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:
Fox's Kirsten Powers dreamed up an alternate meaning for Vice President Joe Biden's statement that the White House didn't know about requests for additional security for the diplomatic compound in Benghazi. But a security adviser has confirmed that Biden's comments were accurate.
During the October 11 vice presidential debate, ABC's Martha Raddatz questioned Biden about requests for additional security at the U.S. compound in Benghazi prior to the September 11 attack. Biden told Raddatz, "We weren't told [the Benghazi consulate] wanted more security again. We did not know they wanted more security again."
On today's edition of Fox's Happening Now, Powers said, purporting to know Biden's intended use of the word "we," "I guess the defense now is that the White House didn't know. But when Joe Biden says 'we' didn't know, he's saying the administration didn't know. And we know that that's false." Referring to an October 10 congressional hearing on the attack, Powers added, "We know that from the hearing."
But a deputy national security adviser had already confirmed Biden was correct. Foreign Policy's blog The Cable reached out to Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser for communications, and reported that "Rhodes said that Biden speaks only for himself and the president" -- not for every administration official -- "and neither of them knew about the requests at the time."
Indeed, officials never testified that they made security requests directly to the White House, but said they contacted the State Department. Rhodes pointed out that this was "natural because the State Department is responsible for diplomatic security, not the White House."
Right-wing media have attacked early voting, claiming it leads to fraud, pushes uninformed voters to cast ballots too early, and is unconstitutional and untraditional. In fact, early voting increases the integrity of the voting process, and the vast majority of early votes are cast in the final two weeks before the election by decided voters. Early voting dates back to the founding of the country.
Fox's K.T. McFarland claimed that no additional forces were sent to help Americans at the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, while it was attacked and claimed that this was "probably a political decision." But before McFarland made her claims on Fox, State Department officials had already said that when agents in the compound requested aid during the attack, additional forces from both Benghazi and Tripoli responded.
Frequent Fox News guest Rep. Jason Chaffetz is pursuing investigations into the September attacks on a U.S. consulate in Libya, capping a month-long campaign in the right-wing media. This is just the latest example of the right-wing media working with Chaffetz to pursue fringe theories and far-right campaigns.
Rush Limbaugh is denying that any new jobs have been created, because if they had been, "You'd sense it."
This denial came the same day that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its monthly jobs report, which showed the unemployment rate dropping to 7.8 percent and employment increasing by 114,000.
Limbaugh cited these findings and then immediately claimed that no evidence exists to prove actual job creation. Limbaugh stated:
So what we're being told here is, thanks to a measly 114,000 jobs, the unemployment rate for September fell from 8.3 to 7.8. That's a full half-a-percentage point. Meanwhile, manufacturing jobs down six and a half percent last month. There's no evidence of any job creation. You'd sense it. You would know it. You would feel it.
Setting aside instinct and conspiracy theories, simple statistics show that Limbaugh is wrong.
As BLS wrote, "Since reaching an employment trough in February 2010, the private sector has added 4.7 million jobs."
Here is a chart that uses BLS statistics to show job creation since February 2010: