Conservative media defended Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's recent claim -- that President Obama's negotiated agreement with Iran over its nuclear program will take Israelis "to the door of the oven" -- by praising the Holocaust comparison as "absolutely true" and "an accurate description."
To Fox News, civilians who show up toting assault weapons to voluntarily "guard" military recruiting centers -- as many have done since the recent attack in Chattanooga, Tennessee -- are "stepping up" in "a very patriotic move" and "protecting our military." But the U.S. Army reportedly says armed civilians who stand outside of these facilities may "mean well" but the military "cannot assume this in every case" and such situations should be reported to local law enforcement.
On the morning of July 16, a 24-year-old man drove to a military recruiting center in a Chattanooga strip mall and opened fire, spraying the storefront's bulletproof glass with dozens of rounds fired from an assault weapon. He then drove to a nearby naval facility and killed four Marines and one sailor before being fatally shot by police.
In the wake of the shootings, civilians in several states that allow open carry of assault weapons donned camouflage or tactical gear and "stood guard" outside military recruitment centers in what they call "Operation Hero Guard."
Fox News figures have applauded the phenomenon, but the U.S. Army Command Operations Center has circulated a letter, according to Stars And Stripes, saying that the "well-meaning" armed civilians may actually be detrimental to the security of the military facilities they think they're protecting.
Most national media outlets have covered the story of armed civilians at military recruitment centers but Fox News has gone further, endorsing the practice and twice inviting volunteer guards on Fox shows to be interviewed.
On the July 22 broadcast of Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade said "armed Americans now stepping up to guard recruiting centers across the nation" before interviewing one volunteer, who told him, "I have people on our Facebook page all the time that are a little bit further away that can't come here, and I said, 'Just go out and start it in your community, just one person can make a difference.'"
Later in the same broadcast, during a live report from a recruiting office in New York's Times Square, Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson, Jr. criticized current policies on who can carry guns at military facilities, and described "a citizen militia that is protecting our military across the country, showing up with AR-15s and weapons to say 'we stand with you.'"
The July 22 broadcast of Fox News' America's Newsroom saw host Martha MacCallum telling viewers, "In some towns, volunteers are already out there standing guard in a very patriotic move to protect those recruiting centers on their own because the military can't take any guns into those recruiting centers." (Current regulations would actually allow authorized military law enforcement to carry firearms at military recruiting centers, although in practice law enforcement have not been assigned by the Department of Defense to these locations.)
During the July 21 edition of The Kelly File, host Megyn Kelly introduced her interview with one of the armed volunteers by saying that Obama "promised he can do what he can to keep our military safe, our next guest isn't betting on it."
But according to a policy letter reportedly issued by the Army Command Operations Center-Security Division and obtained by Stars and Stripes, armed civilians are not necessarily improving the security of military recruitment centers. The letter says that the Army is "sure the citizens mean well, but we cannot assume this in every case and we do not want to advocate this behavior."
According to Stars and Stripes, the letter instructs military recruiters not to approach armed civilians and adds, "If questioned by these alleged concerned citizens, be polite, professional and terminate the conversation immediately and report the incident to local law enforcement." Recruiters are also instructed to file an Army security report following any interaction with armed civilians.
According to a spokesperson from Army Recruiting Command, instead of standing outside of recruiting centers with guns, "local communities can support our security by reporting suspicious activity, particularly around recruiting centers."
The Stars and Stripes report noted that civilians affiliated with the Oath Keepers and "3 percenters" have been spotted with guns at recruiting centers. Both of these organizations are associated with the radical far-right fringe. The "3 percenter" movement was founded by militia leader Mike Vanderboegh as a force to violently overthrow a supposedly tyrannical federal government.
According to an analysis of public mass shootings over a 30-year period by Mother Jones, civilians with guns have never stopped attacks like the one seen in Chattanooga.
Fox News devoted 10 segments on seven separate programs in one day to hyping a deceptively edited video purporting to show Planned Parenthood "haggling" over the price of "baby parts, while mainstream media and fact checkers roundly discredited the video and its smears.
From the July 17 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
Right-wing media responded in disbelief and outrage to the Supreme Court's decision holding that state bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional.
From the June 26 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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From the June 24 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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From the June 19 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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Fox News' Martha MacCallum falsely claimed that businesses are not hiring because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), despite evidence that the healthcare law will actually create jobs and stimulate economic growth.
