Right-wing media are dismissing President Obama's and Congressional Democrats' work on filibuster reform, a diplomatic agreement with Iran, and immigration reform as merely attempts to distract from the Affordable Care Act.
Fox News seized on a leaked draft of a U.N. climate report to suggest that climate change has been "overstated for the last 20 years." But the draft itself clarifies that observed temperatures over the last 20 years have fallen within the range of past projections despite natural short-term variation.
Fox & Friends First claimed "scientists say" that "global warming been overstated for the last 20 years," based on a draft of the fifth assessment report from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The report, which was leaked in December 2012 to a blog called "stopgreensuicide," contains a graph that conservative blogs claimed showed observed temperatures were lower than the projections of IPCC's first assessment report in 1990.
But scientists debunked this claim when the IPCC draft was first leaked in December. The draft itself notes that "Even though the 16 projections from the [previous temperature] models were never intended to be predictions over such a short time scale [1999-2010], the 17 observations through 2010 generally fall well within the projections made in all of the past assessments." Indeed, as climatologist James Annan told Media Matters in December, "The grey bounds [...] indicate the range of uncertainty including natural variability, and the observations are well within that range":
Fox News revealed its closing argument against President Obama, which consisted of a falsehood-laden attack on the president's record.
Fox News came to Mitt Romney's defense after his response to the attack on American diplomats in Libya was seen by many as an "attempt to score political points" and widely condemned, even by fellow Republicans.
Right-wing media figures have used the shooting at Fort Hood as an excuse to attack Islam and American Muslims in particular, with Debbie Schlussel, for example, urging readers to think of the alleged shooter "whenever you hear about how Muslims serve their country in the U.S. military." Additionally, commentators have blamed the shooting on "political correctness," with Fox News host Brian Kilmeade suggesting the implementation of "special debriefings" for Muslim American soldiers to prevent future attacks.
Conservative media figures have echoed House Minority Leader John Boehner's statement that "93% of the American people have access to high-quality, affordable health insurance" by arguing that because most Americans purportedly have access to health insurance, health care reform constitutes, in Fox News host Steve Doocy's words, "blowing up the system for 5 percent" who don't. These media figures have ignored that tens of millions of Americans are underinsured and that the reform bills contain several provisions intended to benefit those currently insured.
Discussing 1980 photos of President-elect Barack Obama published in Time, Sean Hannity asked, "[W]hy didn't we see these pictures beforehand?" and "You think the media maybe thought, well, it might not hurt -- it might not help Barack Obama?" Similarly, Fox News hosts asked, "Was Time magazine sitting on these photos until after the election?" In fact, according to Time, the photographer, Lisa Jack, a fellow student of Obama's at the time and now a psychologist, "put the negatives in a safety-deposit box, so that they could not be used until after the election."
Following President-elect Barack Obama's announcement of his intention to release results of an internal review of contacts between his aides and Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's office next week, Fox News' Gretchen Carlson stated that "there is varying discussion about whether or not prosecutor [Patrick] Fitzgerald went to him [Obama] and said, hold off for another week." In fact, Fox News' Major Garrett previously reported that Fitzgerald's office "confirms that it made a special request of President-elect Obama's transition team that it not release any of the information involved in this internal search."
On Fox & Friends First, after Gretchen Carlson reported that "The New York Times says shoddy electrical wiring has killed 13 Americans and injured many more," Brian Kilmeade stated: "They had to find the negative story in Iraq?" When Carlson again discussed the Times story on Fox & Friends, Kilmeade stated: "So, this is America bad?"
Beginning on the afternoon of April 23, MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN aired a controversial ad by the North Carolina Republican Party attacking Sen. Barack Obama and two Democratic gubernatorial candidates at least 22 times combined, in most cases also noting that Sen. John McCain denounced the ad. As media figures on MSNBC and CNN pointed out, the repeated broadcasts benefit the North Carolina Republican Party, which does not have to pay for them, and they presumably benefit McCain, even as he is credited with taking the high road for criticizing the ad.
On Fox News' Fox & Friends, while discussing retired Brig. Gen. Keith Kerr's question during the November 28 CNN/YouTube Republican debate, Dick Morris said, "You know, listen, let's put the blame where it's due. This is a dirty trick by the Hillary Clinton campaign." On Fox & Friends First, R. Emmett Tyrrell replied, "I think so," when Steve Doocy asked, "So, are you saying that the Clintons had something to do with CNN doing a bad job vetting these questioners?" Tyrrell later stated that "the Clintons ... have played fast and loose with ethics since day one. This is a pattern."
On Fox & Friends First, Alisyn Camerota teased a report by stating, "Details on another alleged planted question by the Clinton camp at last night's [CNN/YouTube Republican] debate," referring to a questioner at the debate, retired Brig. Gen. Keith Kerr, a member of committees associated with Hillary Clinton's campaign. During a discussion of Kerr's involvement in the debate, on-screen captions read: "HILLARY'S STAND-IN: CLINTON PLANTS STAFFER AT DEBATE" and "PLANT MEDIA: GOP YOUTUBE DEBATE." But several hours earlier -- unmentioned on Fox & Friends First -- Fox News political field producer Jake Gibson reported online that Kerr told him that Kerr "was not contacted by the Clinton campaign to do this," had appeared at the debate without the prior knowledge of the campaign, and did not work for the Clinton campaign. Gibson added that Kerr's answer "seems genuine."
In a discussion on MSNBC's Morning Joe of Bill O'Reilly's response to criticism of his controversial statement about dining at a Harlem restaurant, host Joe Scarborough noted, "I don't think that we're mischaracterizing it at all to say O'Reilly was surprised that a restaurant run by people of color was almost just like a normal restaurant." Scarborough also observed that "Fox has been coming up with some pretty, pretty crazy banners" describing the controversy that suggest "Bill O'Reilly has nothing to do with this at all. He didn't cause this at all."
On January 17, InsightMag.com posted a story stating that Sen. Barack Obama attended a madrassa as a boy and that this information had originated from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's camp. With the aid of the conservative media, InsightMag.com's anonymously sourced report turned into 11 days of baseless accusations against two leading contenders for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.
According to an ABCNews.com report, Fox News vice president Bill Shine defended John Gibson's reporting on the discredited accusation that Sen. Barack Obama attended a madrassa in his youth. But a statement from Shine, as quoted by the ABCNews.com report, never addressed Gibson's charges that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was behind the smear.