Fox "straight news" host Martha MacCallum today pushed the narrative that former President Bill Clinton is advocating the extension of all the Bush tax cuts. In fact, according to Clinton's office, he "does not believe the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans should be extended again."
On Tuesday, Clinton discussed in an interview with CNBC's Maria Bartiromo whether the Bush tax cuts should be extended into 2013. Later that day, Clinton's office released a statement saying that the former president opposes extending the Bush tax cuts for the highest earners, but believes that all of the tax cuts may have to be temporarily extended because it will be difficult for Congress to come to a long-term agreement until after the election. From USA Today:
Two questions have been raised regarding President Clinton's interview on CNBC today.
First, on extending the Bush tax cuts, as President Clinton has said many times before, he supported extending all of the cuts in 2010 as part of the budget agreement, but does not believe the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans should be extended again. In the interview, he simply said that he doubted that a long-term agreement on spending cuts and revenues would be reached until after the election.
Despite Clinton's clear statement opposing the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, MacCallum today reported that Clinton favors extending all the Bush tax cuts. During an interview with Alan Colmes and Tucker Carlson, MacCallum remarked that Clinton "said that extending all the Bush tax cuts until next year would be quote, The best thing to do, and that timing is at odds with what the president has said."
Mitt Romney won the Texas Republican primary last night, clinching the GOP's nomination for president. In response, Fox News has engaged its function as the Republican Party's communications arm and mounted an all-out push to promote Romney and attack President Obama.
This morning, Fox & Friends aired a four-minute anti-Obama attack ad. Not from any campaign or super PAC, but from Fox itself -- the video opens with the text "Fox & Friends Presents":
The ad was loaded with dishonest and misleading claims.
Later, America's Newsroom, which is one of Fox's "straight news" shows, aired a portion of host Bill Hemmer's softball interview with Mitt and Ann Romney in San Diego. Hemmer said of the interview, "If you're looking for policy, that's really not the intention for why we went to California. This is really trying to get to know this man, because he's going to be in your living rooms now for at least the next six months and possibly a lot longer after that."
Hemmer's co-host, Martha MacCallum, then suggested that the purpose of the interview had been to increase Romney's poll numbers.
From the May 30 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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Latching onto a Congressional Research Service report commissioned by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), Fox News suggested today that government investments in clean energy hurt our military. But experts agree that investments in clean energy technology and climate mitigation benefit our national security.
The report found that the federal government has spent more than $68 billion since 2008 on climate-related activities. The majority of these funds went to the Climate Change Technology Program, which invests in renewable energy and other energy technologies that could reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Although only a small fraction of that funding -- about 0.01% -- went to the Defense Department, Fox anchor Martha MacCallum suggested that climate change programs are being funded at the expense of national security, asking: "Is the White House putting green energy ahead of defense?" And the Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore added: "I do think this national security issue is really the crux of the issue about whether we want money that should be spent to keep us safe and keep us secure going for green programs."
Let's put things in perspective. According to the Congressional Research Service, the Pentagon has spent $776 million on climate change programs over the past 4 years. This accounts for approximately 0.0002% of total defense spending over that time frame -- hardly excessive to address a problem that military experts agree poses a major national security threat.
Fox News is pushing fatally flawed analogies to defend Mitt Romney from criticism over his jobs record at Bain Capital, pointing to the Obama administration's green energy loans and the successful rescue of the U.S. auto industry. These comparisons crumble under scrutiny, as leveraged buyouts are different from providing bankruptcy financing or loans.
Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum has a habit of defending GOP talking points. During a conversation with Sen. Tom Coburn today, she continued the practice, scoffing at Democratic suggestions on how to help reduce the deficit and increase revenue:
MacCALLUM: I think everybody in this country, Democrats and Republicans across the board, know that there need to be some spending cuts in order to move -- in order to protect the country, basically, from complete default. But Democrats will tell you, as you hear all the time, that if you just, you know, tax wealthy people more, and you take, you know, raise taxes on oil companies, that you're going to go a long way to solving the problem. That's what they believe.
