Fox News hosts cited a widely criticized Bob Woodward column to falsely claim President Obama's proposal to avert looming government spending cuts -- known as sequestration -- "moved the goalposts" because it offsets some of the cuts with new revenue. In fact, the administration's proposal to avert the sequestration has always included a balanced deficit reduction plan that included additional revenues.
Fox News' Chris Wallace challenged National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre's false claims about strengthening gun laws, even going so far as to describe one of his talking points as "ridiculous." Wallace's treatment of LaPierre is a departure from his Fox colleagues who have allowed LaPierre to push his agenda without challenge.
On Fox News Sunday, Wallace challenged LaPierre's attempt to mislead on criminal background checks for gun sales and debunked the NRA claim that the Obama administration wants to create a national registry of gun owners. Wallace also dismissed LaPierre's defense of an NRA advertisement that charged President Obama with hypocrisy for protecting his children with armed guards, responding to the NRA leader's comparison between threats faced by the president's children and school children nationwide by saying "that's ridiculous and you know it, sir."
The refusal of Wallace to acquiesce to all of LaPierre's claims during Fox News Sunday was markedly different from Fox's typical treatment of the gun issue, which has included giving the NRA a platform to spread falsehoods.
During the interview, Wallace dismissed LaPierre's attempt to obfuscate the fact that over a million people have been stopped from obtaining a firearm since 1999 after failing a criminal background check by stating, "It worked enough that 1.7 million people were denied."
LAPIERRE: I don't think you can say that those 1.7 million people have been stopped from getting a gun at all because the government didn't prosecute virtually any of them. They let them walk in, they were denied, they let them walk out. And who really thinks if they really wanted to commit a crime they didn't go on and get a gun.
WALLACE: I don't know. It seems to me if 1.7 million people were denied. I understand the hardened criminal. But the disturbed person. The Adam Lanza in Newtown. The James Holmes in Aurora, Colorado. Those aren't hardened criminals, and if they are stopped from getting a gun by a universal background check won't that make a difference?
LAPIERRE: You know the instant check was actually the NRA's proposal. We offered it as an amendment to the Brady Bill to put it on dealers. And I've been in this fight for 20 years, we supported it, we put it on the books. But I have finally become convinced after fighting to get the mental records computerized for 20 years and watching the mental health lobby, the HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] laws, and the AMA [American Medical Association] oppose it, I don't think it's going to happen. I mean the fact is the check now, these people are not --
WALLACE: It worked enough that 1.7 million people were denied. I mean I completely agree with you, I mean as Captain Kelly pointed out [Tucson shooter] Jared Loughner was able to pass the test. So there are holes in it, but that doesn't mean, you know, because it's not perfect doesn't mean that it doesn't work.
As Wallace pointed out, there is a logical fallacy in LaPierre's argument that because background checks will not stop all criminals there is no value in attempts to improve the background check system.
LaPierre's attack on the effectiveness of the background check system also exposes the hypocrisy of the NRA's opposition to requiring criminal background checks on every gun sale. LaPierre speculated that individuals denied a firearm by a background check were still able to "go on and get a gun." A loophole in federal law allows a significant proportion of firearms to be obtained through private sales where no background check is required, with one 2004 study indicating that criminals are even more likely to use private transactions to obtain firearms.
The New York Post reacted to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's January 23 congressional testimony with a front page photograph of a supposedly angry Clinton and the headline, "NO WONDER BILL'S AFRAID." The tabloid quickly drew criticism, with writers calling the cover "blatantly sexist," and "offensive sexist garbage." The Post however found a fan with fellow News Corp. employee and Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace.
Speaking on Allman in the Morning, Wallace expressed amusement at the cover, telling host Jamie Allman: "Let me tell you -- you probably haven't seen it, the front page, the big front page of The New York Post today is a picture of her looking, screaming during her answer, and the headline is, 'No Wonder Bill's Afraid.'" A laughing Allman replied: "I don't know, that's not very nice." Wallace responded: "Well no, but it's funny" and "nice can be overrated sometimes."
Listen to Wallace's comments from the January 24 edition of KFTK's Allman in the Morning:
The Post is one of several conservative outlets and figures to push sexist attacks in response to Clinton and the Benghazi attacks. In his January 24 Washington Times column, Wesley Pruden similarly tied Clinton's supposedly "angry and combative" testimony to discredited rumors about her alleged interactions with President Clinton in the White House.
From the January 17 edition of Fox News Radio's Kilmeade & Friends:
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Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace allowed Bill Kristol to attack the nomination of Chuck Hagel as defense secretary without disclosing that Kristol is currently waging a full-scale campaign to oppose the nominee. Wallace further failed to challenge Kristol on his previous support of Hagel until he publicly supported a withdrawal from the Iraq War.
Fox News contributor Bill Kristol has been leading a relentless attack campaign against former Republican senator Chuck Hagel, President Obama's nominee for defense secretary. During television appearances and on his site The Weekly Standard, Kristol is actively encouraging the Senate to block Hagel's nomination. The Emergency Committee for Israel, a political advocacy group Kristol founded, has even launched an anti-Hagel website complete with attack ads.
Yet on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace asked Kristol to opine on Hagel's nomination without any mention of his advocacy to prevent Hagel from becoming defense secretary. After saying Hagel is a "controversial pick for defense secretary," Wallace directed Kristol: "Your comments on Hagel?" Kristol replied, "I don't think Chuck Hagel is the right man to be secretary of defense. We'll see if the United [States] Senate agrees with that." Kristol opposes the nomination on the false grounds that Hagel is hostile to Israel and sympathetic to Iran.
Kristol even interjected Hagel attacks into unrelated conversations.
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.