As part of its campaign to stoke fears of widespread voter fraud, Fox is ginning up outrage that voter registration forms have been sent to dead people, dogs, and cats, with the apparent implication that those dogs and cats might vote and alter the outcome of the 2012 election.
The target of Fox's latest attack is the Voter Participation Center (VPC), a nonprofit group that uses mass mailings of voter registration applications in an effort to reach the 24 percent of Americans who are eligible to vote, but not registered. Recently, the center acknowledged that some mailings were addressed to ineligible voters, including deceased citizens and even pets, because of faulty commercial mailing lists.
While this is several steps away from actual voter fraud -- a virtually nonexistent problem in U.S. elections -- Fox News worried that these applications were raising "growing fears on election fraud." On today's broadcast of America Live, host Megyn Kelly claimed:
KELLY: Growing fears on election fraud today, as folks across the country get pre-filled-out voter registration forms. You know where they say, like, here, this is you, Megyn Kelly, this is where you show up to vote. But they don't have your name on it. They have the name of your dead pet. Or dead relative. Or your live pet. Either way, it's problematic. Because your pet -- your pet shouldn't be on there. The documents look official, but it turns out they are not coming from election administrators, but from a nonprofit group, and that's causing some controversy.
Fox's America's Newsroom teased a story about the VPC registration forms by saying that there are "new concerns about voter fraud ahead of the November elections." The subsequent segment was identified as part of Fox News' "Voter Fraud Watch:"
But sending out inaccurately addressed voter registration forms is not voter fraud.
Fox News figures have routinely invoked Ronald Reagan while discussing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan. Most recently, Fox compared Ryan to the former president by splicing together their quotes and saying that Ryan and Reagan are physically and ideologically similar.
From the August 15 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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Since Congressman Paul Ryan joined the GOP presidential ticket, Fox News has spent days marketing him to the public by fawning over his record, his physique, and whitewashing his record on Medicare.
Fox host Megyn Kelly attacked President Obama's recent unremarkable statement that he supports a "new vision of an America in which prosperity is shared," claiming it follows a theme of Obama promoting "taking from some people and giving to others." The same sentiment has been shared by figures such as Ronald Reagan and, recently, Mitt Romney whose plan is estimated to increase taxes for the poor for the benefit of the wealthy.
On America Live, Kelly hosted frequent Fox guest Lars Larson to attack Obama over a recent campaign speech in which he advocated a "new vision of America in which prosperity is shared." Obama continued:
"I believe we have to go forward," Obama said. "I believe we have to keep working to create an America where no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, no matter what your last name is, no matter who you love, you can make it here if you try. That's what's at stake in November. That's what is why I am running for a second term as president of the United States of America."
Larson claimed Obama's comments showed that Obama wants to take accomplishments such as Microsoft CEO Bill Gates' and "redistribute that wealth at the point of a gun." Kelly cited previous statements to claim "it creates a belief by some like Lars that he's talking about taking from some people and giving to others."
Kelly is right that Obama's comments are in line with several previous statements he's made. Obama has made shared prosperity a central platform of his economic policies. But he's not the only prominent political figure to make shared prosperity a focus of their campaign. Romney recently praised his vice-presidential pick Rep. Paul Ryan, saying that he will help lead the country "to widespread and shared prosperity." Even President Reagan, who Fox has incessantly compared Ryan to recently, made shared prosperity a priority. In 1980, then-President-elect Reagan laid out his economic plans, saying his policies were "plans for implementation, reducing the cost of government, reducing the burden on the people and getting a prosperity that will be shared by all."
Despite the fact that Kelly used the "taking from some people and giving to others" claim as an attack on Obama, she didn't mention that that charge could be leveled at both Romney and Ryan who have advocated policies that would increase the tax burden on lower-income Americans in order to benefit the wealthy.
Fox News continued to fawn over Congressman Paul Ryan today, with host Megyn Kelly pushing the conservative narrative that Ryan is not only ideologically similar to former President Ronald Reagan, he also looks and sounds like him. For effect, Fox aired this side-by-side picture of the two.
During the segment on America Live, Kelly claimed that Ryan's "conservative ideas, his optimism, even his language have been compared to that of the former president," adding: "You may be able to discern why." Kelly then aired a montage splicing together quotes by both men that purported to show the likeness between Ryan and Reagan:
REAGAN: "In this present crisis government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem."
RYAN: "My dad died when I was young. He was a good and decent man. There are a few things he would say that have just always stuck with me. He'd say, son, you're either part of the problem or part of the solution. Well, regrettably, President Obama has become part of the problem and Mitt Romney is the solution."
REAGAN: "Without God, there is a coarsening of the society. And without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure. If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under."
RYAN: "America is more than just a place, though. America is an idea. It's the only country founded on an idea. Our rights come from nature and God, not from government."
To further reinforce this idea, Kelly then interviewed Reagan's son, conservative radio host and frequent Fox guest Michael Reagan, who gave the Reagan seal of approval:
REAGAN: You know, it's really iffy. You can really tell the difference between somebody who just talks about Ronald Reagan, of which there are many, and those who have really studied Ronald Reagan. Paul Ryan is one of those people who studied Ronald Reagan, but also grew up in the Midwest, just like Ronald Reagan.
