Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum suggested that requests for Mitt Romney to release more of his tax returns are somehow an invasion of his privacy, even as polling shows most Americans think Romney should do so.
Romney continues to deny requests from both sides of the aisle to release more tax returns, asserting that the 2010 return and 2011 estimate he released are sufficient. Today, the Obama campaign offered to stop criticizing Romney for a lack of transparency if he releases five years of tax returns. The Romney camp declined, alleging that the Obama team was trying to distract from "issues that matter to voters."
MacCallum's declaration that Romney's tax returns aren't "anybody's business" echoes a comment Romney made earlier this week on the campaign trail. Romney said, "Given the challenges that America faces -- 23 million people out of work, Iran about to become nuclear, one out of six Americans in poverty -- the fascination with taxes I've paid I find to be very small-minded."
The majority of the country disagrees with MacCallum. Sixty-three percent of Americans believe Romney should release more of his tax returns, according to an August 9 CNN poll. Among independents, that number is even higher, at 67 percent. Similarly, a Gallup poll in July found that 54 percent of adults thought that Romney should release additional returns.
Fox's supposed news anchors are really looking forward to the Republican National Convention and its roster of "eloquent," "bold" and "very charismatic" speakers.
This morning, America's Newsroom reported on the news that, following the selection of Rep. Paul Ryan as Romney's VP choice, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had been tapped as the keynote speaker for the RNC.
Co-host Martha MacCallum explained that "another big name in the VP mix," Florida Senator Marco Rubio, would be introducing Romney at the event. The presence of Rubio, Christie, and Ryan at the convention made sense to MacCallum because they represented the "bold choice candidates" for vice president.
Sounding more like an Entertainment Tonight host than a news anchor, co-host Gregg Jarrett explained that "Christie never fails to charge up the crowd, and Marco Rubio is quite eloquent out on the stump, if you've ever watched him deliver a speech. He really knows how to connect with the audience. Very charismatic."
After Jarrett described the speakers as "probably good choices for the GOP," MacCallum exclaimed, "It's going to be very exciting!"
Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum rewrote economic history to blame President Obama for the recession that began in December 2007, arguing that the economy "got worse" in 2009.
The Commerce Department on Friday reported that the economy grew by 1.5 percent during the second quarter, a slower rate of growth than the first three months of the year. MacCallum, claiming to provide "a little context" to those figures, noted that the economy actually declined throughout 2008. She then put some deceptive Fox spin on the numbers:
It got worse in 2009. In fact, that's when we had our two quarters of consecutive loss and that's what put us into the actual official recessionary status.
Nothing about MacCallum's analysis is true.
Conservative media have continued to cover up the fact that many Catholic and other religious institutions have come out in support of the Obama administration's policy that ensures women have access to affordable insurance coverage for birth control while making sure no religious organization has to pay for this coverage. Their concealment of this fact came in response to evangelical Wheaton College's announcement that it will join a lawsuit against the policy.
Taking its cues from the Romney campaign, Fox News used many of its shows on July 16 to deflect from the brewing controversy over Mitt Romney's tenure at Bain Capital to focus on the economy:
In an appearance on Fox & Friends, Romney responded to intense scrutiny into his years as CEO, chairman, and sole shareholder of Bain by downplaying the criticism and focusing attention onto President Obama and the weak economy.
Fox News apparently noticed Romney's dodge, and several of the channel's hosts dutifully repeated the "Bain doesn't matter, the economy does" mantra over much of the day:
From the July 11 edition of Fox News Radio's Kilmeade & Friends:
Loading the player reg...
Karl Rove has joined other media conservatives in downplaying the severity of job losses in the public sector by touting data showing the unemployment rate among government workers in May was 4.2 percent. However, that statistic doesn't change the fact that public sector job cuts in this recovery have been more severe compared with previous recoveries, and experts note that these cuts threaten the recovering economy and impact job growth in the private sector.
Rove, a Fox contributor and anti-Obama super PAC co-founder, appeared today on the Fox "straight news" program America's Newsroom and downplayed Obama's concerns about public sector jobs. "Friday was, of course, the president's comment where he said, The private economy is doing fine. What I'm worried about is state and local government workers," he said, adding: "Unemployment among state and local government employees is 4.2 percent, almost half the national average."
By touting the statistic that the unemployment rate among government workers in May was 4.2 percent, Rove is downplaying the severity of public sector job cuts. Indeed, public sector job cuts in this recovery have been more severe compared with previous recoveries and threaten the recovering economy.
In the context of ongoing efforts by conservatives to paint President Obama as hostile toward the private sector, Fox "straight news" host Martha MacCallum remarked that Obama's recent comments about private-sector jobs growth "feed into [the] narrative" that Obama values public-sector jobs over private-sector jobs. In fact, since Obama took office, the private sector has added millions of jobs, while the public sector has suffered severe and unusual job losses.
After previously attacking President Obama for not having a plan to create jobs, Fox News is now hypocritically attacking him for faulting Congress for its failure to pass his American Jobs Act.
Last September, Obama proposed the American Jobs Act, a bill that was estimated to "likely add 1.9 million payroll jobs and grow the U.S. economy 2 percent." The bill was successfully filibustered by Senate Republicans a month later.
The Obama campaign has recently put out an ad promoting the American Jobs Act, criticizing Republicans in Congress for not passing his proposals yet, and urging Congress to pass his proposals now.
Fox News has responded by attacking Obama for "blam[ing] Congress," criticism that mirrors a recent attack by Romney that Obama is "blam[ing] Congress for the faults that he's put in place himself."
For instance, on the June 8 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, co-host Martha MacCallum told the Examiner's Byron York "the president is going to come out and you expect that he will blame Congress for not implementing some of his job creating ideas. Is that going to fly well with the American people? I mean, I don't know how much water that holds at this point."
But Fox's criticism puts the network in the awkward position of having to admit that Obama has a jobs plan, a fact at odds with the message Fox ran with last year.
In recent interviews, President Clinton and former White House economic adviser Larry Summers agreed with President Obama that Congress should not extend the Bush tax cuts for wealthy households. But Fox News distorted their comments to falsely claim that Clinton and Summers are in favor of extending them for all households, and thus are "at odds" with Obama.
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:
Loading the player reg...
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.