During a tease for Fox & Friends Saturday, Fox News hosts Alisyn Camerota and Clayton Morris perpetuated mischaracterizations of a Phoenix, AZ program designed to diversify the lifeguard ranks at city pools. Camerota falsely claimed that Phoenix would be hiring minority applicants as lifeguards, "even though they cannot swim" because the city must "meet quotas for diversity."
Camerota was echoing discredited myths about a lifeguard diversity program that right-wing websites like Fox Nation, Glenn Beck's The Blaze, and National Review Online have peddled in recent days. There is no evidence that a quota system is being used. In fact, the program she referred to is a scholarship that covers the cost of lifeguard-certification courses for minority students in order to encourage a more diverse field of applicants.
Despite Camerota's claim, all scholarship-sponsored applicants will still be required to pass a swim test before they are hired.
Will Fox News correct these mischaracterizations during their April 6 segment?
Fox News ignored military testimony in order to claim that the proposed overhaul of Guantanamo Bay facilities is intended to improve conditions for alleged terrorists, when in fact U.S. troops would be the primary beneficiaries.
Earlier this week, General John Kelly, head of U.S. Southern Command, spoke before the House Armed Services Committee on the immediate need for upgrades to U.S. detention facilities in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Kelly testified that the proposed overhaul to the base would cost between $150-170 million and would, among other things, build a new dining facility, hospital, and barracks for U.S. troops stationed there. Gen. Kelly urged Congress to approve the expenditures, stating, "We need to take care of our troops."
Notably, as NPR reported, "Kelly said none of the projects are aimed at improving the 'lifestyle' of the detainees. But the improvements will increase security and improve the ease of movement for the detainees, which will benefit the guards by making their jobs less complicated."
Fox & Friends Saturday omitted any mention of how the proposed renovations would improve facilities for U.S. troops. Instead, guest-host Jesse Watters, a producer for The O'Reilly Factor, suggested that they were intended to better the lives of suspected terrorist detainees: "These are terrorists. They were living in caves in Afghanistan, in mud huts, basically. Now we're saying Guantanamo bay, a federal facility in the Caribbean is not good enough for these guys?"
Fox News cribbed research and graphics directly from a National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) press release without disclosing their origin in order to attack President Obama's purported "sequester priorities."
In a Fox & Friends Saturday interview with NRCC chairman Greg Walden, co-host Tucker Carlson claimed that he was "going through a list here" of supposedly wasteful federal spending projects and crucial programs that are impacted by the mandatory spending cuts required by sequestration, but did not explain where that list originated. Every case of both worthwhile and allegedly worthless spending they discussed had previously been highlighted in a February 28 NRCC press release.
Later in the segment, Carlson asked Walden, "wouldn't it make sense for Republicans to come up with a list, push that list over to the White House, and publicize that list of pointless programs like this that ought to be cut?" Walden replied, "Absolutely."
Throughout this segment and a second segment Fox aired on-screen graphics that mimicked images included in the NRCC release in order to criticized what they termed Obama's "sequestration priorities." Here are those images, with the Fox versions on the left and NRCC versions on the right:
From the March 2 edition of Fox & Friends Saturday:
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From the February 23 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends Saturday:
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Fox News host Mike Huckabee is irked at President Obama for converting his campaign apparatus into a tax-exempt non-profit advocacy group. Appearing on Fox & Friends Saturday, the former Arkansas governor admonished the president by saying: "Fine, go ahead and have your organization. Pay taxes on it like the rest of us have to when we get out and speak in our businesses and personal lives."
This is nonsense. Huckabee has his own tax-exempt political action committee, Huck PAC, that he has hyped up on Fox News and uses to "promote conservative principles and help elect conservative candidates at every level of government." Indeed, Huckabee has made ample use of tax-exempt groups throughout his political career and actually has a sketchy history with non-profits.
Back when he was lieutenant governor of Arkansas, Huckabee and his allies formed a non-profit group that had just two functions: to pay for Mike Huckabee to travel across the country bashing health care reform, and to pay Mike Huckabee. The New York Times reported in December 2007, when Huckabee was running for president, that Huckabee had been losing money serving as lieutenant governor, and "to bridge the gap between his income and his expenses, Mr. Huckabee and a few close political advisers came up with a plan. They formed a nonprofit organization that raised money for Mr. Huckabee to travel the country promoting conservative politics to fellow ministers and attacking Hillary Rodham Clinton's health care plan."
The group, Action America, existed for only three years and paid Huckabee a total of $61,500 -- money that Huckabee failed to disclose, drawing a "letter of caution" from the Arkansas Ethics Commission.
