In recent days, Fox News hosts and contributors have advanced the false claim -- pushed by Republican lawmakers -- that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid included a provision in the recovery bill directing that $8 billion be spent on a high-speed rail line between Southern California and Las Vegas. In fact, the bill does not direct high-speed rail funds to any specific project, and any funding would be allocated by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman.
The Washington Post's Charles Krauthammer echoed myths about the economic recovery legislation, asserting that the bill contains "hundreds of billions that have nothing to do with stimulus, that Congress's own budget office says won't be spent until 2011 and beyond." In fact, economists, including Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Elmendorf, have stated that all of the government spending in the recovery package "provides some stimulative effect." Elmendorf has also said that fiscal stimulus in 2011 or later would be effective in the current economic situation.
On Special Report, Fred Barnes and Charles Krauthammer echoed other conservatives in claiming that the Community Reinvestment Act and efforts to expand affordable housing are at least in part to blame for the home foreclosure crisis. But as experts have noted, the CRA does not govern the vast majority of subprime lenders.
Discussing reports that President-elect Barack Obama is considering naming Sen. Hillary Clinton secretary of state, several media figures have responded with smears, including speculation that Clinton would pursue her own agenda as secretary of state and not Obama's, references to Clinton as Obama's "enem[y]," and speculation that Obama is considering the nomination because if Clinton remains in the Senate, she poses a threat of challenging him for the Democratic nomination in 2012 and can "mak[e] trouble" for him in the Senate.
On Special Report, Charles Krauthammer said, "The Obama campaign and the Democrats will say that [Sen. John] McCain has his Reverend [John] Hagee, and Obama has his reverend, and they disavowed them, and they're sort of morally equivalent." Krauthammer continued, "The obvious counterargument, which the Democrats refuse to accept, is that presidential candidates are endorsed by hundreds of people, half of whom they don't know, some of whom are scoundrels and rogues whom they then dissociate themselves from." But McCain, by his own admission, actively sought Hagee's endorsement, despite Hagee's numerous controversial comments.
CNN's Carol Costello said that audience response at a Barack Obama rally is "a scene some increasingly find not inspirational, but 'creepy,' " quoting columnists who have likened Obama supporters to members of a cult or described their enthusiasm as "creepy." On-screen text during Costello's report read: "OBAMA-MANIA BACKLASH" and "PASSION 'CULT-LIKE' TO SOME." Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer similarly cited other writers to make the same assertion: "ABC's Jake Tapper notes the 'Helter-Skelter cult-ish qualities' of 'Obama worshipers,' what Joel Stein of the Los Angeles Times calls 'the Cult of Obama.' "
On Fox News' Special Report, Charles Krauthammer claimed that Sen. Barack Obama's policy regarding Iran's purported nuclear weapons program "takes all aggression, all threats, everything serious off the table in advance." But in an interview with The New York Times that formed the basis for an article Krauthammer cited, Obama did not take military action against Iran "off the table." When asked whether he would "retain a military option for striking Iran's nuclear facilities," Obama said, "I don't think the president of the United States takes military options off the table, but I think that we obviously have to measure costs and benefits in all the decisions that we make."
In a blog post on National Review Online's The Corner, Michael Ledeen wrote that it "was under [retired Army Gen. John] Abizaid that the copious evidence of Iranian activity was suppressed, and we, let's say, took it easy on the thousands of Revolutionary Guards killers running all over the country." While several NRO contributors criticized MoveOn.org for its "General Betray Us" ad and Democrats for not condemning it, no NRO contributor has similarly condemned Ledeen's criticism of an American general.
Among the reasons cited by Charles Krauthammer that Al Qaeda has not and cannot "hit us" is because the Bush administration has waged an "incredibly effective war in Afghanistan" that he said has "expelled Al Qaeda and scattered it, and has kept it off-balance for six years now." In fact, the July 2007 National Intelligence Estimate concluded that Al Qaeda "has protected or regenerated key elements of its Homeland attack capability" including a "safehaven" in Pakistan. Krauthammer also credited "secret prisons and the interrogation which yielded and interrogated people like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed"; but even supporters of the CIA's interrogation and detention program reportedly acknowledge that much of the information that coercion produces, including information gathered from Mohammed, is unreliable.