A Wall Street Journal op-ed covered up the fact that the Koch brothers and other business owners have warned their employees that there would be consequences to their economic well-being if Mitt Romney and other pro-corporate candidates are not elected.
Progressives have highlighted a mailing the Koch brothers' company sent to 45,000 of their employees stating that they had endorsed Mitt Romney for president in addition to other political candidates. The mailing's cover letter warned that if the nation elected the wrong candidates, "many of our more than 50,000 U.S. employees and contractors may suffer the consequences, including higher gasoline prices, runaway inflation, and other ills."
Other business executives have sent emails endorsing Romney, making statements such as "[i]f any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, as our current President plans, I will have no choice but to reduce the size of this company" and "I am asking you to give us one more chance to stay independent by voting in a new President and administration on November 6th. Even then, we still might not be able to remain independent, but it will at least give us a chance. If we don't, that chance goes away."
In response to resulting criticism from progressives, the Journal published an op-ed by Republican activist Bradley A. Smith, a frequent contributor to the Journal and other papers. Smith claimed that most Americans wouldn't find the mailing from the Kochs or other messages from business owners to their workers about whom to vote for threatening.
One day you return home from work, go to your mailbox, and find a packet from your employer concerning the coming Nov. 6 election. It includes information about the candidates and a letter from the company president that reads:
"To help you engage in the political process, we have enclosed several items in this packet. For most of you, this includes information about voter registration deadlines and early voting options in your state. At the request of many employees, we have also provided a list of candidates in your state that have been supported by . . . our employee political action committee.
"I want to emphasize two things about these lists. First, and most important, we believe any decision about which candidates to support is--as always--yours and yours alone, based on the factors that are most important to you. Second, we do not support candidates based on their political affiliation."
If you're like most Americans, you probably wouldn't find these words threatening. But they have many denizens of the anticorporate American left apoplectic. "
Smith later claimed that "those who think corporations are inherently bad want to prevent business owners and managers from providing this valuable information to their employees. It is disturbing, on many levels, that these so-called activists would rather keep employees in the dark than have them get information from the 'wrong' sources."
In order to make the claim that employees will feel informed rather than threatened by messages from their bosses, the op-ed ignored the warnings employers are giving their workers. While Smith quoted two paragraphs from the Koch mailing, he left out its warning of the consequences if Romney and other Koch-approved candidates don't win.
Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen legitimized the debunked right-wing claim that President Obama ceded leadership on Libya to other nations, choosing instead to "lead from behind."
Cohen wrote that Obama egregiously lied in the third presidential debate when he suggested that "he had America take the lead in Libya":
If, however you choose a president by [honesty] alone, then you have a tough time ahead of you. Both candidates lied.
Obama might have been the more egregious of the two. He strongly suggested that he had America take the lead in Libya, organizing the air campaign that brought down Moammar Gaddafi. In fact, the French took the lead and the United States followed, which gave rise the phrase "leading from behind" -- an indictable offense, if you ask me.
Cohen echoed a right-wing media claim based on a May New Yorker article examining President Obama's foreign policy record. In that article, 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.
But contrary to this claim from Cohen and the right-wing media, Lizza himself has said that the "leading from behind" phrase was not an expression of weakness by the Obama administration. Rather, the quote referred to the Obama administration's successful effort to lead "a coalition in the U.N. to get military authorization to topple Gadhafi."
Lizza explained to a conservative activist:
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.
Fox is falsely claiming that the day after the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the president "didn't receive a briefing" on the attack in an attempt to resurrect the falsehood that President Obama isn't receiving intelligence briefings.
Nevertheless, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade asked Washington Free Beacon senior editor Bill Gertz: Obama "didn't get a briefing on September 12, did he?" Kilmeade also repeated the assertion that Obama has been skipping more than half of his intelligence briefings. Gertz suggested that Obama was letting the campaign get in the way of national security.
But the entire assertion that Obama is not receiving daily intelligence briefings is based on quicksand.
In September, Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen suggested that Obama was not committed to national security because he did not always attend in-person daily intelligence briefings. But Thiessen himself noted in his column that Obama "reads his briefing" on national security every day. And the Post's own fact-checker Glenn Kessler pointed out in response to Thiessen that presidents have often preferred written daily intelligence briefings over oral ones.
Moreover, as Kessler reported, there may be advantages to receiving a written briefing rather than an oral briefing. For instance, if President George W. Bush had read his intelligence briefings, he might have noticed the dissents to the intelligence community's assessment that Iraq had an ongoing weapons of mass destruction program. From Kessler's piece:
Thomas S. Blanton, director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University, says that there have been "lots of variation in the briefing patterns" among presidents, with different consequences.
