Gun researcher John Lott has made numerous media appearances in the wake of the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn. to argue against the enactment of gun violence prevention measures. While Lott uses his media platform to push a multitude of statistics -- often from his own research -- he has been thoroughly discredited as a serious academic researcher.
Fox News' Special Report falsely suggested that the recent growth of the food stamp program was due to President Obama's 2009 economic stimulus, asserting that the bill "eviscerated" work requirements for food stamps. In fact, most of the growth in the program was due to economic factors, primarily the recession, and 46 states had received work requirement waivers before Obama took office.
Fox Business host Lou Dobbs falsely claimed that right-to-work laws eliminate forced union membership. In fact, federal law already prohibits unions from requiring membership, and right-to-work laws actually allow workers to receive union benefits without having to pay fees.
While discussing the recent murder of Kasandra Perkins at the hands of her boyfriend, NFL player Jovan Belcher, Fox News host Dana Perino claimed women who are "victims of violence" need to "make better decisions." Perino's comment is just the latest in a long line of Fox figures placing blame on female victims of crime or alleged crimes.
Bill O'Reilly deleted almost the entire tenure of George W. Bush to falsely allege that President Obama has borrowed more money than all past presidents combined.
During his Fox News program, O'Reilly criticized Obama over the size of the national debt and claimed, "It is hard to believe, but in the last four years, the Obama administration has borrowed more money than every other president combined." Yet O'Reilly then described that time frame as being "from George Washington through the first five months of Bush the younger's administration."
Perhaps O'Reilly chose to exclude the majority of Bush's presidency to avoid acknowledging that the national debt nearly doubled during Bush's two terms. According to the Treasury Department's daily debt calculator, when Bush took office on January 20, 2001, total debt stood at $5.728 trillion. The national debt on January 20, 2009, Bush's last day in office, was $10.627 trillion.
O'Reilly claims Obama "borrowed more money than every other president combined"; if this were true, Obama would have added more than $10.627 trillion to the debt during his tenure. But as of publishing, the Treasury Department calculator states the debt is $16.338 trillion -- which means it increased less than six trillion dollars under Obama.
O'Reilly also aired an exchange with Fox contributor Charles Krauthammer that distorted how federal money is being spent. Krauthammer claimed that the government is spending money, in part, on "giving Sandra Fluke free contraceptives that she can't afford." He added, "The fact that Obama's own HHS is trying to loosen the rules, the work rules for welfare, so we go back to the old system of people living forever on the dole -- that's where they want to spend the money."
Krauthammer's claims are disingenuous. Women's health advocate Sandra Fluke did not ask the government to give women free contraceptives; the Affordable Care Act provision for which she advocated requires private health insurance policies, for which most women already pay a premium, to cover women's preventive health care services. While Krauthammer suggested the administration wants people to "live forever on the dole," most food stamp recipients participate in the SNAP program for less than one year. And Health and Human Services did not loosen welfare work requirements, but instead granted states more flexibility in complying with existing rules.
Fox News host Megyn Kelly repeatedly pushed the false narrative that President Obama's 2013 budget proposal received zero votes in the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats. In reality, the Senate did not vote on Obama's real budget, but on shell legislation introduced by Republicans in order to "embarrass" Democrats.
Discussing current budget negotiations on America Live, Kelly claimed President Obama's budget proposal received zero votes when the Senate voted on it earlier this year. Kelly said, "The Democrats in the Senate didn't have the courage to pass it. What makes you think the Republicans would?" and concluded, "A proposal's meaningless unless you [have] support for it. He can't even get support from his own party."
Kelly's assertion is a deceptive revision of history. In May, the Senate did vote 99-0 against a nonbinding budget resolution, but this was not Obama's full budget. Instead, Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions introduced his own, much shorter version of Obama's plan, which included the same figures as Obama's plan for spending, revenue, and deficits, but none of his specific policy proposals. As ABC's Jake Tapper reported, "The Sessions legislation was 56 pages long; actual budgets are closer to 2,000 pages long."
Republicans then forced the Senate to vote on Sessions' version of Obama's plan to "embarrass Democrats and the White House," as the Associated Press put it. Jason Linkins at the Huffington Post explained:
This vote, on a Potemkin "Obama Budget," is not intended to be taken seriously. It's a stunt designed to get a slag into the newscycle, and they tend to work. What happens is a Republican legislator presents a "budget proposal" that's designed to be a satirical presentation of an "Obama budget." Democrats don't vote for it, because they recognize that it bears no resemblance to their budgetary preferences.
