Rich Lowry and Jennifer Rubin complained that President Obama used the term "women's health" and did not mention the word "abortion" while speaking in front of Planned Parenthood on April 26, despite the fact that abortions only make up a small portion of the women's health services that Planned Parenthood provides.
On the May 5 edition of Meet the Press, host David Gregory quoted a May 2 blog post by National Review editor Rich Lowry that appeared in Politico in which he wrote:
President Barack Obama was proud to become the first sitting president to address Planned Parenthood last Friday. But not proud enough to utter the word "abortion."
The unwritten rule is that when the left discusses abortion it is never called "abortion," but always referred to as "health" or, more specifically "reproductive health" - although abortion is the opposite of reproduction and for one party involved, the opposite of health.
Gregory read text from the blog in which Lowry stated unequivocally that "the left" is substituting the term "women's health" for "abortion." Gregory then provided MSNBC contributor and The Grio managing editor Joy-Ann Reid an opportunity to briefly respond to Lowry's question about why the president didn't mention abortion if it's "such a wonderful thing."
Host Chris Wallace brought up Obama's speech to Planned Parenthood as well during the May 5 edition of Fox News Sunday. Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post, responded by saying:
RUBIN: I find his language so telling. He won't even use the word "abortion," he says "women's health." Can he not bring himself to say that we are talking about terminating pregnancies?
Despite the widely held, and repeatedly debunked, right-wing myth that the overwhelming majority of services provided by Planned Parenthood are abortion services, they make up a very small part of the services Planned Parenthood provides. One in five American women has chosen Planned Parenthood for health care at least once in her life and according to Planned Parenthood's latest annual report, abortion services made up a mere three percent of the services performed in 2011, while 95% of the services provided included STD testing and treatment, cancer screening and prevention, and contraception:
During the segment, Wallace himself provided statistics showing some of the other women's health services provided by Planned Parenthood:
Matt Drudge, owner and operator of right-wing content aggregator The Drudge Report, tweeted on April 23 that he "privately told friends" that 2013 would be the "year of Alex Jones." This comes as Drudge linked to Jones' Infowars website at least 50 times so far in 2013 and 244 times in the past two years.
But as we've noted, Drudge is not the only right-wing figure to bolster Jones' fringe reporting. In fact, two of his biggest advocates recently teamed up when frequent Jones guest and Fox News analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano, who is also a 9/11 truther, was named a board member of frequent Jones guest and former Texas congressman Ron Paul's think tank, the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.
Here's a sampling of Napolitano's contribution to the national conversation:
Fox News ignored economic history to forward the absurd claim that former President George W. Bush exercised "fiscal discipline."
On the April 25 edition of Fox & Friends, former Bush White House Chief of Staff Andy Card claimed that President Bush "probably has the best track record of any modern president in terms of fiscal discipline," a statement that went unchallenged by the Fox & Friends co-hosts:
But facts undermine Card's claim. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the drivers of current and future public debt are policies from the Bush presidency:
A recent study from Harvard researcher Linda J. Bilmes found that the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will ultimately cost taxpayers between $4 trillion and $6 trillion, that the Bush-era tax cuts added $2.6 trillion to public debt from 2001-2010, and as Foxnews.com noted in September 2011, the Bush-era Medicare drug benefit came with unfunded costs of $7 trillion.
Furthermore, according to Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Office of Management and Budget data, the Bush era saw the second largest annualized growth in federal spending since the Eisenhower presidency:
According to former President Reagan adviser Bruce Bartlett, when Bush took office, the CBO projected a $3.5 trillion surplus through 2008. Instead, Bush delivered a $5.5 trillion deficit over his two terms.
Megyn Kelly hosted Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) to attack former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's supposed lack of concern over the security issues at American facilities in Libya. During the interview there was no mention of Rep. Chaffetz's own vote to cut funding to embassy security or reports that have undermined right-wing attacks on Clinton.
On Fox News' America Live, Kelly provided Chaffetz with numerous opportunities to bash Clinton - asking if Clinton "blatantly lied" over requests being made for more security at the embassy, allowing Chaffetz to make claims that Clinton personally denied more security for the embassy, and speculating that there are documents being hidden from lawmakers that prove Clinton had direct knowledge regarding the lack of security at the embassy.
While providing Chaffetz opportunities to attack Clinton, Kelly failed to note that several outlets have pointed out significant flaws in the GOP's report. Chaffetz' claims are largely based on an April 2012 cable that responded to requests for additional security resources. While the cable was sent under Clinton's name, this does not necessarily indicate her direct involvement. As Foreign Policy magazine pointed out:
It's not clear who in the State Department sent the April 19 response. But as a general rule, "every single cable sent from Washington to the field is sent over the secretary of state's name," a former State Department official noted, adding, "Though they are trying to make this new, it's not. After 30+ hearings and briefings, thousands of pages, this has all been addressed."
