Following reports that the FDA is considering regulating the amount of salt in processed foods, media conservatives have falsely claimed that the Obama administration is "seizing our salt shakers." In fact, the FDA review has nothing to do with consumers' use of table salt and instead invovles examining warnings about high sodium content in processed foods and restaurant meals, the sources of 77 percent of sodium intake.
Criticizing Democratic efforts to reform regulation of the financial industry, right-wing media figures have begun repeating the myth that affordable housing initiatives are to blame for the 2008 financial crisis, pointing to the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Economists -- including Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke -- have strongly rejected this notion.
Pushing a false Republican talking point, Fox Business Network's Eric Bolling claimed that Democrats' financial reform bill includes "a $50 billion slush fund so that if a firm, company is too big to fail, maybe they can tap into that and maybe not allow it to fail." In fact, the "orderly liquidation fund," which would be paid for by financial institutions, would be used to dismantle a failing firm and "is anything but a bailout," in the words of Republican Sen. Bob Corker.
Three weeks ago, Media Matters reported that Fox host John Stossel is scheduled to keynote an upcoming fundraising luncheon for a "research" organization with heavy ties to the energy industry and whose research and representatives have repeatedly appeared on Fox.
The organization, the Institute for Energy Research (IER), says on the event's website that Stossel will keynote the June 4 luncheon in Houston. IER confirmed to Media Matters today that Stossel will still be speaking at the event. IER said it had arranged Stossel's appearance through a speaker's bureau and had not been in touch with Fox. Last fall, The New York Times reported that "a Fox spokesperson said all speeches given by employees require approval from the network."
Karl Rove proffered false and dubious claims to criticize the Obama administration's nuclear policy review as "troubling" and likely to "undermine our strength" -- a position at odds with military brass and nuclear experts who support a limited deterrent role for nuclear weapons. Rove's false claim that the United States "will not use nuclear weapons under any circumstance against a non-nuclear state" distorts a provision limited to nations acting in compliance with their non-proliferation obligations.
President Obama argued for the passage of health care reform legislation at a rally today at George Mason University in northern Virginia, and only one cable news network didn't cover the event in it's entirety. Can you guess which network cut away to cover Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner's press conference?
From the March 19 edition of Fox News' Happening Now:
Fox's Jon Scott cut off President Obama and stated flatly: "I described it before it began as a pep rally and you can kind of see that's what it is. The President doing everything he can to try and get the American people behind his health care reform plans." Scott suggested the Fox audience finish watching Obama's event on the internet if they were so inclined and then cut to Boehner for "the opposition point of view."
Oh, and for the record, both MSNBC and CNN showed Boehner's press conference after Obama's event had ended.
Here's a side-by-side comparison of the networks:
On March 16, Fox News anchors during their self-described daytime "news hours" repeatedly forwarded the false suggestion that, by using a legislative procedure known as the "self-executing rule" to finalize health care reform in the House, Democrats would be passing health care reform "without actually voting for it." In fact, implementing the proposed procedure requires a majority vote.
Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz recently reported that some "Fox journalists" believe that colleague Glenn Beck "uses distorted or inflammatory rhetoric that undermines their credibility." Nevertheless, Fox News' reporters and "news" programs have routinely promoted and echoed Beck on stories such as the 9-12 Project, tea party protests, ACORN and former White House officials Van Jones and Anita Dunn.
In attacking President Obama's recent health care reform guidelines, right-wing media have leveled numerous criticisms that are at odds with their earlier attacks against Democratic health care reform legislation. This follows repeated efforts by conservative media figures to shift their criticism of health care reform by changing the definitions of "death panels" and the public option.
On the February 19 edition of Fox News' Happening Now the following on-screen graphic aired:
In the wake of White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan's criticism of Republicans for politicizing the Obama administration's response to the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight, Fox News guests and hosts have responded by attacking Brennan and the administration over its handling of the bombing plot. Fox has gone so far as to ask whether Brennan should resign, and has repeatedly hosted Republican Sen. Kit Bond to say that he should.
On the day after the Senate primary in Illinois, Fox News continued its pattern of engaging in political advocacy, this time in support of Mark Kirk, the Republican nominee for the 2010 election for the Illinois U.S. Senate seat. During their February 3 coverage of the primary, Fox News repeatedly aired a National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) "attack ad" targeting Kirk's Democratic opponent, Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, provided Kirk a platform to attack Giannoulias, and repeatedly offered favorable comparisons between Kirk and Scott Brown, the Republican victor in the special election for the Massachusetts U.S. Senate seat who received similarly favorable treatment from Fox News prior to his election.
From the January 28 broadcast of Fox News' Happening Now:
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From the January 20 edition of Fox News' Happening Now:
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Numerous conservative media figures have suggested that a victory by Republican candidate Scott Brown would indicate massive popular rejection of health care reform. In fact, election night polling by Rasmussen Reports undermines this claim, showing that a higher percentage of Martha Coakley voters than Brown voters said that health care reform was the most important issue in determining their vote.