A look at how right-wing media ran with Fox contributor Karl Rove's speculation that Hillary Clinton suffered brain damage from a fall in 2012, laying the groundwork to establish the baseless smear as an issue for the 2016 presidential race.
From the April 30 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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Fox News attacked the Obama administration for announcing a delay to the Affordable Care Act that resembles administration delays by other presidents, such as President Bush's 2006 delay of the Medicare Part D penalty.
From the October 31 edition of Fox News' The Real Story:
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From the September 20 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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Fox News hosted former Bush official Bradley Blakeman to discuss "selling a military strike on Syria," and in the course of that discussion Blakeman argued that "we shouldn't be sold a war." But Blakeman was part of a team that "sold" the public on the Iraq War, and he currently touts his own role in selling the "surge" strategy in Iraq in order to attract consulting clients.
Appearing on America Live, Fox News regular Blakeman claimed that President Obama was "pleading us into war" and contrasted that with President Bush "leading us into war." He went on to criticize the Obama administration's conduct in presenting the case for military strikes on Syria, noting that "we shouldn't be sold a war" because "a case should be made, deliberately and over time for why it's in our best interests to do that."
Fox News host Martha MacCallum used the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington to accuse President Obama of squandering a unique opportunity to tell African-Americans "to stand up and take responsibility" and "profess that there are no excuses for anybody in this country."
On the August 23 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, MacCallum moderated a discussion of the 50th anniversary of the March with Fox contributor Juan Williams and Republican strategist Brad Blakeman. After Blakeman accused "half-black" Obama of injecting himself in racial issues instead of bringing people together, MacCallum asked whether the president "squandered a unique opportunity... to profess that there are no excuses for anybody in this country." She added that Obama may have squandered an opportunity to say, "no, you are not a victim, you need to stand up and take responsibility":
After the segment, MacCallum sent out a tweet asking whether the president missed an "opportunity to stand for responsible Fatherhood":
Media figures have often presented a skewed view of what constitutes "middle class" that includes people making many times the average American income.
This tendency leads those journalists to distort of policy disputes about income and taxation, misleading their audiences in ways that tend to favor the extremely wealthy. By failing to accurately distinguish between high and middle income earners, reporting can overemphasize the impact of fiscal policies targeted at high earners and give the impression that, say, tax increases on wealthy taxpayers actually affect middle class families.
While mainstream journalists at times fall into this rhetorical trap, right-wing media who oppose tax increases on the wealthy use this twisting of income groups to bolster their ideological argument. Time and again, six-figure incomes have been described by conservative media as "not rich." In some instances, those who earn five times the median household income are described as "middle income."
Frequent Fox News guest and former Bush staffer Brad Blakeman mischaracterized President Obama's upcoming visit to Africa, calling it a "vacation" and ignoring the diplomatic and economic priorities of the trip.
On the June 24 edition of Fox News' America Live, Megyn Kelly hosted Brad Blakeman, former Deputy Assistant for Appointments and Scheduling under President George W. Bush, and Democratic strategist Julie Roginsky to discuss President Obama's upcoming visit to Africa. Roginsky reiterated during the segment that Obama's trip is an "investment opportunity," and an effort to stimulate business for American investors. Blakeman argued with Roginsky, calling the visit "a vacation in the guise of a trade investment mission":
But, as Stephen Hayes at US News & World Report's blog pointed out, the president's trip will focus on increasing "U.S. investment in and trade with Africa." Hayes noted that the trip will focus on areas of Africa that have been previously overlooked, but now have opportunities to grow economically and partner with U.S. businesses:
From the May 3 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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After downplaying the effects of the government spending cuts known as sequestration, right-wing media are now claiming that President Obama is trying to maximize sequestration pain.
From the March 1 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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On Fox News, Republican strategist Brad Blakeman denied the scientific consensus on manmade climate change, saying "For every one scientist that says there is, I'll give you 10 scientists that said it's not manmade":
But in fact, credible surveys have repeatedly found that the vast majority of climate scientists agree humans are changing the climate. For instance, a 2009 survey published by the American Geophysical Union found that 97 percent of those who specialize in climate science said human activity is contributing to rising global temperatures:
Fox News contributor Bradley Blakeman joins the right-wing media's assault on early voting by misreading the Constitution to fashion an argument that our founding document forbids early voting. In a Newsmax column, he argues that the Constitution requires that all votes be cast on a single day, although it contains no such requirement.
The Constitution provides in Article 2, Section 1 that:
The Congress may determine the Time of chusing [sic] the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.
Under the Electoral College system established by the Constitution, voters choose electors, who elect the president. Thus, the Constitution sets out three -- and only three -- rules regarding the timing of voting in presidential elections. One, Congress determines when voters choose electors. Two, Congress determines "the day" on which electors cast their votes for president. And three, the day electors cast their votes "shall be the same throughout the United States."
Blakeman, a former Bush administration official, misreads these three rules as an argument that early voting is unconstitutional because "[o]ur Founding Fathers specifically set forth 'a national Election Day' -- not days." He also writes that:
I believe the Founding Fathers set forth one day for voting because they knew that in order to best execute a fair election and in order for Americans to understand and appreciate their right to vote that voting should involve some level of "sacrifice" of time and effort.
The Constitution is clear. Congress is given the responsibility to set a single day for a national election -- not days. States have no right to subvert the clear directive and intent of the U.S. Constitution when it comes to national voting.
This argument is simply wrong. The Constitution says nothing about "a national election day" or "a single day for national elections." The Founders never "set forth one day for voting." They did provide in the Constitution that presidential electors cast their votes on the same day, but the Constitution clearly distinguishes that process from voters going to the polls.
Blakeman may simply be confused about what the Constitution actually says, because he writes that the relevant provision of the document is "Article 2, Section 1: Clause 4: Election Day". In fact, the phrase "Election Day" does not appear in the original text of the Constitution. Of course, subheadings added later by editors of various published editions of the Constitution do not alter the document's meaning or have the force of law.
Blakeman is correct that in 1845 Congress passed legislation establishing a single date for voters to choose electors. But early voting and absentee voting, in which voters in many states cast ballots over a period of days or weeks, do not prevent ballots from being counted, and electors chosen, on a single day. And in any case, arguments about the law establishing a national election day are irrelevant to Blakeman's misreading of the Constitution.
Fox News stoked fears of terrorism and distorted the facts surrounding the 9-11 attacks to slam the Obama administration's deferred action decision, with anchor Gregg Jarrett suggesting that President Obama "is making it easier for acts of terrorism to be committed." Jarrett and guest Brad Blakeman, a Republican strategist and former Bush White House official, used the 9-11 hijackers as examples for what could possibly happen if undocumented youths are allowed to obtain driver's licenses under the plan.
Not only is it demeaning to compare undocumented youth who have grown up in the United States to the 9-11 hijackers; it's also ridiculous knowing the facts surrounding 9-11.
On June 15, the Obama administration announced an immigration plan that will give eligible undocumented youth a chance to avoid deportation and obtain a legal work permit. The program went into effect on Wednesday. Depending on the state, some undocumented youths will also be able to acquire driver's licenses and Social Security cards.
On America's Newsroom this morning, Jarrett and Blakeman seized on the possibility of undocumented youths obtaining state driver's licenses to link the youths to the 9-11 hijackers and fearmonger about the potential for more terrorist attacks. Blakeman asserted that the hijackers "used driver's licenses" to "get on planes," and that they did so while here illegally.
Picking up the theme, Jarrett then said to Blakeman:
JARRETT: California, for example, is now using the president's executive decision on deferred status to give people who are here illegally a driver's license. Now the 9-11 hijackers, many of whom were here illegally as well, obtained state licenses using them to board the airplanes. Could one argue, Brad, that the president is making it easier for acts of terrorism to be committed? Do you worry about that?
In fact, at the time of the attacks, only two of the 19 hijackers were in violation of their immigration status for overstaying their visas, and none would have qualified under the deferred action program. The 9-11 hijackers entered the country legally on non-immigrant visas.