Tucker Carlson has defended The Daily Caller's reporting on Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) patronizing prostitutes in the Dominican Republic as "traditional, straightforward journalism" as that story has come under fire. But when Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) was accused of patronizing prostitutes in 2007, Carlson defended Vitter and lambasted the media for digging into what he described as private matters that were no business of theirs.
In their initial much-hyped pre-election bombshell, the Caller reported on allegations from two Dominican prostitutes that Menendez had paid them for sex. Menendez has repeatedly denied the allegations, and the FBI has reportedly found no evidence of their veracity.
This week the story has unraveled after the Washington Post and ABC News reported that one of the prostitutes who alleged that she had sex with Menendez has recanted her story in an affidavit and claimed that she was paid to lie about the senator. ABC further reported that they also looked into the story last year but decided not to run it because they doubted the women that they and the Caller had spoken to were telling the truth.
In an interview with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, Daily Caller Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson defended his website's claim that Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) paid women for sex in the Dominican Republic, but he dodged the question of whether the women interviewed by the Daily Caller might have been paid by political operatives to tell their story, as evidence from ABC News and The Washington Post now suggest.
Responding to O'Reilly's inquiry about whether the allegations were fabricated, Carlson stopped short of declaring that the women the Daily Caller interviewed were not paid to tell their story. Instead, he said that he was satisfied that the person who brought this story to the Caller "received no money from anyone," later saying, "Did our source take money? ...[T]he answer is, no, he didn't."
Fox News cribbed research and graphics directly from a National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) press release without disclosing their origin in order to attack President Obama's purported "sequester priorities."
In a Fox & Friends Saturday interview with NRCC chairman Greg Walden, co-host Tucker Carlson claimed that he was "going through a list here" of supposedly wasteful federal spending projects and crucial programs that are impacted by the mandatory spending cuts required by sequestration, but did not explain where that list originated. Every case of both worthwhile and allegedly worthless spending they discussed had previously been highlighted in a February 28 NRCC press release.
Later in the segment, Carlson asked Walden, "wouldn't it make sense for Republicans to come up with a list, push that list over to the White House, and publicize that list of pointless programs like this that ought to be cut?" Walden replied, "Absolutely."
Throughout this segment and a second segment Fox aired on-screen graphics that mimicked images included in the NRCC release in order to criticized what they termed Obama's "sequestration priorities." Here are those images, with the Fox versions on the left and NRCC versions on the right:
Fox & Friends Sunday hosted a small business owner to disparage the Affordable Care Act without disclosing his membership in the anti-health care reform group National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).
Co-hosts Clayton Morris and Tucker Carlson identified their guest David McArthur only as a "small business owner" while interviewing him about the impact the Affordable Care Act might have on his small bakery in St. Louis. Morris asked, "Do you feel that these plans, Obamacare specifically, limit growth in this country and [are] holding back the economy, because small business owners like yourself are afraid to hire and afraid to grow?" McArthur replied, "Well, certainly it does."
The NFIB was the lead plaintiff suing to overturn the Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court. In a post titled "The Group Trying To Kill Obamacare," Salon.com's Alex Seitz-Wald reported that the group spent at least $2.9 million in 2010 alone working to overturn the law. The Huffington Post reported that the NFIB "received 10 donations totaling more than $10 million from anonymous donors" in 2010 and 2011, in addition to $3.7 million in funding from Karl Rove's Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies. The Huffington Post also reported that the organization's "multimillion-dollar independent expenditures and campaign donations have benefited almost exclusively Republicans."
This is not the first time Fox has hosted undisclosed NFIB members to criticize the Affordable Care Act.
In July 2012, Fox & Friends hosted small business owner Mike Paine to attack the health care reform law without disclosing his membership in the organization. Prior to that, NFIB member and small business owner Joe Olivo appeared on Fox News and Fox Business at least six times to criticize the Affordable Care Act, without disclosure of his membership.
Fox News figures are reviving the myth that the Head Start education program is a failure, in light of reports that the program may lose funding. In fact, research shows the program benefits disadvantaged children in that it has a positive impact both early and later on in their lives.
Fox News ignored its own role in perpetuating conspiracy theories about President Obama during a segment about Americans who think President Obama is hiding something -- even while engaging in the same behavior during the segment.
