The right-wing media have seized on a dubious, anonymously sourced post on The American Spectator's Washington Prowler blog which claimed that the Department of Health and Human Services kept a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) report on health care reform a secret until after the health care vote. However, this claim is undermined by the fact that one day before the House voted on the legislation, the chief actuary of CMS, Richard S. Foster, said that CMS would be unable to issue an updated analysis before the House vote; in addition, the Washington Prowler has a history of printing dubious, anonymously sourced claims.
A Wall Street Journal editorial claimed that a recent Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) report rebuts the Obama administration's argument that health care reform will lower health care costs. However, as Third Way has noted, the CMS report indicates that health care reform would actually result in lower health care spending per insured person over the next decade, and according to Ezra Klein, the trend outlined by CMS suggests that overall health spending will be lower after 2019.
On April 23, Fox & Friends hosted Fox News judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano to advance his debunked conspiracy theory that the health care reform bill establishes a "paramilitary Ready Reserve Corps," whose purpose is unknown. In fact, the Ready Reserve Corps is a reserve unit of health professionals who can be called up to assist in times of a national emergency -- like Hurricane Katrina -- and is an expansion of a 200-year-old program.
Fox News' recent rush to defend Rev. Franklin Graham, who described Islam as a "wicked" and "evil" religion, including hosting him on Fox & Friends, is just the latest example of Fox News' relentless crusade against Muslims. The network has a history of making controversial assertions about Muslims -- often by baselessly branding them as "terrorists" or "terrorist sympathizers" -- calling for profiling, or equating Islam and all of its adherents with radical extremists who claim to act in its name.
On today's edition of Fox & Friends, evangelist Rev. Franklin Graham, son of Rev. Billy Graham, appeared on the show to discuss reports that the Army is considering rescinding its invitation for Graham to appear at the Pentagon on the National Day of Prayer, due to objections over Graham's past controversial comments about Islam. During his Fox & Friends appearance, Franklin certainly proved those who objected to his invitation's point. He claimed that he "loves the Muslim people" and just wanted them to "know what I know." What he knows, apparently is that "Christ can come into their heart and change them, and they can have the hope of eternal life, salvation. I want them to know that they don't have to die in a car bomb, they don't have to die in some holy war to be accepted by God, but it's through faith in Jesus Christ and Christ alone."
And, he was just getting started. Graham also said he just wanted people who were "enslaved by Islam" to know that they could be "free through faith in Jesus Christ and Christ alone." Graham preached all of this on a news network (sort of), so, as you can imagine, the "Fair and Balanced" host of this show was outraged that someone would think they could appear on the show, proselytize, and attack Islam and Muslims.
Nope! Instead, host Gretchen Carlson wondered if reports that the Army is reconsidering its invitation, coupled with a judge's ruling that the National Prayer Day was unconstitutional was evidence of an "assault against Christianity, against prayer." Any regular viewer of Fox & Friends knows that a religion is often under assault at Fox, and it certainly is not Christianity. Carlson's actions would be bad enough if she had merely allowed Graham to spew his bigoted opinions on a major world religion, but in fact, she was an active participant, framing the debate as a "scuttle" between Graham and a "watchdog group," and wondering if this had anything to do with previous "assault[s] on Christianity."
Fox News' promotion of all things Christian, and outrage over perceived attacks on Christianity, no matter how imagined they are, has been well-documented. It would be a rare Fox News December that isn't littered with "War on Christmas" segments. But Gretchen Carlson today showed that no guest or story can go too far with their offensive statements on Fox, as long as they are Christian, and attacking Islam.
On Fox & Friends, Dick Morris admitted he fabricated his "bombshell" claim that in 1997, then-Attorney General Janet Reno threatened President Clinton by saying that if he did not reappoint her as attorney general, she was "gonna tell the truth about Waco" -- a claim the right-wing media uncritically promoted. Following Morris' admission that his claim was actually his "conjecture based on the facts," will the same media outlets run a retraction noting that Morris has now admitted that Clinton "didn't actually say" what Morris claimed?
Following the announcement that the Security and Exchange Commission is investigating the investment firm Goldman Sachs for fraud, an April 19 FoxNews.com article reported that the "White House...strongly denied any involvement in the timing of the high-profile fraud case against Goldman Sachs," after Republicans and their media acolytes suggested the charges were timed to help pass financial reform. Fox News reported that "Republicans also accused the administration of biting the hand that fed it, since Goldman Sachs was President Obama's top Wall Street contributor during the 2008 campaign, with employees donating nearly $1 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics," and went on to quote Rep. John Boehner as asking "just whose side is President Obama on?" Pause for reaction. First of all, the SEC is a non-partisan body that is operating independent of the White House. Secondly, the accusation that the President is "biting the hand that fed it" makes absolutely no sense. Wouldn't the real scandal be if Obama interfered with a SEC investigation because the subject of the investigation was a large campaign contributor of his?
After the Security and Exchange Commission accused Goldman Sachs of fraud, numerous right-wing media figures have accused the Obama administration of attempting "to destroy Goldman Sachs" in order to "shift public opinion" in favor of financial reform. Simultaneously, conservative media have also falsely claimed that the financial reform legislation creates a "permanent bailout fund," which is "the payoff" Wall Street "has been waiting for."
The right-wing media has attacked President Obama for "mocking average citizens"after he said "you'd think [the tea partiers] would be saying thank you," because he has lowered taxes. Indeed, absent from the right-wing media's outrage is the fact that Obama is correct; as the AP wrote, "[y]ou wouldn't know it by the Tax Day rhetoric, but Americans are paying lower taxes this year."
Right-wing media misleadingly cropped remarks made by President Obama at the Nuclear Security Summit to suggest Obama is opposed to America remaining "a dominant military superpower." In fact, Obama said that as a "military superpower," the U.S. has an interest in reducing tensions between foreign nations because violent conflict abroad inevitably "ends up costing" the United States "significantly in terms of both blood and treasure."