A revolving door exists between the Republican Party and Fox News Channel, with a number of former Bush administration officials, former and potentially future GOP presidential candidates, and Republican strategists on Fox's payroll and airwaves. A Media Matters for America review of Fox coverage since September 1 reveals that these individuals, typically hosted alone or on unbalanced panels, often use their airtime to advance false and misleading claims about Democrats and progressives, as well as to fundraise, further demonstrating that Fox is effectively a conservative political organization and not a legitimate news outlet.
Several right-wing media figures have claimed that the Obama administration is criticizing Fox News because the network asks "tough questions" and is "reporting the truth." This assertion is undermined by Fox News' extensive history of advancing falsehoods, repeatedly passing off GOP materials as news, doctoring quotes, and frequently engaging in outrageous attacks on President Obama, such as Glenn Beck's claim that he is a "racist" with a "deep-seated hatred for white people, or the white culture -- I don't know what it is."
On Fox News' Hannity, Karl Rove suggested that a Washington Post/ABC News poll that showed broad support for a public option was skewed because "the wording of the question" didn't make clear that the public option would include government involvement. In fact, the Washington Post/ABC News poll question asked about support for "having the government create a new health insurance plan to compete with private health insurance plans," and its results mirrored those of other recent public opinion polls that asked about support for a government-administrated public option.
Fox News hosts and contributors are now asserting that the White House's criticism of Fox News is a diversion or a trick to direct attention away from the administration's policies, particularly health care reform. Glenn Beck has referred to the criticism as a "gold coin" used in a magic trick, while Newt Gingrich claimed the White House is trying to keep the media "focused on trivia."
Following the White House's recent criticism of Fox News for its conservative slant, Glenn Beck and other conservative media have fearmongered that the Obama administration will harm Fox News and its supporters -- physically or otherwise -- because of their opposition to its policies. Since September alone, Beck has asked listeners to "pray for protection," compared Fox News to Jews during the Holocaust, and suggested the White House was pointing missiles at Fox News, and Newt Gingrich asked on Hannity if the administration would subject Fox News commentators to the Chinese "Cultural Revolution" because of their objections.
From the October 18 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday:
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Fox News personalities and other conservative media figures have recently claimed or suggested either that a public health insurance option is unpopular among the American public, that it is costly, or both. But they ignored that numerous major public opinion polls contradict their claims; that both the House and Senate health care reform bills require the public plan to be self-sustaining; that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) concluded that a public option did "not have a substantial effect on the cost" of the Senate health committee bill; and that numerous experts agree that a public plan is important to help control the cost of health care.
After Sean Hannity introduced his Fox News show by asking, "Does Kevin Jennings support the group NAMBLA?" Karl Rove falsely claimed that Jennings, a Department of Education official, had engaged in "high-profile, in-your-face advocacy of things like NAMBLA and gay rights and queering elementary school curricula." Neither Rove nor Hannity provided any evidence that Jennings has ever "support[ed]" -- let alone engaged in "high-profile, in-your-face advocacy" of -- NAMBLA, and Rove's suggestion that support for "gay rights" is somehow related to support for NAMBLA is a smear.
After Andrew Breitbart posted a video of an ACORN employee in San Bernardino, California, claiming that she had killed her ex-husband, Fox News' Glenn Beck, Karl Rove, Greta Van Susteren, and Sean Hannity promoted it without fact-checking it or indicating that they had contacted ACORN for a response to the claim. In fact, ACORN stated that the employee made up the story because she recognized that the actors in the video "were clearly playing with" her so she "matched their false scenario with her own false scenarios," and, indeed, the San Bernardino Police Department has said her claim is false.
From the September 16 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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Responding to President Obama's September 9 speech to Congress on health care reform, in which Obama denounced "bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform," Sean Hannity, Karl Rove, and Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. asserted that the speech was, in Hannity's words, "full of partisan hackery." But Hannity, Rove, and Johnson have each repeatedly fearmongered or advanced false attacks while discussing health care reform, including the charges that reform would deny care for the elderly or that the administration is encouraging military veterans to end their lives.
Purporting to examine President Obama's health care speech, Karl Rove claimed that while discussing "the so-called lies and misstatements about his proposal," Obama "made a series of very glaring misstatements or distortions." In fact, it was Rove who was advancing falsehoods and distortions.
Responding to President Obama's September 8 back-to-school address, the text of which was posted online on September 7, several conservative media figures have echoed Florida Republican Party chairman Jim Greer's assertion that Obama altered his speech after "the White House got their hand in the cookie jar caught." Numerous media conservatives, as well as Greer, had previously made the baseless charge that Obama would use the speech to push an ideological agenda or indoctrinate children.
In his Wall Street Journal column, Karl Rove attacked the idea of using the budget reconciliation process to pass health care reform with a simple majority of Senate votes, referring to the procedure as a "parliamentary trick." But as a senior adviser in the Bush White House, Rove supported the use of reconciliation to pass major Bush administration initiatives.
From the August 26 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
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