Fox News is leading a charge to fire Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel after the Republican-led government shutdown Fox helped orchestrate actually shut down the government and led to the suspension of military death benefits to families of fallen soldiers.
On October 8, the Defense Department issued a release confirming that it had suspended military death benefits to the families of at least five deceased soldiers because of the shutdown. "The department does not currently have the authority to pay death gratuities for the survivors of service members killed in action," the release explained.
Fox quickly seized on the news to assail Hagel and call for his firing. During the October 9 edition of The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson, Bill O'Reilly said that Hagel "should resign immediately" because "it's his fault" that the shutdown delayed death benefits. The following day, on his Fox News show, O'Reilly said that Hagel "should be fired immediately. He has no right to be there. He's lost all credibility with the military." And on the October 11 edition of America's Newsroom, Fox contributor Katie Pavlich said, "I would hope in a moment of leadership that President Obama would ask [Hagel] to submit his resignation. This is something you do not violate."
Fox's attempt to scapegoat Hagel is lacking considering the Pentagon warned Congress prior to the shutdown -- which Fox repeatedly cheered -- that it wouldn't have the authority to pay these benefits in the event of a shutdown. NBC News reported:
Lawmakers and the White House have voiced outrage over the shutdown fiasco that has deprived military families of death benefits, but the Pentagon warned of the situation days before the shutdown began.
Under Secretary of Defense Robert Hale advised of the effects a shutdown would have on military personnel and their families during a news conference on Sept. 27.
"We would also be required to do some other bad things to our people. Just some examples - we couldn't immediately pay death gratuities to those who die on active duty during the lapse," Hale said.
Although the Republican-led shutdown prevented the Pentagon from paying military death benefits, the Pentagon struck a deal with a charity to ensure that the benefits are provided to the affected families. CNN reported that "the government will reimburse the Maryland-based Fisher House Foundation once the shutdown is over, Hagel said in a written statement." Obama has since signed a bill providing military death benefits during the shutdown.
Fox News is using falsehoods to discredit an immigration reform rally that took place on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., claiming that activists were given preferential treatment by the Obama administration to stage their protest while parks remain closed. In fact, the National Park Service made it clear a week before the protest that First Amendment activities on the Mall and at Memorial Parks would be exempt from closures.
Fox News hosted discredited documentary filmmaker Dennis Michael Lynch to attack an immigration rally that took place on the National Mall in Washington, D.C, accusing non-English speaking participants of being undocumented and attacking participants for "climbing on some of the statues."
On October 8, several thousand demonstrators gathered on the Mall to call on lawmakers to pass comprehensive immigration legislation that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants:
[T]housands of activists -- from young children wearing white T-shirts that read "Don't Deport My Dad" to activists cheering and waving signs that proclaimed: "No Human is Illegal" -- gathered on the Mall on a cool October afternoon. More than a dozen congressional Democrats and four House Republicans came before the crowd to push for a reform bill in the House.
Fox News reported on the rally by hosting filmmaker Dennis Michael Lynch, who characterized the protest as an "illegal immigrant rally." On the October 9 edition of America's Newsroom, host Bill Hemmer spoke to Lynch who likened the protest to a "rock concert" and said, "I felt like I was back down in Texas along the border where there's no fence and you say, 'come on in!' I mean, they were welcomed."
Fox News continued to hype the myth that the debt ceiling raises the national debt, smearing President Obama's comments at an October 8 press conference as false. In reality, the debt ceiling does not raise the debt or authorize additional spending, but instead enables the U.S. government to finance existing legal obligations.
From the October 8 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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From the October 3 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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Fox host Martha MacCallum falsely accused the Obama administration of closing national parks in order to play political games.
