The Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore cited figures that independent analysts have called misleading to hype Florida Gov. Rick Scott's claims about his administration's job creation record.
In a post on the Journal's Political Diary blog titled "The Florida Phenom," Moore wrote that Scott's job creation record may "save him from defeat" in the upcoming gubernatorial race. Moore touted Scott's claim that his administration had already completed half his campaign promise to create 700,000 jobs by 2017, concluding "The thing most likely to save him from defeat is, as Joe Biden once put it, that three letter word: J-O-B-S":
Now the needles are all pointed in a northward direction, and the man in charge during the turnaround is Republican Gov. Rick Scott. He promised 700,000 new jobs in seven years, and in an interview last weekend he said, "we're half-way there." The state has seen employment rise by just over 350,000 since 2010. A new analysis by the nonpartisan Florida Economic Estimating Conference is expecting 900,000 new jobs by 2018.
Sure, there's a national recovery, but the unemployment rate in Florida "has fallen almost twice as much as the national average," the governor noted. Mr. Scott credits pro-growth policies. "We cut taxes 24 times," he said, including business and property taxes by $200 per homeowner. The budget deficit has been tamed. The housing oversupply has been cut by one-third.
Despite Moore's endorsement, Scott's job creation claims have been criticized by independent analysts. PolitiFact Florida pointed out that Scott's campaign promise was actually to create 700,000 jobs on top of the 1 million the state was already expected to add - in essence promising to create 1.7 million jobs by 2017:
Right-wing media are using a congressional hearing to push new myths about the Obama administration's response to the September 11, 2012 attacks on a U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya. In fact, these myths are discredited by previous congressional reports and testimony, which show that the politicized nature of the hearings come from right-wing media and Congressional Republicans, that the military could not have rescued personnel from the second attack, that the administration was in constant communication at all levels during the attacks, and that the intelligence community believed there was a link to an anti-Islam video at the time of the attacks.
The right-wing media is promoting a study by the conservative policy group Heritage Foundation which claims immigration reform will cost $6.3 trillion dollars and damage the economy. This claim has been repeatedly debunked, even by conservatives, and is a revision of a 2007 study that utilized "fatally flawed" methodology.
Right-wing media have seized on a study of Medicaid recipients to attack the program by focusing on certain parts of the findings while health care experts point out that the program successfully expanded access to care and eased health-related financial problems, the primary focus of Medicaid.
In 2008, the state of Oregon held a lottery to expand Medicaid coverage to 10,000 people. Because the selection was random, researchers began a controlled study on how the coverage affected the participants. After the results were posted in The New England Journal of Medicine, right-wing media seized on the findings to attack both Medicaid and health care reform. On May 2, Fox Nation posted a Washington Examiner article on the study under the headline "Landmark Study Shatters Liberal Health Care Claims." In the article, Examiner senior editorial writer Philip Klein noted that the study's authors found that enrollment in Medicaid led to "lower rates of depression," but Klein wrote that "the study suggests that expanding Medicaid ... does not improve" the health of recipients. On Your World, Fox's senior managing editor for health news, Dr. Manny Alvarez, used the findings to attack the Affordable Care Act (ACA):
On May 3, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy called the Medicaid study "[b]ad news for Democrats who support Obamacare." On-screen text during the segment stated that the study found that Medicaid is "ineffective":
But while Fox used the study as an opportunity to attack various aspects of health care reform, experts have pointed out that the study's findings, while not entirely positive, show that the program aided the new enrollees in several ways. In a Health Affairs blog post, Dr. John Lumpkin, who served for 12 years as the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, wrote that the study showed that "coverage alone will not necessarily lead to good health," but also pointed to the "big impact on family finances" and the fact that "expanding Medicaid was shown to substantially reduce depression." Dr. Lumpkin concluded:
So far, the Oregon Health Insurance Study shows us that people who obtained Medicaid coverage received more health care services in the first two years--especially needed preventive care--and had less depression and financial worries. Their health outcomes weren't significantly better, but at least they are now participating in the health care system and getting the care they need, without plunging their families deeper into poverty. From this vantage point, the glass seems more than half full.
Fox News has been hyping the statements of an anonymous source who has contradicted the account of both the Obama administration and independent findings about the attack on a U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. Now two separate statements by experts in Foreign Policy are casting more doubt about the claims of Fox's source.
Fox's flagship show Special Report ran a series of reports that highlighted an anonymous source who claims to have knowledge about the Benghazi attacks. In one segment, the source claimed that the Obama administration had forces available to aid the victims of the attack, but chose not to utilize them, a claim contradicted not only by the State Department, but by the Accountability Review Board, an independent panel convened to investigate whether there was a breach of duty during and after the attack.
But in a post on Foreign Policy magazine's website, national security journalist Tom Ricks, who previously accused Fox News of "operating as a wing of the Republican Party" on the Benghazi issue, published two accounts from experts who strongly questioned Fox's Benghazi source. Ricks reported that he's hearing Fox doesn't have a scoop with its Benghazi source, and quoted Retired Special Forces Col. David Maxwell stating:
Whistle blower my a**. If this guy is a real special operator (and I have my doubts) I wonder if he realizes what an embarrassment he is to the community. What he offers is pure speculation and not based on any real facts as I have heard and appears to be coming from his fourth point of contact. He comes across as just another conspiracy theorist who is taking Fox News for a ride.
