Lou Dobbs promoted the GOP attack that the Senate Democrats' proposed federal budget raises taxes by $1.5 trillion, a claim based on "a willful misreading" of the budget.
In the "chalk talk" segment of his Fox Business show, Dobbs claimed the Senate Democrats' budget demonstrated that "they want us to be a debtor nation in perpetuity." Dobbs argued that in addition to the $975 billion of revenue Democrats include in their budget, they would need to add $500 billion in additional revenue to pay for the cost of the sequestration." Dobbs added the two to claim that the Democrats' budget actually calls for $1.5 trillion in new taxes:
But, as Talking Points Memo noted, the claim -- which has been touted by Senate Republicans -- is based on an "attempt to turn sequestration's spending cuts into a permanently lower spending baseline, and thus a willful misreading of the Democratic budget itself." TPM's Brian Beutler explained that a portion of the $975 billion in revenue is already earmarked to cover sequestration, meaning the additional $500 billion of alleged new taxes that Dobbs and Senate Republicans are adding to the revenue estimates doesn't exist:
Republicans have decided to torture the numbers. First, they assume a baseline Democrats aren't actually using -- one where sequestration-level spending is permanent. Not a tricky move by itself. The tricky part comes next.
They reason that if Democrats are actually proposing to reduce deficits by $1.85 trillion, then the nearly $500 billion in tax revenues they dedicate to paying down sequestration (and another $100 billion in spending they dedicate to financing a new jobs proposal) would have to come on top of the $975 billion of tax increases the budget explicitly calls for.
In other words, Democrats want to raise $975 billion in new tax revenue and use some of it to turn off sequestration. Instead of accepting this, Republicans are claiming -- falsely -- that the revenue for paying down sequestration is in addition to the $975 billion. It is not.
Rush Limbaugh attacked the Violence Against Women Act, claiming it was legislation signed "under the guise that women are being beat to a pulp in this country" and a way of perpetuating the narrative that the GOP is waging a "war on women." But the act has been instrumental in fighting against domestic violence and sexual assault for nearly 20 years.
As President Obama signed VAWA on March 7, Limbaugh mocked the law on his radio program, saying it was pushed "under the guise that women are being beat to a pulp in this country because of the Republican war on women. Women are being beat up, they're being creamed, they're just being mistreated all over the place." Limbaugh went on to attack Obama for "praising the survivors. Women who have survived all of this hideous violence that's committed against and on them every day in this country":
But domestic violence is a serious issue, one that VAWA has provided effective tools in preventing and prosecuting. According to a 2010 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18.3% of women were the victims of completed or attempted rape, 13% of women experienced sexual coercion, 27.2% of women experienced unwanted sexual contact, and more than one-third of women were the victims of rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner.
National Review Online contributor Heather Mac Donald attacked female veterans who have struggled as a result of sexual abuse by fellow service members, speculating that any hardships they experience is more likely a result of "bad decision-making" than the lingering effects of their "alleged sexual assault."
Responding to a New York Times article that profiled female veterans who had been victims of sexual abuse and fell into homelessness, Mac Donald offered the "tentative alternative hypothesis" that some of these women, regardless of whether they were victims of sexual assault, were predisposed to become homeless because of the environments they came from. Mac Donald went on to imply that the women should blame poor decisions they had made for their condition, instead of "alleged sexual assault":
Now here is a tentative alternative hypothesis: Some of these women come from environments that made their descent into street life overdetermined, whether or not they experienced alleged sexual assault in the military. To blame alleged sexual assault for their fate rather than their own bad decision-making is ideologically satisfying, but mystifying. Having children out of wedlock, as a huge proportion of them do, also does not help in avoiding poverty and homelessness.
Feminists claim (speciously) that a whopping one-quarter of college co-eds are sexually assaulted by their fellow students in college; I am not aware of comparable claims that huge numbers of female college graduates are as a result ending up on the street. (The difference between the outcomes for college graduates and vets does not lie in the relative availability of services: College rape crisis centers and hotlines are barely used.) I am not even aware of claims that victims of stranger rape are more likely to end up dealing drugs and homeless, but that evidence may in fact be out there. (I recently wrote about a tough-as-nails, pro-police building superintendent in the Bronx who was raped three times, including by her mother's boyfriend as a child; she is only one case, obviously, but she was not on disability benefits or on the streets.)
Mac Donald concluded by suggesting that if "it really was their sexual experiences in the military that caused their downward spiral," feminists should oppose allowing women to serve in combat roles because "[a]rguably, coming under enemy fire or falling into enemy hands is as traumatic as the behavior one may experience while binge-drinking with one's fellow soldiers or as scarring as being 'bullied and ostracized' by a female superior."
Right-wing media are hyping reporter Bob Woodward's sinister interpretation of an email he received from the White House as a threat against him. But White House officials point out that the email was sent as an apology for previous tension, not a threat -- a claim reinforced by the tone of the emails.
In an interview with Politico, Woodward described a tense conversation with White House economic adviser Gene Sperling. Following the conversation, Sperling emailed Woodward to apologize for his tone, concluding "You're focusing on a few specific trees that give a very wrong impression of the forest. But perhaps we will just not see eye to eye here. ... I think you will regret staking out that claim." In the Politico interview, Woodward interpreted the line as a threat, an interpretation that was immediately picked up by the right-wing media and reported as fact.
Fox News' Sean Hannity called it an example of "intimidation" and "arrogance" by a "fearmongering, demagogue president." Similar claims were made on Fox & Friends and Fox Business' Lou Dobbs Tonight, and it was the top headline on the Drudge Report:
But the emails, released later by Politico, do not bear out Woodward's claim that he was threatened by Sperling. After apologizing for his tone in the earlier conversation, Sperling wrote that "as a friend" he was concerned with the possibility of Woodward reporting inaccurate claims about the debt ceiling deal:
Fox News host Steve Doocy downplayed the effects of looming automatic budget cuts by comparing them to the national budget, a meaningless comparison since these cuts focus on a specific aspect of the budget known as discretionary spending, which would have a significant effect on many programs.
On Fox & Friends, Doocy downplayed the automatic budget cuts, known as sequestration, by saying the cuts are "not going to cut to the bone anyway. The president has described it as a meat cleaver because it's simply an across-the-board cut. It is like a 2.5% cut. It is not really meat cleaver, it's more of a slight little haircut that we're talking about here":
But Doocy is wrong about how the cuts will affect the federal budget. Though these cuts are 2.5% of total government spending, they would primarily affect discretionary spending, a much smaller portion of the budget. The Washington Post's Fact Checker blog noted that those who claim the sequestration would cut 2.5% of the budget do not provide the necessary context to understand what these numbers mean:
After mocking Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) by asking "who owned and who sold her" after she described herself as a "freed slave," Rush Limbaugh doubled down with a slew of even more vicious slavery-based attacks on Jackson Lee.
On his February 14 radio show, Limbaugh reacted to Jackson Lee's comments that she was a "freed slave" due to Civil War-era bipartisanship by asking "who owned and who sold her." The next day, after a listener said he'd called Jackson Lee's office and been hung up on, Limbaugh doubled down on his comments, speculating that her "owner" may have gotten a "good deal" because Jackson Lee "might have outlived her usefulness on the plantation" and her "child-rearing years are over":
LIMBAUGH: So Victor called her office. She said Wednesday that she was standing there on the floor of the House as a freed slave. And we were asking, who owned her? We played the sound bite on Wednesday and we wanted to know who her owner was, and we wanted to know how much he got for her. You know, was it a good deal when he sold her, or did he just get rid of her? She might have outlived her usefulness on the plantation. I mean, [you] never know, child-rearing years are over so maybe her value had plummeted. These are valid questions that we had. So Victor, loyal member of this large audience, called her office and said, "Who owned her? Who sold Congresswoman Lee?" And they [said] "What, are you insane?" and hung up on him. A very, very mean thing to do. He was just reacting to something that he had heard her say.