On the January 18 edition of Fox News' America Live, host Megyn Kelly featured a Fairleigh Dickinson University poll finding that 63 percent of Americans believe in at least one political conspiracy theory, and 36 percent think that President Obama is hiding information about his background. Kelly pondered what such a result says "about our faith in government, not to mention the media."
But Fox has been a leading player in promoting baseless conspiracy theories about Obama:
Fox hosts falsely claimed that Obama was educated in a Muslim madrassa.
Fox has repeatedly insinuated that Obama is a Mulsim.
Kelly and guest Tucker Carlson went on to reinforce the poll's findings. Kelly suggested those who believe in Obama conspiracy theories are justified in asking questions about his background because Obama has not released his college transcripts, an obsession among right-wing conspiracy-mongers who believe the transcripts will reveal that Obama was a foreign student:
Fox attacked unions over the liquidation of Hostess Brands after negotiations with its bakers union failed, but Fox ignored the fact that the company faced myriad financial problems. Similarly, Fox attacked Wal-Mart employees for striking, but failed to acknowledge the workers' concerns. Fox has run a long-standing campaign against unions.
The contrast between Fox News' coverage of President Obama's first campaign speech after Hurricane Sandy and its coverage of Mitt Romney's rally in Virginia is a study in the network's notion of "fair and balanced." Fox aired Romney's entire speech, which lasted almost 25 minutes, but cut away from Obama's remarks after just six minutes.
By contrast, MSNBC aired both speeches in their entirety -- Obama's speech lasted about 23 minutes -- while CNN aired the entire Obama speech and all but the first two minutes of Romney's comments.
Obama appeared on Thursday in Green Bay, Wisconsin, to describe his agenda in a second term, and Romney was in Roanoke, Virginia, with Republican senatorial candidate George Allen for a campaign rally.
Fox aired Romney's speech from his opening remarks at 10:19 a.m. to his closing comments at 10:42 a.m., when he stated: "This November, I know you people in this room have very clear eyes, you know the consequence of what this election means. You have full hearts, and we can't lose. We need you, Virginia. We've got to take back America. I'm counting on you. George is counting on you. Let's make sure we keep America the hope of the Earth. Thank you so very much."
Four minutes later, following a commercial break, Fox hosted Obama campaign national press secretary Ben LaBolt to discuss Romney's comments.
By contrast, Fox aired the beginning of Obama's speech at 11:44 a.m. but cut away six minutes later at 11:50 a.m. following Obama's urging to the crowd not to boo, but to vote. Happening Now co-host Jon Scott then told viewers to head to FoxNews.com to listen to the rest of Obama's remarks.
Scott then led a discussion with Fox News contributor Tucker Carlson and Democratic strategist Chris Kofinis about Obama's speech, though it had not yet ended, and the tone of the campaign in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Carlson claimed the hurricane allowed Obama to "play president" and "pretend" that "he hasn't run this incredibly divisive, nasty campaign that literally singles out groups of Americans and blames them for America's problems, which is what he's done."
Scott also took the opportunity to mention the September 11 attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, which Fox News has continued to politicize in attacks on Obama.
From the November 1 edition of Fox News' Happening Now:
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From the October 30 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:
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Fox News has launched a cover up of Mitt Romney's debate falsehood that President Obama waited 14 days before calling the deadly September attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, an act of terror.
While debate moderator Candy Crowley immediately corrected Romney's falsehood during the October 16 presidential debate, pointing out that Obama called the attack an act of terror during his first public comments after it occurred, Fox anchor Bret Baier started the Fox cover up during the network's post-debate coverage. Baier claimed Obama wasn't "specifically speaking about Benghazi" when he referred to the attack on September 12 as an act of terror, but rather was speaking "generically."
Sean Hannity followed suit, claiming that Obama was actually referring to the September 11, 2001, attacks. Straight news anchor John Roberts said that because the remarks "came at the end" of his speech, it's unclear that Obama was referring to Benghazi.
Fox's effort to cover up Romney's debate falsehood continued throughout its October 17 coverage. Watch:
At the same time Fox was trying to deflect from one Romney debate falsehood, they were completely ignoring many other Romney falsehoods from the debate, including his debunked boast that his economic agenda will be responsible for creating 12 million new jobs in 4 years.
From the October 17 edition of Fox Business' Lou Dobbs Tonight:
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From the October 17 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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One problem with embracing conspiracy theories is that once they start to unravel there's little chance of salvaging them. Yet that's when true believers, like Daily Caller editor Tucker Carlson, usually hold on tighter to the wild schemes.
Pressed about obvious holes in the "liberal media bias" allegation that appeared in the wake of the first presidential debate when President Obama was showered with negative coverage by the mainstream press, Carlson insists the relentless lumps Obama took did nothing to undercut the endless conservative cries about media unfairness.
That just doesn't add up. Then again, Carlson recently made the odd claim that journalists were biased because they weren't interested in the Daily Caller's overhyped and underwhelming "exclusive" story on a five-year-old Obama speech that had already been widely reported on. (Being bored while reading The Daily Caller is a form of journalistic prejudice?)
As for Obama's debate coverage, the New York Times' David Carr pointed out that the media's universally negative response to the Democrat's performance took some of the air out of the "liberal media bias" tires.
Carr's point was that if ever there were a time in this campaign for the so-called palace guard, liberal media protectors of Obama to swoop in and defend their wounded candidate, it would've been in the wake of the first debate. Instead the press collectively clobbered Obama. So where's the proof of left-wing bias that Fox News effortlessly feeds off of?
Carlson emailed Carr this response [emphasis added]:
The lesson is that the press doesn't control poll results. It's possible to get elected even if the media are rooting for your opponent, as both Reagan and George W. Bush proved.
It's also true that reporters get bored with the existing storyline, which until last week was that Romney had already lost. So they welcome a chance to talk about something else.
But none of this proves there's no bias. I don't think any fair person who has watched carefully could claim Romney and Obama have been held to the same standard by the press. They haven't.
Wait, what? The liberal press doesn't control the polls? Didn't we just witness an entire right-wing movement boldly declare that the media do control polls and that's why Romney had been trailing Obama, because the media and pollsters colluded to keep the Republican down? Because there is rampant "media polling bias"?
Indeed we did.
In the wake of the Daily Caller's widely derided effort last week to claim the emergence of a video capturing a speech Barack Obama gave in 2007 would jolt this year's presidential campaign, editor Tucker Carlson lashed out at journalists who ignored his dubious endeavor, denouncing them as "contemptible."
After suffering what Salon's Joan Walsh described as an "ethnic nervous breakdown" on Fox News last week as he breathlessly portrayed Obama as a race hustler in the 2007 video ("This guy is whipping up race hatred and fear. Period."), a "fuming" Carlson told the Daily Beast's Howard Kurtz that the media's disinterest in the old Obama clip was "disgusting."
And on Fox, Carlson railed against the "throne sniffers" in the press, the "defenders of Obama," who (wisely) dismissed the Daily Caller/Drudge Report/Fox-hyped video as old news. And not even interesting old news at that.
Carlson has used the Daily Caller flop to whine about liberal media bias. His proof? Journalists won't pay attention to the crackpot items Daily Caller posts. And specifically, journalists wouldn't pay attention to an uninteresting video Carlson hyped last week; a video of a speech that was widely covered in 2007.
Fred Barnes made a similar argument about bias in The Weekly Standard when he wrote an obligatory attack on the press last week for being in the Obama camp and for trying to re-elect the Democrat. Pointing to what he considered to be the glaring examples of obvious bias (it's "massive, palpable, and unprecedented"!), Barnes wrote the press beat up on Mitt Romney for making so-called gaffes, while giving Obama a pass [emphasis added]:
In the treatment of Romney and Obama, the double standard has become habitual. The hunt for gaffes is the defining trait of the media in regard to Romney. But the most egregious gaffe by Obama this year--"You didn't build that"--was ignored for four days and reported only after the conservative press had created a mini-firestorm over the comment.
Like Carlson, Barnes is angry the press didn't immediately take seriously a non-news story the right-wing media manufactured and pushed to attack Obama this summer. In this case, it was the false claim that Obama insulted businessmen with his "you didn't build that" comment.
These latest media attacks from Barnes and Carlson represent an odd chorus to the old liberal bias chant we've heard for decades. And the chorus sounds like this: If reporters don't embrace and report on the utter nonsense that unmoored sites within conservative media create, especially during the campaign season, then journalists are declaring their bias.