The war of words on the right continues to escalate, with radio host Mark Levin becoming the latest Fox News figure to attack Fox political analyst Karl Rove. In a February 8 post on his Facebook page, Levin accused Rove of lying about conservative Rep. Steve King (R-IA). Earlier in the week on his radio show, Levin claimed Rove is "despised by the grassroots" and said Rove's name and new political group "are poison in conservative and Republican circles in many respects."
Rove has recently been at the center of a conservative firestorm over the announcement of his new group, Conservative Victory Project, which the New York Times explains will work "to recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts."
Levin -- a frequent Fox News guest who has agreed to make regular appearances on Sean Hannity's Fox show -- wrote on his Facebook page that Rove "flat out lied" during an appearance on Sean Hannity's radio show. According to Levin, Rove told Hannity that Rep. Steve King (R-IA) had "endorse[d]" controversial comments about rape made by defeated Missouri senatorial candidate Todd Akin. Levin added, "This is the kind of sleaziness conservatives are fed up with. And Rove went on national radio and smeared King with this lie."
King, who is reportedly considering running for a Senate seat in Iowa, has been identified as the type of conservative Rove's organization would likely target. Steven Law, president of American Crossroads, the super PAC co-founded by Rove that created the Conservative Victory Project, has expressed concern about King's history of extreme comments, which Law labeled his "Todd Akin problem."
Levin has also targeted Rove on his radio show. On February 7, Levin declared that Rove is "despised by the grassroots," mocked his "stupid little third-grade whiteboard," then brought "my buddy" King on the show and said: "Steve King and all you conservatives out there who are thinking about running in these primaries and so forth -- your best commercial is going to be that your opponent is funded by Karl Rove. I'm serious, Steve King -- I think Karl Rove's name, I think his organization are poison in conservative and Republican circles in many respects." Levin added, "Bring it on, Karl baby. Bring it on, doughboy. Bring on your little whiteboard. We're ready." During the same show, Levin also labeled Rove a "propagandist."
After President Obama announced an executive action clarifying that doctors are permitted -- but not required -- to discuss gun safety with patients, conservatives in the media trumpeted a number of falsehoods, including the baseless claim that Obama is requiring doctors to report all gun owners to law enforcement.
From the January 14 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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In contrast to official temperature records showing a consistent warming trend, Fox Business reporters have claimed that the "temperature basically hasn't changed much since the ice age" and that it's actually "getting colder." Fox News figures have also denied the scientific consensus that human activity is driving climate change, claiming that carbon dioxide "literally cannot cause global warming" and suggesting that "Mars wobbles" or "wind farms" may be causing it instead. Those are just some of the 10 dumbest things Fox News, Fox Business and their websites said about climate change in 2012:
1. Fox Reporter: "The Temperature Basically Hasn't Changed Much Since The Ice Age." During the Ice Age, much of North America, northern Europe and southern South America were covered with ice sheets. Natural climate cycles led to the end of the Ice Age tens of thousands of years ago. In the last century, temperatures have increased dramatically as a result of our massive emissions of greenhouse gases. Yet Fox Business reporter Tracy Byrnes claimed in March that "the temperature basically hasn't changed much since the Ice Age," before confusing global warming with the depletion of the ozone layer:
2. During Record-Breaking Heat, Fox Anchor Claims "It's Getting Colder." During the third warmest summer on record in the U.S., David Asman, who hosts shows on both Fox News and Fox Business, claimed "it's getting colder":
3. Fox "Expert": Carbon Dioxide "Literally Cannot Cause Global Warming." Joe Bastardi is a meteorologist that is often presented as a climate change expert on Fox News, even though he has no climate science training. Bill O'Reilly has cited Bastardi as the reason that he is "skeptical" about global warming, but scientists have called Bastardi's statements "completely wrong," "simply ignorant," and "utter nonsense." In March, Bastardi attempted to "throw out 150 years of physics" by dismissing the greenhouse effect -- the reason there is life on Earth -- as impossible. Bastardi stated on Fox Business that carbon dioxide (CO2) "literally" -- yes, literally -- "cannot cause global warming" because it doesn't "mix well in the atmosphere." But physicist Richard Muller told Media Matters that CO2 is actually "completely mixed."
4. Fox Reporter: "Mars Wobbles" May Be Causing Climate Change. Elizabeth MacDonald, a Fox Business reporter who often appears on Fox News, incorrectly said in November that "there's no consensus on what's causing climate change, and asked "is it solar flares? Is it the Mars wobbles? Is it the earth's axis tilting in a different way? I mean, that's the issue." After being subject to mockery, she tried to walk back her comments saying she doesn't "think Mars wobbles cause hurricanes," but did not explain her previous comments.
