From the April 22 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Fox News host Brian Kilmeade thinks he's found the explanation for how someone was able to set off bombs at the Boston Marathon: President Obama's supposed policy of "disengaging from the Middle East."
Kilmeade linked the alleged actions of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar to President Obama's foreign policy during his April 19 radio program. Kilmeade stated: "We had a guy in yesterday that worked with Richard Holbrooke and Hillary Clinton and he's so disappointed that we're disengaging from the Middle East. But you talk to these radicals in the Middle East and they say, 'America, don't get involved, leave us alone.' So like it or not, this president has left them alone. And guess what happens? Now the IEDs are blowing up in our streets. So what are we supposed to learn from that?"
NBC News has reported that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was born in Kyrgyzstan and became a naturalized American citizen on Sept. 11, 2012, while his late older brother, Tamerlan, killed during a recent firefight with law enforcement, was born in Russia. They reportedly came to the United States in 2002 or 2003 with their family, which is of Chechen origin.
From the April 19 edition of Fox News Radio's Kilmeade & Friends:
KILMEADE: Joe, how much are you shocked that a guy who came here when he was nine -- at nineteen, is out to blow up Americans?
CALLER: I'm not. I'm not shocked at all. I think it's -- I think it's a societal issue, I think that there's a -- that there's a definite view of America that's propagated by the political system that's going on now, and I'm not really shocked that people are disenchanted and have this view we have to, you know, get back at them. It's unfortunate, it shouldn't be that way, but you know, with an administration like we have now, and the propaganda that's going on, it just helps these people to further their psychosis.
KILMEADE: Yeah, it is two things going on. And it's got to be frustrating. We had a guy in yesterday that worked with Richard Holbrooke and Hillary Clinton and he's so disappointed that we're disengaging from the Middle East. But you talk to these radicals in the Middle East and they say, "America, don't get involved, leave us alone." So like it or not, this president has left them alone. And guess what happens? Now the IEDs are blowing up in our streets. So what are we supposed to learn from that?
Kilmeade, who also co-hosts Fox News' Fox & Friends, is hardly an authority on foreign policy or national security issues. Kilmeade has misled his audience about Iraq war intelligence, claimed (repeatedly) that "all terrorists are Muslims," and once remarked that Sen. John McCain "should not be allowed to talk on torture" because "he was tortured."
Fox News figures are dismissing the voices of the families who suffered in a mass shooting in Newtown, CT by claiming they're being used and exploited by Democrats, discounting the efforts they have made to encourage Congress to pass stronger gun laws.
On April 11, the Senate overcame a Republican-led filibuster that tried to block the beginning of debate on stronger gun laws with a 68-31 vote. The impetus for the new gun proposals was driven by the December mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut that left 26 victims dead, most of them young children. President Obama had been urging Congress to act to strengthen guns laws in response to the shooting for some time.
According to several Fox News figures, Obama has been using the families of the Newtown shooting victims as props for a political agenda.
On April 11, Fox News host Sean Hannity called the effort to strengthen gun laws "naked exploitation of dead children and grieving families," while his guest Ann Coulter said that Democrats are "play[ing] with these victims." The previous night, Hannity stated that the president "is once again using families of tragedy as props for his agenda." Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade said on his April 11 radio show that Obama is "using the Newtown families to push for background checks." Fox News White House reporter Ed Henry similarly said on April 9 that "for the second straight day, the White House used the victims of the Newtown tragedy to make their case." On his April 9 radio show, Fox News host Mike Huckabee suggested that taking some of the relatives of the Newtown shooting victims to Washington, DC on Air Force One to make their case for stronger gun laws was "an exploitation of those parents."
Such an attitude does a disservice to the many Newtown families that want tougher gun laws in the wake of their tragedies. Several of the families appeared on CBS' 60 Minutes on April 7 to discuss what kind of gun violence prevention measures they would like to see signed into law, saying that universal background checks and a ban on high-capacity magazines were important. After the vote that broke the GOP's threatened filibuster, more than 30 families of Newtown victims released a statement criticizing those who tried block an up-or-down vote on new gun legislation, saying that "[t]he senators who have vowed to filibuster this bill should be ashamed of their attempt to silence efforts to prevent the next American tragedy."
