Fox News' Hemmer "keeping track of the stimulus money" -- by lifting research from GOP website

››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

Bill Hemmer repeatedly suggested information about four "interesting" projects reportedly funded by the recovery act was obtained through Fox News' own research, even though nearly all of the information Hemmer mentioned, as well as that included in on-screen text and graphics, first appeared on Rep. Eric Cantor's Republican Whip website.

During an interview with Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) on the April 23 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, co-host Bill Hemmer discussed four projects reportedly funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 that he said viewers "might find kind of interesting." At the end of the interview, Hemmer stated: "We told our viewers we're keeping track of the stimulus money. And that's what the intention of this was." However, nearly all of the information Hemmer mentioned about all four projects had first appeared on Rep. Eric Cantor's (R-VA) Office of the Republican Whip website, which lists a total of 13 "wasteful spending" projects. At no point during the segment did Hemmer disclose the source of his information; rather, Hemmer repeatedly suggested it was Fox News' own research.

Media Matters for America has previously documented Fox News basing entire segments on a Republican press release and on an op-ed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), without disclosing in either instance that the research came from the GOP and was not Fox News' own reporting.

The four projects Hemmer cited are all listed in a section of Cantor's website titled, "Washington Watch Report," that claims it is "your one stop shop to learn about examples of government waste that have been uncovered by House Republicans."

The four projects Hemmer discussed and described, followed by the relevant section from Cantor's website, are below:

Rhode Island skateboard park

Hemmer began:

HEMMER: [T]he White House is promising Americans the stimulus would go to infrastructure projects that would put millions of people to work right away. And those who voted for it in Congress said the same thing. Checks are going out to all 50 states, and much of that money being funneled to some -- a few projects, rather, you might find kind of interesting.

This is one in Pawtucket, Rhode Island -- a city on the verge of bankruptcy -- plans to spend half a million dollars on a new skate park.

While Hemmer spoke, Fox News displayed the following text:

Similar information appears on Cantor's website:

Rochester, New York, ARTWalk

After Pence criticized the skateboard park, Hemmer cited Rochester, New York's ARTWalk project, stating:

HEMMER: Well, I can do you one better. Rochester, New York -- not to pick on the Northeast -- they are looking right now at a deficit of $35 million. And they want to spend 3.8 million in stimulus money to extend an art walk. I think we might have some pictures of that beautiful art walk.

[..]

HEMMER: This, by the way, is a city that will have to cut police jobs. And for the last two decades, it was one of the murder capitals in all of New York state. Not always the leader, but in many years it was -- Rochester, New York. And now they're going to have to lay off police officers because they're giving money to the art walk. Does that make sense to you?

While Hemmer spoke, the following text and graphic were displayed on-screen:

Similar information and images appear on Cantor's website:

Union, New York, homeless funding

Referring to Union, New York, Hemmer said: "I've got more, by the way: Union, New York: $578,000 in stimulus money. And, apparently, the town supervisor is saying that there is no evidence of any homeless problem existing, although the homeless funding will be $578,000." As Hemmer spoke, Fox News displayed the following text:

Cantor's website contains similar information:

Ohio transportation study

Finally, Hemmer said of the fourth project: "In my home state of Ohio, they're spending $57 million to study what they need to study in order whether they need to construct -- not today and not next year, but possibly years from now. I don't think this is what the American people were told when this thing was voted on and -- you can't do much about it right now other than raise awareness because the money is already in the pipeline. Is it not?"

While Hemmer was speaking, the following graphic was displayed on-screen:

Cantor's website contains similar information:

Hemmer did not disclose that the source of his information for the four projects was Cantor's website, despite opportunities to do so. Indeed, Pence twice promoted -- unprompted -- the name of Cantor's website. Discussing the skateboard park, Pence said:

PENCE: But the idea that during these difficult economic times that we would be spending borrowed money in the so-called stimulus bill on building skate parks in a city, as we unveiled on the Republican whip's website, Washington Watch, in a city that's laid off 40 employees, a city that is on the verge of bankruptcy -- just shows you why there were thousands of people across the country at rallies in 50 states who know that spending is out of control in Washington, D.C.

