Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and other conservative outlets are falsely claiming that President Obama, while discussing his own economic policies, said "we tried our plan -- and it worked." This quote has been taken out of context and distorted. Obama was referring to economic policies during the Clinton administration that taxed high income earners at a higher rate than they are currently charged. When Obama said "it worked," he was referring to low unemployment and strong economic growth when these rates were higher. Obama has advocated a return to Clinton-era tax rates for high income earners.
Slate's Dave Weigel, who described conservatives' editing of Obama's comments as "insanely misleading," points to Obama's full quote:
OBAMA: I'm running because I believe you can't reduce the deficit -- which is a serious problem, we've got to deal with it -- but we can't reduce it without asking folks like me who have been incredibly blessed to give up the tax cuts that we've been getting for a decade. (Applause.) I'll cut out government spending that's not working, that we can't afford, but I'm also going to ask anybody making over $250,000 a year to go back to the tax rates they were paying under Bill Clinton, back when our economy created 23 million new jobs -- (applause) -- the biggest budget surplus in history and everybody did well.
Just like we've tried their plan, we tried our plan -- and it worked. That's the difference. (Applause.) That's the choice in this election. That's why I'm running for a second term.
In order to argue that Obama is out of touch on economic issues -- a message that is nearly identical to the one pushed by Romney's campaign -- conservative media figures have spent the week removing all of the context from Obama's comments and juxtaposing them with the current high unemployment rate.
"RED ALERT: Deputy A.G. behind 'Fast and Furious' met with President Obama four times during the height of the operation" read the headline to a post in Doug Ross's DirectorBlue blog on Monday. The post then proceeds to weave a narrative suggesting President Obama was repeatedly meeting with a Department of Justice official "keenly aware" of the failed ATF operation Fast and Furious at "the height" of the operation.
Sipsy Steet Irregulars conspiracist Mike Vanderbough, quickly picked up Ross' post, asking "Well, well, well. What do you know about this, Mr. President?" Surely the intrepid journalists at Daily Caller cannot be far behind.
As underwhelming as it is to establish that a series of "meetings" happened without a bit of information about what was discussed, Ross doesn't even get the facts straight on that. A closer look -- scrolling right -- at the White House Visitor Records data Ross is citing strongly suggests he's established nothing more than Grindler's attendance at speeches and events at the White House where between one hundred and several thousand other people were present. Looks like it's to time to cancel the draft impeachment articles.
Ross' big find is that Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler is listed in the White House visitor log records that were recently released as having visited Obama -- "POTUS" -- four times. Grindler received a briefing on the failed ATF operation Fast and Furious and although the documents related to the briefing did not mention the controversial "gun walking" tactics and the Department of Justice has said the briefing did not include "the operational tactics that have since raised concerns" it was enough for Ross to posit that Grindler "was keenly aware of all aspects of Fast and Furious." Ross:
Item 3: Newly released White House Visitor Logs list Grindler as having visited the White House 40 times, but only four times with the President himself. All four meetings with the President occurred over a two-week period, between 7 May 2010 and 19 May 2010.
According to The Los Angeles Times, these dates just so happened to represent the run-up to "the height of [Operation] Fast and Furious":
Ross concludes: "So my question is this: What did President Obama know -- and when did he know it?"
Looking at the complete visitor log entries the whole thing falls apart instantly. The four meetings appear to actually be three visits to attend heavily-reported public or diplomatic events where many, many other people were present.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly open to negotiate with the Palestinians along the lines that President Obama laid out in May in a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that called for a peace agreement based on 1967 borders with mutually agreed upon swaps. However, when Obama made the proposal, the conservative media decried it as "potential suicide" and "the destruction of Israel."
The right-wing media have reacted to President Obama's speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) by complaining either he "flip-flop[ped]" or "double[d] down" on his previous comments or both. However, in his speech to AIPAC, Obama simply reiterated his earlier call that negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians should be "based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps."
Immediately following President Obama's remarks to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on Sunday, right-wing media members seized the opportunity to label the Palestinian people as "savages" and "barbaric throwbacks."