Fox host and former governor Mike Huckabee attempted to walk back his comments linking a lack of religion in schools to Friday's tragic shooting in Newtown, CT. But while Huckabee now claims that he did not suggest "prayer in schools" would have prevented the shooting, he indeed seemed to imply that religion in schools could have done as much in his remarks on Friday.
On Friday, Huckabee responded to a question about God from Fox host Neil Cavuto by linking the removal of "God from our schools" to mass school shootings.
On Fox & Friends Saturday, he attempted to clarify his comments, saying, "Yesterday, I was on Neil Cavuto. He asked me, you know, where was God? I said, you know, we've systematically removed him from our culture, from our schools. Well, I've been barraged by people who have said that I said, well, if we just have prayer in schools, this wouldn't happen. That's not my point."
HUCKABEE: No, my point is a larger point -- that we have as a culture decided that we don't want to have values, that we don't want to say that some things are always right, some things are always wrong. When we divorce ourselves from a basic sense of what we would call, I would say, collective morality where we agree on certain principles to be true always, then we create a culture -- not that it specifically creates this crime. It doesn't. But it creates an atmosphere in which evil and violence are removed from our sense of responsibility.
Fox misused a report by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office finding that the federal government may be able to safely transfer all the prisoners currently detained at Guantanamo Bay to prisons on U.S. soil to manufacture a conspiracy theory that the Obama administration wants to release terrorists onto American streets.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) -- a non-partisan independent agency that works for Congress -- issued a report finding that six Department of Defense detention facilities and 98 Department of Justice prisons may, with modifications, be able to hold the detainees the Department of Defense is currently holding at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
During the December 1 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-hosts Dave Briggs and Juliet Huddy interviewed Republican Party activist and former Justice Department attorney J. Christian Adams to react to the report. Fox has repeatedly given Adams a platform to push his vendetta against the Obama administration's Department of Justice, including the utterly discredited claim that the Justice Department has a policy of not pursuing certain cases against African Americans.
Adams wasted little of Fox's airtime before pushing an anti-Department of Justice conspiracy theory. After discussing how dangerous some of the detainees in Guantanamo are, Huddy asked what would happen if Guantanamo Bay detainees are brought to the U.S. prison system. Adams responded by falsely claiming that the administration had previously attempted to release terrorists into Northern Virginia and suggested that the administration's long-term goal was to release terrorists into the United States:
ADAMS: Well, look what happened with the Uighurs. The Uighurs were these Chinese terrorists. The administration tried to release them into Northern Virginia before Congressman Frank Wolfe [R-VA] found out about it and said you can't do this. I think the long-term plan here is to integrate them into the regular prison population where they can radicalize the other prisoners. And eventually, these people -- some in the administration -- want to just release them into the United States.
In fact, the Uighurs the administration sought to release were not terrorists seeking to harm the United States. The Uighurs at Guantanamo were Chinese Muslims. According to The Washington Post, the Bush administration determined that a number of them were people who had been wrongfully detained by bounty hunters. The Post reported that the rest "were deemed low-risk detainees whose enemy was China's communist government -- not the United States."
Indeed, according to the Post, the Bush administration had cleared all of them for release by 2005, but they could not find a country willing to take them and could not send them back to China where they might have faced persecution. In October 2008, a federal judge had ruled that the U.S. government had to release the Uighurs still being held, which led to redoubled efforts to find a place to release them.
From the December 1 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends Saturday:
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Fox & Friends Saturday speculated that politics had motivated revisions to an early set of Obama administration talking points about the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. Yet a Fox correspondent reported Friday night that some lawmakers said the changes were made to protect classified information.
U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice used the talking points during September 16 appearances on the Sunday news shows, and Fox News has since sought to scandalize those interviews and use them as ammunition in a campaign to prevent her from being nominated as secretary of state.
On Fox & Friends Saturday, the co-hosts discussed Friday's closed-door congressional testimony of former CIA director David Petraeus and the revelation that in talking points about the attack, language suggesting the perpetrators belonged to Al Qaeda affiliates had been changed to refer more generally to "extremists."
At the beginning of the segment, co-host Dave Briggs said, "[T]here are a lot of questions after what Petraeus told Congress. Because we still don't know why exactly the talking points were changed. He said on Friday that he knew it was terrorism from the very start." Later, the co-hosts speculated that the White House had edited the talking points for political reasons:
MORRIS: By the way, we'll be speaking to Peter King coming up a little later to try to find out who in the administration, then, got the intelligence information in their hands and said, "OK, here the intelligence community says 'Al Qaeda.' Now, let's get the eraser out. Let's change it to 'extremists,' because somehow now we don't want to classify it as Al Qaeda," when it was glaring to General Petraeus and these other intelligence officers?