During the June 15 edition of America's Newsroom, host Martha MacCallum discussed how Hillary Clinton's support for policies designed to reduce income inequality could impact the presidential race. Citing her support for the Affordable Care Act, network contributor Katie Pavlich claimed that the health care law "do[es] nothing to pull people out of poverty." MacCallum agreed, saying, "That is true, businesses you talk to all across the country will tell you" that they're not hiring because of Obamacare. Talking over guest Mary Anne Marsh as she replied, MacCallum demanded to know "why companies are not hiring" if not because of the Affordable Care Act:
But MacCallum's baseless assertion is just the latest effort by conservative media to fearmonger that the ACA would eliminate jobs. In 2014, media consistently misread a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report, which found that the ACA would create more job opportunities by freeing Americans from job lock, claiming that it would actually eliminate positions, and going so far as to label the law a "job destroyer."
In reality, the CBO's ten-year Budget and Economic Outlook report predicted that the health care law would create jobs while stimulating the economy:
[T]he ACA's subsidies for health insurance will both stimulate demand for health care services and allow low-income households to redirect some of the funds that they would have spent on that care toward the purchase of other goods and services--thereby increasing overall demand. That increase in overall demand while the economy remains somewhat weak will induce some employers to hire more workers or to increase the hours of current employees during that period.
If changes in incentives lead some workers to reduce the amount of hours they want to work or to leave the labor force altogether, many unemployed workers will be available to take those jobs--so the effect on overall employment of reductions in labor supply will be greatly dampened.
As the Brookings Institute further pointed out in a March 2015 blog post, while it isn't yet possible to definitively evaluate the health care law's impact on employment, it is "not easy to make a convincing case that job gains have lagged since the President signed the health insurance law." The post also noted that "[t]he pace of job growth has actually increased in the past few months as the Administration began to enforce the employer penalty provisions of the law."
Conservative media are promoting a deceptively edited video from a Republican opposition research firm that purports to show Hillary Clinton coldly demanding that a supporter "go to the end of the line," to allege that Clinton is out of touch with voters. But even as the dishonest attack made its way to Fox News, network contributor Guy Benson admitted the full context of the video "casts [Clinton] ... in a far less damaging light."
Fox News was quick to criticize President Obama for emphasizing how climate change is a core threat to national security, arguing the president should have focused instead on foreign terrorist organizations during his Coast Guard Academy commencement speech. In fact, the Coast Guard will be at the forefront of the nation's response to the significant challenges afoot due to the earth's changing climate.
Obama spoke at length about the national security threats presented by climate change during his May 20 commencement address at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. The president highlighted how "climate change increases the risk of instability and conflict" around the world, citing severe droughts in the Middle East and North Africa that have contributed to the rise of extremist groups, rising sea levels and increasingly powerful storms sparking humanitarian crises, and the impact of Arctic sea ice reduction on international maritime rivalries.
Fox News roundly mocked the address, charging that Obama "seems to have utterly lost his way" on national security issues. Others disapproved of the Coast Guard Academy as the setting for his climate remarks, suggesting it reflected poorly on Obama's priorities and management of the resources of the U.S. military.
But the Coast Guard is perhaps the most appropriate of the five armed service branches to focus future planning efforts on combating the effects of a changing climate. As the president stated, "the threat of a changing climate cuts to the very core" of the Coast Guard's mission.
The breakup of Arctic sea ice presents new challenges for the Coast Guard. Shortly before retiring from the service, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Robert Papp discussed how climate change affects the Coast Guard's mission in an interview with Defense News:
Part of our maritime governance is to make sure that ships and cargo get safely in and out of our ports. So if the water rises, how does that affect our aid navigation system? How does that affect dredging with the Army Corps of Engineers? These are marine safety type issues.
In July 2014, Papp was appointed as U.S. Special Representative for the Arctic Region for the express purpose of advising American strategy with regard to climate change in the world's northern oceans.
Sea level rise, another direct result of climate change, is occurring faster than previously predicted and threatens low-lying areas of the United States and neighboring countries. According to the United Nations, sea level rise could be up to four times more pronounced in island nations, many of which dot the Caribbean Sea and are likely destinations for Coast Guard humanitarian relief operations.
Climate change exacerbates the impact of extreme weather events and has been shown to supercharge hurricane systems that target the Atlantic seaboard and Gulf coast every year. When these storms destroy communities and threaten American lives, the Coast Guard is among the first responders on-scene to rescue and care for stranded victims. The Coast Guard's "dangerous and exhausting" rescue missions proved to be a lonely silver lining during the Bush administration's botched response to Hurricane Katrina.
Despite Fox News' protests, the Coast Guard is "on the front lines of climate change and national security."
From the May 13 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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Fox's Martha MacCallum repeated the age old conservative adage that anti-poverty programs failed, despite evidence demonstrating that government programs aimed at reducing poverty have worked.
This week Georgetown University will host a "summit of Catholic, evangelical and other religious leaders" who are "coming together to make overcoming poverty a clear moral imperative and urgent national priority." The summit featured President Obama, who called out Fox News for it's "constant menu" of slanted poverty coverage that ignores "typical" stories like that of a waitress "who is raising a couple of kids and is doing everything right but still can't pay the bills" in favor of coverage that suggests "the poor are sponges, leches, don't want to work, are lazy [and] are undeserving."
During the May 12 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, host Martha MacCallum said she hopes the summit leads to new ideas that decrease poverty, because statistics show that anti-poverty programs "have not worked." MacCallum cited the "record numbers of dollars" spent on welfare programs, claiming that "a lot of it gets wasted."
At least three government programs like Social Security, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and Medicaid have been effective at combating poverty. Overall, the poverty rate has dropped from 19 percent in 1964 to 14.5 percent today. Moreover, without anti-poverty programs, the number of Americans living in poverty in 2012 would have been double its recorded rate, according to an analysis by Columbia University researchers.
Social Security, long hailed as one of the most successful anti-poverty government programs, ensures seniors have a cost of living adjusted stream of income. According to The New York Times Economix Blog, without Social Security, the official elderly poverty would stand at 44 percent as opposed to 9 percent with the program. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:
Social Security benefits play a vital role in reducing poverty. Without Social Security, 22.2 million more Americans would be poor, according to the latest available Census data (for 2012). Although most of those whom Social Security keeps out of poverty are elderly, nearly a third are under age 65, including 1 million children ... Depending on their design, reductions in Social Security benefits could significantly increase poverty, particularly among the elderly.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (known as SNAP or food stamps) provides nutrition assistance to over 40 million Americans. According to a New York Times report, SNAP reduced the poverty rate by nearly eight percent in 2009, at the height of the Great Recession. A USDA study found "an average decline of 4.4 percent in the prevalence of poverty due to SNAP benefits, while the average decline in the depth and severity of poverty was 10.3 and 13.2 percent, respectively."
Medicaid ensures that over 66 million Americans have access to affordable healthcare and has "greatly reduced the number of Americans without health insurance." Expanded access to health insurance through Medicaid has effectively reduced the poverty rate. A 2014 study found that Medicaid decreased poverty rates "by 1.0 percent, 2.2 percent, and 0.7 percent among children, disabled adults, and the elderly." Recent expansions in the program have also led to a healthier society. As noted by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:
Expansions of Medicaid eligibility for low-income children in the late 1980s and early 1990s led to a 5.1 percent reduction in childhood deaths. Also, expansions of Medicaid coverage for low-income pregnant women led to an 8.5 percent reduction in infant mortality and a 7.8 percent reduction in the incidence of low birth weight.
Fox News attacked the Obama administration by reviving the false claim that in 2012 the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) began asking gun purchasers about their race and ethnicity on background check forms. In fact, ethnicity questions have been on the background check form for more than a decade.
On the April 21 edition of Fox News' The Real Story, guest host Martha MacCallum and Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano trumpeted the efforts of GOP lawmakers to stop the ATF from asking gun buyers about race. Napolitano argued, "I can only think that insisting upon knowing the race of the person, is perhaps so this Obama administration, so decidedly anti-gun, could say, oh by the way, such and such a percentage of whites buy -- and the amount of non-whites that buy is a smaller percentage, and we don't like that."
During the segment, an on-screen "Fox Facts" graphic wrongly claimed that ATF began "requiring gun buyers to answer questions about race & ethnicity on firearm applications" in 2012.
Contrary to the "Fox Facts" assertion, a question about race and ethnicity has been on the firearm background check form since at least 2001.
From the April 15 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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