Fox News campaigned against New York City fast food workers who are striking to secure higher wages by attacking their work ethic and pushing falsehoods about the minimum wage that they are paid.
On April 4, hundreds of fast food workers in New York City walked out of their workplaces, striking against their current wage of $7.25 an hour and pushing to be paid a livable wage of $15 an hour. The New York Times reported that many of the striking workers "say they can barely get by on the $7.25, $8 or $9 an hour that many receive."
On April 5, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade responded to the strike by claiming that the minimum wage many fast food workers are paid was never supposed to be a "career wage" and if workers wanted to earn more, they need to get an additional job or work harder in order to earn a pay raise or promotion. Co-host Steve Doocy followed by hyping a restaurant industry group claim that raising the minimum wage would prove ruinous for the industry and for workers:
KILMEADE: So I believe, you -- minimum wage was never meant to be a career wage. If you work hard you will get higher -- you will get more money. Here's the other thing, as hard as it is in some cases, because you are a single mom or a single dad, you've got to get another job. You've got to get another job on top of that so you have two incomes. Hopefully, that will change.
DOOCY: Brian you hit it on the nose I think the key thing. If it is a minimum wage job, expect to get paid the minimum wage. The National Restaurant Association said that they provide 13 million jobs, and those jobs could be jeopardized across the country if the minimum wage goes up. The industry says one of the best paths to achieving the American dream is to start with an entry level, minimum-wage job that is minimum wage.
According to an August 2012 National Employment Law Project report, lower-wage jobs, including "food preparation workers," accounted for 58 percent of job growth during the recovery from the recession. And according to 2011 Bureau of Labor Statistics data, nearly half of minimum wage earners, like those fast food workers on strike, are 25 years old and older.
The pay these workers receive is worth less and less. A December 2011 Bloomberg article noted that the minimum wage in 2010 was worth 20 percent less than it was in 1967. While the value of the minimum wage has declined, worker productivity has increased. A February Huffington Post article citing the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) noted that if the minimum wage had kept up with worker productivity, it would've reached $21.72 an hour in 2012.
Fox News spent an entire week hyping a supposed "War on Easter," pointing to the decision made by a few school boards to hold "Spring egg hunt[s]" instead of Easter egg hunts. In seven days, Fox devoted 10 segments to what host Bill O'Reilly called the continued "war on Judeo-Christian tradition."
On March 21, O'Reilly lambasted President Obama and the White House for empowering "secular progressives" to pressure school districts around the country to eliminate terms like "Easter bunny" and "Easter egg." O'Reilly complained that "the war on Judeo-Christian tradition continues in some public school districts," citing districts in five states that he said "are having Spring egg events. Moderated by a Spring bunny":
O'REILLY: I know it's stupid. You know it's stupid. But it's happening, and there is a reason why it's happening. Secular progressives are running wild with President Obama in the White House. They feel unchained, liberated and they are trying to diminish any form of religion. The goal is to marginalize religious opposition to secular programs.
In the past week, several Fox shows followed O'Reilly's lead, airing segments that criticized the "P.C. police" and focused on "assaults" that have put Christianity "on the run in this country":
Fox News is reviving conspiratorial questions about federal ammunition purchases that the network previously debunked as the ravings of "those people who are watching us now from a cave in the Rockies where they are provisioned for a year or two."
On March 26, Fox & Friends' Brian Kilmeade highlighted a recent purchase of rounds by the Department of Homeland Security, which Kilmeade suggested raises questions from Congress about "why they need all those bullets. Can someone answer please? Hello?"
In fact, the government has provided a response to Congress, which, as Fox previously reported, "may not calmed have conspiracy theorists, but it has calmed some fears on the Hill."
