Fox News is now acknowledging that Tesla Motors is a "success story," but only a year ago the network declared the company "failed." This distortion played into its attempts to boost then-presidential nominee Mitt Romney's claim that President Barack Obama only "pick[s] the losers."
Discussing the Obama administration's investments in green technology, Fox News anchor Gregg Jarrett recently stated that Tesla is a "success story," and Fox Business anchor Lou Dobbs acknowledged on Monday night that it is one of the "winners." Tesla recently announced that it made a profit in the first quarter of 2013 after exceeding sales goals for its electric sedan, and the company plans on paying back its Department of Energy loan guarantee five years early.
But an oft-aired Fox News graphic previously listed Tesla as "failed," a claim that Romney later echoed. In fact, several of the companies that Fox News declared "failed" are still successfully operating (circled in green), and contributing to technological advances that could help us transition to a clean energy economy, as can be seen in this interactive graphic created with ThingLink:
The companies circled in yellow did not actually receive any funds from the loan guarantee programs, instead receiving either grants, tax credits, or no federal funds at all. Nevada Geothermal Power's project, at far left and not circled in the graphic above, is still operating and part of the 87 percent of loan guarantee funds under the 1705 program awarded to projects that experts say pose almost no risk to the taxpayer. By lumping all of these programs together from the more than 1,460 companies that have received such awards, Fox News was able to paint a distorted picture of the Obama administration's energy policies.
In the wake of Michigan passing a so-called "right-to-work" law, which significantly weakens the ability of unions to bargain on behalf of workers, right-wing media pushed numerous myths about the anti-union policy.
From the December 11 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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Right-wing media figures are claiming that President Obama failed to answer a press conference question about whether he had issued an order to protect those under attack at the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11. But Obama did respond to the question, saying that he ordered his national security team to do whatever was necessary to keep Americans at the compound safe.
Fox News' Gregg Jarrett suggested that Rep. Paul Ryan offered specifics on his and Romney's tax plan during an interview with Fox. In fact, when pressed for specifics during that interview, Ryan dodged, claiming that the plan is "revenue neutral" without offering details as to why.
On Happening Now, Brad Woodhouse, communications director for the Democratic National Committee, called on Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to "lay out a specific plan" for tax reform. Guest co-host Gregg Jarrett then said he wanted to "clarify" that in a recent interview Ryan "twice said that (his tax plan) was revenue neutral. The math, that means, is zero." Jarrett added, "He was asked about the math, he twice said revenue neutral. That's zero, that's a digit, that's the math."
Jarrett was referring to an appearance by Ryan on Fox News Sunday, in which host Chris Wallace pressed the Wisconsin congressman for specifics about how the numbers in the Romney-Ryan tax plan add up. After Ryan denied a charge from the Obama campaign that the plan would cost "$5 trillion over 10 years" if rates are cut 20 percent for everyone, Wallace asked the congressman how much the plan would cost. Ryan responded: "It's revenue neutral. It doesn't cost $5 trillion dollars."
Wallace again asked Ryan how much his plan would cost, and again Ryan responded: "It's revenue neutral."
Contrary to Jarrett's claim, Ryan's response that the Romney-Ryan tax plan is "revenue neutral" is not "the math." Ryan insisted that the plan is "revenue neutral," but he didn't specify how he would make his cuts "revenue neutral" beyond vague talk of eliminating deductions and loopholes. For Jarrett to suggest that Ryan offered specifics is dishonest.
Of course, there is good reason for not telling the American people how the Romney-Ryan tax plan would be made revenue neutral. As nonpartisan, independent analysts have shown, fulfilling the requirements of the tax plan and keeping it revenue neutral would necessitate a large increase in how much middle-class Americans pay in taxes every year.
Fox News misrepresented Mitt Romney's statement that supporters of President Obama are the 47 percent of Americans who "pay no income tax" and "believe that they are victims."
Fox claimed that Romney was actually talking "about our country becoming an entitlement society and too dependent on government," and presented polling showing that most Americans agree with him.
But Romney's 47 percent remark was not simply an argument that Americans are becoming "too dependent on the government," as Fox anchor Gregg Jarrett and the poll claimed. Romney disparaged Obama supporters, saying:
ROMNEY: There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them.
