Fox News' Karl Rove distorted President Obama's record on welfare reform, falsely claiming the administration "will not approve any policies which reduce the level of welfare assistance." In fact, the letter Rove cited as evidence said the administration would not grant waivers to states if their program would block access to the benefit programs. It did not declare that states could not reduce the level of assistance.
In recent weeks, Rove's American Crossroads has been cheering and enabling Mitt Romney's dishonest campaign to accuse the Obama administration of stripping work requirements out of welfare reform. In fact, the waiver program simply grants states flexibility in figuring out how to comply with federal guidelines on transitioning aid recipients to work.
Rove appeared on the August 27 edition of Fox's America Live to discuss the Republican National Convention. After Fox's Juan Williams pointed out that the Romney campaign has made false claims about Obama, including the false claim that "welfare is going to be expanded under President Obama," Rove pushed back. According to Rove, a letter from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said the administration would not approve "any policies which reduce the level of welfare assistance."
Rove's interpretation of HHS letter is a flat out distortion.
From the August 18 edition of Fox News' Forbes on Fox:
Loading the player reg...
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.
Fox host Megyn Kelly let Lou Dobbs promote the bogus narrative being pushed by Fox News and Mitt Romney's campaign that President Obama's administration is stripping work requirements from welfare reform, even though she noted shortly after the segment that the claim has been debunked by fact-checking organizations.
After the Obama administration announced that it would comply with governors' requests for more flexibility in administering work requirements for people receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Family (TANF) benefits, the right-wing media immediately went on the attack, claiming Obama was gutting the work requirements that were passed as part of President Clinton's 1996 welfare reform.
On America Live, when Kelly asked Fox Business host Lou Dobbs for "the truth" about the issue, Dobbs agreed that Obama was gutting welfare reform "by fiat" and claimed he "wants to enlarge the level of dependency in this country of the federal government even farther and wants to do so with those who are so dependent, unencumbered with any sense of responsibility." Dobbs' claim is one that has been pushed by Fox News incessantly over the past few weeks and was even adopted by the Romney campaign despite the fact that Romney himself requested similar waivers as governor of Massachusetts.
But later in the show, after letting Dobbs push the dishonest right-wing narrative on the welfare waivers, Kelly noted that "for what it's worth" the fact-checking website PolitiFact "rated that claim with a 'pants on fire' rating a few days ago."
Fox News continues to attack the Obama administration over welfare reform by claiming that the waiver provision it recently proposed is "illegal" and beyond the scope of President Obama's executive power. In fact, as the Department of Health and Human Services makes clear, there is nothing illegal in the decision; moreover, past presidents have used such authority.
Fox News is again highlighting a misleading chart to distort the debate over welfare reform and to amplify Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's inaccurate message that President Obama is "dismantling" welfare reform. In fact, Obama simply gave states the flexibility they asked for in overseeing the welfare program.
Hemmer stated: "If you take a look at the chart, the number has been rising steadily since 2009."
But the chart's scale is deceptively skewed. The chart's y-axis is 94,000,000, not 0 -- as graphs are conventionally delineated. Here's what a more realistic chart would look like when drawn to scale:
Since Fox's chart provides no actual numbers, the increase can only be roughly approximated, but an increase of 96 million to 108 million is an increase of less than 12 percent.
After days of right-wing media outlets lauding Mitt Romney for his hypocritical ad attacking President Obama over welfare work requirements, a Fox News guest finally criticized the ad. But instead of pointing out Romney's hypocrisy, he lamented its lack of images of "welfare moms."
In July, the Obama administration agreed to consider waivers to states to experiment with work requirements in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Such waivers had been requested by two Republican governors. In 2005, an even more extensive version of these waivers were requested by 29 Republican governors, including Romney. But despite his previous advocacy, Romney produced an ad attacking Obama for supposedly gutting welfare reform by supporting such waivers. Right-wing media figures have ignored the hypocrisy and praised the Romney ad.
Today, Fox & Friends hosted Michael Maslansky, business partner of frequent Fox guest Frank Luntz, to critique Romney's ad. Maslansky asserted that the ad contained "a great narrative that Obama doesn't care about ... requiring people to work for welfare." Maslanky then added:
But the imagery is all wrong. It's got people working when he talks about Obama not caring about people going to work. It should have welfare moms as pictures. You want to make it a strong ad? Put welfare moms up there.
Fox News is telling a one-sided story focused exclusively on cuts to defense spending that were included in a 2011 budget deal. What Fox is not telling its viewers is that the deal also included cuts to critical services for vulnerable Americans and reductions in important medical research funding, and that non-defense spending cuts would lead to a loss of more than 1 million jobs.
From the July 26 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
Loading the player reg...
From the July 24 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
Fox's Laura Ingraham dismissed a recent rule change regarding welfare work requirements as an attempt by the Obama administration to buy votes, a charge right-wing media have frequently leveled at Obama after his attempts to improve antipoverty programs. But the rule change was reportedly requested by GOP governors, and a 2005 version of the waivers was supported by several GOP governors, including Mitt Romney.
Amid reports of rising poverty, two Fox News contributors claimed that anti-poverty programs have done nothing to alleviate poverty. In fact, federal government programs such as food stamps, Social Security, and other measures created or boosted by the stimulus billhave kept millions out of poverty and lowered the poverty rate.
From the July 23 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
Fox's Steve Doocy lamented a report that poverty is rising, calling it "heartbreaking" that "so many people are at the end of the food chain." But, Doocy and other Fox figures regularly attack policies with a proven record of assuaging poverty.
Fox & Friends hosted Fox Business's Stuart Varney to discuss a recent AP article that projected the poverty rate to be higher than any time since 1965. Doocy found the report "heartbreaking," lamenting the fact that "so many people are at the end of the food chain" and saying America "is supposed to be the place where everybody has a chance, and unfortunately, given the state of things, we don't."
But while Doocy's concern about rising poverty levels is reasonable, it is difficult to rectify with Fox's consistent assaults on efforts proven to lift people out of poverty or keep them from falling into poverty.
From the July 21 edition of Fox News' Cavuto on Business:
Loading the player reg...