Fox has repeatedly pushed this comparison: The day Mitt Romney announced Ryan as his running mate, host Andrea Tantaros called Ryan "very Reaganesque," while contributor KT MacFarland cheered the Romney-Ryan ticket as "like Reagan again."
Fox News turned to John Bolton to tout Romney's overseas tour and bash President Obama's foreign policy without disclosing his position as a Romney foreign policy adviser.
Today, Romney will wrap up a weeklong trip overseas that included visits to London, Israel, and Poland. During the trip, Romney has drawn criticism for saying he found some of London's Olympic preparations "disconcerting" and for suggesting that cultural differences are among the reasons the Israelis are more economically successful than the Palestinians.
Appearing yesterday on Fox News' America Live, Bolton played down Romney's Olympics gaffe, claiming that criticism over the remark was just a "tempest in a teacup" and that Romney's overseas tour had been "very successful." And, instead of addressing criticism over Romney's comments on Palestinians, Bolton pushed the bogus narrative that Obama is anti-Israel, saying that the Obama administration views Israel as "a large source of the problems in the Middle East."
That Bolton would try to divert attention from Romney's gaffes by attacking Obama should come as no surprise. On March 27, Bolton, a former Bush administration official and Fox contributor, signed an "open letter" to Obama in which he and others were listed as "Romney Foreign Policy Advisers." The letter questioned "whether a new period of even greater weakness and inconstancy would lie ahead if you [Obama] are reelected."
During the segment, host Megyn Kelly identified Bolton as a "former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a Fox News contributor." Bolton's ties to the Romney campaign were never disclosed.
Kelly's failure to identify Bolton as a Romney foreign policy adviser is the latest example of Fox's longstanding disclosure problem. Fox has repeatedly hosted Bolton and other Romney advisers without acknowledging their ties to Romney's campaign and has heavily promoted Karl Rove's anti-Obama super PAC, American Crossroads, frequently without identifying his connection to either American Crossroads or Fox News.
From the July 30 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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Fox News is characterizing President Obama's response to the Fox-manufactured "you didn't build that" controversy as "damage control." This comes after Fox promoted its deceptively edited clip for days -- and after independent fact-checkers have discredited attacks on Obama based on the deceptive editing.
From the July 24 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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Earlier this week, Fox News host Megyn Kelly went on an epic rant about the lack of truth in politics. It took only two days for that passion to fade.
In a panel discussion on yesterday's edition of Kelly's show, America Live, Fox News contributor Marc Thiessen rejected guest Simon Rosenberg's claim that only 3 percent of taxpayers claiming business income would pay higher taxes under President Obama's tax plan -- a claim that happens to be true.
Kelly could have used this exchange to put her claimed passion for truth in the political process into action by trying to suss out who -- Rosenberg or Thiessen -- was telling the truth on business taxes. Instead, she brought the segment to a close by saying, "And on that note, we have to agree to disagree."
This is the same Megyn Kelly who -- just two days earlier on the very same show -- forcefully asked the question, "Does truth matter anymore at all in the political process?" But, when presented with a golden opportunity to pursue that truth, Kelly punted.
We pointed out that Kelly should try enforcing those standards a little closer to home at the post-truth network before worrying about what others are doing, but Kelly doesn't even have to go that far. Her own show is the perfect place for her to put her words into action -- if she would actually do that.
Fox News contributor Marc Thiessen falsely claimed that 90 percent of small businesses would face a tax hike under President Obama's tax plan. Official estimates and independent analysts agree that Thiessen is wrong, and thatonly about 3 percent of businesses make enough profit to face the proposed higher rates.
Fevered corners of the Republican Noise Machine produced two distinct reactions this week to the turbulent news cycles that Mitt Romney has faced following revelations about his time at Bain Capital.
One response came in the form of stripped-down anger and disturbing hostility aimed squarely at President Obama, and the prospect of four more years of the Democratic administration. With Fox's Sean Hannity insisting that a second Obama term "will end America" as we know it, while Rush Limbaugh spent the week explaining how Obama "hates" America, the right-wing's freaked-out factor rose, yet again, in response to campaign developments.
The other puzzling reaction to Romney's troubles came in the form of blanket denial, which was championed by the likes of Washington Post's GOP blogger Jennifer Rubin. She announced that contrary to conventional wisdom regarding the state of Romney's campaign, it was really the Obama team operating in full "panic" mode this month and that Romney's campaign had the Democratic incumbent right where it wanted him; outsmarted and outraised.
Neither conservative response was grounded in reality, yet both nicely captured the parallel universe mentality that anchors so much of the far-right press. The GOP-media bubble, especially portions of the Internet and AM talk radio, is mostly a place where followers go to hear pleasing tales about how monstrously un-American Obama is and how his campaign has careened off course and remains stuck in a ditch.
The one-part-panic, one-part-denial message may soothe obsessive Obama-haters, but it does little to prepare conservatives for the reality of the current campaign season.
From the July 18 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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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: