Right-wing media have inconsistently responded to House Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) failed attempt to pass his proposed "Plan B" to resolve the so-called "fiscal cliff" standoff, including praising conservative Republicans who opposed the measure, expressing regret that the measure didn't pass, questioning the viability of Boehner's speakership, and blaming President Obama for the plan's failure, despite Obama's concessions to the GOP.
The hosts of Fox News Sunday and Meet The Press pushed the myth that Democratic support for gun violence prevention measures was a significant factor in their 1994 and 2000 electoral defeats.
These claims echo a false media narrative that the National Rifle Association is able to influence electoral outcomes and punish politicians who refuse to line up with the pro-gun organization. This narrative is faltering following the 2012 elections where the NRA spent tens of millions of dollars in a largely unsuccessful attempt to defeat candidates in favor of gun violence prevention policies. Furthermore, there is strong public support for specific gun violence prevention measures and claims that Democrats paid a price for supporting gun violence prevention in 1994 and 2000 are overblown.
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace claimed during an interview with Al Gore's 2000 running mate, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), who advocated for universal background checks on gun sales and renewal of the assault weapons ban on the show, that support for such policies contributed to his 2000 defeat:
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: Back in the 90's you supported the Brady law which called for a five day waiting period.
SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN: Right.
WALLACE: You supported the assault weapons ban. Then in 2000 you and Al Gore campaigned around the country and you lost, and a lot of people took as a lesson, part of it was in states like Tennessee and West Virginia, the fact that you were pro-gun control. And quite frankly ever since Democrats have been scared of touching that issue.
Fox's Chris Wallace falsely claimed that President Obama has proposed a plan where Congress would give up its power to control the debt limit. In fact, under the proposal Congress would still have a role in authorizing debt ceiling increases, while making it more difficult for legislators to cause economically harmful and potentially disastrous crises by holding up necessary increases in borrowing authority.
Wallace claimed on Fox News Sunday that the White House is proposing "in effect that Congress gives up its power over the debt limit." He also said to House Speaker John Boehner that Obama and Democrats "want you, Congress, to give up any powers over voting an increase in the debt limit forever."
In reality, according to reporting from The Washington Post's Ezra Klein, the administration's proposal maintains a role for Congress in approving debt limit increases. The proposal would subject attempts by the president to raise the debt limit to a congressional vote. The president can veto a resolution denying the increase in borrowing authority, and Congress can still prevent the ceiling from rising by overriding the veto.
According to Klein, the proposal "could do more to protect our economy than anything else in the debt deal." That's because a fight over the debt limit, like the one that occurred in the summer of 2011, can have negative economic consequences even if the issue is resolved before the administration loses the ability to finance government spending.
The Bipartisan Policy Center estimated that that episode cost taxpayers nearly $19 billion in additional interest costs. If Congress doesn't allow the debt limit to rise, and the U.S. was unable to pay the interest on its debt, "financial markets would unravel and the U.S. and global economy would enter another severe recession," in the words of economist Mark Zandi.
From the November 5 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:
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Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace falsely suggested no assistance was deployed to Benghazi, Libya, during the attack on September 11, continuing the right-wing media myth that President Obama abandoned Americans to die there. In fact, assistance was deployed from Tripoli to Benghazi on the night of the attack.
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace aired a deceptively edited video of President Obama's September 12 Rose Garden address to advance the Mitt Romney lie that Obama waited 2 weeks before calling the attack on a U.S. Consulate in Libya an act of terror.
In the days since Romney falsely claimed that Obama did not immediately call the deadly September 11 attack in Benghazi at act of terror, Fox has aggressively tried to muddle the conversation and introduce false ambiguity in Obama's initial comments.
Wallace claimed he was going to show "what actually happened" when Obama first addressed the attack. He then aired a video that clearly fast forwarded through portions of the speech.
Here is Obama's September 12 speech as aired by Fox:
Yesterday, four of these extraordinary Americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi .... We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others .... Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks .... No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation.
Wallace claimed that Fox excised portions of the speech "to show that there was quite a gap between various things that he was discussing."
But what Fox edited out of the tape is critical to understanding that Obama was very clearly discussing the Consulate attack when he said that "no acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation." In fact, the very next sentence in Obama's speech discussed the victims of the Consulate attack, which he called "this terrible act."
This is what Obama actually said, with the portion aired by Wallace in bold:
Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks. We mourned with the families who were lost on that day. I visited the graves of troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetery, and had the opportunity to say thank you and visit some of our wounded warriors at Walter Reed. And then last night, we learned the news of this attack in Benghazi.
As Americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases, lay down their lives for it. Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those both civilian and military who represent us around the globe.
No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done.
It is only possible to pretend that there is any ambiguity over whether Obama was calling the Benghazi attack an act of terror if you edit the tape.
