Fox News' Stuart Varney misleadingly cited the Great Depression to warn that the economy would slip into recession if Congress adopts President Obama's plan to increase taxes on the wealthy. In fact, economists agree that a small tax increase on the wealthy today will have little effect on the economy, and it was drastic spending cuts, which Fox has advocated, that actually caused the second plunge of the Great Depression that Varney cited to bolster his fear mongering.
Fox's Gretchen Carlson mangled the facts on tax policy to suggest it would be reasonable for people to reduce their incomes in response to a tax rate increase for the wealthiest Americans. In fact, if tax rates increase on the wealthiest Americans, it would make no sense for them to decrease their income in response.
President Obama has proposed extending the Bush tax cuts for most tax cuts but letting them expire for taxpayers earning more than $250,000.
On Fox & Friends, Carlson read an email from a viewer with a medical practice who responded to Obama's plan by saying: "If my taxes go over 35%, I will decrease the number of patients I see daily to reduce my income, which means my staff will also reduce their income." Carlson responded to the email by claiming: "That is the reality that a lot of physicians and small business owners are going to be facing."
In fact, if tax rates increased for individuals making over $250,000, it would still benefit people if they earned more than $250,000. Only the income individuals earn over $250,000 would be taxed at a higher rate. All of their income below $250,000 would still be taxed at the same rate it is now. As Slate's Matt Yglesias explained in July:
The way U.S. income tax brackets work is that taxes are levied on marginal income. In other words, the rate applied to income earned over the $250,000 threshold is irrelevant to the first $250,000 worth of taxable income. If you have $250,010 of taxable earnings then only that last $10 is taxed at the higher rate. In all cases, higher pre-tax earnings lead to higher after-tax income.
New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan recently responded to the Times' own failure to explain how Obama's tax proposal would work. Like Fox, the Times had uncritically quoted a medical professional saying that she would decrease her income in response to any tax rate increase. Sullivan pointed out that the person the Times quoted "appeared to believe that if the income went over 'the cutoff line,' that all of their income would be taxed at a higher rate. That's not the case. Only the amount over the limit is taxed at the higher rate."
Sullivan also reported that the Times' business editor concluded the paper "should do a better job of making clear how marginal tax rates work."
News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch rebuffed New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's attempt not to politicize the response to Hurricane Sandy.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Christie praised President Obama's response to the storm. Murdoch responded by tweeting that Christie "while thanking O, must re-declare for Romney or take blame for next four dire years." The Murdoch-owned New York Post went further, demanding that Christie say that Obama's response to Sandy "would have been more than matched by Mitt Romney had he been president." The Post said that if Christie did not follow this advice, "the Republican Party will never forgive him."
Now, The New York Times has reported that Murdoch's tweet prompted Christie to call Murdoch on November 3 to personally explain that "amid the devastation, New Jersey needed friends no matter their political party." But Murdoch rebuffed Christie's explanation for why he had praised Obama and, according to the Times, bluntly told Christie that he "risked looking like a spoiler unless he publicly reaffirmed his support for Romney." Following the call, Christie reiterated his support for Romney the following day.
From the New York Times:
On Nov. 3, Mr. Christie called Rupert Murdoch, the influential News Corporation chief and would-be kingmaker, who had warned in a biting post on Twitter that the governor might be responsible for Mr. Obama's re-election.
Mr. Christie told Mr. Murdoch that amid the devastation, New Jersey needed friends, no matter their political party, according to people briefed on the discussion. But Mr. Murdoch was blunt: Mr. Christie risked looking like a spoiler unless he publicly affirmed his support for Mitt Romney, something the governor did the next day.
Despite Christie's re-endorsement of Romney, personalities at Fox News -- which Murdoch owns -- and other right-wing media figures lashed out at Christie following Obama's reelection.