On the March 22 edition of Special Report, correspondent Douglas McElway reported that when asked by Congress about the reported purchases, DHS responded that ammunition purchases are lower than in previous years. While the law allows DHS to set purchase contracts of billions of rounds in order to reduce prices and save money -- setting off conspiracies about massive purchases -- the government hasn't actually purchased nearly that many rounds.
Later in that broadcast, contributor Charles Krauthammer mocked the ammo conspiracy theorists for "waiting for the Obama coup d'etat, which apparently is not going to come." Krauthammer added, "I hate to disappoint the conspiracy theorists they have to come up with something new. And they will."
Fox News suggested that an attack in Syria might have involved chemical weapons from Iraq, pushing a conspiracy theory that Saddam Hussein hid WMD in other countries prior to the Iraq war. Fox made a similar claim just two days ago.
On March 19, the Syrian government and Syrian rebels accused each other of launching a chemical weapon attack within the country. The United States government has said there is no confirmation that such a strike occurred, but the United Nations announced on March 21 that it will investigate the accusations that chemical weapons were used.
On the March 22 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade asked Fox News military analyst and birther Thomas McInerney: "What are the chances of the return address on these chemicals being from Iraq?" McInerney said that this was conjecture but that there was still a high probability of that being the case, explaining: "[W]e do know prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom that there was a lot of vehicles crossing the border into Syria ... I think that it would be a very high probability if we could get into those bunkers, that they would have Iraqi signatures on them."
The claim that Iraq transferred WMD to other countries before the U.S.-led invasion is not supported by evidence.
In 2004, the CIA's Iraq Survey Group (ISG) released a report that found that Iraq "ended the nuclear program in 1991 following the Gulf war. ISG found no evidence to suggest concerted efforts to restart the program." The report further stated, "While a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions have been discovered, ISG judges that Iraq unilaterally destroyed its undeclared chemical weapons stockpile in 1991."
The ISG also concluded that after 1995, Iraq "abandoned its existing [biological warfare] program in the belief that it constituted a potential embarrassment, whose discovery would undercut Baghdad's ability to reach its overarching goal of obtaining relief from UN sanctions." The report stated that Iraq appeared to have destroyed its undeclared stocks of biological warfare-related weapons in 1991 and 1992.
A 2005 Associated Press report stated that intelligence officials said they found no evidence "indicating that WMD or significant amounts of components and equipment were transferred from Iraq to neighboring Syria, Jordan or elsewhere." The AP report continued:
The Iraq Survey Group's chief, Charles Duelfer, is expected to submit the final installments of his report in February. A small number of the organization's experts will remain on the job in case new intelligence on Iraqi WMD is unearthed.
But the officials familiar with the search say U.S. authorities have found no evidence that former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein transferred WMD or related equipment out of Iraq.
Last week, a congressional official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said suggestions that weapons or components were sent from Iraq were based on speculation stemming from uncorroborated information.
On the March 20 edition of America's Newsroom, Fox News' Oliver North made a similar claim of the Iraq war, saying: "We got rid of a brutal despot who used chemical and biological weapons against his own people. Weapons of mass destruction that he probably exported to Sudan before we got there."
Fox News is pointing to one struggling solar company to suggest that the solar industry is "tanking our economy," ignoring rapid growth in the clean energy sector that has helped, not hurt, our economy.
SoloPower, a California-based solar panel manufacturer, recently announced it will lay off workers in order to cut costs. The company received a federal loan guarantee but has been unable to draw down on it as it has not met the requirements. Fox News seized on SoloPower's difficulties as evidence the solar industry "might be tanking our economy" during a Fox & Friends segment called "Who's Ruining the Economy?" that regularly attacks green energy investments.
In fact, solar industry jobs grew more than twice as fast as the rest of the economy between 2003 - 2010. While some solar manufacturers have struggled to compete with heavily subsidized Chinese competitors, falling solar panel prices are driving record installations and putting solar energy on track to become cost-competitive with fossil fuels within a decade.