SENATOR COBURN: Well, they know that's not true.
Coburn went on to say that those Democratic proposals wouldn't make a dent in the deficit, adding that "this is all about politics, this is all about November, this is silly time in Washington -- unfortunately, it's silly time all the time in Washington 'cause there's no grownups up here." MacCallum replied: "I was just gonna say, I think a lot of folks feel like it extends throughout the year."
In fact, the Democrats' budget proposals amount to more than just "tax wealthy people more" and "raise taxes on oil companies" -- measures Fox News has stridently defended against in its rush to protect the rich and tax breaks for oil and gas companies.
Fox News is once again pushing the myth that President Obama "apologized" for the United States, following a speech by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in which he vowed to "never again apologize for America." In fact, Obama has never made such an apology.
Today, Fox News' America's Newsroom hosted a segment highlighting Rush Limbaugh's latest attack on Sandra Fluke. The theory behind the attack was so hard to believe that two of the three panelists, including a former spokeswoman for the House Republican Conference, called it "ridiculous" and "utterly absurd."
On Tuesday's edition of his radio show, Limbaugh returned to attacking Fluke, the Georgetown law student whom he infamously described as a "slut" and "prostitute," this time for supposedly "coordinating" with President Obama to scare students about their student loans.
Fluke responded to Limbaugh's attack later that night on MSNBC's The Last Word, pointing out the importance of affordable student loans and contradicting the notion that she is coordinating with Obama on the issue of student loans.
During a panel discussion of Limbaugh's attack on America's Newsroom today, panelists Gretchen Hamel and Judy Miller agreed that Limbaugh's theory that Fluke and Obama are coordinating is completely bogus. Hamel, a former spokeswoman for the House Republican Conference, said that Fluke's tweet "was a message being tweeted out by a number of people." Hamel also said: "I think this is just a coincidence. It's the White House having a simple message that is resonating." Miller, a Fox News contributor, called Limbaugh's theory "ridiculous" and said that "all it does is call attention to his previous faux pas."
Fox is again attempting to redefine fairness, this time by pushing the GOP-favored flat tax in the midst of debate over the Buffett Rule, which would set a minimum effective tax rate for millionaires. The flat tax is a plan Republicans have been trying to establish as far back as the 1990s.
Following the release of President Obama's tax returns, Fox jumpstarted its push for the flat tax, insisting that it would be a fairer tax system. But this is just the latest attempt by Fox to redefine "fairness" as a tax system that experts contend is designed to favor wealthier taxpayers.
Prior to an interview with Romney campaign adviser Eric Fehrnstrom, "straight news" anchor, Martha MacCallum asked her Twitter followers, "Should Mitt Romney go further with tax reform?" She then added: "Flat tax anyone?"
Both mainstream and conservative media outlets have responded to the recent spike in gasoline prices by circulating talking points rooted in politics rather than facts. As a whole, these claims reflect the misconception, perpetuated by the news media, that changes in U.S. energy policy are a major driver of oil and gasoline prices.
From the April 6 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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Yesterday on Fox News, Dana Perino, former White House Press Secretary for President George W. Bush and current co-host of The Five, rebutted the notion that Republicans "just want to drill." She said: "If that were true, then you wouldn't have these DOE [Department of Energy] loans in the first place, because those were passed by a bipartisan Congress."
Perino is right that DOE's clean energy loan guarantee program was created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which was the product of a Republican-controlled Congress and President Bush. In fact, as Politifact noted, Bush was touting the program as late as January 6, 2009. His administration advanced Solyndra's application for a loan guarantee and Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 expanded and funded the program, including Solyndra's subsidy.