George W. Bush "wanted personal and oral, and that matched CIA's institutional interest in face to face with the president, much better for their bureaucratic politics, but unclear how good it was for presidential decision making," he said. "On Iraq WMD [weapons of mass destruction], the direct brief was clearly pernicious; reading might have pointed to the dissents, but the briefers did not."
Fox News completely misrepresented an Obama campaign lawsuit to expand early voting in Ohio to claim that it disenfranchised military voters in order to gain an advantage in the election. In fact, the lawsuit in question has increased all Ohioans' opportunities to vote and did not disenfranchise anybody.
Until 2011, Ohioans could cast early votes in the days preceding an election. But that year, the Republican-controlled Ohio legislature implemented statutes that restricted early voting on the Saturday, Sunday, and Monday before Election Day to members of the military and their families. The Obama campaign won a lawsuit seeking to overturn the statutes that restricted early voting for non-military voters, and Fox was reporting on Ohio officials' decision to ask the Supreme Court to reverse that ruling.
Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson claimed that, due to the court decision, "thousands of military members in Ohio may not be able to cast their vote." Carlson later speculated that the Obama campaign was purposely seeking to restrict military voting in order to gain an electoral advantage.
Fox senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano picked up the theme, saying: "I think the Obama administration is willing to use the court system to keep people who they think will vote for Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan from doing so."
Napolitano later claimed that military voters "have the weekend in which to vote. You have Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday like everybody else," but military voters have lost an "extra five days" to vote.
But none of what Carlson or Napolitano is remotely true.
Karl Rove, whose pro-Republican political groups have been repeatedly called out for spreading falsehoods, used his latest Wall Street Journal column to claim that President Obama will damage his campaign by pointing out the many falsehoods that Mitt Romney tells.
In the Journal, Rove claimed that "alleging that Mr. Romney is a serial deceiver -- as the president and top advisers are doing -- is a hard sell. Mr. Romney came across last week as practical and thoughtful, authentic and a straight shooter."
It's not a surprise that Rove would join his colleagues in the right-wing media in trying to deflect attention from the many falsehoods Romney uttered in the debate and elsewhere. After all, conservative political figures have fully embraced a post-truth political landscape
But it takes particular nerve for Rove to suggest that Democrats should ignore falsehoods lobbed at them by Republicans.
One of the groups Rove co-founded, Crossroads GPS, has put out 10 ads that the independent fact-checker PolitiFact has rated false, mostly false, or pants-on-fire false. By contrast, PolitiFact has rated only three of the Crossroads GPS ads it has rated as true or mostly true.
Among Crossroads GPS' false charges: a claim that under the Affordable Care Act, "millions could lose their health care coverage and be forced into a government pool"; a claim that the health care law raised "18 different taxes" on people making less than $250,000; and a claim that unions don't have to comply with the Affordable Care Act, a claim that PolitiFact rated "pants on fire" false.
The New York Times aided Mitt Romney's effort to allay fears about his extreme positions on reproductive rights.
Romney has embraced a constitutional amendment to outlaw abortion, suggested he would appoint anti-reproductive rights judges, and supported bills to restrict abortion. Nevertheless, the Times reported that Romney recently "said he had no plans to pursue new laws limiting abortion." The Times quoted a statement that Romney gave to The Des Moines Register saying "no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda."
The only pushback in the Times print edition was a report that "Responding to Mr. Romney's comment on abortion, the Obama campaign called it a 'lie,' inconsistent with earlier promises to name Supreme Court justices opposed to Roe v. Wade." (accessed via Nexis)
In fact, Romney has repeatedly embraced anti-abortion legislation.
On his website, Romney declares that he is "pro-life" and opposes abortion in almost all instances. He promises to "advocate for and support a Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain from abortion." He also says that as president he will "support efforts to prohibit federal funding for any organization like Planned Parenthood, which primarily performs abortions or offers abortion-related services."
Romney also says he will reinstate the so-called "global gag rule" on international family planning organizations. He promises to "reinstate the Mexico City Policy to ensure that non-governmental organizations that receive funding from America refrain from performing or promoting abortion services, as a method of family planning, in other countries."
Romney has also pledged support for the long-time Republican platform plank on abortion, which calls for a constitutional amendment to outlaw abortions without exceptions for pregnancies that result from rape and incest.
And Romney attacks the Supreme Court justices who enshrined abortion rights in the Constitution as "a small group of activist federal judges legislating from the bench." He promises to "only appoint judges who adhere to the Constitution and the laws as they are written, not as they want them to be written."
The Times has since updated the online version of its story to note that after his statement to The Des Moines Register, Romney's campaign released a statement saying: " 'Gov. Romney would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life,' spokeswoman Andrea Saul said, declining to elaborate."