BRIGGS: And there's also the question of why change it. If -- and I mean, look --
MORRIS: To keep with that narrative?
BRIGGS: It begs the question, did they want to keep that narrative that the war on terror was being won, that Al Qaeda had been crushed?
Yet on the Friday broadcast of The Five, homeland security correspondent Catherine Herridge reported that while Republicans said the talking points change was "an effort to downplay or minimize the role of terrorists in the Benghazi attack," Democrats say that "these changes were not driven by politics, they were simply made to protect classified information."
From the September 15 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends Saturday:
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Fox's Ralph Peters disregarded actual evidence to continue to push the right-wing narrative that President Obama is anti-Israel, a narrative that has been pushed for the entirety of Obama's term. Peters claimed his experience at "reading the body language" helped him draw the conclusion that Obama is anti-Israel, saying: "As a former intel officer, you really listen to what's unsaid ... look at what's not done."
In fact, as Fox News host Dave Briggs noted during the segment, Obama has shown his "non-negotiable" support for Israel in a number of ways, including the millions of dollars in aid the Obama administration has authorized to shore up Israel's Iron Dome defense system. Also, according to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Obama has followed through with a plan to give Israel $30 billion over the next decade, including $3.075 billion in military aid in 2011.
Additionally, Obama has signed a bill increasing US-Israeli security ties.
Obama has garnered praise from Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak, Israeli President Shimon Peres, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, each of whom has commended Obama for "doing, in regard to our security, more than anything that I can remember in the past," and for being "a great president and a great friend of Israel."
Moreover, recent polling shows Jewish voters continue to favor Obama 68 percent over Republican Mitt Romney's 25 percent.
On Fox & Friends Saturday, Briggs asked Peters to refute the "concrete things that the Obama administration has done," asking, "What have they done that you say conflicts with that not negotiable support of Israel? What have they done?" Peters replied: "Well, it's sort of reading the body language. As a former intel officer, you really listen to what's unsaid, what's -- look at what's not done."
From the August 25 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends Saturday:
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Now that Mitt Romney has chosen Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) -- made infamous by his extreme budget proposal -- as his running mate, some at Fox News are pretending President Obama's plan to reduce the deficit doesn't exist. But President Obama has a plan to reduce the deficit. It's been laid out in significant detail for nearly a year and was widely reported in the media.
On the August 11 edition of Fox & Friends Saturday, host Dave Briggs asked, "will the pressure be on [the Obama campaign] to come up with some sort of deficit reduction plan that they have punted on?"
Later on Fox & Friends Saturday, conservative radio host Michael Graham also claimed that the Obama administration doesn't have a plan, saying, "I refuse to debate anyone on the Paul Ryan plan until they tell me the Obama plan. ... there is no plan from the White House."
Again, Obama does have a plan to reduce the deficit. It's a plan that's been lauded for its specifics and includes a combination of spending cuts and tax increases, with an emphasis on near-term stimulus and middle-term deficit reduction -- a hierarchy of priorities that coincides with the advice of economists, who note that unemployment is still the most immediate need to address.
The Washington Post's Ezra Klein bookmarked the deficit provisions for anyone having trouble finding them:
On deficit reduction, Romney's plan "requires spending cuts of approximately $500 billion per year in 2016." He has not released spending cuts that come anywhere close to that goal. He does have some nice words to say about the Ryan budget, but Romney advisers have told the media that their candidate disagrees with large parts of it, including the Medicare cuts.
The comparison to Obama is, again, instructive. Pages 23 through 37 of Obama's budget detail dozens of spending cuts and tell you how much money they'll save. You might not like those spending cuts, or you might want to see more. But at least you know the specifics of the president's plan.
ABC News highlighted some of the provisions in September 2011:
The bulk of the savings in the president's plan come from $1.5 trillion in deficit-reduction through new taxes for high-end earners and $580 billion in cuts to entitlement programs, including $248 billion to Medicare and $72 billion to Medicaid.
Obama also proposed other means to raise taxes, including more than $800 billion by allowing the Bush tax cuts for upper income earners to expire and $300 billion by closing loopholes and eliminating special-interest tax breaks.
In total, the president's plan will claim more than $4 trillion in deficit reduction through entitlement cuts, tax increases and war savings, in particular. The proposal includes $1.2 trillion in savings from the Budget Control Act and $1.1 trillion from drawing down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Of course, conservatives are certainly aware of Obama's budget and its deficit priorities. But if they acknowledge its existence, they'll be forced to compare it to a Romney plan that "defies the rules of math," or a Ryan plan dubbed "the most fraudulent budget in American history."
From the August 11 edition of Fox & Friends Saturday:
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