What's odd is that Fox has been criticizing Obama for pointing out this very same fact during his interview with Marketplace. Perino thinks Republicans deserve credit for creating the program. But when Obama says it, Fox claims he's "blaming" Republicans for Solyndra. In fact, right after Perino's comments, her co-hosts segued into bashing Obama for his remarks, with no one acknowledging the contradiction:
Fox even hosted Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) and former Sen. George Allen (R-VA) to criticize Obama's comments, without ever mentioning that both these politicians voted in favor of the 2005 law that created the loan guarantee program.
As women's health issues have dominated national media for the past few weeks, right-wing media figures have insisted that the current debate isn't about women's health, but is "a religious freedom issue," to quote Fox News' Gretchen Carlson. Carlson's comments came after the Obama administration had revised an earlier ruling that would have required some religiously affiliated schools and hospitals to cover employees' contraception costs; under the new rule, health insurers, not such religious institutions, would pay for contraception.
Now Fox figures are attacking another clarification of the rule issued on Friday, which stated that most colleges and universities must cover contraceptives, but that insurers will bear the costs for religious institutions. On the March 19 edition of Fox's America Live, Fox News contributor Sandy Rios was distraught over the ruling, shouting that it was "outrageous" for the administration to "make [universities] give these medications out to young girls." She later called the policy "social engineering at its worst."
Later, Rios attacked Title X, a federal program dedicated to family planning services. Rios was so "angry" about Title X that she claimed the "birth control" it provides once helped get a girl pregnant:
RIOS: For a long time, Title X has been giving birth control to minor girls without parental consent. This has been the law -- I've been angry about this for years. I know its effect. I know that there was a 14-year-old girl who got impregnated by her high school gym teacher in the Chicago suburbs because she got birth control from Title X.
Visibly baffled, Julie Roginsky, the Fox contributor opposite Rios, asked, "How did she get impregnated if she got birth control?" (Rios then walked back her comments: "No, she wasn't impregnated, I'm sorry. She was taking Depo-Provera.")
It's not clear what Rios was referring to, but it is clear that Title X has helped provide critical health services to millions of American women.
Writing in Foreign Policy, Harvard University international affairs professor Stephen M. Walt listed his "Top Ten Media Failures in the 2012 Iran War Scare" and provides examples of media outlets that he believes are responsible for those failures. One other media outlet that quickly comes to mind as an example of extremely poor Iran coverage is Fox News.
For some time now, Fox's coverage of the Iran debate has left much to be desired, and indeed, Fox has committed many of the "top ten media failures" that Walt identified.
"#1 Mainstreaming the war." Walt wrote that media outlets repeatedly push the idea that "war is imminent, likely, inevitable, etc.," which could potentially "convince the public that it is going to happen sooner or later and it discourages people from looking for better alternatives." Fox has done this repeatedly. For example, Fox military analyst Jack Keane said on Happening Now: "I think it's inevitable" that the United States will have "some kind of conflict" with Iran. Regular Fox guest and former CIA official Michael Scheuer has likewise said that the U.S. is "going to war against the Iranians," and Fox News host Sean Hannity has even said that he thinks war with Iran "has already started."
"#2: Loose talk about Iran's 'nuclear [weapons] program.' " Walt stated that a "recurring feature of Iran war coverage has been tendency to refer to Iran's 'nuclear weapons program' as if its existence were an established fact." Fox has done this too. During an appearance on America's Newsroom, Fox News national security analyst KT McFarland distorted comments by Secretary of Defense and former CIA director Leon Panetta to claim that "Iran will have a nuclear weapon in a year or sooner," co-host Martha MacCallum failed to point out that there are significant questions about whether Iran is planning to build nuclear weapons at all.
Indeed, 2007 and 2011 National Intelligence Estimates found no conclusive evidence that Iran is even trying to build a bomb. And in January 31 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper reiterated the fact that the U.S. intelligence committee does not have evidence to say that Iran is trying to build a bomb.
From the March 19 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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