Romney also declared: "My job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
But on Happening Now, Jarrett and his guest Steve Hayes hyped the findings of a Fox News poll that asked respondents if they agreed with "what Mitt Romney said on the tape about our country becoming an entitlement society and too dependent on government." Jarrett claimed that 63 percent of Americans think Romney is right. Jarrett's guest Steve Hayes said that while Romney "made an argument that had some problems with it," it is "indisputable" that Romney's "broader case is true."
Fox has defended Romney's comments since they were first revealed, but it seems clear the only way the network can get Americans to buy into its defense of the comments is by mischaracterizing them.
Fox's Gregg Jarrett used a report produced by Obama's economic advisers to claim Obama had promised unemployment "would now be 5.6 percent"; but the report was produced before the release of data showing the recession was much worse than previously estimated. Jarrett and his guest Art Laffer also suggested Obama's policies have acted as an economic "depressant" rather than "a stimulus," but there is broad agreement among economists that the stimulus helped boost GDP and lower unemployment.
Fox News stoked fears of terrorism and distorted the facts surrounding the 9-11 attacks to slam the Obama administration's deferred action decision, with anchor Gregg Jarrett suggesting that President Obama "is making it easier for acts of terrorism to be committed." Jarrett and guest Brad Blakeman, a Republican strategist and former Bush White House official, used the 9-11 hijackers as examples for what could possibly happen if undocumented youths are allowed to obtain driver's licenses under the plan.
Not only is it demeaning to compare undocumented youth who have grown up in the United States to the 9-11 hijackers; it's also ridiculous knowing the facts surrounding 9-11.
On June 15, the Obama administration announced an immigration plan that will give eligible undocumented youth a chance to avoid deportation and obtain a legal work permit. The program went into effect on Wednesday. Depending on the state, some undocumented youths will also be able to acquire driver's licenses and Social Security cards.
On America's Newsroom this morning, Jarrett and Blakeman seized on the possibility of undocumented youths obtaining state driver's licenses to link the youths to the 9-11 hijackers and fearmonger about the potential for more terrorist attacks. Blakeman asserted that the hijackers "used driver's licenses" to "get on planes," and that they did so while here illegally.
Picking up the theme, Jarrett then said to Blakeman:
JARRETT: California, for example, is now using the president's executive decision on deferred status to give people who are here illegally a driver's license. Now the 9-11 hijackers, many of whom were here illegally as well, obtained state licenses using them to board the airplanes. Could one argue, Brad, that the president is making it easier for acts of terrorism to be committed? Do you worry about that?
In fact, at the time of the attacks, only two of the 19 hijackers were in violation of their immigration status for overstaying their visas, and none would have qualified under the deferred action program. The 9-11 hijackers entered the country legally on non-immigrant visas.
As part of its campaign to stoke fears of widespread voter fraud, Fox is ginning up outrage that voter registration forms have been sent to dead people, dogs, and cats, with the apparent implication that those dogs and cats might vote and alter the outcome of the 2012 election.
The target of Fox's latest attack is the Voter Participation Center (VPC), a nonprofit group that uses mass mailings of voter registration applications in an effort to reach the 24 percent of Americans who are eligible to vote, but not registered. Recently, the center acknowledged that some mailings were addressed to ineligible voters, including deceased citizens and even pets, because of faulty commercial mailing lists.
While this is several steps away from actual voter fraud -- a virtually nonexistent problem in U.S. elections -- Fox News worried that these applications were raising "growing fears on election fraud." On today's broadcast of America Live, host Megyn Kelly claimed:
KELLY: Growing fears on election fraud today, as folks across the country get pre-filled-out voter registration forms. You know where they say, like, here, this is you, Megyn Kelly, this is where you show up to vote. But they don't have your name on it. They have the name of your dead pet. Or dead relative. Or your live pet. Either way, it's problematic. Because your pet -- your pet shouldn't be on there. The documents look official, but it turns out they are not coming from election administrators, but from a nonprofit group, and that's causing some controversy.
