Several conservative media figures who have repeatedly spread falsehoods and smears of President Obama are now highlighting a poll analysis to suggest that Obama has polarized approval ratings, and have made the disputed suggestion that Obama himself has caused that polarization.
Several Fox News media figures have paraphrased or replayed President Obama's remarks in Turkey, during which he said, in part: "[W]e do not consider ourselves a Christian nation," in order to criticize Obama.
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Discussing a column by Karl Rove, Brian Kilmeade baselessly claimed that "[s]ixty-six percent of you are against the stimulus bill." In fact, Rove noted in his column that according to a CNN poll, 66 percent of Americans are opposed to a second stimulus bill -- the poll showed majority support for the bill enacted in February.
Following the release of President Obama's proposal for the fiscal year 2010 budget, media figures and outlets have promoted a number of myths and falsehoods related to the proposal.
Numerous media outlets and personalities have claimed or suggested that given the size of the current and projected U.S. federal debt, the Obama administration's health-care reform proposal is untenable, but did not address the administration's argument that health-care reform is essential to the long-term economic health of the country.
On Fox & Friends Saturday, Karl Rove understated the debt run up by George W. Bush, asserting that there were only "$2.9 trillion in deficits under eight years of Bush." However, the national debt increased by nearly $4.9 trillion during the eight years Bush was in office. Rove's $2.9 trillion figure apparently refers only to "on-budget" deficits, thereby excluding emergency supplemental spending bills used to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Hurricane Katrina relief, and any other "off-budget" spending.
On Anderson Cooper 360, John King alleged: "The president today said there were fundamentally sound aspects of the economy. He says we'll get through this because of the innovative entrepreneurs, companies that are making good products, workers, American workers who are so productive. Almost exactly the same message he criticized John McCain for during the election." In fact, Obama criticized McCain for broadly stating that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong." Indeed, it was only after Obama criticized McCain that McCain revised his comments to assert that by "fundamentals," he had been referring to "the American worker, and their innovation, their entrepreneurship, the small business."
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On This Week, Karl Rove echoed House Republicans' distortion of research by CEA chairwoman Christine Romer in claiming that their alternative stimulus bill "produced 50 percent more jobs at half the cost" of President Obama's economic recovery plan. In fact, according to the White House, "Romer's view is that the House analysis is absolutely incorrect" and "the plan the President supports would result in substantially greater job creation than the House Republican plan."
On The O'Reilly Factor, Karl Rove falsely claimed that Rep. Barney Frank "was one of the more prominent opponents of [housing] reform in 2004 and 2005." In fact, Frank supported efforts to enhance regulatory oversight on mortgage brokers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2005, and he has long championed policies that emphasize low-income home rentals as opposed to homeownership.
A New York Times essay by Jason DeParle highlighted a resurgence of the use of the word "welfare" among conservatives, this time to attack President Obama's economy recovery plan. Indeed, while economists agree that provisions in the legislation targeting needy people are among the most economically stimulative, Media Matters documents below the pervasiveness of what DeParle called the "weaponiz[ation]" of the "very word, welfare," in the media, particularly, but not exclusively on Fox News, to denounce the stimulus bill.
In his Wall Street Journal op-ed, Karl Rove wrote of the House-passed economic recovery bill: "And it should not shock Americans that Democratic appropriators would funnel tax dollars to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now." In fact, the recovery bill does not mention ACORN or otherwise single it out for funding; ACORN itself has said that it is ineligible for the funds and has no plans to apply for them.
Karl Rove falsely claimed that the economic stimulus bill would amount to spending "$206,000 for each new job that [President Barack Obama] wants to get," becoming the latest Fox News figure to repeat the false calculation. In fact, by calculating the per-job cost by dividing the estimated total cost of the recovery bill by the estimated number of jobs created -- and thus suggesting that the sole purpose of that package is to create jobs -- Rove ignored other tangible benefits stemming from the package, such as infrastructure improvements and investments in education, health, and public safety.
Discussing President Obama's executive order stating that a detainee in U.S. custody cannot be subjected to interrogation techniques not listed in the Army Field Manual, Karl Rove falsely asserted that "[t]he Army Field Manual ... prohibits you from using good cop-bad cop in interrogating." In fact, the Army Field Manual explicitly permits good cop-bad cop interrogations under the name of "Mutt and Jeff" interrogations, which involve two interrogators "display[ing] opposing personalities and attitudes toward the source."