NPR reporter Liasson to continue validating Fox's news programs while ignoring its 24-7 political operation

››› ››› BROOKE OBIE

National Public Radio national political correspondent Mara Liasson has reportedly declined a request by NPR executives that she reconsider appearing regularly on Fox News because of "what they perceived as the network's political bias," according to Politico, which also reported that "Liasson defended her work for Fox by saying that she appears on two of the network's news programs, not on commentary programs with conservative hosts." In fact, the "news programs" on which Liasson appears, Special Report and Fox News Sunday, echo Fox's right-wing opinion shows, often featuring smears, falsehoods, doctored and deceptive editing, and GOP talking points.

Liasson reportedly declined NPR's request to reconsider Fox News appearances

Liasson reportedly defended appearing on Fox because she appears only on Fox's "news" shows. In a December 7 article, Politico reported:

Executives at National Public Radio recently asked the network's top political correspondent, Mara Liasson, to reconsider her regular appearances on Fox News because of what they perceived as the network's political bias, two sources familiar with the effort said.

According to a source, Liasson was summoned in early October by NPR's executive editor for news, Dick Meyer, and the network's supervising senior Washington editor, Ron Elving. The NPR executives said they had concerns that Fox's programming had grown more partisan, and they asked Liasson to spend 30 days watching the network.

At a follow-up meeting last month, Liasson reported that she'd seen no significant change in Fox's programming and planned to continue appearing on the network, the source said.

NPR's focus on Liasson's work as a commentator on Fox's "Special Report" and "Fox News Sunday" came at about the same time as a White House campaign launched in September to delegitimize the network by painting it as an extension of the Republican Party.

One source said the White House's criticism of Fox was raised during the discussions with Liasson. However, an NPR spokeswoman told POLITICO that the Obama administration's attempts to discourage other news outlets from treating Fox as a peer had no impact on any internal discussions at NPR.

Liasson defended her work for Fox by saying that she appears on two of the network's news programs, not on commentary programs with conservative hosts, the source said. She has also told colleagues that she's under contract to Fox, so it would be difficult for her to sever her ties with the network, which she has appeared on for more than a decade.

But Special Report frequently features doctored video, cropped quotes, smears of Obama officials, falsehoods, and shoddy journalism

Wilson: Jennings "admitted" that "he failed to alert authorities when a 15-year-old boy told him he was involved in a sexual relationship with an older man." On the October 6 edition of Special Report, correspondent Brian Wilson stated: "School safety czar Kevin Jennings is currently under fire because he admitted that in 1988, when he was a high school teacher, he failed to alert authorities when a 15-year-old boy told him he was involved in a sexual relationship with an older man. One member of the House believes Jennings would not have his current job if czars were required to face Senate confirmation hearings." Wilson repeated the 15-year-old age claim even though FoxNews.com previously acknowledged that the student was of legal age -- 16 years old -- at the time.

Baier smears Jennings as failing to report "sexual abuse." On October 1, host Bret Baier joined Fox News' witch hunt against Jennings, claiming that "Education Secretary Arne Duncan is standing behind his so-called safe schools czar after revelations that Kevin Jennings did not report a case of sexual abuse he encountered as a schoolteacher."

Video doctoring: Goler reverses meaning of Obama quote to falsely suggest he supports European-style health care. On April 24, White House correspondent Wendell Goler cropped a comment by President Obama and took it out of context -- effectively reversing the statement's meaning -- to falsely suggest that Obama supports creating a health care system "like the European countries." Goler claimed that Obama "doesn't want to do it halfway" on health care, and then aired a clip from a March 26 online town hall event of Obama saying, "If you're going to fix it, why not do a universal health care system like the European countries?" Following the clip, Goler reported: "His critics worry universal health care would mean government-run health care." In fact, Obama actually said, "Now, the question is, if you're going to fix it, why not do a universal health-care system like the European countries?" [emphasis added] In doing so, Obama was paraphrasing the town hall question he had been asked -- "Why can we not have a universal health care system, like many European countries, where people are treated based on needs rather than financial resources?" -- before explaining why he opposed such a system.

Fox's Garrett deceptively cropped Obama remark on judicial role. On May 1, saying it was a "description of how the president hopes his nominee will interpret the law," congressional correspondent Major Garrett aired a clip in which Obama stated: "I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people's hopes and struggles, as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes." Garrett then said: "That aggravates those who believe justices should follow the Constitution and legislative intent." But Garrett omitted Obama's very next sentence, in which he stated: "I will seek somebody who is dedicated to the rule of law, who honors our constitutional traditions, who respects the integrity of the judicial process and the appropriate limits of the judicial role."

Special Report repeatedly advanced CEI fellow's accusations that NASA is "manipulating data on climate change" without noting CEI received millions from oil industry. On December 3, Special Report host Bret Baier reported that Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) senior fellow Christopher Horner has threatened to sue NASA, alleging that the space agency has distorted climate change data. However, Baier never noted that CEI has received millions of dollars from Exxon Mobil Corp. and foundations linked to the oil industry.

Baier distorts CBO report to claim premiums "will actually go up" under Senate bill. On December 1, Baier misrepresented the Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) analysis of the Senate health care bill's effect on insurance premiums by claiming that "depending on how you read" the report, insurance "premiums for many people will actually go up" under the bill. In fact, CBO estimated that premiums would only increase for individuals purchasing insurance on their own -- about 17 percent of the insurance market in 2016 -- and that affordability credits would substantially lower costs for many of those individuals, a majority of whom would receive those subsidies.

Hume repeats debunked falsehood that recent temps undermine global warming. On November 30, senior political analyst Brit Hume claimed that global warming is undermined by the "huge problem" that "[t]here's been no apparent increase in global temperatures over the past 11 years." In fact, scientists have rejected the claim that recent temperatures undermine or refute global warming.

Fox News lets Breaux discuss health care reform without revealing he is a health care lobbyist. On November 10, correspondent Carl Cameron failed to disclose that former Sen. John Breaux (D-LA), who Cameron said "warns Democratic leaders now that trying too much too fast could backfire and undermine achievable [health care] reforms," has lobbied Congress this year about health reform for the trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

Baier trumpets CAIR conspiracy theory charges made by author with anti-Islam history. On October 15, Baier said: "Republican lawmakers say the Council on American-Islamic Relations, CAIR, is trying to infiltrate Capitol Hill by placing interns in key positions," an allegation stemming from a right-wing book whose author has a history of making outrageous and anti-Islamic assertions and is published by WorldNetDaily, which has its own history of making outrageous allegations and inflammatory remarks.

Rosen: "Rats could attack us in the sewers and court systems if all of Cass Sunstein's writings became law." On September 9, reporter James Rosen joined Glenn Beck's "czars" witch hunt by distorting Obama administration official Cass Sunstein's writings about organ donation and animal rights.

Special Report packs in health care falsehoods. In an August 24 report on how, in the words of Baier, "Republicans are trying to position themselves as the party looking out for seniors' well-being," Rosen advanced the conservative talking point that Democrats plan to cut Medicare benefits for seniors and presented the widely debunked "death panel" falsehood as a he said-she said. Rosen also advanced the smear that Veterans Health Administration (VHA) officials are referring veterans to a booklet that encourages them to end their lives prematurely.

Baier falsely suggests Obama has cited Canada as possible health reform model. On June 29, Baier falsely suggested that Obama has cited Canada's medical system as a "possible model" for his health care reform plan. In fact, Obama has explicitly rejected a Canadian-style health care system.

Special Report falsely suggests activism question deleted from questionnaire for Sotomayor. A June 4 report by legal correspondent Shannon Bream falsely suggested that Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) eliminated a question on judicial activism from the questionnaire for Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination. In fact, Leahy reportedly removed the question in 2007 pursuant to a bipartisan agreement. The following day, Baier corrected Bream's report by acknowledging that the question was deleted "long before Sotomayor was picked for the high court."

