Several Fox News personalities smeared President Obama as an appeaser for using the phrase "peace in our time" during his second inaugural address. But President Reagan used the same words in a speech.
During his second inaugural address, Obama committed to "defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law." He added that the United States will support democracy across the globe and be "a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice." Obama explained that we must do this "not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity, human dignity and justice."
Fox contributors Jonah Goldberg, Charles Krauthammer, and John Bolton seized on Obama's use of the words "peace in our time," claiming that Obama's use of the term recalled former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who used a similar phrase in 1938 when he announced that he had made a deal with Adolf Hitler to allow Nazi Germany to take over part of Czechoslovakia without firing a shot.
But Obama is not the only president to use the words "peace in our time." In a 1983 speech at a presentation ceremony for the Peace Corps Awards, Reagan said:
I am very pleased to honor these six fine Americans who have volunteered their time, skills, and experience to the cause of peace.
Seldom are we able to point to one person's work and pronounce it not only good and worthwhile but also a step toward building peace in our time. And today, we enjoy that good fortune and we can measure it sixfold. We're honoring six Americans who have dedicated themselves to the cause of peace -- Americans who have traveled voluntarily to unfamiliar lands to help citizens of developing nations. [emphasis added]
In 1985, the leading rabbi of the American conservative Jewish movement also used the phrase "peace in our time" while discussing potential arms talks between Reagan and Soviet premiere Mikhail Gorbachev.
This history leaves us with the question: Do Goldberg, Krauthammer, and Bolton think Reagan was an appeaser?
As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton prepares to testify before Congress about the September 11 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, Media Matters reviews the falsehoods conservative media have pushed regarding Clinton and her response to the attack.
The right-wing media are claiming that the "liberal agenda" President Obama outlined in his second inaugural address is out of the mainstream, even though polling has shown that the majority of Americans agree with Obama's stances on marriage equality, sustainable energy, and other issues.
Fox News host Jenna Lee touted the fact that a proposal by Fox contributor Charles Krauthammer was being considered by House Republicans. Fox has a long history of attempting to influence GOP policies and campaigns.
During the January 18 edition of Fox News' Happening Now, co-host Jenna Lee reported on a House Republican plan to increase the debt ceiling through May 1 in order to get the Senate to pass a budget. Lee noted the plan's similarity to a recommendation by Fox contributor Charles Krauthammer in an op-ed published by The Washington Post and Fox News, concluding "That was the idea put forward by Charles Krauthammer, maybe it was in the works already."
As right-wing media figures compared President Obama to Hitler and Stalin over his attempt to strengthen gun laws, Fox News figures stoked fears that his policies would lead to civil war and violence.
After reports that Vice President Joe Biden included possible executive action as part of an effort to stop gun violence like the tragic killings at Sandy Hook elementary,conservatives compared the president to Hitler and Stalin and invoked Nazi Germany to oppose his policies.At the same time, Fox News figures attacked Obama using violent rhetoric that warned of civil war, revolution, and insurrection if his policies on guns, spending and entitlement reform are implemented.
On his Fox News show, Bill O'Reilly claimed that Obama could choose "to be a good president or whether he just wants to have blood in the streets," arguing that the president should cut spending on programs such as Medicare and Social Security.
From the January 9 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends First:
Loading the player ...
From the January 4 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:
Loading the player ...
Conservative media figures have long insisted that top marginal income tax rates effectively target small businesses. This "zombie lie" has sprung up throughout President Obama's first term as an argument against Democratic proposals to renew the Bush-era rates only for middle- and low-income Americans. Despite continual efforts by experts to debunk this claim, media figures continue to repeat these lies in the 2012 edition of the fight over high-income tax rates.
Nearly all of Fox News' evening news shows ridiculed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for having to postpone her testimony on the Benghazi attack because of a concussion she suffered after fainting due to dehydration. Their mockery was an attempt to downplay the concussion and suggest Clinton was faking injury to avoid giving testimony, a notion the State Department has called "wild speculation based on no information."
The Washington Post reported on December 15 that Clinton sustained a concussion after she fainted due to dehydration while at home a week prior. After the incident, the State Department explained that Clinton would have to postpone her testimony about the attack on Benghazi due to the concussion.
Following the State Department's announcement, Fox News contributor John Bolton, appearing on On The Record, suggested Clinton was faking "diplomatic illness" to avoid testifying about Benghazi. The State Department's Victoria Nuland lashed out at Bolton for his remarks, labeling them "wild speculation based on no information."
Now Fox News' evening shows have decided to join Bolton in accusing Clinton of faking her condition and make it seem she is trying to avoid giving her testimony. Co-host of Fox News' The Five, Kimberly Guilfoyle, accused Clinton of running "a duck and cover" after suffering the concussion. Co-host Greg Gutfeld went on to ask, "How can she get a concussion when she has been ducking everything [related to Benghazi]?"
In The Washington Post, Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer admitted that right-to-work laws lead to lower wages for workers -- conflicting with the narrative promoted by Fox News that such laws increase wages.