In a separate article, U.S. Marine Corps officer and special operations team leader Billy Birdzell called Fox's source "a clown" and criticized news outlets for "not using Google" before promoting him. Birdzell explained how forces in the area, including the force training in Croatia that Fox's source discussed, would have needed far more time to reach Benghazi than they had.
The hosts of Fox News' The Five attacked Planned Parenthood for America, repeatedly making the false claim that the organization hasn't condemned the actions of Philadelphia doctor Kermit Gosnell. In fact, Planned Parenthood and other pro-choice organizations have repeatedly condemned Gosnell since his 2011 arrest.
During a segment on the April 26 edition of the show about President Obama's address to Planned Parenthood's national conference, the hosts of The Five attacked the organization, claiming it hasn't criticized Gosnell, who is on trial for the murder of several infants. All five co-hosts of the show expressed outrage that PPFA had purportedly been silent about Gosnell, with Bolling asking, "wouldn't it be good for Planned Parenthood to denounce everything going on?":
But Planned Parenthood and other pro-choice organizations have strongly condemned the actions of Gosnell. Dayle Steinberg, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania, condemned Gosnell immediately following his January 2011 arrest: "We would condemn any physician who does not follow the law or endangers anyone's health. ... All women should have access to high-quality care when they are vulnerable and facing difficult decisions." Steinberg wrote in a February 2011 Philly.com op-ed:
Planned Parenthood strongly condemns the alleged actions of Kermit Gosnell, and we would condemn any physician or health-care provider who did not follow the law or recklessly endangered the health of others. Planned Parenthood maintains strict policies and procedures to ensure the highest standard of health care.
Steinberg reiterated her criticism of Gosnell in an April 24 Philadelphia Inquirer letter to the editor:
Our staff told these women that issues of cleanliness should be reported to state officials. If we had heard anything remotely like the conditions that have since come to light about Gosnell's facility, of course we would have alerted the state and other authorities.
Nobody who believes in good health care, access to safe and legal abortion, and respect for women would ever look at Kermit Gosnell's facility and call it a health-care center. He preyed on women in their most vulnerable moments.
ABC News quoted another official from Planned Parenthood, who called the Gosnell case "horrifying and outrageous," as well as the head of another pro-choice organization who pointed out that the Gosnell case highlights the need for expanded access to reproductive rights:
We have consistently said that this is a horrifying and outrageous case, that Gosnell ran a criminal enterprise, not a health care facility, and that he should be punished to the fullest extent of the law," Eric Ferrero, a spokesman for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told ABC News recently.
"Unfortunately, you do have rogue providers that prey on the most vulnerable of women," said Vicki Saporta, president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation, "and regardless of a woman's income level they deserve access to high quality care."
"Gosnell is an extreme outlier when it comes to medical practice or abiding by the law," she added, noting that both the NAF and Planned Parenthood, along with other pro-choice groups, have condemned Gosnell's practices.
The Huffington Post quoted Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, who responded to Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) who also accused pro-choice groups of failing to condemn Gosnell:
"It's understandable -- since we haven't been on MTV yet -- that Rep. Duffy may have missed us condemning Gosnell to the Washington Post, ABC News, USA Today, 'Hardball with Chris Matthews,' and The Huffington Post, just to name a few," Hogue said in a statement, referencing Duffy's history as a contestant on MTV's "The Real World."
"So let me be loud and clear: Kermit Gosnell is a dangerous predator. He wouldn't exist, couldn't exist, without the work of Rep. Duffy and his friends in the anti-choice movement. Opponents of women's rights have hounded safe, legal health providers halfway out of business and blocked women's access to the quality care they need."
Since last year's attack on a U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, Fox News has pushed several conspiracy theories in an attempt to damage President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. At the same time many of those conspiracies found a new outlet in the form of a House GOP report, Fox issued poll findings critical of the Obama administration.
From the day after the September 11, 2012, attack on the Benghazi facility, the right-wing media has attempted to use the incident to inflict political damage on Obama. Fox News has led the charge on this campaign, spending months inventing new ways to target the president for the attacks. Fox's campaign resulted in a report by congressional Republicans that echoed many of the conspiracy theories that have been promoted by Fox and the right-wing media.
But this smear campaign has fallen apart at every turn. In December 2012, the independent Accountability Review Board further dismantled many of Fox's attacks, including the claim that the Obama administration refused to send reinforcements during the Benghazi attack. The most recent attack to fall flat is that Clinton denied requests for heightened security based on a cable that bore her name. As several media outlets pointed out, "every single cable sent from Washington to the field is sent over the secretary of state's name," even if she wasn't directly involved.
Just days before the report was issued, Fox News conducted a poll that asked respondents questions about Benghazi, including about Clinton and the security cable. The release of the poll coincided with the issuing of a report from House Republicans.
The report, which was released on April 23, claimed that "in a cable signed by Secretary Clinton in April 2012, the State Department settled on a plan to scale back security assets for the U.S. Mission in Libya, including Benghazi." On April 20-22, Fox News was polling this exact issue: "Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she did not see a cable from the U.S. consulate in Benghazi asking for reinforcements for its security detail and warning the Obama administration about the dangerous situation the consulate was facing -- How do you feel about that?"
While the fact that the House GOP was publishing an attack on the Obama administration at the same time Fox was conducting a poll on the GOP report's contents could be coincidental, the timing raises questions about collaboration. Fox has been caught in the past acting as the communications arm of the GOP.
Fox News figures invoked the trial of Kermit Gosnell to attack Planned Parenthood and President Obama, who is scheduled to address the organization this week.
On Fox's America Live, host Megyn Kelly and contributor Monica Crowley invoked the murder trial of Philadelphia doctor Kermit Gosnell to attack Obama and Planned Parenthood. During the segment, Kelly claimed Planned Parenthood was "under fire for reportedly knowing about some of the horror stories from the Gosnell clinic but not doing more with that information" and downplayed reports that Planned Parenthood officials encouraged women who complained about Gosnell's clinic to report their experiences to the Department of Health:
But Fox's attack on Planned Parenthood is based on a distortion of the actual story. Dayle Steinberg, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood, explained that Planned Parenthood staff was made aware of the clinic's conditions, but not necessarily the illegal activities that occurred there. When staff members were informed of these conditions, they encouraged patients to report them to the Department of Health.
In a letter to the editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Steinberg confirmed that the reports of Gosnell's clinic were confined to complaints about "the uncleanliness of the facility":
While calling for profiling of American Muslims, Fox News host Eric Bolling attacked Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), calling him the "Muslim apologist in Congress" and describing him as "very dangerous."
On Fox News' The Five, Bolling called for profiling of Muslims following the attacks of the Boston Marathon. During the segment, Bolling criticized Ellison, asserting that he's "very dangerous" and has been "the Muslim apologist in Congress for a long time." After calling him dangerous, Bolling noted that Ellison "raised his right hand and took the oath of office on the Quran":
Bolling's attack is part of a long line of smears directed at Ellison. Fox host Sean Hannity attempted to link Ellison to Louis Farrakhan, the controversial leader of the Nation of Islam. Hannity also compared Ellison's use of the Quran for his swearing-in ceremony to using "Hitler's Mein Kampf, which is the Nazi bible."
During Rep. Peter King's anti-Muslim hearings in 2011, Ellison delivered testimony which included attacking false rumors that had been spread about Mohammed Salman Hamadi, a first responder who died during the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Fox attacked his testimony, suggesting his story was not accurate and accusing him of stretching the truth.
Lou Dobbs asked a series of questions about immigrants in America, claiming the answers didn't exist. In fact, many of his questions are not only easily answered, but highlight the contributions of immigrants of all kinds.
On his Fox Business program, Dobbs used his "chalk talk" segment to claim that immigration reform was being rushed through the Senate. As evidence, Dobbs asked a series of questions about undocumented immigrants, such as their education levels, employment status and economic contributions. In each case, Dobbs insisted that "we don't know" the answer:
Dobb's ignorance on basic immigration facts is surprising considering immigration has been one of his primary targets for years. Not only are the answers to many of his questions readily available, they point to both the accomplishments and contributions of immigrants and the need for comprehensive reform.
A 2009 report by the Fiscal Policy Institute found that between 1990 and 2006, "the metropolitan areas with the fastest economic growth were also the areas with the greatest increase in immigrant share of the labor force." A Bush-era study found that immigration as a whole adds $37 billion to the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) every year. The New York Times reported on the various economic benefits of immigrants, concluding, "Nearly all economists, of all political persuasions, agree that immigrants -- those here legally or not -- benefit the overall economy.
The economic contributions of immigrants would be even greater with immigration reform. UCLA professor and immigration expert Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda estimated that passing comprehensive immigration reform would add at least $1.5 trillion to the U.S. economy over 10 years. By comparison, Hinojosa-Ojeda found that expelling immigrants would decrease GDP by $2.6 trillion over 10 years.
Immigrants also pay taxes. The New York Times article pointed out that "undocumented workers contribute about $15 billion a year to Social Security through payroll taxes. They only take out $1 billion (very few undocumented workers are eligible to receive benefits). Over the years, undocumented workers have contributed up to $300 billion, or nearly 10 percent, of the $2.7 trillion Social Security Trust Fund." The Immigration Policy Center estimated that households with undocumented immigrants "paid $11.2 billion in state and local taxes. That included $1.2 billion in personal income taxes, $1.6 billion in property taxes, and $8.4 billion in sales taxes."
Further, educational levels of immigrants have been studied. According to a Brookings Institution report, the "share of working-age immigrants in the United States who have a bachelor's degree has risen considerably since 1980, and now exceeds the share without a high school diploma." A 2011 article in The Washington Post reported that "Highly skilled temporary and permanent immigrants in the United States now outnumber lower-skilled ones, marking a dramatic shift in the foreign-born workforce." According to Pew Hispanic Center, 52 percent of adult undocumented immigrants have a high school degree or greater.