As income disparities continue to increase, and the effective tax rate paid by the rich remains at historic lows, right-wing media figures work hard to make sure none of that changes. They routinely attack the poor and programs designed to assist them, while simultaneously extolling the rich and defending them against any attempt to get them to pay their fair share of taxes.
By the author's own admission, Mackinac's analysis uses "simple math": "I added the known state and federal incentives that have been offered and divided by the number of Volts sold." Hohman also acknowledged on Fox Business that he is "not an expert on the auto industry." But it doesn't take expertise to realize that Hohman's methodology is deeply flawed.
First, he does not take into account future Volt sales, which, as Fox Business' Stuart Varney pointed out, will substantially reduce the cost-per-vehicle number. In the coming months, GM plans to expand manufacturing plants and increase production of the Volt to keep up with rising demand from dealerships. As production and sales ramp up, the per-vehicle subsidy cost will continually drop.
Furthermore, the $3 billion figure includes a broad range of state and federal incentives not only to GM, but to any company supplying parts for the Volt. For example, it includes $100 million in tax credits and subsidies to Compact Power, which manufactures lithium ion batteries for the Volt. But the company also supplies batteries to several other automakers, including Ford, Renault, and Hyundai. Therefore, it is misleading to include the full $100 million as government support for the Volt.
On at least three separate occasions, Fox Business ran a quote purportedly made by an Occupy Toronto protester who wondered why anyone would want to work long hours. In reality, the quote is fake, as it came from a "satire" piece published by The Globe and Mail.
Humor columnist Mark Schatzker published an October 21 piece in the Canadian newspaper -- headlined, "Occupy Toronto: The one-week anniversary party" -- which contained the following quote from "Jeremy, 38":
"It's weird protesting on Bay Street. You get there at 9 a.m. and the rich bankers who you want to hurl insults at and change their worldview have been at work for two hours already. And then when it's time to go, they're still there. I guess that's why they call them the one per cent. I mean, who wants to work those kinds of hours? That's the power of greed." - Jeremy, 38
The column itself is tagged as "satire" on the Globe and Mail's site. Still, as Mediaite's Nando Di Fino and TPM's Jillian Rayfield noted, conservatives bloggers passed the quote off as real. The Power Line's John Hinderaker ran the quote and later posted an update claiming, "Upon further review, prompted by my wife, I think the quotes attributed to occupiers at the linked site are jokes. Pretty funny ones, too. The point, I think, remains valid."
The fake quote didn't just fool conservative bloggers, as Fox Business repeatedly quoted "Jeremy" on-air. During the October 26 broadcast of Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard, host David Asman read the quote -- which was attributed to an Jeremy, an "Occupy Wall Street Protester" -- to criticize the protests.
Fox is baselessly speculating that Warren Buffett conspired to invest in Bank of America as a political favor to President Obama. But the investment follows Buffett's history of investing in banking companies; Buffett told reporters the investment was his idea; and the investment is reportedly a "guaranteed profit" for Buffett.
From the August 25 edition of Fox Business' Varney & Co. at Night:
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In at least 40 instances since the beginning of 2011, conservative media outlets wrongly told consumers that the light bulb efficiency standards scheduled to take effect in 2012 will require them to use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).
On his Fox Business show yesterday Stuart Varney hosted Bjorn Lomborg to denounce the 2007 light bulb efficiency standards, which House Republicans are currently attempting to repeal. Varney introduced Lomborg as "our favorite rational environmentalist and a real scientist." Moments later, Varney added: "You're a scientist. What do you make of this?"
But Lomborg, who is known for opposing large-scale efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, is not a scientist but a business school professor with a PhD in political science.
It appears the mistaken notion that Lomborg is a scientist is widely held among conservative media figures. In 2007 Glenn Beck hosted Lomborg on his HLN show to discuss climate change and introduced him by stating: "Bjorn Lomborg, he is a scientist":
From the June 29 edition of Fox Business' Varney & Co.:
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Right-wing media have attacked President Obama for his decision to stop receiving daily in-person economic briefings. In fact, Obama still receives a daily economic briefing on paper and regularly meets with members of his economic team as well as outside economists and experts.
Fox Business maligned essential anti-poverty programs, deriding food stamps, unemployment insurance, and the Earned Income Tax Credit as "a form a welfare, income redistribution" and evidence that America now has an "entitlement mentality."
Host Stuart Varney's attack on these programs came just as a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research showed just how essential these and other government programs are to keeping tens of millions of Americans out of poverty.
Arloc Sherman of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities noted that "public programs keep one in six Americans out of poverty -- primarily the elderly, disabled, and working poor -- and that the poverty rate would double without these programs." The CBPP included a graph to show just how important these programs are for reducing poverty amongst millions of Americans:
Yet Varney bemoaned "all these people on food stamps," Medicaid, the Earned Income Tax Credit and unemployment insurance as "a form of welfare, income redistribution" and "entitlement mentality." Watch:
While the Senate Finance Committee hosted executives from five major oil companies to evaluate the necessity of certain tax breaks enjoyed by their industry, Fox took to defending the profits of these companies using a misleading comparison between industry profits and taxes placed on the gas that is sold to American consumers.
It began with the usual suspects, Fox Business' Stuart Varney and Andrew Napolitano. On his Fox Business show, Varney marveled at a statistic Napolitano cited which suggests that while oil companies only make 7 cents for every gallon of gas sold, the government collects a full 88 cents per gallon. Needless to say, Varney and Napolitano lamented the injustice of oil executives having to defend their comparatively meager profits while the government gets away with this egregious "gouging":
Napolitano claims that he's getting these statistics from a recent document published by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. However a search of the publications issued by the CBO in the past month shows no such calculation. Who did recently push these numbers? Why, none other than ExxonMobil.
Fox Business Network repeatedly promoted a controversial oil shale venture in Israel without disclosing that Rupert Murdoch -- the head of Fox's parent company -- is one of the project's most prominent investors.
Last year, News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch joined the "Strategic Advisory Board" of Genie Energy, and purchased an equity stake in Genie Oil and Gas, which consists of Genie Energy's interests in oil shale initiatives on federal land in Western Colorado and in Israel's Elah Valley. Genie Energy -- which is a division of IDT Corporation, a global telecommunications company -- has attracted several other high-profile advisers and investors, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, Lord Jacob Rothschild, and Michael Steinhardt, a prominent hedge fund investor and philanthropist.
Extracting oil from shale has long enticed investors and those seeking a route to energy independence, but no company has yet proved a way to make the process both commercially viable and environmentally sound. Genie Energy's experimental drilling methods -- which seek to reduce the high levels of water use and greenhouse gas emissions typically associated with shale development -- are still in the pilot phase.
On three consecutive days last month, Fox Business promoted Genie Energy's project in Israel -- known as Israel Energy Initiatives (IEI) -- yet never disclosed Murdoch's financial stake in it.
Fox repeatedly pushed for a government shutdown if all Republican demands regarding the budget were not met. But after a budget deal was struck between the White House and congressional leaders to avert a shutdown, Fox immediately shifted its talking points to praise House Speaker John Boehner and congressional Republicans for negotiating a deal.
From April 7 edition of Fox Business' Varney & Co.:
The conservative media has steadily advocated for Republicans to force a government shutdown, with a recent piece in the Washington Examiner saying that a shutdown "doesn't sound that bad." At the same time, however, conservative media figures are pushing the talking point that a shutdown would be the Democrats' fault.