Kelly also did not challenge Chaffetz on his vote to cut funding for embassy security, nor did she point out that Chaffetz justified his vote as an attempt to "make priorities and choices" in an interview on CNN with Soledad O'Brien:
O'BRIEN: Is it true that you voted to cut the funding for embassy security?
CHAFFETZ: Absolutely. Look, we have to make priorities and choices in this country. We have -- think about this -- 15,000 contractors in Iraq. We have more than 6,000 contractors, private army there for President Obama in Baghdad.
And we're talking about can we get two dozen or so people into Libya to help protect our forces? When you're in tough economic times, you have to make difficult choices how to prioritize this.
O'BRIEN: OK, so you're prioritizing. So when there are complaints that, in fact, that there was not enough security, you've just said absolutely, that you cut.
You are the one to vote against, you know, to increase security for the State Department, which would lead directly to Benghazi. That seems like you're saying you have a hand in the responsibility to this.
According to The New York Times, House Republicans cut "nearly a half-billion dollars from the State Department's two main security accounts." The cuts included local guards, armored vehicles, and security technology.
Rush Limbaugh smeared President Obama by linking him with Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia doctor on trial for murder, by reviving the false claim that Obama voted for infanticide while serving in the Illinois State Senate.
Gosnell has been charged with eight counts of murder for procedures done under the guise of women's health services. An expert on reproductive health has explained that the acts alleged to have been committed by Gosnell do not conform with legal abortion procedures.
On the April 17 edition of his radio show, Limbaugh launched into a smear of Obama, connecting him to Gosnell through a distortion of Obama's record, saying Gosnell was just "doing what State Senator Obama voted for":
LIMBAUGH: He was doing what State Senator Obama voted for way back in Illinois ... it's unspeakable what this guy was doing.
The claim that Obama supported infanticide has been long debunked. The Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact reported that Obama "said that abortion should be legal, but that children that are born should receive medical care." As the National Journal explained:
According to Politifact, an independent fact-checking organization that looked into similar claims made by former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum on the campaign trail, Obama voiced his opposition to the new legislation as a state senator because it would have given legal status to fetuses and would thus have been struck down by the courts, and because Illinois already had laws to ensure infants who survived abortions would be given medical attention.
Other right-wing media have also advanced the bogus narrative that Obama supported infanticide, including Breitbart.com and Fox News contributor Jonah Goldberg, who said, "The official position of the president of the United States when he was a state senator in Illinois was that what they were doing in Gosnell's place, maybe it was poorly regulated, but otherwise it was OK. He voted against, and fought against, the Born Alive Infant Act in Illinois."
Fox News continued right-wing media attempts to dismiss the voices of the families of the Newtown, CT shooting victims, discounting their efforts to encourage Congress to pass stronger gun laws by suggesting that President Obama is "engineering them for political purposes" and "outright manipulating them."
Since the December 14 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, which left 26 people dead, family members of the victims have taken an outspoken role in pushing for tougher gun laws.
Following the tragedy, many of the families traveled to Hartford, Connecticut to help push for a tougher new state-level gun law that Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) recently signed into law. After Republican senators threatened to filibuster gun reform legislation, more than 30 families of Newtown victims released a statement criticizing the lawmakers. The families have also been lobbying lawmakers on Capitol Hill to push for new gun measures. The lobbying efforts of these families for stronger gun laws have been ongoing and effective.
This has led to an attempt by right-wing media figures to marginalize the Newtown families as little more than "props" being used by Obama and Democrats to strengthen gun laws. On April 9, Fox News White House reporter Ed Henry said the president "used the victims of the Newtown tragedy to make their case." That same day, Fox News host Mike Huckabee suggested that Obama bringing the families to Washington, DC on Air Force One to allow them to make their case for stronger gun laws was "an exploitation of those parents."
On April 10, Fox News host Sean Hannity accused Obama of "once again using families of tragedy as props for his agenda." On his April 11 radio program, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade claimed that Obama was "using the Newtown families." On April 12, Rush Limbaugh accused Democrats of using the Newtown parents as "human shields."
Then, during the April 15 edition of America's Newsroom, guest co-host Gregg Jarrett continued the effort to marginalize the Newtown families, saying they are "still very, very emotionally vulnerable" and suggesting the president is "engineering them for political purposes" and is "outright manipulating them into taking a stand on a vital constitutional right." Jarrett also asked if the president is "exploiting this tragedy and the grieving families for political purposes."