Fox is attempting to rehabilitate bad intelligence from the Bush administration in order to keep up its smear campaign against UN Ambassador Susan Rice. Fox host Brian Kilmeade claimed that the Bush team's assertion before the Iraq war that Saddam Hussein was still pursuing nuclear weapons was "correct," even though the Iraq Survey Group's final report found "no evidence to suggest concerted efforts to restart the program" after 1991.
Fox News has attempted to smear the UN Ambassador for its imagined view of what she said on several news programs days after the attack on U.S. diplomatic and intelligence compounds in Benghazi, Libya. Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade called Rice "an embarrassment" and co-host Steve Doocy called her "damaged goods," even though in her comments Rice stressed that the investigation was ongoing and accurately conveyed the view of the intelligence community at the time.
On Friday, Fox & Friends continued to criticize the Obama administration's handling and explanation of the Benghazi attack. Kilmeade then attempted to rehab the Bush administration's claim that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and was still pursuing a nuclear weapons program:
BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): [T]he last thing I would say, the other talking point from the administration put out through the media is, well what about Condoleezza Rice, who talked about weapons of mass destruction and still got to be Secretary of State, when there were no known weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? And the answer to that is simple -- about 80 percent of the Western world and the Middle East from Egypt to Jordan thought he had weapons of mass destruction. All the evidence was there. He actually was caught with them. And there is evidence that Saddam Hussein was reconstituting his nuclear program. So everything turned out to be correct. You had the world, and an eight-month investigation, and a report that was out. That's a lot different than what Ambassador Rice was either given or said.
But Kilmeade's claims are wrong. In 2004, the Special Advisor to the Director of Central Intelligence released a final report on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. The Iraq Survey Group, as it was known, found that Iraq "ended the nuclear program in 1991 following the Gulf war. ISG found no evidence to suggest concerted efforts to restart the program."
Fox News revealed its closing argument against President Obama, which consisted of a falsehood-laden attack on the president's record.
Fox invented a contradiction between a reported August 16 cable from State Department officials stating concerns about security at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya and the Obama administration's statements that an anti-Islam video was a catalyst for the attack on the consulate.
Fox is reporting that it has exclusively obtained a classified cable from State Department officials on the ground in Libya to the office of the Secretary of State warning that the "Al Qaeda had training camps in Benghazi, and the consulate could not defend against a 'coordinated attack.' "
In a segment on the cable, Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson asserted: "The big question still remaining for so many people is, who came up with the narrative about the video tape? Because it was pretty obvious that a month before there were security concerns with regard to possible terror. So who came up with the idea that floating the videotape idea would be enough to carry through the discussion quite possibly until after the election?"
But Fox's narrative is self-debunking. In addition to saying that officials had security concerns, the cable also reportedly said that officials had no information that militants in Benghazi "were targeting Americans."
Thus, the reported cable does nothing to contradict the administration's narrative that an anti-Islam video was a catalyst for the attack. Indeed, the people responsible for the attack reportedly said that they attacked the consulate because of the video.
Also, the report that there were growing security concerns in Benghazi, but no specific threats against the consulate is not news. For instance, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said in a September 27 briefing that there had been no specific, actionable threat in advance of the Sept. 11 consulate attack:
GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY: There was a thread of intelligence reporting that groups in the environment in western -- correction -- eastern Libya were seeking to coalesce, but there wasn't anything specific and certainly not a specific threat to the consulate that I'm aware of.
Nevertheless, Fox hyped the reported cable a "smoking gun."
Right-wing media are ignoring anti-fraud protections the Obama campaign has in place to allege that the Obama campaign accepted donations from someone impersonating Osama bin Laden.
Matt Drudge is hyping an article by World Net Daily's Aaron Klein who claimed that "Using a Pakistani Internet Protocol and proxy server, a disposable credit card and a fake address, 'Osama bin Laden' has successfully donated twice to Barack Obama's presidential re-election campaign.' "
Drudge linked to Klein's story under the headline "REPORT: Obama camapign [sic] takes money from 'Osama bin Laden' ":
In fact, the campaign has explained that it has anti-fraud protections in place to stop fake or illegal donations and that just because a fraudulent donation "may initially appear to a donor to have been accepted," such a donation will soon be rejected.
