Fox News host Andrea Tantaros stepped into well-debunked territory about President Obama purportedly having once been a Muslim. Tantaros said on her radio program that Muslims view ex-Muslims poorly, and "some have said that's President Obama, who even writes in his own book that he went to a Muslim school, he had a Muslim stepfather, he was educated in the Muslim faith, and now we have an effort by so many on the left and many in the media to ignore radical Islam."
In reality, as his website notes, President Obama "has never been a Muslim, was not raised as a Muslim, and is a committed Christian." Conservative media have spent years promoting the claim that Obama is or was a Muslim to attack him and his policies. Fox News and its commentators have repeatedly questioned the president's faith and promoted falsehoods about Obama's religious background, including the false claim that he attended a "madrassa."
From the April 25 edition of Talk Radio Network's The Andrea Tantaros Show:
BILL MAHER (CLIP): There's only one faith that kills you, or wants to kill you if you renounce the faith. An ex-Muslim is a very dangerous thing. Talk to Salman Rushdie after the show about Christian versus Islam. So, you know, I'm just saying, let's keep it real.
TANTAROS: "An ex-Muslim is a very dangerous thing." Well, because they can give you an inside look. And actually in the Muslim faith, that is worse, being an ex-Muslim because you've turned on the religion. They talk about war on the infidel, but what about the war on the apostate, the person who knows the Muslim faith and then turns from it. Is Bill Maher right? Some have said that's President Obama, who even writes in his own book that he went to a Muslim school, he had a Muslim stepfather, he was educated in the Muslim faith, and now we have an effort by so many on the left and so many in the media to ignore radical Islam, let alone -- I mean they try not to offend them, god forbid we teach about Islam in our schools so people know the history of it and our kids don't tolerate things like terrorista license plates. But now they're ignoring the ties to radical Islam. You know, George Carlin famously used to joke, the comedian, about the seven words you can't say on air? Well now Islam and Muslim are two of those words that you can add to the list.
From the April 23 edition of Talk Radio Network's The Andrea Tantaros Show:
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Conservative media voices have insisted that an increase of the federal minimum hourly wage from $7.25 to $9 would harm the economy. However, a wealth of economic evidence disputes the claims that minimum wage hikes are job killers, that the minimum wage is already high, and that it only applies to jobs held by relatively young workers.
Following news that the economy had contracted slightly at the end of 2012, Fox News figures claimed both that government spending had not decreased, and that it had decreased because of President Obama's desire to cut military spending. Both are false -- the contraction in GDP came from a dramatic decrease in government spending, largely due to normal cycles in defense spending and the end of two wars.
Fox's The Five covered a report by the Bureau of Economic Analysis which found that the economy contracted by 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. Co-hosts Dana Perino and Eric Bolling attempted to blame Obama for the decline in defense spending that contributed to the decrease in GDP, claiming that "the defense cut was actually the White House's idea in the first place" and was "part of sequestration, which started in the White House." Co-host Andrea Tantaros later claimed "Spending actually didn't go down in the fourth quarter. It actually increased in the fourth quarter":
But all three are wrong. Despite Tantaros' claim that government spending increased in the fourth quarter of 2012, the BEA report clearly indicates that it decreased dramatically, a factor that strongly contributed to the contraction in the economy:
Fox News co-host Greg Gutfeld attacked President Barack Obama for connecting wildfires to climate change. But scientists say climate change has increased fire risks in parts of the Western U.S. by promoting warmer and drier conditions, and the number of wildfire acres burned each year is on the rise.
In his second inaugural address, Obama called for action to avoid the destructive impacts of climate change, saying, "Some may deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms." On the January 29 edition of Fox News' The Five, Gutfeld criticized Obama for suggesting that wildfires were "somehow linked" to climate change, claiming that there were "a third fewer U.S. wildfires in 2012":
Gutfeld's statistic came from a Washington Post column by George Will that compared the number of U.S. wildfires in 2012 to 2006 -- a year that saw the most wildfires since 1982. By cherry-picking data from that year, Will obscured the upward trend in acres burned from wildfires. In fact, the number of acres burned by wildfires in 2012 was the third-highest on record in the U.S., and the National Research Council states that "large and long-duration forest fires have increased fourfold over the past 30 years in the American West" as increased temperatures have dried soils and plants and boosted tree-killing beetles. While wildfires are influenced by numerous factors, the U.S. Global Change Research Program stated that "Wildfires in the United States are already increasing due to warming":
From the January 28 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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From the January 22 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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Fox figures used part of a 1995 speech by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to press the conservative narrative that the administration plans to launch an assault on gun owners and the Second Amendment. In fact, in that 1995 speech, Holder addressed efforts to teach young residents of the District of Columbia that it was "not hip to carry a gun anymore." At that time, Holder was serving as the District's U.S. Attorney and it was then illegal to own a handgun in the city.
On Thursday's edition of The Five, the co-hosts discussed a series of meetings Vice President Joe Biden is holding with gun owners' groups, including the National Rifle Association, as part of the White House's review of gun laws. During the discussion, co-host Andrea Tantaros introduced Holder's 1995 comments as "the reason why, I think, people are slightly nervous."
