Fox News is on the defensive after Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush said making Americans "work longer hours" was a central facet of his economic growth plan, claiming that Bush meant to say that the "Obama economy" is forcing Americans into part-time work. However, Fox's reasoning is based on faulty data and imaginary links between hours worked, productivity, and wages.
Since 2010, Fox News' hosts and analysts have kept up a steady drumbeat of dire warnings that the United States is on a road to financial and economic ruin and could meet the same fate as Greece if it doesn't implement draconian cuts to social safety net programs as a way to cut the debt and deficit. But Greece, which pursued such cuts, accelerated its economic deterioration, while the United States has rejected extreme austerity measures and enjoyed six years of continuous economic recovery.
From the June 25 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:
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The Libre Initiative's outrage over the Supreme Court's decision to uphold health insurance tax credits for millions of Americans mirrored the conservative media's extreme response, despite massive gains in insurance rates among Latinos since the Affordable Care Act was implemented.
From the June 25 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show:
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Conservative media figures are floating conspiracy theories to explain Chief Justice John Roberts' decision in favor of the Obama administration, reaffirming the Affordable Care Act in the King vs. Burwell case.
Writing for the 6-3 Supreme Court majority, Roberts' opinion preserves the nationwide tax credits in the health care law that assist poor and middle-class people in the purchase of health insurance.
On his June 25 show, Rush Limbaugh promoted the theory that Roberts -- who in the past has more typically sided with the conservative justices -- had been influenced by outside businesses in order to come to his decision affirming the law.
Limbaugh highlighted a link on the Drudge Report to CNBC, which explained that health care stocks had increased after the decision was announced. He told his listeners to "follow the money," claiming the stock increases were evidence that some in the Republican Party are more responsive to "money people" and "donors" over voters.
While Limbaugh said "I'm not accusing anybody of anything," he also argued that "when you follow the money, a lot of questions that seem unanswerable become clear." He accused Chief Justice Roberts of rewriting and interpreting the Affordable Care Act "outside the bounds of law" in order to come to his desired conclusion.
Limbaugh said "there's a clear benefit to certain people" resulting from the Supreme Court decision. Rhetorically asking himself if "moneyed interests" could influence a Supreme Court justice, Limbaugh said, "I don't know" but added that it was "obvious the law was not used in rendering this decision."
Limbaugh also characterized the court's decision as "maybe even an economic opinion," but not a legal one.
Meanwhile, writing at Glenn Beck's news website, The Blaze, occasional FoxNews.com opinion columnist (and conspiracy theorist) Wayne Allyn Root promoted another conspiracy about the decision. Root asked, "Has Supreme Court Justice John Roberts been blackmailed or intimidated?"
Root went on to ask, "Is it impossible to believe that Obama and his socialist cabal that learned from Saul Alinsky that 'the ends justify the means' would hold something over a Supreme Court justice's head?"
Root noted, "It's time to assume the worst of this government ... All it takes to destroy America and pass Obama's agenda is to control a few key powerful positions in Washington, D.C."
He then laid out the scenario of how the purported blackmail would go down: "They threaten to expose something terrible like an affair, or corruption, or malfeasance, or immorality that would shock the nation, ruin their career, destroy their legacy, cost their marriage, destroy their relationship with their children and leave them unemployable by any respectable law firm or lobbyist."
Root concluded, "Republicans are being blackmailed, intimidated, extorted and bribed. That explains Justice Roberts and the Supremes ruling against the American People again," darkly adding, "The Obama Crime Family is in charge."
From the June 25 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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Conservative media were outraged after the Supreme Court ruled to uphold health insurance tax credits for millions of Americans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), just as Congress intended.
Fox News' Martha MacCallum falsely claimed that businesses are not hiring because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), despite evidence that the healthcare law will actually create jobs and stimulate economic growth.
During the June 15 edition of America's Newsroom, host Martha MacCallum discussed how Hillary Clinton's support for policies designed to reduce income inequality could impact the presidential race. Citing her support for the Affordable Care Act, network contributor Katie Pavlich claimed that the health care law "do[es] nothing to pull people out of poverty." MacCallum agreed, saying, "That is true, businesses you talk to all across the country will tell you" that they're not hiring because of Obamacare. Talking over guest Mary Anne Marsh as she replied, MacCallum demanded to know "why companies are not hiring" if not because of the Affordable Care Act:
But MacCallum's baseless assertion is just the latest effort by conservative media to fearmonger that the ACA would eliminate jobs. In 2014, media consistently misread a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report, which found that the ACA would create more job opportunities by freeing Americans from job lock, claiming that it would actually eliminate positions, and going so far as to label the law a "job destroyer."
In reality, the CBO's ten-year Budget and Economic Outlook report predicted that the health care law would create jobs while stimulating the economy:
[T]he ACA's subsidies for health insurance will both stimulate demand for health care services and allow low-income households to redirect some of the funds that they would have spent on that care toward the purchase of other goods and services--thereby increasing overall demand. That increase in overall demand while the economy remains somewhat weak will induce some employers to hire more workers or to increase the hours of current employees during that period.
If changes in incentives lead some workers to reduce the amount of hours they want to work or to leave the labor force altogether, many unemployed workers will be available to take those jobs--so the effect on overall employment of reductions in labor supply will be greatly dampened.
As the Brookings Institute further pointed out in a March 2015 blog post, while it isn't yet possible to definitively evaluate the health care law's impact on employment, it is "not easy to make a convincing case that job gains have lagged since the President signed the health insurance law." The post also noted that "[t]he pace of job growth has actually increased in the past few months as the Administration began to enforce the employer penalty provisions of the law."
Hosts of Fox News' Outnumbered railed against the GOP for lacking a serious alternative health care plan should the Supreme Court rule against the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) tax credits. The plans put forward by Republican lawmakers as alternatives would each result in fewer people enrolled in coverage while paying higher premiums.
The Supreme Court will issue a ruling this month on the King v. Burwell lawsuit, which will determine whether a subclause in the ACA that says subsidies can be disbursed through "Exchanges established by the State" prohibits the IRS from providing tax credits to consumers who bought insurance over the federal exchange.
The hosts of Fox News' Outnumbered criticized President Obama for not having a "plan B if the justices rule against him," but Sandra Smith and Andrea Tantaros turned the focus to congressional Republicans, calling them out for not having "a backup plan" after campaigning for years against the administration to repeal Obamacare. Tantaros called Republicans "lame", and characterized their actions as "inexplicable" and "pathetic":
In fact, Republicans in Congress have come up with five alternative plans if the ACA's subsidies are struck down, but as Vox noted each could lead to "very bizarre policy outcomes that are not good for the individual insurance market," and would result in fewer people enrolled in coverage while paying higher premiums:
Republicans lawmakers have also come up with five alternatives plans to keep the [federal subsidy] dollars flowing. The question is whether they'll do much good. Most of the plans would extend the availability of subsidies, while dismantling other parts of Obamacare. The result would likely be a world that looks much more like America before Obamacare -- where fewer people are enrolled in coverage and are paying higher premiums.
Take, for example, Sen. Ron Johnson's Preserving Freedom and Choice in Health Care Act. It would both extend the Obamacare subsidies and kill the health-care law's individual mandate, the unpopular requirement that nearly all Americans carry health coverage.
Without a requirement to purchase insurance coverage, health economists roundly expect that young, healthy people would no longer buy coverage. This, then, would lead to a spike in premiums as only the really sick people, who use their coverage a lot, opt to buy insurance plans.
The transitional period Johnson's bill imagines is one where the individual market is smaller and a more expensive place to shop.
These types of problems turn up again and again in all five Republican plans. When you try to repeal Obamacare and maintain the law's subsidies, it turns out you end up with some very bizarre policy outcomes that are not good for the individual insurance market.
From the June 4 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:
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From the May 8 edition of Fox News' The Real Story With Gretchen Carlson:
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Both Fox's Sean Hannity and Univision host Jorge Ramos misrepresented the Latino vote by suggesting that if it weren't for the issue of immigration, Hispanics would favor conservative candidates. But not only do Latino voters prioritize multiple issues in addition to immigration, on those issues they are far more likely to support progressive reforms than Ramos and Hannity suggested.
On the April 15 edition of his Fox show, Hannity misleadingly claimed that Hispanics "generally speaking" were "conservative on social issues," and suggested that the sole reason Latinos might not vote for Hispanic GOP presidential candidates such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio was their anti-immigration stances. Ramos agreed, and claimed that the reason Hispanics tend to vote for Democrats was entirely due to immigration:
RAMOS: Republicans, I think, they've missed a huge opportunity, because when it comes to values, they're close to the Hispanic community, but Latinos honestly can't see beyond immigration.
Ramos went on to inaccurately oversimplify the Latino constituency by painting immigration as their "prerequisite" to supporting a candidate, which in his opinion would give Jeb Bush -- who has supported a pathway to citizenship --an edge with Latinos in the 2016 election.
Republican presidential-hopeful Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has faced criticism from Hispanic news media for his extreme conservative policy positions on health care and immigration, which are out of line with the majority of Latino voters.
Conservative media figures issued apocalyptic warnings and predictions about the consequences of passing health care reform. Yet in the five years since President Obama signed the bill into law, the number of uninsured Americans has dropped by the largest amount in four decades, insurers can no longer deny coverage for preexisting conditions, and the Congressional Budget Office estimates that Obamacare subsidies will cost $209 billion less than projected.
On the anniversary of health care reform's passage, Media Matters looked back at right-wing media's most dire predictions.
In November 2009, Glenn Beck declared that the possible passage of health care reform "will be a nail in the coffin of America" and would cause the public to "all wallow in misery." Obamacare would be "the end of prosperity in America forever ... the end of America as you know it."
Rush Limbaugh argued in 2009 that Obamacare was "aimed at robbing you of your humanity and forcing you to bow down to the state." He predicted, "All of us will be slaves" because "the road to serfdom ... is paved in Obamacare."
The next year, Limbaugh forecast that health care reform would lead to "250 million uninsured."
Radio host Jim Quinn argued in January 2010 that the passage of Obamacare would bring "an insurrection. You're going to see an uprising." According to Quinn, "Your taxes are going to go through the roof. It's going to be a bloodbath."
CNBC's Jim Cramer predicted in March 2010 that Obamacare would topple the stock market, arguing it was the "single biggest impediment to the stock market going higher." (Notably, the DOW and Nasdaq neared all-time highs in March 2015.)
Cal Thomas claimed on Fox News in 2010 that while they may not "pull the plug on Granny" due to Obamacare, "they will deny her care because she's costing too much and she's too old."