5. Fox Website: "Wind Farms Cause Global Warming." In April, a study found that nighttime temperatures in areas around Texas wind farms were higher than in areas without wind turbines. Fox Nation, a section of FoxNews.com, linked to a story about the study with a headline declaring that wind farms "cause global warming." But the study's authors called this coverage "misleading," explaining that it is "[v]ery likely" that "wind turbines do not create a net warming of the air and instead only re-distribute the air's heat near the surface, which is fundamentally different from the large-scale warming effect caused by increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases."
In an effort to discredit President Obama's plan to increase taxes on the wealthy, conservative media outlets have pushed a number of myths to suggest that a large number of Americans will be negatively affected. In reality, only a small percentage of taxpayers would be affected by Obama's proposals.
Fox News guests have repeated House Speaker John Boehner's claim that raising taxes would slow down the economy and hurt job creation. In fact, independent research shows that raising tax rates on the wealthy would have little to no impact on the economy and would decrease the deficit, while lowering taxes for the rich does not boost the economy or create jobs.
A Fox News special on President Obama's "green agenda" presented a one-sided discussion of Environmental Protection Agency rules that distorted the intention and impact of regulations, downplayed the threat of climate change, and ignored the public health threats of coal use.
Fox's hour-long special painted a one-sided picture of environmental regulations, featuring 18 critics and only 1 supporter of EPA clean air and water rules. Fox interviewed three Republican politicians, an industry executive, a radio host, and five coal miners, but not a single scientist, Democratic member of Congress, or environmental group to discuss the threats of air pollution and global warming.
Fox focused the first segment of its special on former regional EPA administrator Al Armendariz, who resigned after a political firestorm erupted over an analogy he made in 2010 comparing his environmental enforcement strategy to Roman crucifixion. Although he clearly stated that he was referring only to companies that were "not compliant with the law," Fox once again took his comments out of context to suggest that the EPA targets oil and gas companies unnecessarily.
While Fox suggested that Armendariz's comments revealed the EPA's "radical" intentions, many in the industry have praised the EPA under the Obama administration for its restraint and recognized that the agency is legally required to implement many overdue rules.
In a segment on the EPA's supposed "mission creep," the host of the special, Bret Baier, questioned whether global warming is a "real problem":
In its newest special "Behind Obama's Green Agenda," Fox News turned to right-wing radio host Mark Levin to explain global warming, rather than quoting a single scientist. The vast majority of scientists say that our increased emissions of greenhouse gases are causing global warming, but Levin declared that we do not need to worry about these emissions because "carbon dioxide is what we exhale, carbon dioxide is necessary for plants."
Fox identified Levin as the co-founder of the Landmark Legal Foundation and suggested he is an expert on the Environmental Protection Agency, which he said "has many of the attributes of the old Soviet system." But Levin is better known for his rants as a right-wing radio talk show host than for his expertise on environmental issues.
The host of the hourlong special, Bret Baier, is often viewed as one of the more credible news anchors at Fox News. But consistent with previous directions from Fox News' Washington Managing Editor, Baier cast doubt on the science of climate change:
[A]n all-out effort to lower the temperature of the planet, assuming global warming is a real problem that humans can reverse, would surely be the most complicated and expensive undertaking in human history.
Members of the right-wing media have promoted the claim that President Obama has "gutted" Medicare in order to fund health care reform, while GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan is attempting to preserve the program. In fact, though Obama and Ryan have advocated similar spending reductions, the Affordable Care Act would not affect Medicare benefits, while Ryan's plan is projected to harm current and future seniors' care.
From the July 2 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
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From the June 29 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show:
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From the June 27 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
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Back in November, a man referring to himself as "Jeff" called right-wing radio host Mark Levin's show claiming to have information about President Obama's health care law. Jeff claimed to be a "brain surgeon" who had just "returned from Washington, D.C.," where he and other neurological doctors had reviewed a document allegedly issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding "Obama's new health care plan for advanced neurosurgical care."
Jeff went on to claim that the document "did not call [patients older than 70] patients, they called them units" and stated that "if you're over 70 and you'd come into an emergency room and you're on government-supported health care that you get comfort care" instead of medically necessary neurological surgery. Jeff further claimed the document mandated "ethics committee[s]," to which Levin replied: "So, Sarah Palin was right. We're going to have these death panels, aren't we?" Jeff responded, "Oh, absolutely," and made a comparison to Nazi Germany.
The interaction was picked up by the usual right-wing media outlets, hungry for new fodder to keep their long-debunked "death panel" myth alive. On November 29, Fox Nation posted audio of thecall on Levin's show under the headline, "Neurosurgeon Dishes on Obamacare 'Death Panels', Administration Calls Patients 'Units.' " From Fox Nation:
From the October 5 edition of Citadel Media Network's The Mark Levin Show:
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Right-wing commentators have repeatedly claimed that the best thing President Obama could do during his September 8 speech to Congress is tender his resignation.