Fox Revives Myth That "America Is A Center-Right Country"

››› ››› LESLIE ROSENBERG

This year, Fox has continued to push the right-wing talking point that "America is a center-right country." In fact, on issue after issue, polls are clear that Americans favor progressive policies.

Fox Again Claims America Is "Center-Right"

Doug Schoen: "America Is A Center-Right Country." On the October 19 edition of America Live, Fox News contributor Doug Schoen said:

SCHOEN: America is a center-right country, Megyn. Forty percent of America are conservatives, 36 are moderates, 20 percent are liberals, and if the Democrats throw in so closely with a group whose values are inimical to those of swing voters, I think that they will be dangerously out of step with the broad base of American opinion, which, after all, the congressional elections rebutted and refuted the Obama policies and endorsed small government. [Fox News, America Live, 10/19/11]

Brit Hume: Obama Advisers Were Wrong To Declare That America "Was No Longer A Center-Right Country." On Fox News' Special Report, senior political analyst Brit Hume stated:

HUME: For an incumbent president seeking re-election to say publicly that people are not better off than they were before he took off is to say the least unorthodox. Voters are not in the habit of returning to office president who admit that things got worse on their watch.

But one begins to suspect that the president and his political advisers are not the wizards they've once seen, recalled right after Mr. Obama's election, David Plouffe, his senior political strategist then and now declared that America was no longer a center right country but had turned center left. You might think that he and the president would have changed their minds after the historic repudiation they and their party received in the midterm election. [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 10/4/11, via Nexis]

Bernie Goldberg: "America Is A Center-Right Country." On Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, discussing why Fox News is "now dominating the information flow in America," Fox News media analyst Bernie Goldberg said to host Bill O'Reilly:

GOLDBERG: Well, it's -- let me tell you -- let me -- this is my take on it. America is a center-right country. Fox tilts to the right. Every single person, if not literally 99.9 percent of the people watching us right now, used to, before Fox, watch the evening news at CBS, NBC, or ABC. They came over to Fox. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 9/27/11]

Fox Hosted Andrew Breitbart To Claim That "We're A Center-Right Nation." On Fox Business, David Asman hosted right-wing blogger Andrew Breitbart to claim that the United States has a "2-1 ratio of conservatives to liberals." From the broadcast:

ASMAN: There was a narrative you don't remember, but I do. I was there in 1980 when Ronald Reagan was running for president, and the narrative back then from the entire media was that if Reagan is elected, we'll be at war with the Soviets in a couple of months. The economy, as bad as it was back then, is going to be much worse. And this was with no Fox News, no Rush, no Internet, no Breitbart. And yet, the American public didn't buy it.

All of the media and all of the -- the conservative media and the fair and balanced media didn't exist back then. But despite that, the American people went against the mainstream media. So how do you account for that?

BREITBART: Well, look -- well, first of all, we're a center-right nation that's -- and the media's controlled by the people on the elite coasts. So they -- the way that the minority in this country -- and according to Gallup, we're still a 2-to-1 ratio of conservatives to liberals. Yet, we have these squeakers every election cycle. They're squeakers and it's 50-50, it's so close, because of the media being able to frame who the good guys and who the bad guys are. [Fox Business, America's Nightly Scoreboard, 8/24/11]

Laura Ingraham Suggested "Most Of The Country Is A Little Bit More Conservative" Than The Media. From the August 15 edition of The O'Reilly Factor:

INGRAHAM: [W]hat politician out there today would pass your litmus test on your point. That's a legitimate point that you just made. You know, speak the same way to every person.

GOLDBERG: Not many.

INGRAHAM: Who in the Republican field would pass that litmus test?

GOLDBERG: Not many. I acknowledge that.

INGRAHAM: The point is, the questions always go one way, right, the media they are not going to ask questions from another point of view when, you know, when probably most of the country is a little bit more conservative on some of these social issues than the media. But they are not going to ask the questions the other way around, right.

They are always going to put -- try to put the conservative in the box by asking them these questions, oh, you are a hateful person. You are not a nice person or whatever. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 8/15/11, via Nexis]

Fox Panelist Charles Krauthammer: America "Has Remained" Center-Right "For Over Four Decades." On his show, O'Reilly argued that the media "will all be trying to get President Obama re-elected." Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer replied:

KRAUTHAMMER: You've got to remember this: The left, the Democrats always have the press on their side. They've had it for 40 years. Nonetheless, the Republicans have won the presidency seven out of the last 11 elections. And that's because what Republicans have, what conservatives have is the country, which is a center-right country, has remained so almost unchangingly for four decades.

So what the media bias does is it slightly -- it gives an advantage. It's a major advantage, but it's undoing the deficit that Democrats and liberals already have, because it's a country that is not essentially conducive to a liberal message. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 5/24/11]

Bill O'Reilly: "We Are A Center-Right Nation." Claiming that The New York Times "is crushed" and is "lamenting, wailing their guy is not doing the liberal thing," O'Reilly asserted: "If Obamacare is thrown out, the left will have pretty much lost everything. The why behind all of this is that President Obama badly underestimated the American public. We are a center-right nation." [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 4/5/11]

The Majority Of Americans Are Progressive On Issues Ranging From The Economy...

Major National Polls Show That Americans Believe We Need To Raise Taxes. In a September 19 post on the Capital Gains And Games blog, Fiscal Times columnist Bruce Bartlett wrote:

I have previously posted a table showing that people support raising taxes as part of deficit reduction by a 2-to-1 margin over the Grover Norquist/Club for Growth/Tea Party position that the deficit must be reduced only by spending cuts without a penny of higher taxes. In light of President Obama's new budget plan, which includes higher taxes, I am posting an updated table, including a poll on Friday showing that three-fourths of people support higher taxes and only 21 percent support the doctrinaire right-wing position. [Capital Gains And Games, 9/19/11]

Gallup: 70 Percent Of Americans Want To End Wasteful Tax Giveaways To Corporations. In a recent Gallup poll, 70 percent of respondents favored "increasing taxes on some corporations by eliminating certain tax deductions." [Gallup, 9/20/11]

Three Out of Four Voters Support Tax Increases On Oil And Gas Companies, Private Jet Owners, And The Wealthy. In a July CNN poll, 73 percent of those questioned, supported "increasing the taxes paid by oil and gas companies" and "people who make more than $250,000/yr." Seventy-six percent supported increasing taxes "paid by businesses that own private jets." [CNN, 7/21/11]

Nearly Three-Fourths Of Americans Disapprove Of GOP's Handling Of Default Crisis. Following this summer's debt crisis, a CBS News/New York Times poll found that 72 percent of Americans disapproved of congressional Republicans' handling of the issue. [CBS News/The New York Times, 8/4/11]

Time: Americans Agree With Occupy Wall Street Movement. A Time poll from this month found that among Americans familiar with the Occupy Wall Street movement, 79 percent agree that "the gap between the rich and poor in the U.S. has grown too large," and 86 percent agree that "Wall Street and its lobbyists have too much influence in Washington." [Time, 10/13/11]

To Education...

Committee for Education Funding: Polls Show Americans Overwhelmingly Oppose Education Cuts. In March, the Committee For Education Funding reported: "Results from nine different public opinion polls since January make clear that the American public strongly opposes cutting federal spending for education programs for both K12 and higher education." From Bloomberg News:

A March 2011 Bloomberg National News poll found that by an almost four to one margin (77-21 percent) the public opposes proposals to "significantly cut education programs, including No Child Left Behind, Head Start, and subsidies for college loans". [Committee for Education Funding, 3/11]

To Public Workers And Labor Issues...

CNN: Three Out Of Four Americans Support Using Federal Funds To Hire More Public Workers. In a September CNN Poll, 74 percent of respondents said they favored "providing federal money to state governments to allow them to hire teachers and first responders." [CNN, 9/14/11]

Gallup: A Majority Of The Public Supports Unions And Public Employees. From Gallup:

poll

[Gallup, 8/31/11]

Wash. Post On Wisconsin Labor Dispute: "The Verdict Is Clear: Americans Support Public Employees In This Standoff." In a March 2 post, The Washington Post's Greg Sargent reported on the public's consistent support of public employee bargaining rights:

Indeed, the verdict is clear: Americans support public employees in this standoff. Whether that will impact the outcome of the fight, of course, remains to be seen. But the bigger story here -- one that will ripple far beyond what happens in Wisconsin -- is that public employees are not proving the easy scapegoat many predicted they would be, and when faced with the question of whether their fundamental union rights should be taken away, Americans have stepped up and answered with a firm No. [Washington Post, 3/2/11]

To Social Benefits...

CNN: Americans Overwhelmingly Oppose Cuts To Social Security, Medicare, And Medicaid. Eighty-seven percent of Americans don't want the government to make cuts to Medicare and 84 percent oppose cuts to Social Security in order to reduce the deficit. [CNN, 7/21/11]

Pew: Three Out Of Five Americans Feel The Government Needs To Honor Medicare Benefits. Pew found that 62 percent of Americans feel that "the government needs to keep its promises to older people" by maintaining their Medicare benefits, "even for those who are well-off." [Pew Research Center, 6/11]

CNN: Nearly Three Out Of Four Americans Don't Believe Social Security Is A Failure. From the CNN/ORC poll released on September 13:

The Social Security system has been described as a "monstrous lie" and as a failure. Do you think those phrases are an accurate description of the Social Security system, or don't you think so?