In his column, Krauthammer claimed that recently passed right-to-work laws in Michigan were "inevitable" and that "the entire Rust Belt will eventually follow because the heyday of the sovereign private-sector union is gone." Krauthammer wrote that such laws could possibly bring down unemployment, but he also admitted that President Obama's statement that right-to-work laws give workers "the right to work for less money" was correct:
Principle and hypocrisy aside, however, the president's statement has some validity. Let's be honest: Right-to-work laws do weaken unions. And de-unionization can lead to lower wages.
Obama calls this a race to the bottom. No, it's a race to a new equilibrium that tries to maintain employment levels, albeit at the price of some modest wage decline. It is a choice not to be despised.
I have great admiration for the dignity and protections trade unionism has brought to American workers. I have no great desire to see the private-sector unions defenestrated.
Bill O'Reilly deleted almost the entire tenure of George W. Bush to falsely allege that President Obama has borrowed more money than all past presidents combined.
During his Fox News program, O'Reilly criticized Obama over the size of the national debt and claimed, "It is hard to believe, but in the last four years, the Obama administration has borrowed more money than every other president combined." Yet O'Reilly then described that time frame as being "from George Washington through the first five months of Bush the younger's administration."
Perhaps O'Reilly chose to exclude the majority of Bush's presidency to avoid acknowledging that the national debt nearly doubled during Bush's two terms. According to the Treasury Department's daily debt calculator, when Bush took office on January 20, 2001, total debt stood at $5.728 trillion. The national debt on January 20, 2009, Bush's last day in office, was $10.627 trillion.
O'Reilly claims Obama "borrowed more money than every other president combined"; if this were true, Obama would have added more than $10.627 trillion to the debt during his tenure. But as of publishing, the Treasury Department calculator states the debt is $16.338 trillion -- which means it increased less than six trillion dollars under Obama.
O'Reilly also aired an exchange with Fox contributor Charles Krauthammer that distorted how federal money is being spent. Krauthammer claimed that the government is spending money, in part, on "giving Sandra Fluke free contraceptives that she can't afford." He added, "The fact that Obama's own HHS is trying to loosen the rules, the work rules for welfare, so we go back to the old system of people living forever on the dole -- that's where they want to spend the money."
Krauthammer's claims are disingenuous. Women's health advocate Sandra Fluke did not ask the government to give women free contraceptives; the Affordable Care Act provision for which she advocated requires private health insurance policies, for which most women already pay a premium, to cover women's preventive health care services. While Krauthammer suggested the administration wants people to "live forever on the dole," most food stamp recipients participate in the SNAP program for less than one year. And Health and Human Services did not loosen welfare work requirements, but instead granted states more flexibility in complying with existing rules.
From the December 3 edition of Current's Talking Liberally with Stephanie Miller:
Loading the player ...
From the November 30 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:
Loading the player ...
With the Republican witch hunt against Ambassador Susan Rice showing no signs of abating as they try to derail her possible nomination as Secretary of State, let's consider some additional context surrounding the attacks and examine how Charles Krauthammer has altered his view on the central issue.
This is from a Washington Post column he wrote in January 2005, expressing dismay that Democrats were raising doubts about Condoleezza Rice's qualifications to be Secretary of State, in the wake of her role in marketing the Iraq War [emphasis added]:
Mark Dayton of Minnesota accused her of lying in order to persuade the American people to go to war -- a charge that is not just false but that most Americans don't believe. Rice was not a generator of intelligence. She was a consumer -- of a highly defective product.
Note the very specific point Krauthammer made as he tried to minimize Rice's central role in the unpopular invasion. The columnist and Fox News talker stressed that Rice didn't generate the intelligence about Iraq, which turned out to be "high defective," she merely consumed it.
And because she had merely consumed, and then marketed, bad intelligence about Iraq ("We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud"), Condoleezza Rice wasn't really culpable, which according to Krauthammer meant Democrats were misguided in their criticism of her.
Of course, that conservative spin now seems entirely disingenuous given the fact that a legion of right-wing pundits, including most of the Fox News on-air staff, are waging a war against Susan Rice not for being a "generator" of defective intelligence about the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, but for consuming it.
On November 14, appearing on Fox, Krauthammer expressed indignation over Rice's public comments about Benghazi:
It was clearly defensive and it was also a stonewall. I mean, after all, what she said was absolutely and completely misleading. Either inadvertently, in which case it's complete incompetence, or on purpose, in which case it's deception.
Meanwhile, On Fox & Friends this week, Brian Kilmeade demanded to know what kind of would-be Secretary of State simply relies on talking points given to her by the intelligence community?
Today, Rice's sin in the eyes of Krauthammer and Fox News is that she relayed what the intelligence community told her about Benghazi. For that, she's guilty of incompetence or being misleading, in the words of Krauthammer. But in 2005, Krauthammer stressed that Condoleezza Rice should not be held responsible for relaying what the intelligence community told her about Iraq because she didn't generate it.
Conservative media have been facilitating a witch hunt against U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, claiming that her public statements regarding the attack on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, were untruthful and misleading. In fact, Rice was using talking points that had been approved by the CIA, and she repeatedly emphasized that the information was preliminary.