Despite these efforts to paint the Newtown families as merely political props being exploited by Democrats and the president, the families have continued to push for stronger gun laws. On April 14, Francine Wheeler, the mother of a 6-year-old killed in the shooting, gave Obama's weekly address, in which she urged the Senate to pass gun reform legislation.
Ann Coulter has drawn criticism in recent days over a so-called joke she made about killing Meghan McCain, the daughter of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). Coulter's remarks follow a pattern of invoking murder against her political opponents.
In an April 10 column, Coulter wrote, "MSNBC's Martin Bashir suggested that Republican senators need to have a member of their families killed for them to support the Democrats' gun proposals. (Let's start with Meghan McCain!)" The column drew harsh criticism from Cindy and Meghan McCain, who accused Coulter of only living "to spread hate and negativity." Coulter subsequently defended her comments on the April 11 edition of Fox News' Hannity, claiming "everyone laughed" when they read the joke.
Coulter's remarks should come as no surprise. Coulter has routinely resorted to violent rhetoric against those with whom she disagrees:
In a June 2011 appearance on Hannity, Coulter said of the massacre at Kent State: "That's what you do with a mob."
In June 2009, Coulter said she "didn't really like to think of" the murder of late-term abortion provider Dr. George Tiller as murder, adding: "It was terminating Tiller in the 203rd trimester."
In September 2001, Coulter wrote of Muslims: "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."
In August 2002, Coulter said, "My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building."
In an August 2009 interview on Hannity, Coulter said that Zeke Emanuel, the brother of Chicago mayor and former Obama White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, "is on my death list."
In January 2006, Coulter said, "We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee." She added: "That's just a joke, for you in the media."
Fox News hyped a letter from a group with birther ties to renew conspiracy theories about the terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, last September.
On April 8, a group of Special Operations veterans released a letter calling for an investigation on the Benghazi attack and posed various questions stemming from long-debunked conspiracy theories, many of which have been pushed by Fox News figures. That same day, several Fox News programs including Fox & Friends, America's Newsroom, Happening Now, and America Live devoted entire segments to the letter. From Happening Now:
The group that penned the letter, Special Operations Speaks, was founded by Larry Bailey, a former Navy SEAL who has admitted to being a birther and has touted the conspiracy theory that President Obama's real father was actually the late communist writer Frank Marshall Davis:
"In his books, Obama said his mentor was a fellow named Frank Marshall Davis. Frank Marshall Davis was a member of Communist Party USA, he wrote for the communist party's Hawaii newsletter, he was a close friend of Obama's mother, and there's a strong case that Frank Marshall Davis rather than Barack Obama, Sr. was Barack Obama, Jr.'s father and that Barack Obama, Sr. was just an administrative father of convenience," Bailey said.
Bailey has also referred to the president as "one of the most unlikeable and unprepared politicians we've ever had," and in a fundraising email for Special Operations Speaks announced, "We are in a war with Barack Obama ... We absolutely MUST remove that anti-American machine from power."
In reporting on the letter, none of the Fox News programs made any mention of Bailey's birther background or his admitted personal dislike of the president.
One of Scott Brown's first acts as a Fox News host was to build a segment entirely around a GOP press release, a continuation of Fox's long history of using Republican talking points to build their news.
Brown, a Republican former Senator, served as guest host on the April 1 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, where he immediately focused on the National Republican Congressional Committee's "waste list," meant to detail areas of government's continued wasteful spending despite recent spending cuts and the closing of White House tours. Brown complained about a "dancing iPhone with robots," "snail sex research," and $1 million worth of puppet shows for kids.
Much of the spending detailed in the release was actually spent before the sequestration cuts went into effect, but that fact didn't make it into the No Spin Zone under Brown's watch.
Esquire's Charles P. Pierce has criticized Breitbart.com for reporting the specific location where President Obama's teenage daughters are vacationing for spring break, warning that such actions by the "'rightwing entertainment complex' are going to get someone killed."
On Monday, Breitbart.com's Matthew Boyle published the location and the name of the resort where the Obama daughters are staying for spring break, ignoring the long-standing journalistic tradition that media outlets should not report on a president's minor children when they are not attending "official and semi-official events."
Pierce responded to Breitbart.com in a blog post, arguing that there was "no possible news value" to the report other than to incite readers and that "[s]ooner or later" the "'rightwing entertainment complex' are going to get someone killed":
What possible interest does this serve, except to titillate the dark and envious nether parts of Boyle's 22 readers? (No link, because fk that pudgy little monster.) There is no possible news value to this. Sooner or later, the frolicks of what my pal Boehlert calls the "rightwing entertainment complex" are going to get someone killed.