So they won't admit, when you call her office, who sold her. They won't admit who owned her. They won't admit any aspect of the deal that resulted in her freedom. But she did say she was free. She's not a slave anymore. She was, maybe that morning. But somebody sold her. I imagine Jamie Foxx brokered the deal somehow, probably rode in with a six-shooter [with] Quentin Tarantino and they took care of it. Maybe the owner doesn't want to be known and they're covering it all up.
Following a speech in which Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) praised the Civil War-era efforts that resulted in her being a "freed slave," Rush Limbaugh responded by asking "who owned and who sold" her.
The Hill reported that on the floor of the House of Representatives, Jackson Lee encouraged Congress to compromise in order to avoid automatic budget cuts. According to the article, "Jackson Lee suggested lawmakers should take inspiration from President Lincoln's leadership during the Civil War" before saying, "I stand here as a freed slave because this Congress came together. Are we going to be able to do it today to free America?" Limbaugh mocked Jackson Lee by "trying to find out who owned and who sold" her and "what they got for her":
LIMBAUGH: We're not having much luck here, folks. We've been doing exhaustive research in the last four minutes. We're trying to find out who owned and who sold Sheila Jackson Lee and what they got for her. She just said on the floor of the House of Representatives mere moments ago this morning, and she was standing there as a freed slave because this Congress came together. I didn't think they were coming together at all, but she talked about the Congress during Lincoln. But anyway, she's a freed slave. Somebody had to own her, and I -- we don't know who.
Obviously, you know, with the makeup of culture today it didn't have to be Houston that -- the owner did not have to be where she lived, she could have been owned by anybody. What if a drug company owned her? You know, what if -- what if big oil owned her and she didn't know about it? Somebody freed her, though. We will keep looking to try to find out who owned her, who sold her, and what they got. I have to tell you, though, in all candor, I think she looks pretty good for her age. She's got to be over 110. You'd never know it.
Fox News is parroting a Republican research document that falsely claims President Obama is "pivoting" to jobs ahead of his State of the Union speech. But job creation has been a priority during the entire administration, as Obama has crafted and pushed policies that have created millions of private sector jobs, lowered unemployment, and boosted economic growth.
After Fox News officials confirmed that they were not renewing his contract, Dick Morris appeared on Piers Morgan's CNN show. Despite being faced by his numerous failed political predictions, Morris went on to discuss the future of the Republican Party and was invited back by Morgan to provide further analysis.
Morris appeared on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight to discuss, among other things, his split from Fox after nearly 15 years, which Morris described by saying that "the divorce isn't final, but I am seeing other people." Morgan began the interview by playing several clips of Morris predicting a landslide victory for Mitt Romney during the 2012 general election, asking if there was "any rational explanation for why you got it so wrong?" Morris began by attributing President Obama's victory to Hurricane Sandy before finally admitting that "I was wrong and I was wrong at the top of my lungs":
But Morris has been wrong about more than just Romney not winning the presidential election in a landslide. He predicted Republicans would win "10 seats in the Senate" in 2012, thought it was "very possible" that Obama would drop out of the race, and that Donald Trump would run and defeat Obama. In the 2008 election, Morris predicted the race would be between Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton, that the GOP would never nominate Sen. John McCain, and labeled Arkansas, a state McCain won by 20 points, "leaning Obama."
Previewing her upcoming special, CNN reporter Deb Feyerick praised NRA board member Ted Nugent for his "deep connection with the facts" on gun violence. But Nugent's radical views on gun ownership and outrageous and offensive comments about President Obama and prominent Democrats demonstrate that he is not a credible source for information on guns.
On Erin Burnett OutFront, Feyerick previewed a CNN special recorded at Nugent's home that featured a conversation about strengthening gun laws. During the segment Feyerick lauded Nugent for his "very firm grasp of the facts" about gun violence. Feyerick went on to describe Nugent as having "a very deep connection with the facts and the facts that he needs to make his argument":
But despite Feyerick's repeated praise, Nugent is an extremist on the subjects of both guns and government. Nugent has espoused numerous outrageous and offensive comments about gun violence and prominent Democratic politicians.