Fox News has launched a cover up of Mitt Romney's debate falsehood that President Obama waited 14 days before calling the deadly September attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, an act of terror.
While debate moderator Candy Crowley immediately corrected Romney's falsehood during the October 16 presidential debate, pointing out that Obama called the attack an act of terror during his first public comments after it occurred, Fox anchor Bret Baier started the Fox cover up during the network's post-debate coverage. Baier claimed Obama wasn't "specifically speaking about Benghazi" when he referred to the attack on September 12 as an act of terror, but rather was speaking "generically."
Sean Hannity followed suit, claiming that Obama was actually referring to the September 11, 2001, attacks. Straight news anchor John Roberts said that because the remarks "came at the end" of his speech, it's unclear that Obama was referring to Benghazi.
Fox's effort to cover up Romney's debate falsehood continued throughout its October 17 coverage. Watch:
At the same time Fox was trying to deflect from one Romney debate falsehood, they were completely ignoring many other Romney falsehoods from the debate, including his debunked boast that his economic agenda will be responsible for creating 12 million new jobs in 4 years.
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace repeatedly pressed senior Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod to explain why requests for additional security for Libyan diplomats were not heeded. But Wallace failed to clarify that the requests for additional security were focused on the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, not the consulate in Benghazi that was the target of a terrorist attack.
On the October 14 edition of Fox News Sunday, Wallace started his interview with Axelrod by discussing the deaths of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans in an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and airing a statement made by Vice President Joe Biden in the October 11 vice-presidential debate that "we did not know they wanted more security there." Wallace then said to Axelrod: "Just the day before, several State Department officials testified under oath that there were repeated requests for more security that were rejected. What is the vice president talking about?" Wallace later asked Axelrod, "Let me ask you directly: Does the president take personal responsibility for the fact that repeated requests for more security were made and were rejected, and that that may have contributed to the death of those four Americans? Does he take personal responsibility for that?"
But Wallace failed to explain that the requests for extra security were focused on the embassy in Tripoli, not the consulate in Benghazi, and that State Department officials believe that even if the requests had been granted, they would likely not have changed what happened in Benghazi, because they would have been ill-equipped to respond to the large scale of the assault. As The New York Times reported:
In the weeks leading up to the attack last month on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, diplomats on the ground sounded increasingly urgent alarms. In a stream of diplomatic cables, embassy security officers warned their superiors at the State Department of a worsening threat from Islamic extremists, and requested that the teams of military personnel and State Department security guards who were already on duty be kept in service.
The requests were denied, but they were largely focused on extending the tours of security guards at the American Embassy in Tripoli -- not at the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, 400 miles away. And State Department officials testified this week during a hearing by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that extending the tour of additional guards -- a 16-member military security team -- through mid-September would not have changed the bloody outcome because they were based in Tripoli, not Benghazi.
While it is unclear what impact a handful of highly trained additional guards might have had in Benghazi were they able to deploy there, some State Department officials said it would probably not have made any difference in blunting the Sept. 11 assault from several dozen heavily armed militants.
"An attack of that kind of lethality, we're never going to have enough guns," Patrick F. Kennedy, under secretary of state for management, said at Wednesday's hearing. "We are not an armed camp ready to fight it out."
Wallace is muddling facts and geography by overlooking that the security was targeted for the Tripoli embassy, not a consulate hundreds of miles away.
Fox News questioned the legitimacy of the September jobs report while simultaneously airing numbers from the report that could be perceived as bad news for President Obama and labeling them "Fox Facts."
Following the release of the report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Fox and other media outlets have attacked the report as being manipulated to help the Obama administration politically. Experts say that this is an unfounded conspiracy theory.
Before an interview with Fox host Chris Wallace, America's Newsroom co-host Martha MacCallum questioned the September jobs report, which showed a drop in the unemployment rate to 7.8 percent. MacCallum said that there is "new fallout coming in over this latest jobs report. Many conservatives now speaking out, questioning the numbers in this report."
While Fox explored the supposed questions over the BLS report, on-screen graphics presented some of the report's findings as "Fox Facts." Here are those findings, and the BLS language they are derived from.
Right-wing media have insisted that President Obama is a failure because the unemployment rate has been higher than it was when President Obama took office. Now that this is no longer true, Fox is suggesting that people look at different employment statistics to judge Obama.
The latest jobs report found that the unemployment rate is 7.8 percent, the same rate Obama inherited when he took office in January 2009. Before the latest report, conservative media harped on the fact that the unemployment rate was higher than it was at the beginning of 2009.
Before today's report, right-wing media had said that Obama needs to be judged on the unemployment number. For instance, in September, conservative author Dinesh D'Souza said on Fox: "Unemployment when he came in, 7.8 percent. We are not saying it should be 2 percent, but it's higher than it was four years ago. Despite all the money and bailouts and the stimulus, Obama needs to be judged on his record."
