President Obama has nominated Thomas E. Perez as Secretary of Labor. Right-wing media used this announcement to push false attacks about Perez based on his service in the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and other civil rights work and advocacy.
Fox News parroted the accusation that Thomas Perez, a possible Labor Secretary nominee, "worked with hardcore Islamist groups" and approved of efforts to weaken airline security measures, but that accusation is based on comments Perez made at an interfaith conference where he emphasized the need to respect civil rights when improving security protocols.
The Los Angeles Times reported on March 10 that President Obama is likely to nominate Perez for Secretary of Labor. He is currently the assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, and has been repeatedly vilified by Fox News.
On Fox & Friends First, co-host Patti Ann Browne claimed Perez has a "controversial past" and was "said to have worked with hardcore Islamist groups and applauded those who lobbied against airline security measures."
Browne did not cite evidence for her claim, but her criticism echoed a Daily Caller piece from July 2012 that claimed Perez attended a meeting in D.C. in October 2011 with "hardcore Islamists" and "complimented the Islamists for lobbying against airline security measures," almost the exact words used on Fox & Friends First.
Perez's full remarks from the October 2011 meeting reveal he praised the work done by faith leaders around the country to help combat discrimination based on national origin in airport security screenings.
Perez spoke at the October 2011 Civil Rights Summit hosted by George Washington University Law School on Arab, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian Americans experiencing discrimination and hate crimes following the September 11, 2001 attacks. The event was attended by faith leaders and advocates from many religions, including an imam and a rabbi.
While there, Perez thanked the audience for giving the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security feedback on airport safety protocols, producing more effective measures that used "a scalpel, not a meat ax" to identify threats and emphasizing the need to protect civil rights:
I talked about reflection and recalibration and let me give you two examples of the need for continuing reflection and recalibration. You may recall the Christmas Day attempted bombing on the airplane. And you will recall the aftermath of that bombing in which certain protocols were put in place that made categorical targeting, that is to say, individuals from certain countries, were categorically being asked a series of additional questions. What did we hear in the aftermath of that? We heard a lot of feedback from people in this room and leaders across the country that we could do a better job. That we should be using a scalpel, not a meat ax. And that we should reconsider what's happening.
And a few months later, as you know, and thanks to you, we did just that. And the Department of Homeland Security recalibrated what it was doing, and I think as a result, it was a more effective mechanism. Because once again, we must always remember, as Jim Cole told us this morning: Don't fall into the trap of thinking that it's either safe streets, secure borders, and secure communities or protection of civil rights and civil liberties. It will always be both.
From the January 4 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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Fox News, The Weekly Standard, and Matt Drudge are hiding Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski's support for provisions in a disaster relief bill in order to attack Murkowski's Democratic colleague, Sen. Mark Begich (AK).
The Senate is debating a $60.4 billion relief bill to provide funding for clean-up in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy this week. The Governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut have all endorsed a bill this size, but Republicans have reportedly threatened to block the bill if the proposed spending is not offset by cuts.
Right-wing media seized on some of the bill's provisions to call the bill an example of pork barrel spending even though the White House and Senate appropriators have said the vast majority of the spending in the bill is directly related to recovery from Hurricane Sandy. In particular, these media outlets have focused on a portion of the bill -- amounting to less than 0.3 percent of the total funds in the bill -- that provides money for states affected by disasters involving fisheries in the Northeast, Mississippi, and Alaska.
After misleadingly attacking the bill as a "scam" on Monday, Fox News' Fox & Friends First host Patti Ann Browne called the bill "packed with pork" and Fox Business correspondent Diane Macedo singled out Begich as a supporter of the fisheries provision.
But in order to suggest that this was a money grab by a Democratic senator, these outlets had to ignore the fact that Murkowski supported the fisheries provision too. Murkowski strongly praised the fisheries provision in a press release about the relief bill:
Alaska's Chinook fisheries were declared a disaster exactly three months ago, but no funds have been appropriated to help communities and businesses impacted yet. This bill will go a long way in providing federal resources to Alaskans who suffered economically because of this year's low King Salmon run get back on their feet.
Furthermore, the money will go to several states for which the Commerce Department declared disasters due to low catch rates and other problems: Mississippi, Rhode Island, New York, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Alaska. And in Alaska, the declaration came as the result of a request by Republican Governor Sean Parnell.
Fox News revealed its closing argument against President Obama, which consisted of a falsehood-laden attack on the president's record.
From the November 5 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends First:
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Fox News reporter Carl Cameron helped Mitt Romney dishonestly attack President Obama's foreign policy by parroting the Romney campaign's discredited charge that Obama has been "leading from behind."
In a May New Yorker article examining President Obama's foreign policy record, Ryan Lizza quoted an unnamed Obama adviser who described the U.S. role during the successful campaign to oust former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi as "leading from behind." Right-wing media figures have long claimed that quotation illustrated weakness in Obama's foreign policy. Previewing Romney's foreign policy speech, Cameron furthered the myth:
But Lizza has explained that conservatives are misrepresenting the phrase "leading from behind."
In September, he said that the phrase was not intended to show weakness, but that it actually referred to the Obama administration's successful effort to lead "a coalition in the U.N. to get military authorization to topple Gadhafi." He continued, explaining:
So the quote actually is the opposite of what you are saying. It actually refers to the strategy that Obama used in the U.N. to get all of the nations to support the U.S.' use of force resolution, because after the Bush years it was really hard for the U.S. to go to the U.N. and get support for the use of force because Bush was really, really unpopular.
From the September 14 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends First:
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Fox's Patti-Ann Brown adopted the discredited right-wing claim that voter ID laws like one recently passed in Pennsylvania are an "attempt to fight voter fraud." But experts have said that voter fraud is not an issue in the state, and a state lawmaker behind the push has acknowledged that it's part of an effort to elect Mitt Romney.
The Federal Reserve released a study this week showing that Americans' net worth fell dramatically between 2007-10. However, while reporting on the study, Fox News hosts falsely claimed the decline occurred during the "last three years," even though it's clear the decline began two years before President Obama took office.
On Fox News' America's Newsroom, anchor Patti Ann Browne allowed Citizens Against Government Waste's David Williams to falsely claim that the Senate health care bill is "going to bankrupt this country in a matter of years." Browne at no point noted that the Congressional Budget Office [CBO] reported that the Senate's health reform bill will reduce federal deficits by $130 billion through 2019.
On America's Newsroom, Fox News co-host Patti Ann Browne followed up a report on stolen emails from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU) -- which she suggested indicated that climate scientists may have "fudged statistics on global warming and colluded to keep opposing views off the table" -- by saying, "Well, amidst all this talk of global warming, a winter weather warning in none other than Texas. Houston expected to break a record today with the earliest snowfall -- yes, snowfall -- ever recorded in that city's history." But climate scientists reject the notion that short-term changes in weather, let alone individual storms, bear any relevance to the global warming debate, and several major climate data centers have said that thus far, 2009 is one of the warmest years on record.
From the December 1 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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Fox News has seized upon a study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) for America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), which concluded that under the Senate Finance Committee health care reform bill, "by 2019 the cost of single coverage is expected to increase by $1,500 more than it would under the current system and the cost of family coverage is expected to increase by $4,000 more than it would under the current system," in some cases reporting the study's conclusions as fact. However, health care experts have noted that, in the words of health care economist Len Nichols, "Aside from the obvious conflict of interest associated with a report funded by the very industry it analyzes, PWC's basic analytic assumptions -- by their own admission -- are at variance with the bill and the opinions of most analysts."