Fox News and conservative blogs are hyping a dishonest chart that shows employment decreasing while the numbers of people receiving government aid increasing since the end of 2008. However, an honest look at these figures would show that employment is on an upswing and enrollment in government aid programs has been increasing for decades.
The Weekly Standard and Fox Nation both put the chart, which is sourced to Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, on their websites. And Fox News aired the chart as well. The Standard said that the chart "details the alarming fact that enrollment in federal social welfare programs like Food Stamps, Medicaid, and Disability have far outpaced job growth over the last four years."
But this chart is incredibly dishonest. The chart uses December 2008 as its starting point, a date in the middle of a very deep recession. Employment began decreasing at the beginning of 2008 soon after the U.S. economy went into recession and was still decreasing in December 2008. But jobs have been increasing since in early 2010, resulting in the addition of more than 4 million jobs:
Furthermore, the increase in people receiving Social Security Disability benefits is not new. The number has been surging since the 1990s:
A New York Times article on Mitt Romney embracing the health care reform he passed in Massachusetts hid the fact that Romney has promised to repeal President Obama's Affordable Care Act.
The Times reported that Romney recently "talked about the health care law he championed as governor of Massachusetts" and quoted Romney saying: "I got everybody in my state insured. ... One hundred percent of the kids in our state had health insurance."
But the Times left out the most important fact on this controversial campaign issue: If he becomes president, Romney plans to undo the law that will provide insurance to all Americans. He has proposed repealing President Obama's Affordable Care Act, which requires that all Americans have health insurance and has even pledged to gut the Affordable Care Act on his first day in office by granting waivers from the law to all 50 states.
Furthermore, Romney's plans for Medicaid would leave many Americans in worse shape than they were before passage of the Affordable Care Act. Romney plans to change Medicaid from a federal program to a system in which the federal government gives a fixed amount of money to each state. According to Bloomberg News, this plan would cut Medicaid by $1.26 trillion over nine years.
As the American College of Physicians has noted, the Congressional Budget Office analyzed a similar plan issued by Romney's running mate and predicted that it could require states to make "considerable cutbacks" in Medicaid. CBO stated that such cutbacks might involve reduced eligibility, reduced "coverage of fewer services, lower payments to providers, or increased cost-sharing by beneficiaries -- all of which would reduce access to care."
In contrast with the Times, The Washington Post, the Associated Press, and The Los Angeles Times all reported that Romney boasted about his health reform in Massachusetts while simultaneously opposing the federal Affordable Care Act.
Right-wing media figures are heaping praise on Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) budget plan, with one Fox host calling Ryan "Mr. Budget." In fact, Ryan's budget plan would harm many Americans: It increases taxes on the poor while cutting them for the wealthy, drastically cuts Medicaid and other needed safety net programs, and would cost millions of jobs by reducing federal spending during a still-weak economy.
The New Hampshire Union Leader's editorial board attacked the new Medicaid expansion provisions in the Affordable Care Act and instead proposed a block granting scheme, but experts say block granting Medicaid would be detrimental to the most vulnerable Americans and decrease the quality of health care.
The Congressional Budget Office's annual long-term budget report shows that without any changes in the law, government debt will peak this year, then slowly decline for two decades. Despite this finding, many media outlets are emphasizing a "dire" outlook, while downplaying or ignoring CBO's finding that there is a path to a stable budget that includes maintaining the social safety net.
From the May 8 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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From the March 26 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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From the March 20 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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From the August 15 edition of Fox Business' Lou Dobbs Tonight:
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Maine Public Broadcasting Network* has been stung by James O'Keefe's fraud.
O'Keefe this week launched his latest dishonest claims of Medicaid fraud, with a truncated and heavily edited video shown at a press conference and accusations that public employees in Maine were helping a criminal hide his income and assets in order to qualify for Medicaid.
The claims cannot withstand the slightest scrutiny. But from the outset, it is clear that MPBN's AJ Higgins is running with O'Keefe's story without having done his homework:
By now the state Health and Human Services worker known only as "Diane" is probably wishing she had taken February 18 as paid time off. That was the day that James O'Keefe, with an undercover camera, walked into her office to apply for welfare benefits.
It is clear Higgins has not done his homework because the video does not show James O'Keefe walking into anyone's office. The video very clearly identifies the undercover reporter who enters a Maine Medicaid office as Sean Murphy. It took three minutes of reviewing the evidence to learn that:
A thorough review of the full video could have fully laid bare O'Keefe's hoax and avoided the kind of he-said/she-said journalism that gives him unwarranted credibility.
James O'Keefe is once again making completely false claims about undercover videos of Medicaid employees, saying that he has uncovered evidence of Medicaid fraud. But yet again, he has simply demonstrated that his tactics are fundamentally dishonest.
The latest video shows two women, identified as Medicaid workers in Maine, counseling a man who calls himself "Ted Ceanneidigh" (get it?), who claims to be an Irish fisherman, and who says he imports pharmaceuticals on a boat called The Bob Marley. O'Keefe claims that a Medicaid worker "coaches [Ted] by saying, 'If you can't prove income, you don't have income,'" which O'Keefe claims is evidence of Medicaid fraud and "government workers willing to aid people with criminal backgrounds."
In fact, the woman O'Keefe has accused of helping hide income and assets simply advised an applicant that he doesn't have to declare income if he doesn't earn any income, and she recruited a more senior colleague to answer more complex questions about income eligibility. That counselor, who identifies herself as Diane, aggressively questioned "Ted" about his sources of income and told him that he will be required to report that he has access to an account that is in his parents' name.
It's an astonishing display of hubris that O'Keefe is promoting this video as proof of Medicaid fraud.
James O'Keefe's latest "evidence" of "Medicaid fraud" not only fails to show any such fraud, it fully exposes O'Keefe as a dissembler who should not be treated as a legitimate news source.
According to O'Keefe, his latest video shows officials in Indiana "caught in [a] Medicaid fraud sting" involving a "wealthy Russian drug smuggler."
But at no point in either of two visits documented by O'Keefe does the so-called undercover reporter identifying himself as "Sergei" claim to be a drug smuggler. Not once.
During the first visit, a man identifying himself as Sergei claims that he employs his father, who needs to apply for Medicaid benefits. "Sergei" claims to pay his father $200 per month and insinuates that his father might be a babysitter. He also claims to have "people who work for us," "girls that work for us," and "shipment under floorboard."
"Sergei" never claims to be a drug smuggler.
During the second visit, the man who identifies himself as Sergei again claims to be inquiring about Medicaid benefits for his father. "Sergei" says that he and his brother give his father $200 each month "because he's our father," that his father "works for me and my brother," that his father is "not really" working anymore, and that his father might "sometime deliver."
Again, the man calling himself Sergei never claims to be a drug smuggler.
Yet here is how O'Keefe presented his latest sting video:
The reporter indicates that he is a drug dealer who receives "shipment in floorboard."
That's not true. It's demonstrably false simply by watching the video. And it's perfectly consistent with O'Keefe history of dishonesty.
Moreover, O'Keefe once again has failed to show any Medicaid fraud in his Medicaid fraud sting.
From the July 26 edition of Fox News' America Live:
In a Washington Times column, Dr. Milton Wolf, a blogger who purports to be a distant cousin of the president, accused President Obama of lying about aspects of health care reform in claiming that health care reform would lower the deficit and that "there are no death panels," among other things. In fact, most of Wolf's accusations are based on persistent, long-debunked right-wing myths about health care reform.
Lila Rose is back, accusing Planned Parenthood of lying about the effects a recent Indiana law would have on health-care access, without actually demonstrating anything of the sort.
Instead, Rose has demonstrated that Planned Parenthood's concerns - that women on Medicaid who rely on Planned Parenthood for preventive health care would lose that access under the Indiana law denying funds to Planned Parenthood - were accurate.
The video features Cecile Richards, CEO of Planned Parenthood, discussing Indiana's controversial law to withhold Medicaid funding from Planned Parenthood during a June CNN interview. Richards explained that she has received letters from women saying, "I can't believe that the state legislature, or the U.S. Congress is going to tell me I can't get - where I've been going to Planned Parenthood for years for my preventive care, for my birth control - and they are telling me now that I can't go to the health provider that I trust for my health."
Immediately after airing those comments, Rose played what she says is a recorded phone call to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Terre Haute, Indiana, where a woman who claimed to be a Medicaid recipient tried to schedule a preventive health-care examination. A voice, identified as belonging to a Planned Parenthood clinic worker, responded:
Right now we can't see new Medicaid people, just with the new law that's going on right now.
She then directed the caller to contact a primary care physician.
To recap: Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards warned that women would not be able to go to Planned Parenthood for preventive care if they lost their funding. Rose claimed that she has "caught on tape" a Planned Parenthood worker in Indiana saying that because of the "new law," a Medicaid recipient cannot get preventive care at Planned Parenthood. She then presented this as evidence that Planned Parenthood has been lying.
This type of deception is par for the course with anti-abortion hoaxster Lila Rose. Of course, the usual cast of right-wing media characters are once again promoting Lila Rose's false smears of Planned Parenthood.