Fox News ignored congressional testimony that confirmed military leadership ordered a small team of troops to remain in Tripoli in order to protect embassy staff there from possible threats during the September 2012 attacks on a U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, instead baselessly speculating that the president must have personally told the force to "stand down."
During the May 8 congressional hearings on the Benghazi attacks, witness Gregory Hicks -- who was the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli at the time of the attacks -- explained that his team had proposed that a small group of four special forces troops leave Tripoli to provide aid in Benghazi, but that they were not authorized to do so by Special Operations Command Africa, a division of the U.S. military:
REP. ROBIN KELLY: You said that four military personnel were told not to the board that plane and that this call came from Special Operations Command Africa. Is that right?
HICKS: That's what I understand.
Fox News ignored this portion of Hicks' testimony. On Hannity the night of the hearings, host Sean Hannity disputed Fox News contributor Juan Williams' accurate explanation that "the military made this decision" to baselessly speculate the president, as Commander in Chief, must have been involved in the decision making process to ask the special forces to remain in Tripoli:
HANNITY: Wait a minute, we don't have a Commander in Chief or chain of command,and that somebody along the way, we don't know who eight months later, made a decision and told them to stand down while Americans were under fire and getting killed in Benghazi?
Fox News' Sean Hannity and Todd Starnes portrayed restraints on proselytization as proof of the Obama administration's purported "war on religious liberty in the military," despite the fact that military policy has long prohibited unwanted proselytization.
On the May 2 edition of his Fox News show, Hannity claimed that a Pentagon statement reiterating the military's longtime policy against proselytizing was proof of Obama's "war on religious liberty." Starnes added that Christians were "under significant attack" by the Obama administration, under which "we have seen a Christian cleansing of the United States military."
In fact, the U.S. military's anti-proselytization policy has been consistent among all religions, and it targets only disruptive activities. A statement released May 2 by Defense Department spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen clarified the military's policy that "members of the military are free to share their faith as long as they don't harass others." Christensen continued:
In an appearance on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' radio show, NRA board member Ted Nugent blamed the epidemic of suicides among veterans and active duty military on frustration with President Obama for supposedly "violating" the Constitution.
Nugent, who has appeared on Jones' show several times, told the host that the military is frustrated with Obama for "violating the oath that they're dying for," which is leading to an unprecedented increase in suicides.
Nugent went on to describe the Obama administration as "treasonous" and also characterized the president as a "groomed America hater."
On Sunday, Nugent will appear at the NRA's Annual Meeting for an event titled "Freedom Is Not Free - Repaying Our Debt to Heros [sic]" which is billed as a tribute to "those who gave all to utilize our precious freedoms as provided by the ultimate sacrifices of the US Military warriors and their families."
From the April 30 edition of The Alex Jones Show:
TED NUGENT: I'm going to hit you with something even more ugly, and just heartbreaking, and anti-American than anything else -- I bet you've covered this, Alex.
We have an epidemic, an unprecedented increase in heroes of the U.S. military committing suicide, and I'm going to tell you why. And I'm sure the leftist blogs are going to attack me, misquote me, but I'll tell you why more and more warrior heroes of the military are killing themselves: Because they are in absolute frustration and heartbreak that their boss, their Commander-In-Chief violates the Constitution that he has made an oath to while their hero warrior blood brothers are being blown to smithereens and blown up while executing their oath to the same Constitution that the president, the vice president, and the attorney general violate.
There is a heartbreak in the warrior community.
Fox News ignored military testimony in order to claim that the proposed overhaul of Guantanamo Bay facilities is intended to improve conditions for alleged terrorists, when in fact U.S. troops would be the primary beneficiaries.
Earlier this week, General John Kelly, head of U.S. Southern Command, spoke before the House Armed Services Committee on the immediate need for upgrades to U.S. detention facilities in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Kelly testified that the proposed overhaul to the base would cost between $150-170 million and would, among other things, build a new dining facility, hospital, and barracks for U.S. troops stationed there. Gen. Kelly urged Congress to approve the expenditures, stating, "We need to take care of our troops."