Tapper also quoted a White House official saying that "the Sessions proposal was a 'shell that could be filled with a number of things that could hurt our economy and hurt the middle class. ... For example, rather than ending tax breaks for millionaires his budget could hit the revenue target by raising taxes on the middle class and rather than ending wasteful programs, his budget could hit its spending target with severe cuts to important programs.' "
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Bush administration attorney general Michael Mukasey disregarded Ambassador Susan Rice's actual remarks on the attack at the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, to suggest she lacks the "moral fitness" to serve as secretary of state.
Mukasey and co-writer Anne Bayefsky said that although former secretaries of state have "said or done foolish things," "moral fitness is also relevant" when selecting a new top diplomat. On this trait, they found Rice lacking, in part because of Rice's description of the attack in Benghazi during appearances on the Sunday news shows on September 16.
Conservative media figures have led a witch hunt against Rice over these appearances, despite the fact that Rice based her statements on talking points provided by the U.S. intelligence community.
Mukasey and Bayefsky claimed that Rice deserves blame in part because she referenced an anti-Islam video that sparked global riots. They suggested Rice was somehow at fault because she "knew that the video story line was questionable, as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence) and administration officials had already suggested publicly that the attack was al Qaeda-related."
But in reality, Rice repeatedly qualified her remarks, saying that an investigation was ongoing and that "we don't want to jump to conclusions" before the investigation was finished. She also said that "we look to that investigation to give us the definitive word as to what transpired." So Rice did, in fact, stress that current intelligence was "questionable," to use Mukasey and Bayefsky's word.
Furthermore, credible reporting says that the video did indeed play a role in the Benghazi attack.
Mukasey and Bayefsky also noted Feinstein and administration officials publicly suggested the attacks may have had Al Qaeda ties, ostensibly in contrast with Rice's statements.
But when CBS' Bob Schieffer asked Rice whether Al Qaeda had played a role, she replied, "I think it's clear that there were extremist elements that joined in and escalated the violence. Whether they were al Qaeda affiliates, whether they were Libyan-based extremists or al Qaeda itself I think is one of the things we'll have to determine."
Also absent from the Journal op-ed? Disclosure of Muskasey's former role as a Romney campaign adviser.
Fox News is harping on the right-wing myth that philanthropist George Soros is behind MoveOn.org to falsely accuse him of directing people to protest at Wal-Mart on Black Friday, the busy shopping day after Thanksgiving.
Many Wal-Mart employees and their allies have been protesting over labor conditions at Wal-Mart and are planning to do so again on Black Friday. While MoveOn did send an email urging recipients to support the Black Friday protests, it asked them to sign a petition, not attend the events, and MoveOn says that Soros made only one donation to the organization in 2004.
Discussing the subject on America Live, Fox business contributor Stuart Varney claimed that "George Soros, through MoveOn.org, has sent out an email nationwide urging everybody who has an interest in this to turn up at a Wal-Mart on Friday and demonstrate."
According to MoveOn, Soros has not contributed to the organization in more than eight years, since he made a donation in 2004 to an election-related initiative that no longer exists.
MoveOn's email encouraging people to sign the petition supporting the protesters contains no mention of Soros. Varney's statement echoes a claim in a Daily Caller article that quotes portions of the MoveOn email. Like Varney, the Daily Caller failed to support its assertion that Soros is involved.
UPDATE: The Daily Caller has updated its article by removing all references to Soros. At the bottom of the story, it has added this correction:
An earlier version of this story connected the liberal financier George Soros with MoveOn.org. Soros was a major contributor to one of MoveOn's political organizations more than six years ago, but does not appear connected to its current Wal-Mart protests.
The Daily Caller attempted to stoke anger about a Homeland Security Web page for new immigrants that provides information about government benefit programs, but buried at the end of its article the fact that the page was created in 2007. The Daily Caller also implied that immigrants abuse the U.S. social safety net, but there are strict eligibility requirements for social welfare programs, and most immigrant visa applicants must sign an affidavit stating they have adequate financial support.
Fox News is trying to disqualify Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, from being nominated as the next secretary of state by alleging that she made inaccurate statements about the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. But during her Sunday show appearances, Rice was accurately conveying the consensus of the intelligence community at the time, and there is evidence that the anti-Islam video she referenced did, in fact, play a role in motivating the attack.