today, Salon.com's Joe Conason reports that Premiere Speakers Bureau, the firm that books Barnes' speaking engagements, was paid $5,500 the month before Barnes' Palm Beach appearance. He also reports on payments to Premiere for two other Barnes appearances at GOP fundraisers:
Now, however, there is further evidence that Barnes not only routinely helped Republicans raise money as a banquet speaker, but accepted tens of thousands of dollars from party organizations as well:
- In February 2006, Barnes was paid $10,000 plus travel expenses by Oregon's Lane County Republican Central Committee to deliver the keynote address at the annual Lincoln Day Dinner. (Thanks to Carla Axtman for research assistance.) These payments, recorded in filingswith the Oregon secretary of state, were evidently made through the Premier Speakers Bureau of Franklin, Tenn., which represents other Fox personalities including Sean Hannity, Dick Morris and Mike Huckabee. Barnes is no longer listed on the Premier website, but the company did not respond to phone or e-mail inquiries about its relationship with him.
- In February 2007, Barnes spoke at the annual Lincoln-Reagan Dinnerheld by the Republican Party of Fort Bend County, Texas -- home of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who purchased a ticket to the event. The party organization's filing with the Texas Ethics Commission shows two payments of $5,000 each on April 26, 2007, to Premiere Speakers Bureau (with the notation "LRD 2007 Speaker - Fred Barnes") and travel expenses of $1,823. Photos of a smiling Barnes with various local dignitaries at the event, which netted a reported $70,000 for the party, can be viewed here.
- In early March 2008, Barnes served as the keynote speaker for the Republican Party of Palm Beach County at its annual Lincoln Day Dinner. Whether he received the customary $10,000 is not clear because the party's filing with the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections show only a single payment of $5,500 to Premiere Speakers Bureau on Feb. 18. The committee reported net $120,000 in net proceeds from the event.
On Fox News' Special Report, Carl Cameron and Fred Barnes promoted the myths that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan "bann[ed]" military recruiting at Harvard Law School, and that Kagan's opposition to the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy contradicts her being "tremendously supportive of the military."