After playing video of Holder's speech, Tantaros said to co-host Eric Bolling, "He's saying that smoking used to be cool. But when was it ever cool to commit a crime or to shoot somebody?" Bolling responded by saying that Holder's speech was an example of the Obama administration "mentality" of "brainwash[ing] the people who don't agree with what our administration stands for."
Likewise on his radio show, Fox News host Sean Hannity cited Holder's speech as proof of the administration's "anti-gun" values, claiming that "they're now advocating brainwashing to get their way." He went on to accuse the administration of "forcible indoctrination" and "persuasion by propaganda," adding: "We have to deal with a liberated, more radical, the real Obama, ambitious Obama, and he meant it when he said he wanted to transform America. That's why we have got to save America."
Fox News has repeatedly hidden the danger of keeping guns in homes behind a handful of anecdotes about home owners who frightened off criminals with their own firearms. Research actually shows that guns kept in homes are far more likely to kill or injure those living there than deter crime.
On Monday's edition of America Live, host Megyn Kelly juxtaposed reports that the White House may push for laws to prevent gun violence with a story about a homeowner near Atlanta who successfully repelled a burglar with her gun. Kelly said that the home invasion "could have ended tragically for a family, but for the fact that the mother had a .38 revolver and knew how to use it."
As correspondent Mike Emanuel gave a report on the White House's interest in gun-violence legislation, text aired on-screen that read: "Mom's Shooting of Intruder Puts New Twist On Gun Control Debate."
On the December 5 edition of The Five, the co-hosts recited two stories of homeowners who had repelled invading criminals with firearms in the first five minutes of the show. Co-host Andrea Tantaros concluded that "burglars are less apt to break in if they think they might have their brains blown out."
Yet Fox's emphasis on these reports hides the fact that such successful self-defense stories are extremely rare. In a 2011 report summarizing scientific literature about the health risks and benefits of having a gun in the home, David Hemenway, director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, found that one study in Atlanta determined victims of break-ins used firearms in self-defense 1.5 percent of the time. Hemenway cited a second study that found guns were used in self-defense by victims of sexual assault in fewer than 0.1 percent of incidents. He concluded that "genuine self-defense gun use is rare" and that "the evidence does not indicate that having a gun reduces the risk of being a victim of a crime or that having a gun reduces the risk of injury during the commission of a crime."
The co-hosts of Fox News' The Five attempted to defend their mockery of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent concussion by dismissing their remarks as mere "skepticism."
On December 15, The Washington Post reported that Clinton sustained a concussion after she fainted due to dehydration. After the incident, the State Department explained that due to the concussion, Clinton would have to postpone her testimony on the attack in Benghazi, Libya.
On Friday, The Five co-host Greg Gutfeld asked why it was considered "offensive to question the odd timing of an illness," and insisted that he and his Fox colleagues were simply "exercising of our First Amendment right to ask questions." He accused journalists of "ginning up fake hatred, or outrage, towards skeptics," and claimed "skepticism" was on "life support."
Co-host Andrea Tantaros further accused Clinton of "a history" of "being a professional victim." Tantaros concluded that though some want her and others to apologize for their Clinton remarks, she does not think it's necessary.
However, the previous remarks from The Five co-hosts on Clinton's concussion were not merely skepticism, but outright mockery. They suggested Clinton faked her condition to avoid giving testimony on the Benghazi attack. On December 19, The Five co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle accused Clinton of a "duck and cover," and Gutfeld asked, "How could she get a concussion when she's been ducking everything [related to Benghazi]?"
These remarks were echoed by other Fox figures, who accused Clinton of having "Benghazi allergy" and faking a "diplomatic illness."
From the December 20 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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While discussing the recent murder of Kasandra Perkins at the hands of her boyfriend, NFL player Jovan Belcher, Fox News host Dana Perino claimed women who are "victims of violence" need to "make better decisions." Perino's comment is just the latest in a long line of Fox figures placing blame on female victims of crime or alleged crimes.
From the November 30 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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Right-wing media figures have attacked President Obama's proposal to increase tax rates on the wealthy to Clinton-era levels by suggesting the federal government should return to Clinton-era spending levels as well. But experts agree that the federal government's current spending levels are largely dictated by the economic downturn and an aging population.
On Fox News' The Five, co-host Andrea Tantaros reacted to an op-ed by investor Warren Buffett by saying, "Don't you love all this conversation about going back to Clinton-era tax rates, but no one wants to talk about going back to Clinton-era spending, right? That would be a far cry as well." On his radio program, Rush Limbaugh echoed Tantaros, saying the best way to argue against calls to raise taxes on the wealthy is to reply "OK, Mr. Democrat friend, then let's go back to the Clinton-era spending levels, too. How about that? If we had prosperity at the Clinton-era tax rates, and the Clinton-era spending, then let's cut spending."
But calling for a return to Clinton era spending levels ignores an array of economic issues. The most glaring problem with the comparison is the fact that it does not take into account the gap in economic output caused by the recent recession. The chart below shows potential GDP compared to actual GDP:
From the November 27 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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