Accurate 27%

Not accurate 72%

No opinion 1% [CNN, 9/13/11]

Pew: 87 Percent Of Americans Say Social Security Has Been Good For Our Country. From the poll:

poll

[Pew Research Center, 7/7/11]

Pew: Americans Also Oppose "Allowing States To Limit Medicaid Eligibility." From the same Pew article:

The public also opposes making Medicare recipients more responsible for their health care costs and allowing states to limit Medicaid eligibility. About six-in-ten (61%) say people on Medicare already pay enough of their own health care costs, while only 31% think recipients need to be responsible for more of the costs of their health care in order to make the system financially secure. [Pew Research Center, 7/7/11]

To Environmental Issues...

Sixty-Nine Percent Of Americans Support Stricter Limits On Air Pollution. According to a Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll, 69 percent of respondents favored the EPA "updating standards with stricter limits on air pollution." [Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, 2/11]

Only 18 Percent Of Americans Agree With GOP Attempts To Block The EPA From Keeping Corporate Polluters In Check. From an ORC International polling memo:

Americans do not want Congress to kill the EPA's anti-pollution updates. Only 18 percent of Americans -- including fewer than a third of Republicans (32 percent) -- believe that "Congress should block the EPA from updating pollution safeguards," after being told: "Some members of Congress are proposing to block the Environmental Protection Agency from updating safeguards to protect our health from dangerous air pollution, saying they will cost businesses too much money." More than three out of four Americans (77 percent) -- including 61 percent of Republicans -- say "Congress (should) let the EPA do its job." [ORC International, 2/2/11]

The Hill: "Even The Most Hardened Conservatives" Support Investing In Solar. A series of polls conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates testing the impact of the Solyndra scandal reportedly found that "even the most hardened conservatives" showed overall support for the solar industry. From The Hill:

In addition to the Ohio survey, FM3 conducted focus groups in California on behalf of the Sierra Club, finding that awareness of the Solyndra issue was higher there.

The memo states that male GOP swing voters in California voiced "strong faith" about the solar industry's viability.

"These voters were quick to condemn the federal government for failing to do its due diligence in evaluating Solyndra's business prospects, and for squandering taxpayer dollars on what they saw as a bad bet. But even the most hardened conservatives in that group strongly agreed that the solar industry is strong, growing, and worthy of future investment," it states. [The Hill, 9/28/11]

Sixty-One Percent Of Americans Agree That Government Regulations Keep Businesses Ethical. From the Public Religion Research Institute:

Overall most (61%) Americans disagree that most businesses would act ethically on their own without regulation from the government. Less than 4-in-10 (37%) believe that they would. This holds true across political and religious lines, with the lone exception of those who identify with the Tea Party movement (53% agree). [Public Religion Research Institute, 4/20/11]

...And Social Issues

Gallup: "A Majority Of Americans (53%) Believe Same-Sex Marriage Should Be Recognized By The Law As Valid." From the May 20 Gallup memo:

For the first time in Gallup's tracking of the issue, a majority of Americans (53%) believe same-sex marriage should be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages. The increase since last year came exclusively among political independents and Democrats. Republicans' views did not change. [Gallup, 5/20/11]

CNN Poll Found That 78 Percent Of Americans Favored Repealing DADT. From The Hill article:

More than three-fourths of Americans favor repealing "Don't ask, don't tell," according to a new CNN poll.

A full 78 percent of respondents said that "people who are openly gay or homosexual" should be able to serve in the armed forces. The results are similar to what CNN found in December of 2008 (81 percent) and May of 2007 (79 percent). [The Hill, 5/25/10]

Gallup: A "Record-High" Number Of Americans Favor Legalizing Marijuana. From the October 17 article:

A record-high 50% of Americans now say the use of marijuana should be made legal, up from 46% last year. Forty-six percent say marijuana use should remain illegal. [Gallup, 10/17/11]

CNN: Three Out Of Four Americans Support A Woman's Right To Choose In "Any Or Some Circumstances." In a September CNN poll, 25 percent of respondents agreed that abortion should be legal under "any circumstances" and an additional 53 percent said it should be legal under "some circumstances." [CNN Poll, 9/15/11]

Media Figures Attempted To Push The Same "Center-Right" Claim In 2008

Newsweek's Jonathan Darman insisted America is a "center-right country." [Newsweek, 9/19/08]

Newsweek's Jon Meacham: "America remains a center-right nation -- a fact that a President would forget at his peril." [Newsweek, 10/17/08]

On CNN Newsroom, Republican strategist Bay Buchanan said, "No question this country is center-right." [CNN, CNN Newsroom, 11/6/08, via Media Matters]

During the November 5, 2008, edition of America's Election HQ, Fox News contributor Karl Rove said: "Barack Obama understands this is a center-right country, and he smartly and wisely ran a campaign that emphasized that." [Fox News, America's Election HQ, 11/5/08, via Media Matters]

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