On the October 2 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, co-host Martha MacCallum asked if the Obama administration had closed national parks because of "politics," saying "is this just a political, you know, game, really, to say, 'Oh, well, if you're not going to let us, you know, move forward with this, well then we're just going to shut down all of these places, and it's going to look bad publicly for you?'":
National parks are not closed because of political games, but because the shutdown mandates that nonessential employees be furloughed, including park personnel. According to the National Park Service's contingency plan, the shutdown requires the suspension of "all activities except for those that are essential to respond to emergencies involving the safety of human life of the protection of property":
A Fox News anchor suggested that since the majority of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) employees have been furloughed under the government shutdown, we should simply do without them even after it has been resolved. However, EPA employees furloughed include those in charge of cleaning up hundreds of hazardous waste sites and enforcing clean air and water laws.
On Wednesday, Fox News' America's Newsroom noted that less than 7 percent of the over 16,000 EPA employees would be working during the government shutdown (about 1,000 total employees). Co-anchor Martha MacCallum laughed that "some" have "asked why we need the other 15,000 EPA workers at all," adding that these were "valid questions":
The "some" who are asking this are several Republican lawmakers behind the government shutdown. For instance, Rep. Steve Stockman who has rallied for the shutdown, tweeted a Washington Examiner article suggesting furloughed employees may be "non-essential" long-term, and re-tweeted a follower celebrating the idea that they wouldn't return:
Right-wing media have used temporary technical glitches exacerbated by a flood of interest to demagogue against the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges. In reality, the technological issues are caused in part by high levels of traffic, which demonstrate that millions of Americans are signing up for the health care program.
As the ACA's new health insurance exchanges launched on October 1, millions of Americans visited health exchange websites, prompting an overload of Internet traffic that contributed to technical glitches. According to White House Deputy Senior Adviser David Simas, healthcare.gov has logged 1 million visits in the past day, a rate that already dwarfs the number of visits ever received by medicare.gov:
The primary website to enroll in new coverage options under ObamaCare has gotten 1 million visits in the past day, according to a White House official.
David Simas, a White House deputy senior adviser focused on ObamaCare implementation, said healthcare.gov has logged 1 million visits in the past day. The volume of Web traffic has overwhelmed the new marketplaces, which opened for enrollment Tuesday morning.
"1 million visit HealthCare.gov in last day. 5x more users than ever on Medicare.gov at once. Millions want to #GetCovered," Simas said on Twitter.
Right-wing media figures celebrated the House Republicans' plan to delay implementation of the Affordable Care Act by a year, ignoring the consequences that the move would have on the uninsured.
Fox News expressed outrage after President Obama, in a speech supporting the Affordable Care Act, pointed out that viewers watching Fox were likely to think the health care law is "horrible." On the Septmber 27 edition of America's Newsroom, co-host Bill Hemmer complained about the president's speech, absurdly asking, "What has been reported on Fox News Channel that is not accurate?"
Below is a small sample of the misinformation and outright lies that Fox has directed toward the Affordable Care Act:
From the September 27 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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From the September 27 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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The right is selectively quoting an Inspector General (IG) report to accuse the State Department of ignoring the recommendations from the Benghazi Accountability Review Board (ARB). In fact, the IG report noted that the State Department is making progress implementing the ARB recommendations and praised its leadership as a model for future ARB responses.
Fox News hyped a misleading Wall Street Journal article that claimed young adults will face higher insurance premiums under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without disclosing that only a small portion of the health care market would be affected
A September 25 article in The Wall Street Journal claimed that "for some buyers, prices will rise from today's less-comprehensive policies," and went on to say that "For consumers used to skimpier plans--or young, healthy people who previously enjoyed attractive rates--that could mean significantly higher premiums." Fox News host Neil Cavuto hyped the article during an appearance on America's Newsroom, claiming, "premiums are going up, they're going up markedly...for young people in particular, the means by which we pay for all of this, their premiums are going up smartly":
Both the Journal and Fox's segment ignored that the potential premium increase is for a very small subset of the insurance market. The Center for American Progress estimated that "only about 3 percent" of young adults have the potential to see premium increases, which makes up about half of one percent of all Americans: