Media figures have advanced the false claim that President Obama promised during his campaign to stop earmark spending and is breaking that promise by signing the omnibus spending bill currently being considered in the Senate. In fact, Obama promised to reform the earmark process and cut wasteful spending.
Fox News' Greta Van Susteren did not challenge Sen. Jon Kyl's false claim that the economic recovery plan is "going to be wasting an awful lot of money, putting permanent programs in place that over a 10-year period ... are going to spend $3.27 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office." Kyl's assertion echoed the false claim in a Washington Times editorial that CBO estimated that the full cost of the bill would reach $3.2 trillion by 2019. In fact, more than half of the $3.2 trillion figure comes from the cost of permanently extending more than 20 provisions in the recovery bill, which the bill does not do.
Fox News' Greta Van Susteren allowed Sen. Lindsey Graham to advance the myth that the economic recovery legislation would "reward ACORN." In fact, neither the House version nor the proposed Senate version mentions ACORN. The false claim is based on a misrepresentation of a provision that would appropriate $4.19 billion for neighborhood stabilization activities, but which would be distributed through competitive processes; ACORN has denied that it is eligible, or plans to apply, for those funds.
Discussing reports that President-elect Barack Obama is considering naming Sen. Hillary Clinton secretary of state, several media figures have responded with smears, including speculation that Clinton would pursue her own agenda as secretary of state and not Obama's, references to Clinton as Obama's "enem[y]," and speculation that Obama is considering the nomination because if Clinton remains in the Senate, she poses a threat of challenging him for the Democratic nomination in 2012 and can "mak[e] trouble" for him in the Senate.
In a Fox News special that host Greta Van Susteren said would examine "ties in Senator [Barack] Obama's past that many, frankly, find unsettling," correspondent Gregg Jarrett cited only the views of conservative journalist Stanley Kurtz in reporting on the activities of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, on whose board Obama and member William Ayers served. Neither Jarrett nor Van Susteren gave any indication that they had sought input from any source other than Kurtz in reporting on CAC's activities. In fact, in contrast with Kurtz's claim that the CAC "reflected Bill Ayers' hard-left views," Education Week reported that the foundation's work actually "reflected ... mainstream thinking among education reformers."
On The Live Desk, Steve Brown and Greta Van Susteren both baselessly asserted that Sen. Barack Obama purchased land adjoining his Chicago home from Antoin Rezko at a "discounted price." In fact, Obama paid $104,500 for the land, substantially more than what an Obama spokesman reportedly said was the land's appraised value.