Experts note that it is common for an industry to consolidate as it matures, as some companies are out-competed or bought out by larger companies. But Fox News has repeatedly pointed to individual companies in order to smear the entire clean energy industry. This segment was no exception, featuring a graphic purportedly showing the Obama administration's "failed" clean energy investments, most of which have not actually failed.
While Fox News claims solar power is "tanking our economy," it campaigns for policies that could actually inflict severe harm on the economy such as Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan, which would impose severe spending cuts while possibly raising taxes on the middle class.
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 Ainsley Earhardt misled viewers to believe that the U.S. Postal Service used taxpayer dollars to provide upscale accommodations and activities for a leadership conference, even though the USPS does not receive taxpayer funds for operational costs, and conference attendees have to finance their own entertainment.
In an effort to deal with budget shortfalls, the USPS has used its annual National Postal Forum Conference as "a revenue-generating opportunity," Postal Service spokeswoman Zy Richardson told Government Executive. The agency said that last year's conference brought in about $160 million in revenue from new sales.
But Fox hosts highlighted the conference as a waste of taxpayer dollars, focusing on the supposed extravagance of the event and mocking its stated goal of developing "sales leads":
STEVE DOOCY: Because let's face it, it's so depressing, demoralizing, working at the Postal Service these days. Don't you think those guys should just be able to go out and, you know, blow a bunch of dough, and blow off some steam?
BRIAN KILMEADE: Not really.
EARHARDT: Your money, your tax dollars.
According to the USPS website, the agency does not receive any taxpayer dollars to cover its operational costs. Like other expenses, the National Postal Forum Conference is funded by the agency's $65 billion in annual revenue from the sale of postage, products, and services.
The National Postal Forum, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the responsiveness and efficiency of the U.S. mail system, designed the conference "to find innovative solutions and learn about the latest technologies that are shaping the mailing industry's future." Richardson emphasized that the conference "is a public event that anyone can attend. It's not a secret, internal event."
Doocy's suggestion that the conference's cost covers expensive activities like golf is also incorrect. As Government Executive reported:
[T]he golfing is not included in the registration fees for the conference and any Postal Service employee participating must pay his or her own way to participate.
Fox & Friends misleadingly claimed that federal revenue will be historically high this year to push against calls for additional tax increases. In fact, projected revenue as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) remains below the historical average since World War II.
Fox News deceptively edited a video of remarks recently made by President Obama to falsely accuse him of backtracking from earlier warnings on the harmful effects of upcoming spending cuts.
On February 27, President Obama spoke at a Business Council dinner about the harmful economic effects of across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration. Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade introduced a deceptively edited selection from these remarks, saying that the remarks were evidence that Obama "overstated a little bit" the effects of sequestration. After airing the deceptively edited video, co-host Gretchen Carlson said: "Now he has to backtrack on his strategy. Why? Because come Friday or Saturday, if suddenly the world didn't fall apart, his credibility would fall apart."
Fox also aired the following graphic during the edited video of Obama's remarks:
But Fox deceptively removed crucial context from its video of Obama's comments. The full context of Obama's remarks shows that he was saying that the effects of the spending cuts may not hit the wider economy right away [what Fox provided is in bold]:
OBAMA: I should point out, and I am sure you have heard from a number of experts and economists that this is not a cliff, but it is a tumble downward. It's conceivable that the first week, the first two weeks, the first three weeks, the first month, that unless your business is directly related to the defense department, unless you live in a town that is directly impacted by a military installation, unless you are a family that is trying to figure out where to keep your kids during the day because you just lost a Head Start slot, a lot of people may not notice the full impact of the sequester. But this is going to be a big hit on the economy, and both private sector as well as public sector economists are estimating that we could lose as much as six-tenths of a point, maybe a little bit more, of economic growth. And that means inevitably hundreds of thousands of people who are not going to get jobs that otherwise would get them. It means that you have fewer customers with money in their pockets ready to buy your business's -- your goods and services. It means that the global economy will be weaker, because although we obviously still have a long way to go in the recovery, we are doing significantly better than some of the other developed nations. And the worst part of it is, it's entirely unnecessary.