Pence later said of Cantor's website: "I commend you all. I commend my colleagues and the Republicans' whip's office with the Washington Watch website. People can go online and read more of these -- we're finding more everyday." At the end of the segment, after Pence promoted Cantor's website, Fox News displayed the following on-screen text:

From the April 23 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:

HEMMER: All right, the White House is promising Americans the stimulus would go to infrastructure projects that would put millions of people to work right away. And those who voted for it in Congress said the same thing. Checks are going out to all 50 states, and much of that money being funneled to some -- a few projects, rather, you might find kind of interesting.

This is one in Pawtucket, Rhode Island -- a city on the verge of bankruptcy -- plans to spend half a million dollars on a new skate park. And that is just one example. All right, Indiana Congressman Mike Pence is my guest now live on Capitol Hill. Sir, good morning to you. When was the last time you were --

PENCE: Good morning, Bill.

HEMMER: When was the last time you were on a skateboard?

PENCE: Well, my kids all do the --

HEMMER: I --

PENCE: -- skateboard thing. I got to tell you -- look -- yeah, look, there's nothing wrong with skate parks in cities. But the idea that during these difficult economic times that we would be spending borrowed money in the so-called stimulus bill on building skate parks in a city, as we unveiled on the Republican whip's website, Washington Watch, in a city that's laid off 40 employees, a city that is on the verge of bankruptcy -- just shows you why there were thousands of people across the country at rallies in 50 states who know that spending is out of control in Washington, D.C.

HEMMER: Well, I can do you one better. Rochester, New York -- not to pick on the Northeast -- they are looking right now at a deficit of $35 million. And they want to spend 3.8 million in stimulus money to extend an art walk. I think we might have some pictures of that beautiful art walk.

PENCE: Right.

HEMMER: This, by the way, is a city that will have to cut police jobs. And for the last two decades, it was one of the murder capitals in all of New York state. Not always the leader, but in many years it was -- Rochester, New York. And now they're going to have to lay off police officers because they're giving money to the art walk. Does that make sense to you?

PENCE: Well -- well, it doesn't. In these difficult times, this kind of spending doesn't make sense. But it really shows how Washington, D.C., under Democrat control and under this administration, are out of step with the overwhelming majority of the American people.

I mean, you go to kitchen tables around America today, Bill -- small business owners, family farmers -- everybody in America is facing these difficult times with courage, with faith -- and they're making sacrifices. They're putting off to tomorrow what they don't have to spend today.

But in Washington, D.C., they see spending as usual, earmarking as usual. A stimulus bill, an omnibus bill, and we're going to conference on the most fiscally irresponsible budget in American history. Washington, D.C., under Democrat majorities and this administration, is out of step with the sacrifices and the values of the American people, and these small examples bring that into high relief.

HEMMER: You voted against the stimulus package, right? The 787 billion that was voted on in early February.

I've got more, by the way: Union, New York: $578,000 in stimulus money. And, apparently, the town supervisor is saying that there is no evidence of any homeless problem existing, although the homeless funding will be --

PENCE: Right.

HEMMER: -- $578,000. In my home state of Ohio, they're spending $57 million to study what they need to study in order whether they need to construct -- not today and not next year, but possibly years from now.

I don't think this is what the American people were told when this thing was voted on and -- you can't do much about it right now other than raise awareness --

PENCE: Well -- well, look --

HEMMER: -- because the money is already in the pipeline. Is it not?

PENCE: Well, the money -- the money is in the pipeline. But remember what Alexander Hamilton said: "Here, sir, the people govern." And I commend you all. I commend my colleagues and the Republicans' whip's office with the Washington Watch website. People can go online and read more of these -- we're finding more everyday.

But it demonstrates the fact that that stimulus bill that the president signed and Democrats brought to the floor was -- the only thing it really stimulated was more government spending. It was, you know, it was a long wish list of leftover liberal spending priorities on a state-by-state basis. We know how to stimulate this economy going forward, Bill. We need to cut taxes on working families and small businesses.

HEMMER: And that is where the --

PENCE: We can invest in infrastructure --

HEMMER: And that is where the debate is.

PENCE: -- but it's got to be done with discipline.

HEMMER: Don't want to cut you off here, but I'm out of time. But thank you for coming on today. We told our viewers we're keeping track of the stimulus money.

PENCE: Thank you, Bill.

HEMMER: And that's what the intention --

PENCE: Appreciate it.

HEMMER: -- of this was. So, sir, thank you -- Mike Pence out of Indiana.

Posted In
Economy
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Bill Hemmer
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America's Newsroom
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