Other conservative media figures have been highlighting the same number, including Fox & Friends co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade who claimed that the Obama campaign slogan, "Forward," was not appropriate in part because "the jobless rate is now up to 8.2" percent as compared to 7.8 percent when he took office.
But now that this talking point no longer works, Fox's Stuart Varney and Charles Payne moved the goal posts. They said Obama should be judged on a different statistic: the labor participation rate, which is a measure of the labor force as a percentage of the population.
In an interview with the man he described as the "master of the budget," Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace allowed Paul Ryan to continue touting his tax plan without asking him to identify the deductions and loopholes Mitt Romney would close to make his tax plan revenue-neutral.
Wallace asked Ryan to estimate the cost of Mitt Romney's proposal to lower all individual tax rates by 20 percent. Ryan refused to answer, claiming it would "take me too long to go through all the math." But despite repeatedly promising to address the issue, Wallace failed to ask Ryan for specifics about which loopholes he would close to offset the revenue reductions from lowering the tax rates.
In February, when Romney proposed his tax plan, he included "limits placed on deductions, exemptions, and credits" on the rich as one of the ways he would ensure that his tax plan would "not expand deficits." Since then, neither Romney nor Ryan has revealed specific deductions that they would eliminate in order to prevent the loss of revenue from their tax plan, despite repeated opportunities.
Wallace's missed opportunity is significant. In its scoring of the Romney plan, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center said that Romney's tax plan would reduce revenues by $456 billion, adding, "According to statements by Governor Romney and his advisors, the remainder of the plan will include policies to offset this revenue loss, although there are no details on how that would be achieved."
From the September 30 edition of Fox Broadcasting's Fox News Sunday:
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From the September 28 edition of Salem Radio Network's The Mike Gallagher Show:
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Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace said today that his show "kind of discovered" Paul Ryan before he was well-known. Wallace added that when Fox News Sunday gave Ryan a birthday cake earlier this year as a "photo-op," it backfired because Ryan "looked absolutely terrified" since he's "very physically fit" and "doesn't eat sweets."
Paul Ryan has long been the darling of the conservative media and especially Fox News, which has praised Ryan as a "star," a "genius," and a man of "courage." Fox News has also helped whitewash Ryan's record on issues like Medicare and his budget plan.
During his appearance on Kilmeade & Friends, Wallace confirmed the show's adoration of Ryan, with whom "we were always very impressed."
"I feel like we kind of discovered him on Fox News Sunday," Wallace told host Brian Kilmeade. "We had him on when he was, you know, not a terribly well-known member of congress because we just kept hearing from people on Capitol Hill he's the smartest guy around and we were always very impressed and kept having him on."
Wallace then explained how the show presented a dollar sign birthday cake to Ryan because they wanted a "photo-op" of him cutting "into the dollars because he's the big budget cutter." The stunt didn't quite work out because "we found out that, you know, he's very physically fit and stuff that he doesn't eat sweets."
From the September 27 edition of Fox News Radio's Kilmeade & Friends:
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace pushed a theory that the Obama administration is covering up what really happened during the attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
During a September 23 Fox News Sunday interview of Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs, Wallace asserted that the Obama administration had released "bad information" about the Libya attack and pointed to a September 14 statement by White House press secretary Jay Carney that "we have no information to suggest that it was a pre-planned attack. The unrest we've seen around the region has been in reaction to a video that Muslims -- many Muslims find offensive."
Wallace then said: "Specific question, because this is looking at the bottom line: Did the Obama administration play down what happened in Libya, what happened in Cairo because it would make Obama foreign policy look better?"
Wallace joins fellow Fox hosts Sean Hannity and Greta Van Susteren in suggesting or outright claiming that the Obama administration was deliberately lying about what happened in Libya. Hannity accused the administration of "protecting the perpetrators of terror, the murderers of Americans," while Van Susteren asked, "Why does the Obama administration keep changing its tune? Incompetence, or cover-up, or something else?"
In responding to Wallace, Gibbs pointed out that the clip Wallace played of Carney was made on September 14. Gibbs added: "It's now September the 23rd. We learn more information every single day about what happened. Nobody wants to get to the bottom of this more than we do."
Indeed, both the U.S. and Libyan governments are conducting investigations into the Benghazi attack, and administration officials have said that are trying to learn all the facts in media interviews, press briefings, and congressional testimony.
In discussing the investigation, administration officials have consistently said the same three statements about the Benghazi attack: 1) the attack in Libya was under investigation; 2) that protests in the region had been sparked by an anti-Muslim video; and 3) that the administration had no evidence to "indicate that any of this unrest was pre-planned."