In response to another attempt to show that the Obama campaign is accepting illegal donations, the campaign explained its address verification process to Election Law Blog:
"If a billing address is verified via AVS, then the credit card contribution is processed without delay. Some transactions caught by AVS may initially appear to a donor to have been accepted even though this is not the case. Obama for America employs a manual process to review any transaction flagged by AVS, also taking into account other fraud risk factors, and using fraud detection services provided by our credit card processor.
"As an example, the contribution discussed here http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/04/dubious-donations-illustrated-illegal-contributor-edition.php may have initially appeared to have gone through when the donor completed the transaction at 10:18 a.m. but it was rejected at 4:51 p.m. under our standard fraud detection procedures.
"So any claims that Obama for America has disabled AVS are inaccurate; any question about this would have been answered-if the question had been asked."
Right-wing media are scrambling to politicize Hurricane Sandy, attacking media outlets for reporting that Obama has returned to the White House to monitor the response to the storm, which could affect 60 million Americans.
New York magazine is reporting that resident Fox News conspiracy theorist Peter Johnson Jr. acts as the on-air mouthpiece for Fox News chairman Roger Ailes.
Johnson is officially a legal analyst for Fox News and has appeared on the network at least 75 times* in the last six months. But rather than commenting on legal issues, he often uses his appearance on Fox to make bizarre attacks on President Obama and others.
In addition to appearing on Fox, Johnson serves as Ailes personal attorney, and New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman reports that this election season, "when Ailes has a message to communicate, chances are that it is Johnson who articulates it on air":
[I]f you want to know what Roger Ailes really thinks about the news these days, here's a tip: Pay close attention to Peter Johnson Jr., Fox News's legal analyst. The Columbia-educated lawyer is certainly not as familiar to most viewers as Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity, but inside the network, Johnson has become, in many respects, more influential, thanks to his ties to Ailes. To understand Fox right now, you have to understand the unique role Peter Johnson Jr. has come to play in Ailes's inner circle.
Consider this: Johnson is an on-air pundit, weighing in on topics as varied as Trayvon Martin, Occupy Wall Street, Obamacare, and Benghazi. He is a regular fill-in host on Fox & Friends. And he is Ailes's personal attorney who negotiated the network chief's new four-year contract with News Corp., said to be worth upward of $30 million a year. Fox executives frequently find Johnson conferring with Ailes privately. "He is a fixture in Ailes's office," one Fox source explained.
But Johnson's value to Ailes extends far beyond his work as a lawyer. This election season, when Ailes has a message to communicate, chances are that it is Johnson who articulates it on air.
It makes one wonder if any of these comments by Johnson consisted of a message Ailes wanted to communicate:
* Text edited.
Fox ignored President Obama's statements labeling the attack on a U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya an act of terror in order to push a new conspiracy theory involving the attack.
On Wednesday, Fox's Special Report host Bret Baier aired a clip of Obama saying on September 12 to CBS' Steve Kroft that the Benghazi attack "was not a situation that was exactly the same as what happened in Egypt, and my suspicion is that there are folks involved in this who were looking to target Americans from the start." Baier said he had never heard that statement before and purported to contrast it with a montage of Obama statements about the attack ranging from "a few days later" to September 25.
But missing from this montage were other Obama public statements on September 12 and 13, which were perfectly consistent with what Obama told Kroft. In a September 12 Rose Garden speech, President Obama referred to the Benghazi attack as an act of terror, saying: "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." Obama to the attack as an act of terror twice the following day, once in Colorado and once in Las Vegas.
Nevertheless, Fox & Friends picked up where Special Report left off and pushed a conspiracy theory that the White House had possibly pressured CBS into keeping a lid on the video.
Fox has previously spent hours trying to explain away Obama's "act of terror" comments in order to criticize Obama over the Benghazi attack.