PBS' Frontline recently aired a documentary titled "Climate of Doubt," examining how conservative groups, frequently funded by the fossil fuel industry, have pushed Republicans to reject the scientific consensus on manmade global warming. Here, Media Matters looks back at how Fox News has contributed to that "Climate of Doubt," often teaming up with industry to misrepresent science and attack all efforts to address this threat.
Affirmative action policies that will come before the Supreme Court in the upcoming Fisher v. University of Texas case have long been the target of right-wing misinformation that distort the benefits of diversity in higher education. Contrary to the conservative narrative in the media, these admissions processes serve important national interests by promoting equal opportunity and are based on long-standing law.
In a special edition of his Fox News show titled, Hannity's America: The Dirtiest Campaign Ever, that purportedly examined President Obama's reelection campaign, Sean Hannity reprised a succession of right-wing media smears against Obama, his administration, and progressives that ranged from tying them to the New Black Panthers to accusing them of class warfare.
From the September 23 edition of Fox News' Hannity's America
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Right-wing media are demonizing the National Council of La Raza in order to object to President Obama's recent appointment of Cecilia Muñoz as director of the Domestic Policy Council, accusing the organization of being an "amnesty" group with "racist" ties. These attacks are not new: Conservatives have long described the civil rights group as "the Ku Klux Klan Of The Hispanic People."
Rupert Murdoch claimed in a recent speech that "the most virulent strains" of anti-Semitism "come from the left." However, his own Fox News personalities have a history of promoting anti-Semitic sources and mainstreaming people who have associations with anti-Semitic groups.
From the August 23 edition of Fox News' Hannity's America:
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In the absence of any allegations of wrongdoing by President-elect Barack Obama or his staff in connection with the scandal involving Gov. Rod Blagojevich, media figures continue to warn that a "cloud" hangs over Obama or assert that the scandal threatens to cast a "cloud" over Obama's presidency.
On Hannity's America, Sean Hannity repeated the baseless claim that "the Obamas pa[id] $300,000 below market value" for their house. Additionally, after recounting that the Obamas purchased land from the adjacent lot owned by Antoin Rezko, Hannity asserted: "And then, as state senator, he helped funnel money to these housing projects that Tony Rezko and other friends were working on." In fact, Obama's letter in support of a Rezko housing project was written seven years before the Obamas purchased their home, and both parties have reportedly said that Rezko did not solicit the letter.
On Hannity's America, Sean Hannity asserted that "the word 'president-elect' was mentioned ... 44 times" in the criminal complaint against Gov. Rod Blagojevich, which, Hannity said, "is a pretty high, high number." Hannity had previously described the number of mentions of the word "president-elect" in the complaint as "pretty troubling." In fact, with one exception, none of the 44 instances in which "president-elect" was used in the complaint actually mentioned any alleged conduct or statement by President-elect Barack Obama, much less any conduct or statement amounting to wrongdoing. The one exception was an allegation that Blagojevich complained that Obama would not give him anything other than "appreciation."
Sean Hannity falsely asserted that President-elect Barack Obama "talked about in the campaign cutting tens of millions of dollars in defense spending" when, in fact, Obama said he would cut "tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending." Hannity also asserted that Obama said "[h]e's not gonna weaponize space, slow development of Future Combat Systems" and that he would "set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons" without noting that former Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain and other prominent GOP figures have advocated similar positions.
Fox News hosts, reporters, and contributors have repeatedly provided or echoed the claims of only opponents of the Employee Free Choice Act, which would give workers the right to form or join a union if a majority of workers sign a card stating they want to unionize. Absent from numerous reports and discussions on Fox News is the argument made by proponents of EFCA that under the current system, employers often fire union supporters and pressure employees to vote against unionizing.
The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz reported that Fox News Channel "now expresses regret for booking [Andy] Martin," who has a history of making anti-Semitic and racially charged comments, on Hannity's America. Kurtz wrote: "[Fox News Senior Vice President Bill] Shine says Hannity disagrees with some of Martin's past comments. 'Having that guy on was a mistake,' Shine says. " But Hannity himself defended Martin's appearance on his show and has not expressed regret on either Hannity's America or Hannity & Colmes for having hosted Martin.
On Fox News' Hannity's America, Sean Hannity hosted Andy Martin -- identified by Hannity as an "Internet journalist" -- who made what Hannity called "the explosive claim that [Sen. Barack] Obama's role as a community organizer was a political staging ground perpetuated by the unrepentant terrorist William Ayers." At no point during the segment did Hannity note Martin's history of smears against Obama or Martin's history of anti-Semitic and racially charged comments.
Jerome Corsi, author of the book, The Obama Nation, falsely claimed on Hannity's America that Sen. Barack Obama said, "Even if a child was born ... the woman still had the right to kill the child in an abortion." Corsi similarly falsely asserted on Hannity & Colmes that "[a]fter a child's born, Obama ... in the [Illinois] state Senate, wanted the child killed if the mother desired an abortion," and on Sean Hannity's radio program, said that "Obama's on record as let's kill the baby if that's what the mother wants." In fact, Obama has never supported giving people the right to kill their children.