In its update, the Times' online story also stated that "Mr. Romney's statement on abortion seemed to conflict with some Republicans in Congress who have sought to further restrict federal financing for abortions, including bills supported by his running mate, Representative Paul D. Ryan."
New York Times columnist David Brooks ignored the actual proposals that Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan have for Medicare to claim that their plan "would not shift costs to seniors."
Brooks wrote: "Whenever you hear a Democrat say that Romney and Ryan would end Medicare or cost seniors $6,000, that is a misleading reference to the original Ryan plan, not anything on offer today. Today's Romney plan would not shift costs to seniors." Brooks later added "The Romney-Ryan approach might work. If it doesn't, the federal budget would suffer but seniors wouldn't."
The Affordable Care Act provides money to help seniors pay for their prescription drugs. The Medicare prescription drug benefit passed under President George W. Bush created a "donut hole" that required seniors with high prescription drug costs to pay thousands of dollars. The Affordable Care Act closed that donut hole.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, this provision of the Affordable Care Act has saved seniors $3.2 billion already. If the Romney-Ryan plan is enacted and the ACA is repealed, seniors would have to pay that money again.
Numerous independent experts have also said that Ryan's plan to transform Medicare into a voucher system will force seniors to spend millions more for health care because the vouchers would not keep pace with rising health care costs. Indeed, Yale public policy professor Ted Marmor has said that under the Ryan plan, some seniors would be forced to "choose between paying for better coverage and having more money for food and other items."
MSNBC host Joe Scarborough pushed the long-debunked falsehood that President Obama told Americans "you didn't build that."
Scarborough's claim is based on a right-wing media falsehood that Obama told business owners that they didn't build their own businesses. That falsehood became so pervasive that Republicans adopted it as a theme for their 2012 convention. However, in the relevant remarks, Obama touted the role that infrastructure, education, and individual drive play in business owners' success.
Scarborough claimed that Obama "believes that we didn't build it, that individuals don't cause the economy to explode." Scarborough added that Obama believes that "you let the federal government spend trillions of dollars and good things will happen. We Republicans disagree."
But contrary to Scarborough's suggestion, Obama has proposed both tax cuts and spending to jumpstart the economy. For instance, the 2009 stimulus contained $282 billion in tax relief, and the American Jobs Act, which Obama proposed but Republicans have blocked. has more tax cuts than new spending.
In today's Washington Post, columnist Robert Samuelson misrepresented President Obama's approach to fixing our nation's deficit, which includes spending cuts in addition to tax increases on the wealthiest Americans.
Samuelson claimed that Obama has misled the country "by implying that making millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share will solve much of" the deficit problem. He then attempted to discredit the argument that raising taxes on the rich would close the deficit.
But Samuelson is misrepresenting Obama's proposal for balancing the budget. Far from proposing tax increases alone, "Obama's plan for reducing the deficit would cut $2.50 in spending allowances for every $1 of increased tax revenue," as CBS reported on September 9. Republicans, however, have rejected that proposal.
This morning, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer pushed the myth that "Obama's entire Middle East policy" consists of "apology and accommodation." This claim, however, has been repeatedly debunked by Washington Post own fact-checker, Glenn Kessler.
Kessler has noted that the speeches conservatives cite to push the myth that Obama regularly apologizes for the United States do not contain apologies and have often been "selectively trimmed for political purposes":
The claim that Obama repeatedly has apologized for the United States is not borne out by the facts, especially if his full quotes are viewed in context.
Obama often was trying to draw a rhetorical distinction between his policies and that of President Bush, a common practice when the presidency changes parties. The shift in policies, in fact, might have been more dramatic from Clinton to Bush than from Bush to Obama, given how Obama has largely maintained Bush's approach to fighting terrorism.
In other cases, Obama's quotes have been selectively trimmed for political purposes. Or they were not much different than sentiments expressed by Bush or his secretary of state.
In his column, Krauthammer went on to say that Obama has ignored the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya and referred to the attack as mere "bumps in the road." In fact, Obama has repeatedly condemned the Benghazi attack, and when Obama said "bumps in the road," he was referring to his support for Arab countries' transition from autocracy to democracy during the Arab Spring, even though he knew the transition would not be perfect.
This is the second time in a week that a conservative Washington Post columnist has push a falsehood debunked by Kessler. Post columnist Marc Thiessen claimed that President Obama had often skipped his intelligence briefings and Kessler responded with a thorough debunking. Thiessen then criticized Kessler's debunking, and Kessler updated his original post, stating that Thiessen's answer was an "interesting if not very factual argument."