Not to be outdone, Fox News Sunday is a consistent source of misinformation

"Death book" distortions abound on Fox News Sunday. On the August 24 edition of Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace hosted former Bush administration aide Jim Towey to discuss his recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, "The Death Book for Veterans," and in doing so promoted numerous distortions about the end-of-life educational booklet used by the VHA. In addition to forwarding the smear that the booklet is a "death book," Wallace promoted Towey's distortion that the booklet encourages veterans to "pull the plug" -- it doesn't; Wallace and Towey both claimed that the Bush administration suspended use of the booklet -- it didn't; and Wallace claimed that a VHA document requires doctors to direct veterans to the booklet -- it doesn't.

Wallace revives rationing bogeyman. On August 16, Wallace repeatedly advanced the conservative talking point that Democrats' health care reform proposals would create a system of rationing care, omitting the fact that rationing already happens under the current system. Indeed, Wallace did not acknowledge that rationing already occurs, even after his guest, American Medical Association president J. James Rohack, said, "[T]here's a myth that rationing doesn't occur right now. ... That's why this bill's important. It gets rid of some of the rationing that's occurring right now."

Wallace hosts Limbaugh on Fox News Sunday for half-hour deluge of misinformation. Wallace dedicated the first half of his November 1 program to an interview with radio host Rush Limbaugh, during which Wallace allowed and in some cases prompted Limbaugh to advance numerous misleading, baseless, or outrageous claims, as well as engage in inflammatory attacks on President Obama.

Wallace calls climate scientists "fudgers" who "tried to suppress opposition." On December 6, Wallace advanced the baseless claim that emails stolen from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (CRU) showed that "some of the climate scientists were apparently fudgers and tried to suppress opposition comments."

Wallace falsely claims health care bills direct task force to decide what services "aren't covered." On November 22, Wallace falsely claimed that it's a "fact" that the House and Senate health care bills direct the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force to "determine what services, what tests, screening, are covered and aren't covered," and asked whether that amounts to "government rationing." In fact, the bills require insurers to implement task force recommendations in favor of specific preventive care, but they are not required to adopt those that recommend against preventive screening.

Despite finding the time to discuss "bow-gate," Fox News Sunday ignored reports of alleged Blackwater bribes. Despite finding the time on the November 15 broadcast of Fox News Sunday to discuss the manner in which Obama greeted the emperor of Japan, there was no time during the program devoted to recent reports that officials at Xe Services -- formerly Blackwater Worldwide -- had allegedly authorized about $1 million in bribery payments to Iraqi officials in the aftermath of a fatal shooting involving Blackwater security guards. By contrast, Fox News Sunday had previously devoted 18 minutes of broadcast time to discussing videos of conservative activists James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles posing as a pimp and a prostitute while asking for assistance from employees at an ACORN office, which followed Fox News' aggressive promotion and coverage of the undercover videos.

Fox News Sunday falsely portrays military as uniformly behind sending more troops to Afghanistan. On the September 27 edition of Fox News Sunday, Wallace presented the military as uniformly behind U.S. commander in Afghanistan Gen. Stanley McChrystal's reported request for additional military forces, opposed only by civilian administration officials such as Vice President Joe Biden. But the Army chief of staff and other military officials have reportedly expressed doubts about sending more troops to Afghanistan.

Wallace claimed Holder, confirmed 75-21, "got into office by the skin of his teeth." On February 22, Wallace claimed that Attorney General Eric Holder "got into office by the skin of his teeth." However, Holder was confirmed by the Senate in a 75-21 vote, and the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 17-2 in favor of reporting his nomination to the full Senate.

Wallace on Obama: "pettiness," "childishness"; Obama admin. "biggest bunch of crybabies." Wallace has claimed Obama did not appear on his show because of "pettiness" and "childishness," and has called the Obama administration the "biggest bunch of crybabies I have dealt with in my 30 years in Washington."

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel, NPR
Person
Mara Liasson
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