Observers in the media are declaring that Fox News' political activism has damaged the Republican Party in light of its losses in the 2012 elections. Fox figures have actively campaigned for Republican candidates over the past four years and instructed GOP officials on how to behave once they're elected.
On his Fox News show, Bill O'Reilly declared that no one "here" has ever called President Obama a murderer or liar over his handling of the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. But several Fox figures have accused Obama of purposely allowing Americans to die in Benghazi, and just last week, O'Reilly himself questioned a fellow Fox News host about having labeled the president a liar on Libya.
O'Reilly addressed the issue on his Friday show when guest Geraldo Rivera told him that President Obama deserves an apology for the way he's been treated in the press following the Benghazi attack. Rivera stated, "The president of the United States has been absolutely slandered over this story. He's been called a murderer and a liar." O'Reilly then interjected: "OK. But not by anybody here, and not by rational people."
In reality, Fox News hosts, contributors, and regular guests have suggested that the Obama administration made a political decision to let Americans die in Benghazi.
Furthermore, O'Reilly questioned fellow Fox host Jeanine Pirro last week about having labeled Obama a liar on her show.
The Drudge Report and Fox News have attacked the federal government and President Obama over their response to Hurricane Sandy, with Drudge suggesting that Obama is responsible for hunger in New York City. In fact, the federal government shipped 1 million meals to New York, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other agencies have provided other aid in the days following Sandy.
Fox News hosts and contributors repeatedly suggested that the Obama administration made a "political decision" to allow Americans to be killed in the September 11 Benghazi, Libya, attack on an American compound. But U.S. agents and the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli rushed to the aid of the compound during the attack, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said that the attack was over before the U.S. military had sufficient information on which to act.
Fox host Greta Van Susteren claimed that recently released State Department emails prove that the Obama administration knew the attack in Benghazi, Libya, was an act of terrorism as it was happening and that it was "ridiculous" for the administration to link the attack to an anti-Islam video. Yet the emails show only that the State Department was aware that an Islamist militia had taken credit for the attack, and other reporting has indicated that the anti-Islam video did, in fact, play a role in the attack.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney rehashed at least seven previously debunked claims during the October 22 presidential debate, including the phony talking point that Obama went on an apology tour. Romney's dishonesty, now apparent in the third straight debate, continues to present a challenge to the media.
Appearing on Fox News, anti-union activist Mallory Factor spun a conversation about voter registration efforts into a baseless attack on labor unions, complaining that by helping register new, eligible voters, AFL-CIO is engaged in "rampant" voter fraud.
On Fox's America's Election HQ, host Eric Shawn asked Factor about voter registration programs gearing up as Election Day approaches. Shawn stated, "There's been a lot of attention on these Republican efforts, but there are really major voter registration programs by both sides." Factor responded: "There are major voter, ah, fraud going on. Voter fraud is rampant."
As evidence of this "rampant" fraud, Factor bizarrely complained that union members are registering to vote. He told Shawn: "The unions have 400,000 people on the streets. [Richard] Trumka pledged it. AFL-CIO -- Trumka, head of AFL-CIO -- pledged 400,000 people on the street to help, and they've already registered 450,000 union households. 68,000 new registrants in Ohio alone."
Indeed, AFL-CIO is helping register new voters before Election Day, but a successful voter registration campaign in no way constitutes "voter fraud," let alone "rampant" voter fraud, as Mallory claimed. Shawn pointed this out to Factor: "That's not voter fraud. I'm sure they are having efforts to try to, you know, get the vote out." And yet, Factor doubled down on his baseless claim, suggesting with absolutely no evidence that the union-led voter registration efforts are somehow corrupt: "I'm sure they are having efforts to get the vote out. And I'm sure -- It ain't all clean cut. Remember we have a union-label president. They need him."
Of course, despite this groundless accusation (and Fox News' and other conservatives' efforts to unearth any voter registration fraud), instances of actual voter fraud continue to be "exceedingly rare."
Since the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, Fox News has regularly criticized President Obama over semantics and taken his words out of context, creating a fictional version of Obama's handling of the attack.
Fox correspondent John Roberts claimed that "it's unclear" whether President Obama was referencing the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, when he spoke of "acts of terror" in a speech on September 12, even though Obama was making the speech only because of the attack.
During the October 16 presidential debate, Mitt Romney denied the fact that Obama called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror on September 12. As transcript of the speech shows, on September 12 in the Rose Garden, Obama said of the Benghazi attack, "No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America."
On the very next day, September 13, Obama again called the Benghazi attack an "act of terror" while speaking in Colorado: "So what I want all of you to know is that we are going to bring those who killed our fellow Americans to justice. I want people around the world to hear me: To all those who would do us harm, no act of terror will go unpunished."
Still, right-wing media have pushed the transcript-truther line, claiming that despite this evidence, Obama never called the Benghazi attack an act of terror.
Today, the transcript trutherism moved on to one of Fox's "straight news" programs, America's Newsroom. After airing video of the candidates sparring over Libya during the debate, Roberts said, "So what was it that the president actually said at the Rose Garden on the 12th of September? He said, 'No act of terror -- acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation.' " Roberts then claimed, "But that came at the end of his remarks, and it's unclear, at least in many people's minds, whether that was a direct reference to the attack on the Benghazi consulate."
In fact, Obama spoke in the Rose Garden on September 12 solely to address the attacks on the Benghazi consulate. The White House transcript of the speech is titled "Remarks by the President on the Deaths of U.S. Embassy Staff in Libya."
As The Wall Street Journal landed a major interview with vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, the newspaper aided his hyping of the deficit as an important issue in the election, despite the fact that the paper's own polling contradicts that idea.
The Journal published an interview today with Ryan, his first since debating Vice President Joe Biden last week. The article says that "Mr. Ryan amplified in the interview some of the thinking he had laid out on deficits, tax changes, and entitlements" during the debate.
In turn, the Journal exaggerated the import voters place on deficit reduction in this election: "The White House race is turning in large measure on competing visions of how to rein in the deficit and bolster economic growth."
But the Journal's own polling shows this is not true. According to a survey released this month by NBC News and the Journal, the economy is by far the top issue in the election, while the deficit is much lower on the list: