From the October 31 edition of Fox News' America's News HQ:
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From the October 30 edition of Fox News' America's News HQ:
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Fox News reported a story that claimed President Obama's premiums would increase under the Affordable Care Act. But Fox's comparison of health coverage for federal employees to ACA exchanges is dishonest because the two types of insurance are fundamentally different and the comparison invokes a "worst case scenario."
On the October 25 edition of America's News HQ, co-host Alisyn Camerota claimed a new report showed "if the president were buying insurance in Wisconsin, his total premium and out-of-pocket costs would skyrocket." She added that his total premium would rise from $21,707 a year to $32,200 under the law.
Camerota did not state where the report she cited came from. It actually came from the conservative Washington Examiner writer Paul Bedard, who cited a Wisconsin insurance broker to claim that if Obama "chose to leave the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program," got the most expensive family plan, and exhausted his health care coverage "in a worst case scenario," Obama's premium could jump 48 percent.
But comparing the Affordable Care Act's health exchange to coverage to FEHB is a dubious comparison. Uwe Reinhardt of The New York Times' Economix blog pointed out that the FEHB plans are community-rated, which makes the prices lower than in the exchanges: "This means the premium quoted by a particular insurer was the same for every individual (and analogously for families), regardless of the health status or age of the insured." By contrast, Reinhardt wrote:
From the October 7 edition of Fox News' America's News HQ:
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Fox Business host Melissa Francis erroneously claimed that previous government shutdowns in the 1990s did not harm the economy, a notion that is in direct opposition to economic evidence.
On the October 1 edition of Fox News' America's News HQ, host Bill Hemmer discussed the ongoing government shutdown with Francis. During the discussion, Francis chided President Obama for claiming that previous shutdowns in the 1990s harmed the economy, claiming that data show "that wasn't the case."
Francis' argument rested upon the fact that over earlier shutdowns, GDP growth remained relatively strong and stabilized at levels above pre-shutdown rates. The Daily Caller presented a similar argument in an article on September 29, claiming the "economy boomed" during previous shutdowns.
While Francis is correct that growth remained strong over the 1995 and 1996 shutdowns, this doesn't answer the question of what growth would have been like in absence of a shutdown.
According to Joel Prakken, senior managing director at Macroeconomic Advisers, those shutdowns shaved 0.25 percentage points off GDP growth for the end of 1995, mostly due to federal employee furloughs. Furthermore, the Office of Management and Budget estimated that the total cost to the federal government from those shutdowns at more than $2 billion in today's dollars.
While Francis is quick to dismiss that economic growth would be affected in the current shutdown, independent analysis shows this is not the case. According to Bloomberg:
Mark Zandi of Moody's Analytics Inc. estimates a three-to-four week shutdown would cut growth by 1.4 points. Zandi projects a 2.5 percent annualized pace of fourth-quarter growth without a shutdown. A two-week shutdown starting Oct. 1 could cut growth by 0.3 percentage point to a 2.3 percent rate, according to St. Louis-based Macroeconomic Advisers LLC.
Fox News promoted various falsehoods about poverty and anti-poverty programs, erroneously claiming that government programs cannot and have not reduced poverty levels.
On the September 19 edition of Fox News' America Live, guest host Alisyn Camerota hosted a panel discussion over House Republicans' plan to reduce funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) -- formerly known as food stamps -- by nearly $40 billion over 10 years.
Camerota introduced the discussion by noting that the Census Bureau recently reported that the national poverty rate in 2012 remained at 15 percent. She then claimed that poverty in America is a problem "that growing government assistance programs cannot fix." Fox Business' anti-food stamp crusader Charles Payne then claimed that poverty rates have remained unchanged since the 1960s, casting doubt over the efficacy of anti-poverty programs. Payne later claimed that people living in poverty have a strong disincentive to work because of government programs.
Virtually every statement made by Camerota, Payne, and subsequently by Wall Street Journal editorial board member Mary Kissel about anti-poverty programs is false.
First, Camerota's claim about government assistance not lifting Americans out of poverty is directly contradicted by the very census report she cites. While it is true that 15 percent of Americans remain in poverty -- unchanged from 2011 -- the fact is that absent government anti-poverty programs, the number of Americans living in poverty would be millions greater. From the annual census report on income, poverty, and health insurance coverage:
- If unemployment insurance benefits were excluded from money income, 1.7 million more people would be counted as in poverty in 2012.
- If SNAP benefits were counted as income, 4 million fewer people would be categorized as in poverty in 2012.
- Taking account of the value of the federal earned income tax credit would reduce the number of children classified as in poverty in 2011 by 3.1 million.
Payne's claim that the rate has remained unchanged since the 1960s despite anti-poverty programs also doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Previewing the release of the annual census report, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) anticipated such falsehoods, pointing out that they are "simply not valid or accurate." According to CBPP:
Comparing today's official poverty rate with those of the 1960s yields highly distorted results because the official poverty measure captures so little of the poverty relief that today's safety net now provides.
CBPP also included a chart showing just how effective anti-poverty programs have been at reducing poverty, and how rates would be reduced even further if the census accounted for noncash transfers.
Payne's statement about government assistance discouraging people from working is also dubious, given that he ostensibly cited the findings of a misleading report from the Cato institute that has been thoroughly debunked by economists as overstating benefits from welfare programs.
Fox has ramped up its misleading coverage of anti-poverty programs in recent weeks, going so far as to distribute its incredibly inaccurate special report on SNAP to members of Congress to assist efforts to reduce funding for the program.
Fox News let the fact that weekly jobless claims fell to the lowest level since January 2008 go completely unreported.
On August 1, the Department of Labor released its weekly jobless claims report, which showed the number of initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 19,000 to 326,000. The number came in lower than economists' expectations, and was the lowest level of initial claims in five and a half years.
Virtually every news report noted in the headline that the number reached a landmark low. While reports were tempered with the caveat that summer claims tend to be volatile, the four-week moving average -- a much more stable measure -- also fell to 341,250, a level consistent with those seen in early 2008.
Fox didn't seem to think the news warranted any attention. When the initial claims report was released, Fox & Friends devoted only 16 seconds to the numbers. While co-host Alisyn Camerota noted that the number came in below expectations, she failed to mention the landmark news behind the report:
On the following program, America's Newsroom, no time was dedicated to the report. America's Newsroom typically hosts Fox Business' Stuart Varney or Nicole Petallides within the first hour of the program to either downplay positive news in the report or hype negative news, but not on August 1.
Failing to report positive developments in the economy is standard for the network.
Right-wing media reacted to President Obama's proposal to lower the corporate tax rate by pushing the repeatedly debunked claim that a majority of small businesses pay the top individual income tax rate. In fact, only a small fraction of small businesses pay this rate, and Obama's plan includes other incentives to help them.
Fox News attacked President Obama's July 25 suggestion that "phony scandals" are a distraction in Washington, claiming that he was referencing attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya and calling the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi "phony." Yet Obama made no mention of Benghazi, and it's Fox who has pushed dozens of phony Benghazi conspiracy theories since the attacks took place in September 2012.
Fox News is continuing to baselessly claim that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's proposal to eliminate the ability of the GOP minority to filibuster executive branch nominations is unwarranted.
On the July 12 edition of America Live, Fox News guest host Alisyn Camerota brought on Fox contributors Joe Trippi and Ed Rollins to discuss Reid's announcement that his caucus will enact limited filibuster reform, perhaps as early as next week.
The proposal currently being floated would change Senate rules so a president's picks to fill leadership positions in his cabinet and the executive branch automatically receive up-or-down votes, as opposed to being held hostage to GOP filibusters. Although this proposal wouldn't affect the unjustified filibusters of judicial nominations, this limited reform would finally allow simple majority votes on the nominees for labor secretary, Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director, and the bipartisan slate for the National Labor Relations Board.
Camerota and her guests, however, adopted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's argument that because many of President Obama's nominees were eventually confirmed, not only is there no problem, but disallowing subsequent filibusters on these cabinet and agency selections will result in the death of the institution.
Fox's Alisyn Camerota and Charles Payne attacked paid sick day laws as job-killing "entitlements" but ignored studies indicating such laws protect vulnerable workers while having little or no negative impact on businesses.
On the March 29 broadcast of America's Newsroom, the two criticized a paid sick leave law poised to pass New York's City Council. The law would require companies with at least 15 employees to give full-time and some part-time workers five paid sick days per year, which advocates say would provide paid sick days for one million New Yorkers who don't currently have them.
Camerota opened the segment by saying the law means that "business owners are taking it on the chin here in New York City," and later hyped Mayor Michael Bloomberg's concerns that the law "could crush New York's fragile economy right now." Payne agreed and said Bloomberg is "absolutely right," adding, "We're talking about very thin [profit] margins, and if you have this many sick days and people simply take them, when things get tough, there won't be jobs for those same people. ... The smaller businesses cannot afford it."
Camerota noted that paid sick day laws are becoming a trend nationwide, but failed to inform her viewers that in at least one city, the law has been a success. A paid sick leave law passed in San Francisco has benefited workers and has not harmed businesses there.
Fox & Friends attempted to recruit Dr. Ben Carson as the next Fox News candidate, after News Corp. spent weeks promoting him as a rising political star.
On March 16, Carson spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and hinted during his speech that he might be interested in running for office, telling the audience: "Let's say you magically put me in the White House."
During his appearance on Fox & Friends on Wednesday, the hosts repeatedly pressed Carson on whether he was interested in running, asking when he would decide to "get into the political fray" and whether any political strategists had spoken to him. Co-host Steve Doocy further said that while it was "a long time before the next election," Carson would be retiring soon. This prompted guest co-host Alisyn Camerota to assure Carson that they were "counting down the days" until his retirement, when he would be available to run for office:
CAMEROTA: Well Dr. Ben Carson, always great to talk to you, we're counting down the days 'till your retirement as we know you are, and it's about 130 right now. So thanks.
CARSON: How about 102?
CAMEROTA: Oh, 102? Got it, I'll change the calendar.
News Corp., which owns Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, has promoted Ben Carson as a potential candidate ever since Carson delivered a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in February. The Wall Street Journal published an editorial the day after the speech headlined "Ben Carson for President," that encouraged readers to watch the video of his speech and highlighted Carson's ideas on a flat tax rate and health care. Fox News also celebrated Carson throughout the month, with Doocy praising Carson as "fantastic" and Sean Hannity asking Carson in an interview "would you ever run for president, sir? ... I would vote for you in a heartbeat."
Fox News has a history of creating and promoting conservative candidates for political office. Prior to running for president, Herman Cain was a frequent guest of Fox News and was touted as a possible presidential contender on the network. During former Republican Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown's successful 2010 Senate run, the network openly helped him advocate for his candidacy, helped him fundraise, and smeared his opponent. And Fox News hosts promoted Marco Rubio's fundraising efforts during his run for Senator in Florida while the network praised him as a "political star."
A Fox News host dismissed the threat of furloughs from automatic budget cuts known as sequestration as a "convenient excuse" that allows agency heads to exaggerate the effects of the cuts. However, hundreds of workers have already been laid off due to the budget cuts and more are likely to be fired or furloughed if the cuts continue.
ICE director John Morton faced criticism From Republicans during a House hearing on Tuesday where he testified about the budget decisions ICE made to avoid furloughs. Fox & Friends host Alisyn Camerota dismissed Morton's explanation of his difficult choices as a "handy and convenient excuse," and downplayed the threat of furloughs and layoffs:
This is just what you constantly hear now with sequester. It's either this or furlough. It's either this or laying off. We don't want to take money out of the pockets of workers, and that is a handy and convenient excuse when, you know, you end up not cutting something that people think is expendable.
But local reports from around the country demonstrate that many Americans are already dealing with the serious repercussions of sequestration. Thousands of workers face pay cuts as high as 20% as a result of sequester-induced forced time off, or furloughs. Many more have already experienced layoffs. Citing other news reports, the Huffington Post highlighted several examples of layoffs and furloughs around the country:
On Monday, 250 workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state received pink slips, while another 2,500 others found out they're facing furloughs. Approximately 9,000 people work at the nation's most contaminated nuclear site, and the Associated Press reports that "cleanup is likely to be slowed" because of the budget cuts.
Continental Maritime, a contractor that repairs U.S. Navy ships, expects to lay off 185 employees, effective April 12. Other contractors have issued conditional layoff notices -- meaning that jobs are safe if Congress restores some funding to the Defense Department -- to thousands of employees.
Four-hundred eighteen contract workers tied to the Tobyhanna Army Depot in Pennsylvania are losing their jobs due to sequestration. Two-hundred sixteen people will be dismissed on April 15 and 107 on April 30, the Morning Call of Allentown, Pa., reports. The paper noted that the Tobyhanna Army Depot is losing 35 percent -- $309 million -- of its government funding through the end of the fiscal year, and that more than 5,100 of the people who work there are being forced to take 22 furlough days.
At least eight municipal employees in Monterey County, Calif., are losing their jobs as a result of a decrease in the number of military contracts.
In early March, 23 people who work with the parks and recreation and maintenance departments in Tooele County, Utah, were laid off in order to grapple with the federal budget cuts. "I have four kids. This is my livelihood," said Scott Chance, a 12-year employee. "It pays my health insurance. It gives me my house."
Engineering Services Network is an engineering and technology company and one of the top Latino-owned companies in Virginia. President and CEO Raymond Lopez Jr. told NBC Latino that he has "lost about 20 employeesthrough sequestration."
The Red River Army Depot in Texarkana, Texas, announced in February that it was cutting 414 jobs -- about 10 percent of its workforce. "I don't know how we're going to make it," Raymond Wyrick, whose last day was scheduled to be March 9, told CNN Money.
Fox News host Alisyn Camerota falsely claimed "your premiums are going to double" under the new health care law, when in fact potential increases would only affect a small portion of the insured population and would be partially offset by tax credits.
On Fox & Friends, Camerota cited an Associated Press report on health insurance reform and claimed it showed "your premiums are going to double and that your bills could double, this is really stunning news for lots of Americans."
But the Associated Press report found that the potential increases in health care premiums would affect "a relatively small slice of the insured population" and that the new policies are expected to reduce health care costs for many. The report also found that tax credits will offset some of the increases, particularly for young adults:
There also will be tax credits, or subsidies, given to people with incomes that fall within 400 percent of the federal poverty level. For 2013, 400 percent of the poverty level for all states except Alaska and Hawaii would be $94,200. These credits won't lower premiums, but they can ease the insurance bill depending on a person's income.
The credits should help the 20-something customers that insurers warn will see big premium hikes, said Linda Blumberg, an economist with the Health Policy Center of the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan policy research organization.
"While these folks are potentially facing some premium increases due to all these reforms, they also are the ones most likely to get the financial help from the exchanges," she said.
Fox & Friends questioned the authenticity of President Obama's most recent outreach to Republicans while ignoring GOP leaders' numerous rebukes of the president's past attempts to reach across the aisle.
In a widely publicized March 12 article, The National Journal's Ron Fournier questioned the sincerity of Obama's current outreach to Congressional Republicans, including dining with GOP senators and visiting Capitol Hill. Fournier quoted an anonymous senior White House official as describing the president's efforts as a "joke" and a waste of time.
On March 13, Fox & Friends seized on the article to question whether Obama was sincere in his efforts to reach out to Republicans. Co-host Steve Doocy came to the conclusion that Obama isn't actually serious about this latest bipartisan effort:
DOOCY: We've been speculating, what was the motivation for this charm offensive? Well now, thanks to Ron Fournier of National Journal, we know that it is simply a tactic. The president of the United States is not serious about actually reaching across the aisle, but he saw that his poll numbers were imploding thanks to the sequester.
In the same segment, guest co-host Alisyn Camerota emphasized the importance of outreach that the president has supposedly neglected:
CAMEROTA: That's what you're supposed to do! You're supposed to go and meet with your adversaries so that you can work out some sort of bargain.
But Fox made no mention of the fact that this is not the first time that Obama has reached out to -- and been rebuffed by -- Republican leaders: