The Washington Free Beacon today reported that "Senate Democrats pay female staffers less than male staffers" and are running afoul of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which provides women more legal room to file pay discrimination claims against employers. However, the Free Beacon story refutes its own attack.
From the Free Beacon article:
A group of Democratic female senators on Wednesday declared war on the so-called "gender pay gap," urging their colleagues to pass the aptly named Paycheck Fairness Act when Congress returns from recess next month. However, a substantial gender pay gap exists in their own offices, a Washington Free Beacon analysis of Senate salary data reveals.
Of the five senators who participated in Wednesday's press conference--Barbara Mikulski (D., Md.), Patty Murray (D., Wash.), Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.), Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) and Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.)--three pay their female staff members significantly less than male staffers.
After highlighting the gender pay gaps of several other Democratic Senators, the Free Beacon threw cold water on its own claims:
Women working for Senate Democrats in 2011 pulled in an average salary of $60,877. Men made about $6,500 more.
While the gap is significant, it is slightly smaller than that of the White House, which pays men about $10,000, or 13 percent, more on average, according to a previous Free Beacon analysis.
That previous analysis showed that the gender pay gap for the White House is smaller than in the overall economy. The Free Beacon is telling its readers that the gender pay gap among Senate Democratic staffers is even smaller than that.
The Free Beacon then went even further in undermining their own story:
After President Obama's historic announcement that he is in favor of marriage equality, many in the right-wing media are refusing to debate the substance of same-sex marriage. Instead, they are casting about for ways to attack Obama's position on marriage that ignore the actual debate.
A story bubbled up in the right-wing media suggesting that the White House requires "that unborn children get security clearance" if their parents want to tour the building. The reporting was based on an email from the White House that instructs potential visitors about "how to enter security information for a baby that has not yet been born."
The Daily Caller, Washington Free Beacon, Drudge Report, National Review Online, and Fox Nation all highlighted this story and presented it in the context of President Obama's support for abortion rights.
However, a closer reading of the email shows that expecting parents are required to fill out security information for a child who is not yet born only if they anticipate giving birth by the time they want to visit the White House. The email clearly refers to "newborns" and gives instructions for what to do once "the baby is born."
The Huffington Post spoke to a representative from the Secret Service who said that "all White House guests are required to provide information at the time of their request for the tour, including for children and infants, and those expected to be on the tour once born."
So, no, the White House does not require pregnant visitors to register their fetuses as people for security purposes.
Several media outlets have distorted comments by an EPA official, falsely suggesting that he said "oil companies should be crucified." In fact, the official was using an analogy, which he has since apologized for, to describe a common approach to regulatory enforcement: making examples out of those who break the law.
President Obama has proposed increasing tax rates on wealthier Americans -- including himself -- while conservatives have fought to defend the rich from any attempts to increase their taxes. But despite their fight to stop all proposals aimed at having the rich pay their fair share, the right-wing media have attacked Obama over the effective federal tax rate he and his wife Michelle paid on their 2011 income.
Andrea Tantaros, a co-host of Fox News' The Five, said that the problem isn't that Obama pays "what effectively is a tax rate of about 20 percent," but that "he begrudges everybody else for doing" the same thing. She suggested that Obama should "lead by example and simplify the tax code" because "he's using all these same loopholes."
In a post titled "Obama Family Tax Shelter: First Family Transfer Wealth, Avoids Taxes," The Washington Free Beacon wrote: "There is nothing illegal about the president's taking advantage of this tax shelter, but it does raise eyebrows given that he has lamented the myriad tax exemptions used by the wealthy -- 'millionaires and billionaires' like himself -- to pay less in taxes. He has yet to propose a comprehensive plan to reform the byzantine tax code."
When, in 2011, Obama released a jobs plan that would be paid for in part by limiting the deductions that could be claimed on wealthier taxpayers' tax returns, conservatives responded by shouting "class warfare" and accusing Obama of "soak[ing] the rich."
And when, in 2010, Obama sought the elimination of the Bush tax cuts for the highest earners, conservatives advanced several dubious claims to suggest that ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy would hurt "many small businesses" and hinder job growth.