On July 16, Betsy McCaughey falsely claimed that the House health care reform bill would "absolutely require" end-of-life counseling for seniors "that will tell them how to end their life sooner." Since then, numerous media figures have echoed McCaughey's claim -- even after the falsehood was debunked and McCaughey herself backtracked.
From the July 13 edition of Westwood One's The Dennis Miller Show:
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Rush Limbaugh claimed that the Obama administration's response to cases of swine flu in the U.S. "is designed to expand the role and power of governments and schools," while Glenn Beck said the motivation behind the response "could be to move [President Obama's] Health and Human Services person into the office rapidly."
Since President Obama's election, several conservative media figures have warned their audiences that Obama is planning to, in the words of Glenn Beck, "slowly but surely take away your gun or take away your ability to shoot a gun, carry a gun" or have suggested that a government effort to ban guns is likely.
On his radio and television shows, Bill O'Reilly advanced the falsehood that "the average autoworker now makes 70 bucks an hour." In fact, a recent Barclays Capital analysis reportedly found that the average U.S. autoworker is paid "an average of $55 an hour in wages and benefits."
On his radio and television shows, Bill O'Reilly claimed that the food-stamp provision in the economic recovery bill will not stimulate the economy. But economists, including the director of the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office and a reported adviser to the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain, disagree.
On The Radio Factor, guest host Douglas Urbanski cited a December 18 segment from CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight to support the assertion, which has been widely discredited, that "man-made climate change" is "one of the biggest lies of our time" and in doing so echoed several of the debunked claims and suggestions about global warming included in that CNN segment.
On The Radio Factor, John Kass falsely claimed that Rita Rezko, wife of Antoin Rezko, "b[ought] the Obama dream house" in what Kass called "that shady real estate deal." In addition, Kass, who was also featured on ABC's World News and the CBS Evening News in reports about the scandal involving Gov. Rod Blagojevich, suggested to Bill O'Reilly that President-elect Barack Obama must be tainted by corruption because he comes from Chicago.
On The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly claimed that "[t]he Army Field Manual bans any questioning that would make a suspect uncomfortable in any way," echoing his previous assertion that "[t]here is no interrogation under the manual. No unpleasantness." In fact, the Army Field Manual includes an entire section on "Interrogation Operations," as well as a chapter listing and describing "Approach Techniques and Termination Strategies" for use in interrogations of detainees, including several techniques intended to make detainees "uncomfortable."
Radio hosts Brian Sussman, Mark Davis, Lars Larson, Bob Grant, Jim Quinn, and Rose Tennent repeated the discredited claim that President-elect Barack Obama has not produced a valid birth certificate and is not eligible for the presidency because he is not a natural-born citizen. In fact, the Obama campaign posted a copy of Obama's birth certificate on its Fight the Smears website and reportedly provided the original to FactCheck.org, whose staff concluded that it "meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship." A Hawaii Health Department official also reportedly confirmed that the birth certificate Obama's campaign posted is valid.
Lars Larson responded to a November 22 Media Matters item by misrepresenting what he had said five days before about autoworkers' hourly compensation. Larson claimed on November 24, "[T]hey [Media Matters] were saying that if you count just what is being paid to the worker and to his pension and for his medical care, that it doesn't add up to $73 an hour and they're right, but that's not what I said. I said that the total cost of having that worker on the assembly line is over $73 an hour." In fact, as Media Matters documented, Larson falsely claimed on November 19 that American automakers are "paying $73.73 an hour to those people with salary and benefits."
Attacking Media Matters on his radio show for noting that his previous claim that Sen. Norm Coleman "was certified the winner" in the Minnesota Senate race was false, Bill O'Reilly repeated the falsehood, claiming: "[W]hat I said was, Coleman's victory was certified by the state because it was. He had 215 more votes, which is absolutely true." In fact, the Minnesota State Canvassing Board did not "certif[y]" a "victory" for Coleman or Al Franken, having authorized an automatic recount of ballots for that race; Minnesota election law states that "no certificate of election shall be prepared or delivered until after the recount is completed."
While discussing the campaign for Proposition 8 to ban same-sex marriage in California, Bill O'Reilly asserted that if states allow same-sex couples to marry they would be required, "under equal protection," to allow polygamous marriages. In fact, the California Supreme Court explicitly stated that its May 15 decision that California's ban on same-sex marriage violated the state's constitution did not extend to polygamous marriages.