Fox's America's Newsroom teased a story about the VPC registration forms by saying that there are "new concerns about voter fraud ahead of the November elections." The subsequent segment was identified as part of Fox News' "Voter Fraud Watch:"
But sending out inaccurately addressed voter registration forms is not voter fraud.
Fox's supposed news anchors are really looking forward to the Republican National Convention and its roster of "eloquent," "bold" and "very charismatic" speakers.
This morning, America's Newsroom reported on the news that, following the selection of Rep. Paul Ryan as Romney's VP choice, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had been tapped as the keynote speaker for the RNC.
Co-host Martha MacCallum explained that "another big name in the VP mix," Florida Senator Marco Rubio, would be introducing Romney at the event. The presence of Rubio, Christie, and Ryan at the convention made sense to MacCallum because they represented the "bold choice candidates" for vice president.
Sounding more like an Entertainment Tonight host than a news anchor, co-host Gregg Jarrett explained that "Christie never fails to charge up the crowd, and Marco Rubio is quite eloquent out on the stump, if you've ever watched him deliver a speech. He really knows how to connect with the audience. Very charismatic."
After Jarrett described the speakers as "probably good choices for the GOP," MacCallum exclaimed, "It's going to be very exciting!"
From the August 13 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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From the August 13 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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Since President Obama's assertion of executive privilege over a set of internal Department of Justice (DOJ) documents, Fox News "straight news" anchors have repeatedly suggested that the president is attempting to "have it both ways" by invoking the privilege while also maintaining his longstanding position that he was not involved in the authorization or management of the failed ATF Fast and Furious operation. At times they have continued to do so even after their colleagues have informed them that these positions are not inconsistent.
Both Gregg Jarrett and Jamie Colby, the guest hosts of Happening Now and America's Newsroom, respectively, have pushed this baseless idea - echoing GOP talking points - during this week's broadcasts. Although Colby and Jarrett have been corrected by their colleagues on-air for their mistaken claims, Jarrett's revival of the specious claim during yesterday's show demonstrates that the idea that Obama's routine use of executive privilege evidences something sinister is alive and well at Fox News.
From the June 25 edition of Fox News' Happening Now:
JARRETT: The president is on record as having said all along knew nothing about it, didn't deal with it, wasn't involved. And all of a sudden the president invokes executive privilege which suggests that there was some White House involvement. You can't have it both ways, can you?
From the June 26 edition of America's Newsroom:
COLBY: Can the president have it both ways, say that the White House had nothing to do with the Fast and Furious program, and at the same time exert executive privilege over documents that dealt with, as [White House press secretary] Jay Carney had said, the operation?
Jarrett aired out his idea about Obama even after he had been corrected by Fox News White House correspondent Ed Henry for making similar claims during the June 20 edition of Happening Now. During that show, Henry told Jarrett in plain terms that Obama's use of executive privilege "does not prove any sort of cover-up and it does not prove that the president was involved in Fast and Furious."
Colby was corrected in a more immediate fashion by conservative The Five co-host Andrea Tantaros who stated, "I will say this though, in fairness, the president does have a right to exert executive privilege in a deliberate process. In the [U.S. v.] Nixon ruling it said that it doesn't have to include the president or his advisors. It could include a decision that eventually will affect the president. Recommendations, deliberations, that kind of thing."
This week, Fox News correspondent Shannon Bream continued the network's campaign to advance the Republican narrative that states need to implement voter identification laws to stop voter fraud by pointing to a poll showing results that validate those concerns. The poll, commissioned by the network, found that a majority of respondents agreed that "voter identification laws are needed to stop illegal voting." But evidence shows that such laws have kept many eligible voters, including the elderly and racial minorities, from voting.
During an April 18 Special Report segment on voter ID laws, Bream highlighted the concerns of the NAACP and Color of Change that the laws could depress minority turnout during elections, but countered those concerns by touting a Fox News opinion poll:
BREAM: A brand-new Fox News poll shows by a two-to-one margin Americans do not believe those who support voter ID laws are trying to block legal votes by minorities. In fact, 70 percent reported they believed the laws are necessary to stop illegal voting.
But the poll is problematic in several ways, namely that it ignored the facts surrounding the issue.
From the March 9 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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