In a post to her blog Atlas Shrugs, winner Pam Geller managed to both call the AIPAC attendees idiots, and suggest, nay, state, that all Palestinians are "savages." From her post:
A number of AIPAC notables kicked off the event. Steny Hoyer was the first politician to speak, and while strongly supportive of Israel, his idiotic insistence on a two-state solution was only met by more idiocy: a round of rousing applause. What delusional mental acrobatics must be engaged in to imagine a Philistine state living in peace and harmony. Hoyer talked out of both sides of his mouth. No support or tolerance for extremists or terrorists, but let's give the savages a state.
Geller also wondered whether, given the applause when Obama was introduced at AIPAC, "if Hitler came to AIPAC, before the world became aware of the Holocaust, would he, too, have received a standing ovation, out of respect for a head of state? No, I am not equating Obama to Hitler; what I am saying is that not every head of state is worthy of respect just because he is a head of state."
In a post to his blog, Doug Ross wrote: "So President Obama just doubled-down on an absolutely nonsensical proposal. Israel tried this before: it gave Gaza to the Palestinian people. And it quickly became an armed camp, a launchpad for non-stop terror attacks. Any hope for peace with these barbaric throwbacks is delusional. There can't be peace with those who want you dead."
ABC News' Jake Tapper published the following Tweet yesterday, showing cranes removing a U.S. flag from the Ground Zero site with the caption, "One minute to air and they decided to take the flag down from the live shot":
Some conservative bloggers took this to mean that President Obama ordered the removal of the flag.
Doug Ross, in a post headlined, "WTF at WTC? Obama Has American Flag Removed From Ground Zero Site Moments Before Photo Shoot!":
This administration and, by extension, the Democrat Party are now so thoroughly divorced from the history, traditions and morals of America that we might as well admit the Marxist left has executed a successful coup d'état on this Republic.
Weasel Zippers posted the story with the following headline:
Wow: Team Obama Removes American Flag From Ground Zero Moments Before Live Shoot...
What an absolutely pitiful little manchild Obama is. As if turning his back on Debra Burlingame (sister of Charles Burlingame who piloted the plane that went down at the Pentagon during 9/11) wasn't pitiful enough. Now we learn that the Obama regime had an American flag removed from the live shot of his photo op at Ground Zero today.
Does flying the American flag at Ground Zero now constitute "spiking the football???"
According to the Drudge Report Archives, Drudge ran a headline reading, "REPORT: Team Obama takes down US flag before Ground Zero event..." which linked to Tapper's tweet.
Since President Obama released his FY 2011 budget, right-wing media have covered the proposal by promoting false and misleading claims, such as that it creates $2 trillion in "new taxes" and "ignore[s] the deficit."
I'm beginning to think Doug Ross is never going to give me my gold, and that in fact, he never had any intention of fulfilling his promise to give a one-ounce Krugerrand to any progressive who can send him "a documented lie repeated by Fox News reporters."
Yesterday, I pointed out that Fox had repeatedly falsely reported that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan had "banned" military recruiters from Harvard Law School's campus when she was dean, and asked Ross to pay me. After he replied, challenging my facts, I noted that the source he was citing to bolster Fox's position was actually bolstering mine, and asked him to pay me. He's since responded with what he calls the "final word" on the matter, a quote from Sen. Jeff Sessions in which Sessions agrees with me -- he says Kagan denied recruiters "equal access to campus" compared to other recruiters, not that she banned them from campus, as Fox falsely reported.
The crux of Ross' position appears to be that the words "banned" and "stonewalled" mean the same thing. They do not. Military recruiters were "stonewalled" by Office of Career Services officials -- they received no help from them. They were not "banned" from campus, as Fox claimed; they could still come on campus, and recruit through the Harvard Law School Veterans Association. Did they receive the same treatment as other recruiters? No -- but that's not what Fox reported. What Fox reported was that they were banned from campus, and that's not true.
While I'm sure Ross has other sources he could cite that support my position and not his, I'm going to move on now to a few more of Fox News' "documented lie[s]." Ross' criteria remove a lot of the most obvious lies, but this is what we call a target-rich environment.
Below, I will examine the following lies repeated by Fox News reporters, and again request that Ross have the decency to follow through on his commitments:
Do I anticipate that Ross will actually acknowledge that Fox News lied in these cases and pay me what he owes me? Not really. The examples above are Fox News lies, but they are lies that favor conservatives. As Ross' response to the Kagan example indicates, conservatives have a way of inventing their own facts when the actual facts are against them.
Nonetheless, it would be nice for Ross to demonstrate some of that personal responsibility for which I'm told conservatives are so famous.
Earlier this afternoon, I noted that conservative blogger Doug Ross offered $1,400 in gold to any progressive who could "provide me with a documented lie repeated by Fox News reporters."
In response, I pointed out that Fox's reporters had repeatedly claimed that then-Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan had "barred" or "banned" military recruiters from Harvard Law School's campus when she was dean. This was false; while Kagan had briefly banned the school's Office of Career Services from working with military recruiters, she never banned those recruiters from Harvard's campus. Throughout her tenure, Harvard students had access to military recruiters, either through the OCS or through the Harvard Law School Veterans Association, and indeed, recruitment was not affected by Kagan's actions.
I also requested that Ross follow through on his challenge and give me the gold.
Ross has now responded in the mature fashion we expect from the conservative blogosphere, calling me a "crackpot" and my employer a "Soros-funded, Marxist front group." He's also provided what he appears to think is a factual rebuttal; an article from the Christian Science Monitor which Ross says provides the "real details of who Kagan's recruiting ban worked."
Unfortunately for Ross, the article supports my statements, not those of Fox's "reporters."
Conservative blogger Doug Ross is offering "a 1-ounce Krugerrand from my Y2K bunker" worth $1,400 to "any 'progressive' who can provide me with a documented lie repeated by Fox News reporters." In a related note, Doug Ross owes me $1,400 in gold.
To win the gold, Ross says the Fox News lie must meet four criteria:
- Typos don't qualify ("ooh, the news ticker used a 'D' after his name, not an 'R'!").
- The lie must have been reported by at least two Fox News reporters (not analysts, reporters).
- The transcripts and/or video clips must be available on a suitably trustworthy site for verification.
- The real news story, refuting the Fox News lie, must have been correctly reported at around the same time by at least one news reporter from CNN or MSNBC (with similar links and/or transcripts from their sites).
We at Media Matters have been documenting Fox lies for years. And despite Ross' restrictions -- which remove from consideration falsehoods from Fox's opinion lineup, as well as claims so bizarre that no mainstream outlet ever reported on them -- a number of examples stand out. Here's one.
Following Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court, several Fox News reporters falsely claimed that while she was dean of Harvard Law School, Kagan "barred" military recruiters from campus:
In fact, Kagan did not support a "ban on military recruitment" at Harvard Law, and Harvard law students had access to military recruiters during her entire tenure as dean. As we've noted:
Throughout Kagan's tenure as dean, Harvard law students had access to military recruiters -- either through Harvard's Office of Career Services or through the Harvard Law School Veterans Association. Kagan became dean of Harvard Law in June 2003. In accordance with Harvard's pre-existing nondiscrimination policy, she barred the school's Office of Career Services (OCS) from working with military recruiters for the spring 2005 semester after the U.S Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit ruled that law schools could legally do so. During that one semester, students still had access to military recruiters via the Harvard Law School Veterans Association. During the fall 2005 semester, after the Bush administration threatened to revoke Harvard's federal funding, Kagan once again granted military recruiters access to OCS.
Indeed, according to data we obtained from Harvard Law School's public information officer, graduates entered the military during each year Kagan served as dean, and the number of graduates from each of the classes that could have been affected by the prohibition on Harvard Law's OCS working with military recruiters was equal to or greater than the number who entered the military from any of Harvard's previous five classes.
CNN accurately reported on Kagan's actions in this May 10, 2010, segment (emphasis added):
JOHN KING: All right let's go through some of the issues. Republicans right out of the bat say one of the main avenues of inquiry they want to propose looking at is what happened on this whole incident of the military recruiters on the Harvard campus. She opposes "don't ask, don't tell". She's been very clear about that.
And when she was at the school -- we'll put up some details here because this can be confusing -- she reinstated a policy banning military recruitment because the military discriminated against gay Americans. She did permit the military to recruit through a student group. She did not let them have their central office that they once had on campus.
The government threatened to withhold federal aid and Kagan did relent permitting recruitment at the law school. Professor, you were there. I want you to listen first to Jeff Sessions. He's the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee. And he believes this is a significant avenue of inquiry.
Mr. Ross, you owe me one ounce of gold.