Via blogger Richard Bartholomew, we've discovered a tale that plays like a weird wingnut version of the telephone game.
Back in January, there was speculation in the wake of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's alleged attempt to blow up a plane approaching Detroit on Christmas that Al Qaeda might attempt to implant an explosive called PETN into the breasts or buttocks of would-be suicide bombers. After the UK's Daily Mail did an article on this at the end of January, claiming that an "operation by MI5" had determined that Al Qaeda was working on ways to implement such a plan, WorldNetDaily followed in a Feb. 1 article, credited to WND's $99-a-year G2 Bulletin newsletter, which reported that MI5 had discovered the Muslim doctors trained in U.K. hospitals had begun rigging the implants.
Several weeks later, the British tabloid The Sun rehashed the story, not crediting WND yet purporting to quote WND editor Joseph Farah and describing him as a "terrorist expert." The Sun story came back across the pond and was posted on the Fox News website (both are owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.).
Unfortunately for all news organizations involved, the breast-bomb story was apparently just too good to check, so it's no surprise to learn that when the claim is examined, it's more than a tad implausible. As Neal Ungerleider at True/Slant writes:
FoxNews.com is running an article featuring the inflammatory headline, "Veterans Angered By Exclusion of Military Health Benefits From List of OK'd Programs." I have no idea what purpose the article is supposed to serve, other than to advance the assertion made in the article by the VFW that "The president and the Democratic leadership are betraying America's veterans."
Here's the backstory. The Senate health bill that the House passed on Sunday lists as providing "minimum essential coverage" one federal health plan that covers veterans who are on Medicare, but not other TRICARE military and veteran health insurance programs. Some have alleged that this means that members of the military and veterans and their families could be in violation of the bill's individual mandate provision if they keep their current insurance.
However, the chairmen of the relevant committees have stated that while TRICARE coverage is not specifically mentioned in the bill, it "would satisfy the requirements of the bill." Moreover, even if there were a problem, Congress would have an immense amount of time to fix it, as the individual mandate provision doesn't kick in until 2013.
Moreover, as even FoxNews.com acknowledges, last week the House introduced and passed legislation - by a 413-0 vote - making clear that all other TRICARE programs would also be treated as minimal essential coverage. The Senate is not the most functional of bodies, but it seems likely that they will be able to pass that bill and get it to the president before 2013.
So even if it is momentarily true (though again, the chairs of the relevant committees say it isn't) that "Military Health Benefits" are "Exclu[ded]" from the "List of OK'd Programs," it is enormously unlikely that they will remain so.
Nonetheless, the VFW leader Thomas J. Tradewell, Sr. released a statement accusing President Obama and the Democrats of "betraying America's veterans" and engaging in Washington double talk" for seeking to pass health care reform. And Fox runs with the quotes and portrays the issue as one of contention between veterans and the Obama administration.
FoxNews.com posted a "Photo Op-inion: St. Patrick's Day in Washington," which claims to feature "[s]ometimes funny, sometimes serious" images on the news. While posting the images, FoxNews.com writes that "[n]one of the images were created by Fox News."
The following images are from Fox News' slideshow:
Politico's Michael Calderone reports:
Megan Whittemore, who was recently the research producer for "Fox News Sunday," has been named deputy press secretary to Republican whip Eric Cantor.
She had previously covered Capitol Hill for Fox News and FoxNews.com, according to the release, and worked on the network's 2008 election coverage.
In a March 10 FoxNews.com article about the White House "fighting back against fishing aficionados who say President Obama is planning to impose regulations that will give their hobby the hook," reporter Joshua Rhett Miller writes that "neither document [from the Interagency Ocean Policy Task] contains language pertaining to a potential ban on recreational fishing, as some reports had previously asserted":
Obama established the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force in June to address increasing pollution and habitat destruction within the nation's oceans, coastal regions and Great Lakes. Led by Nancy Sutley, the task force released an interim report in September that outlined nine priority objectives of the plan, including the coastal and marine spatial planning.
Three months later, in its interim framework, the task force defined that planning as an "effective process to better manage a range of social, economic, and cultural uses," including commercial and recreational fishing, mining, tourism and traditional hunting, among others.
But neither document contains language pertaining to a potential ban on recreational fishing, as some reports had previously asserted.
Fishing enthusiasts became alarmed when a story posted on ESPNOutdoors.com and widely circulated by bloggers alluded to the potential of a ban on recreational fishing. The Web site has since posted a clarification stating that columnist Robert Montgomery's opinion piece was improperly labeled.
Despite that clarification, recreational fishermen are reeling, fearing their rods are at risk.
While FoxNews.com writes that "some reports" and "bloggers alluded to the potential of a ban on recreational fishing," FoxNews.com doesn't acknowledge that Fox News itself has been spreading the myth. Since yesterday, Fox Nation, Fox Business Network and the Fox News Channel's Glenn Beck have pushed the bogus claim. As of 6:27pm E.T. today, Fox Nation is still promoting the absurd story online:
Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson stated that appeals court nominee Judge Robert Chatigny "gained notoriety" for "fight[ing] the execution of convicted serial killer and rapist Michael Ross," adding that "[s]ome are concerned he may be biased in favor of sex offenders." However, an appeals court panel -- which included former Bush Attorney General Michael Mukasey -- found that Chatigny's actions in the case were "reasonable" and "not motivated by any bias."
Right-wing media have attacked President Obama by claiming that he ended the February 25 health care reform summit with -- in Gretchen Carlson's words -- "a threat against Republicans and the American public about reconciliation."
"Fatal Attraction," the Washington version is playing on a television near you as Obama's bipartisan summit on healthcare approaches. Like a possessed, rejected maniac the president refuses to allow the idea of a massive restructuring of our healthcare system to fade.
You're just not that into his healthcare bill? Too bad. He won't be ignored.
Obama is hoping that by rebranding and reworking the old, rejected versions of the House and Senate bill into an even scarier narrative coupled with a televised meeting, the pressure will be so intense that he can kidnap the handful of Republican votes he needs to catapult this monstrosity over the finish line.
To get our attention, Democrats attempted legislative suicide. After laying low, they're back again, and like any prey dealing with a psycho, Republicans are nervous.
They understand that this is a carefully calculated public relations gimmick designed to force their hand. They know that if they don't show up, the images of empty chairs across the table from their caucus will be used, repeatedly, to paint them as unwilling to govern and to target them in campaign ads as obstructionists. Forget alerting the wife, the White House is going to out your bad behavior on C-SPAN. In other words: this is blackmail, Beltway style.
Like any concerned observer frightened for my friend's life, as well as my own, I urged Republicans to set some terms and not accept the invitation to the president's gathering unless he agreed to start over. Apparently, Mr. Obama was in favor of a second chance for the relationship and demonstrated his willingness by crafting a more expensive and politically explosive version of the first health care bill -- just on his own terms (so much for bipartisanship).
With each passing week that the president ignores jobs, choosing to focus on his obsession and an unprecedented legislative trick to stalk the public into a submitting to a relationship they don't want, the more he looks like a lunatic who has escaped the asylum, just waiting to surprise you outside your window, in the rain on your fire escape until you relent.
What has become evident to everyone except the Democratic leadership is that the American majority has no interest in a relationship so dysfunctional, so unstable, so completely unhealthy.
Obama has stumbled many times trying to get his way. Act Two of heath care reform might be his biggest mistake on the issue yet. In an effort to hit a button to reset the process, he might have hit the one that just blew it up. Like any good horror film, the element that's most despised just won't die. Let's hope we can finish health care off before anyone gets hurt.
Fox News has repeatedly promoted a video shot by Republican Congressional candidate Ari David's campaign of what they claim is Representative Xavier Becerra (D-CA) laughing at the recommendation that a meeting he was attending begin with the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Fox News has frequently promoted other campaign videos by Republican candidates, and in some cases, let them raise funds on-air.
On February 23, FOXNews.com posted an article about the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) under the headline "Gay Discrimination Bill Will Stifle Free Speech, Advance 'Homosexual Agenda,' Critics Say":
Right-wing media figures seized on what ABC News' Jake Tapper has described as an "apparently erroneous" report of a statement allegedly made by President Obama's nominee for special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference Rashad Hussain to portray him as a "pro-jihadist," a "radical," and a "terrorist sympathizer." But, as Tapper points out, Hussain has argued that terrorism is "antithetical" to Islam had has written extensively on "[d]iscrediting the terrorist ideology...to stop al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups."
Earlier today, the Associated Press published an article on the resignation of Yvo de Boer, the United Nations' top climate change official. It's an interesting story, and the AP, as is their wont, presented it in a just-the-facts fashion:
De Boer is known to be deeply disappointed with outcome of the last summit in Copenhagen, which drew 120 world leaders but failed to reach more than a vague promise by several countries to limit carbon emissions - and even that deal fell short of consensus.
But he denied to the AP that his decision to quit was a result of frustration with Copenhagen.
"Copenhagen wasn't what I had hoped it would be," he acknowledged, but the summit nonetheless prompted governments to submit plans and targets for reining in the emissions primarily blamed for global warming. "I think that's a pretty solid foundation for the global response that many are looking for," he said.
De Boer told the AP he believes talks "are on track," although it was uncertain that a full treaty could be finalized at the next high-level conference in November.
The partial agreement reached in Copenhagen, brokered by President Barack Obama, "was very significant," he said. But he acknowledged frustration that the deal was merely "noted" rather than formally adopted by all countries.
For Fox News, however, news isn't news unless it is a) conservative, and b) wrong, so they added a little language to the AP report without acknowledging that they had done so (the byline reads simply "AP"). Compare the original AP article above to this screenshot of the Fox News version (emphasis added):
Fox News' additions, of course, are little more than stale retreads of the many falsehoods that comprise the "Climate-gate scandal." And the "bombshell" they refer to is actually a distortion of climate scientist Phil Jones' interview with the BBC, in which he said that it would be unlikely to observe a statistically significant trend over a 15 year interval, which, when it comes to climate science, is a very short period of time.
In an article about Sarah Palin's critical response to the Fox comedy, Family Guy, "after the show appeared to mock Palin's Down syndrome son," FoxNews.com claimed that Palin also "recently slammed ... radio talk host Rush Limbaugh for using the word 'retard.' " In fact, Palin excused Limbaugh's remarks as "satirical."
The right-wing media narrative that the Obama administration endangered security by giving Miranda rights to alleged attempted Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is falling apart. Contrary to claims based on unnamed sources in the right-wing media, Obama administration officials agree that Abdulmutallab gave valuable intelligence during his first interrogation and that Abdulmutallab has begun divulging intelligence again.
From the February 7 FoxNews.com article:
Much attention has been given to President Obama's persistent use of "I" when giving speeches to sell his administration's agenda. Is he taking responsibility -- or, as his critics say, is he still in campaign mode? FoxNews.com is tracking the president's speeches all this month and will report back after each to see whether The "I's" Have It.