Fox & Friends removed Obama's assertion that it's possible that many Americans may not feel the effects of the cuts for several weeks to manufacture an accusation that Obama has backtracked from previous claims about the harmful effects of the sequestration.
As Obama mentioned in his remarks, economic forecasters agree that the sequestration cuts will harm both economic growth and job creation. The Bipartisan Policy Center's Steve Bell wrote that over one million jobs could be lost due to sequestration and that economic growth would be slower "because of the ripple effect of the sequester cuts on smaller businesses and on government personnel." Furthermore, The Wall Street Journal reported that a survey conducted by the National Association of Business Economists of 49 economists "found that 95% say the uncertain U.S. fiscal situation is a drag on the country's growth prospects. Those worries aren't limited to the budget slashing set to take place on Friday alone, but also include a possible late-March government shutdown and a spring debate over the debt ceiling."
Media Matters researcher Ellie Sandmeyer contributed research to this post.
Fox News personalities are hyping fears that a supervised release of undocumented immigrants will lead to more crime. But the immigrants affected by this policy are still subject to deportation and face restrictions such as checking in with authorities and wearing ankle monitoring bracelets.
Fox News is mocking President Barack Obama for saying the U.S. must use less oil in a recent interview, suggesting it was a callous and unfounded idea. But experts across the political spectrum agree that the only way to reduce our vulnerability to gasoline price spikes is to cut our oil dependence.
On Wednesday, the president gave an interview to a local South Carolina news station. Responding to a question on high gasoline prices, President Obama said he was "proud" that oil production during his tenure has been high, but emphasized that the "overall economy [must] use less oil."Obama referenced ways that he has worked toward this goal, including implementing fuel economy standards that a group of retired military officers and business leaders called "the most important energy security accomplishment in decades," and proposing further research into alternative transportation technology.
On Thursday, Fox & Friends' Brian Kilmeade asked, "really? So I should stop driving to work, I should start jogging? I'm not really sure what that means." Steve Doocy added, "So if you want to save money, use less oil. Just stop driving. Don't go anywhere, stay in your house, watch television." At no point did the co-hosts reference the policies that Obama specifically cited so that we can move toward lower oil use economy-wide:
After glossing over state Republicans' role in exacerbating long lines at the ballot box, three Fox hosts mocked the hours-long wait and multiple trips a 102-year-old woman endured in order to cast her vote in 2012.
On Fox News Radio's Kilmeade & Friends, host Brian Kilmeade and Fox's Martha MacCallum and Bill Hemmer laughed off the difficulties 102-year-old Desiline Victor endured in order to vote in the 2012 election. Victor, who was invited to the State of the Union address and whom President Obama applauded for enduring a long wait to vote, had to make two trips to the polls and wait in line for over three hours before she was able to cast her ballot. Discussing Victor, MacCallum wondered, "What's the big deal?" and said, "This is such a non-issue. Ridiculous." Hemmer added that at the State of the Union, "They held her up as a victim. What was she a victim of?"
But long lines at polling places are widely acknowledged as a major issue nationwide. In Victor's home state of Florida alone, at least 201,000 eligible voters reportedly did not cast ballots because they were discouraged by lengthy wait times.
Earlier, on MacCallum and Hemmer's show America's Newsroom, Fox correspondent Eric Shawn reported on proposals to extend early voting to ease the problem of long lines at the polls. Shawn noted that Florida had the longest polling place lines in 2012, and then played a clip of Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner addressing Florida's issues, stating that Detzner is "working on ways to fix the problems," including an extension of the state's early voting period in order to shorten voters' wait.
Shawn failed to reveal, however, that Detzner played a role in exacerbating this problem in Florida.