Notably, as NPR reported, "Kelly said none of the projects are aimed at improving the 'lifestyle' of the detainees. But the improvements will increase security and improve the ease of movement for the detainees, which will benefit the guards by making their jobs less complicated."
Fox & Friends Saturday omitted any mention of how the proposed renovations would improve facilities for U.S. troops. Instead, guest-host Jesse Watters, a producer for The O'Reilly Factor, suggested that they were intended to better the lives of suspected terrorist detainees: "These are terrorists. They were living in caves in Afghanistan, in mud huts, basically. Now we're saying Guantanamo bay, a federal facility in the Caribbean is not good enough for these guys?"
The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) bills itself as an event convened to "crystallize the best of the conservative thought in America" that will showcase "all of the leading conservative organizations and speakers." Media covering CPAC 2013 should know that the conference's speakers, from the most prominent to the lesser-known, have a history of launching smears, pushing conspiracy theories, and hyping myths about the validity of President Obama's birth certificate.
Right-wing media figures opposed to the Pentagon permitting women to serve in combat roles attacked the decision by pointing to sex-segregated sports teams. But military research has shown that women are capable of serving in combat, and the decision has the support of major political and military figures.
The Drudge Report hyped an Investor's Business Daily claim that President Obama has hired an average 101 new federal employees a day. But federal employment is not keeping pace with population growth and a significant number of those new jobs are necessary to handle the care of returning and wounded veterans.
A headline on the Drudge Report linked to an Investor's Business Daily article by Andrew Malcolm under the headline "Obama has hired 101 new federal employees A DAY since taking office..." The article claimed that during the Obama administration, "the federal government has daily hired on average 101 new employees. Every day. Seven days a week. All 202 weeks":
But both Drudge and Malcolm ignored that a significant portion of the increase in federal jobs are a result of defense spending, including an increase in hiring associated with caring for military personnel returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Examining claims about increased federal employment, PolitiFact found that "all told, national defense, assisting veterans, and protecting the national borders account for close to 90% of all federal civilian employee growth." PolitiFact quoted John Palguta, vice president for policy at the Partnership for Public Service, a nonpartisan group that studies the federal workforce, as saying, "Just about all of the increases are at the Defense Department, Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security and the Department of Justice."
Bill O'Reilly seized on the story of a shoeless man who was helped by a New York City police officer to call for cuts to government programs that help the poor.
O'Reilly opened his Thursday show by recounting an incident in November in which Officer Lawrence DePrimo bought a pair of boots for Jeffrey Hillman, a man in Times Square who had bare feet. A tourist took a picture of the DePrimo giving the boots to Hillman, and the image was widely circulated on the Internet.
While Hillman was initially said to be homeless, it has since been reported that he has an apartment. O'Reilly presented this fact as if it were a devastating revelation -- "here's the sad truth," he said before informing his viewers that Hillman has a home. O'Reilly also claimed that Hillman "has enough resources to live his life in a dignified manner."
What O'Reilly did not tell his viewers is that Hillman was homeless prior to last year. Nor did O'Reilly mention that Hillman uses veterans benefits to help keep his apartment.
NBC New York reported, "Hillman used to be homeless, but entered shelter in 2009 before moving into an apartment secured by Veterans Affairs in 2011, city officials said. He pays his rent using a lifetime voucher for homeless veterans and his Social Security income."
O'REILLY: Obviously, Officer DePrimo is a patriot, but here's the sad truth. Mr. Hillman's not homeless. He has an apartment, paid for by you and me. He's on government assistance. He has enough resources to live his life in a dignified manner. Yet Mr. Hillman doesn't do that. He prefers the street. And the boots Officer DePrimo have gave him have disappeared. Now, I'm not judging Hillman. Most cases like his involve substance abuse or mental illness. However, we must be honest. The government cannot provide a decent life for Hillman, no matter how much money it spends. We're already giving the guy tens of thousands of dollars a year, and it is doing nothing. There are millions of Americans like Jeffrey Hillman, and we all need to understand that some people simply will not -- will not -- save themselves.
While O'Reilly claimed not to be "judging" Hillman because most "cases like his involve substance abuse or mental illness," he began the segment by saying that "[a]ll of us need to wise up, and fast," and went on to use his abridged version of Hillman's story to demand cuts to entitlement programs.
Fox News is distorting Sen. John Kerry's record in an attempt to discredit his possible nomination as Defense secretary. But Fox's criticism is based on the misleading and false claims of a disgraced 2004 Swift Boat campaign against Kerry and on the misrepresentation of past Kerry remarks.
From the November 13 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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From the October 25 edition of Fox News' Happening Now:
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In response to Mitt Romney's debate claim that the Navy's fleet "is smaller now than any time since 1917," President Obama noted that military also has fewer bayonets and horses because it has modernized. Rather than discuss President Obama's accurate point about military strength, members of the media are trying to figure out how many bayonets the military actually uses.
The economy and national security have been two of the most significant issues facing the United States in recent weeks, and the intersection of those issues -- veteran employment -- should be an important component in media coverage of the economic recovery. But unlike much of America and their male counterparts, female veterans are suffering from a deteriorating employment situation -- and the media are ignoring it.
Given how negatively right-wing media figures have reacted to the mere discussion of women's rights -- see Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Bill O'Reilly's steady attacks on Georgetown law graduate Sandra Fluke -- it's no surprise that the issue of female veterans' unemployment has taken a back seat in the media.
Finding employment after my own service in the Air Force was no small feat. Like many veterans, I faced psychological challenges transitioning from serving in the military to civilian life. I certainly had no idea that the years of struggles I faced finding employment resonated with tens of thousands of women across the country.
While overall veteran employment improves, nearly one in five women who served during the Afghanistan or Iraq wars are without adequate employment. NBC's Bill Briggs illustrates the overall situation:
As the U.S. troop drawdown continues in Afghanistan, the unemployment rate for post-9/11 female vets surged to 19.9 percent in September, compared to 14.7 percent a year earlier and 12.1 percent in August.
Multiple factors may be contributing to hardship for women veterans. Perhaps the most obvious is that more women than ever are enlisted, so more female vets are returning to civilian life. Fifteen percent of homecoming U.S. troops are women.
But even with the increasing number of women serving in the military, women veterans aren't perceived the same way as men returning from war. John E. Pickens of VeteransPlus, a nonprofit that provides veterans with financial counseling, described this unique challenge:
"Typically, folks look at male veterans returning as warriors who we need to honor, and say we need to do what we can for these warriors. Women, unfortunately, don't carry home that same mantel as a warrior. But they certainly have served beside the men and, in many cases, have done a lot of things that put themselves as risk."
Given the value female veterans can bring to America's workforce, it is critical that the media focus attention on their unemployment crisis and explore possible explanations for the disparity. This could prompt broad policy debates on topics like health care, homelessness, and sexual assault.
Fox News completely misrepresented an Obama campaign lawsuit to expand early voting in Ohio to claim that it disenfranchised military voters in order to gain an advantage in the election. In fact, the lawsuit in question has increased all Ohioans' opportunities to vote and did not disenfranchise anybody.
Until 2011, Ohioans could cast early votes in the days preceding an election. But that year, the Republican-controlled Ohio legislature implemented statutes that restricted early voting on the Saturday, Sunday, and Monday before Election Day to members of the military and their families. The Obama campaign won a lawsuit seeking to overturn the statutes that restricted early voting for non-military voters, and Fox was reporting on Ohio officials' decision to ask the Supreme Court to reverse that ruling.
Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson claimed that, due to the court decision, "thousands of military members in Ohio may not be able to cast their vote." Carlson later speculated that the Obama campaign was purposely seeking to restrict military voting in order to gain an electoral advantage.
Fox senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano picked up the theme, saying: "I think the Obama administration is willing to use the court system to keep people who they think will vote for Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan from doing so."
Napolitano later claimed that military voters "have the weekend in which to vote. You have Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday like everybody else," but military voters have lost an "extra five days" to vote.
But none of what Carlson or Napolitano is remotely true.
From the October 10 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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