When video of Mitt Romney dismissing 47 percent of American voters surfaced this afternoon, many media outlets found the surprising video newsworthy. Fox News, however, buried the remarks until forced to cover Romney's follow-up press conference late in the evening.
Today at 4 pm EDT, Mother Jones released secretly-taped footage of the Republican presidential candidate speaking at a private fundraiser, where Romney declared to donors that his job is "not to worry about" the 47 percent of Americans who pay no income taxes, since they will "vote for the president no matter what." He described these voters as people who "believe they are victims" and believe they are entitled to "housing" and "food," among other things.
ROMNEY: There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what.
And I mean the president starts off with 48, 49 -- he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn't connect. So he'll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean, that's what they sell every four years.
And so, my job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.
Even then, in a segment during On the Record, Fox declined to show the actual footage of Romney at the fundraiser, or even quote from his statements. Instead, only Romney's press conference defending his remarks was aired.
Fox News' Greta van Susteren last night became the sixth journalist to interview Mitt Romney without asking him about the conservative conspiracy theory alleging that the Muslim Brotherhood is using supposed ties to an aide for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to infiltrate the U.S. government. Two surrogates for Romney's campaign have defended that conspiracy during the past week, while Republican leaders like John Boehner and John McCain have condemned it.
From the July 18 edition of Fox News' On the Record with Greta Van Susteren:
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From the July 12 edition of Fox News' On the Record with Greta Van Susteren:
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From the July 11 edition of Fox's On the Record with Greta Van Susteren:
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Fox News and its counter-parts in right-wing media pounced on Senior White House Adviser Valerie Jarrett for pointing out that Fox News has a long history of using "class warfare" to attack President Obama. But despite the attacks from the right-wing media, Jarrett is right that Fox has a long history of resorting to charges of "class warfare" to attack President Obama while waging war itself against struggling Americans.
During a July 1 appearance at the Aspen Ideas Festival, former Time editor Walter Issacson asked Jarrett about the notion held by "so many business men and others" that Obama is "attacking the rich, attacking people who make a profit, people who make jobs." Jarrett responded by noting that the class warfare narrative may be emanating from a "particular" network, one that isn't CNN and presumably not MSNBC.
Fox News, and other right wing media outlets attacked Jarrett's comments. Fox News host Greta Van Susteren in a July 6 tweet and blog post asked, "is she drinking?" Fox Nation and Breitbart.com, both highlighted Jarrett's comments. Newsbusters, a conservative media blog, in a July 6 post went a step further, accusing Jarrett of "reflexively bash[ing] Fox News" and "relentlessly shovel[ing] all the Obama talking points."
But despite the right-wing media's complaints, Fox News has made itself the home of "class warfare," both in their willingness to use the label to attack President Obama, and in their attacks on both the poor and policies designed to alleviate poverty.
Fox News is falsely accusing the Obama administration of "thumbing its nose" at the Supreme Court's recent decision to strike down most of Arizona's controversial immigration law. In fact, the federal government is continuing to enforce immigration law in a manner consistent with the Supreme Court decision.
The court on Monday struck down most of the law, but allowed the so-called "show me your papers" provision of the law to go into effect. In response, the Department of Homeland Security announced that federal officials will not respond to every traffic stop at which Arizona authorities claim to have an undocumented immigrant in their custody. Federal officials will continue to take into custody immigrants with a criminal record and other people who meet federal immigration enforcement authority. DHS is also rescinding its immigration enforcement partnership program with Arizona.
While this announcement is in no way at odds with the court's ruling, Fox News is citing as evidence that the Obama administration is in defiance of the court.
Sean Hannity claimed that Obama was "basically thumbing his nose at the judiciary branch."
Other Fox commentators made similar comments. Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer claimed that Obama was acting "high handed and lawless." And Fox News host Greta Greta Van Susteren claimed the president "snub[bed] his finger, a little bit, at the full court."
In fact, the DHS announcement is perfectly consistent with the Supreme Court's decision. The Supreme Court said that ICE must "respond to any request made by state officials for verification of a person's citizenship status." And DHS will indeed continue to verify an individual's immigration status on request. But the Supreme Court did not impose additional limitations on the federal government such as a requirement that the federal government must arrest all the people that Arizona wants arrested.
Under the court's ruling, the federal government retains its well-established power to use its discretion to decide who it wants to deport.
In recent interviews, President Clinton and former White House economic adviser Larry Summers agreed with President Obama that Congress should not extend the Bush tax cuts for wealthy households. But Fox News distorted their comments to falsely claim that Clinton and Summers are in favor of extending them for all households, and thus are "at odds" with Obama.
From the June 5 edition of Fox News' On the Record with Greta Van Susteren:
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Conservatives have seized on Vice President Biden's remarks during an Ohio campaign speech about the issues facing the middle class, characterizing Biden as "unhinged" and "deranged," and claiming the administration is perpetuating "class-warfare." But with tax levels for the wealthy at historic lows set against the stark contrast of middle-class wage stagnation and reduced economic mobility, there is every justification to be passionate about the issue.
Frank VanderSloot is an Idaho businessman and a prominent Mitt Romney donor. According to Fox News and The Wall Street Journal, he's also a member of Barack Obama's purported "enemies list."
In a May 10 column, The Wall Street Journal's Kimberly Strassel complained about the scrutiny VanderSloot has come under since the Obama campaign questioned VanderSloot's background. On May 11, Fox jumped on the story, airing five separate segments that denounced attacks on a "private citizen."
But a crucial detail was missing from Strassel's column and the half-hour of airtime that Fox devoted to the story: VanderSloot is a national co-chair for Romney's finance committee. So VanderSloot is not merely a "private citizen," but actually a high-ranking member of Romney's campaign.
Fox's Neil Cavuto even let VanderSloot carry out his responsibilities as national finance co-chair on the air. Toward the end of an interview with Cavuto, VanderSloot said that he plans to "stand up and get more involved in this campaign, and we hope that other people will join us in that. Everybody should get out their checkbooks":
During this segment, Fox did display a hard-to-read screenshot of an Obama campaign website that identified VanderSloot as "the national finance co-chairman of the Romney campaign" -- for about 10 seconds:
Full video of the Fox segments below the jump.
Fox News figures are promoting an ad produced by Veterans for a Strong America that deceptively edited statements by President Obama to portray him as taking all the credit for the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. In fact, fuller context of the speeches that the ad excerpts makes clear that Obama did give credit to the troops for the bin Laden raid, a fact that Fox's own Megyn Kelly has noted.
Bloomberg News is reporting that a Republican National Committee Web ad uses "altered audio from U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments to attack President Barack Obama's health-care law." The Bloomberg article details the problems with the ad:
In a spot circulated yesterday [March 28], the Republican National Committee excerpts the opening seconds of the March 27 presentation of Obama's top Supreme Court lawyer, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, in which he is heard struggling for words and twice stopping to drink water.
"Obamacare," the ad concludes, in words shown against a photograph of the high court. "It's a tough sell."
A review of a transcript and recordings of those moments shows that Verrilli took a sip of water just once, paused for a much briefer period, and completed his thought, rather than stuttering and trailing off as heard in the doctored version.
On his March 28 Fox News show, Sean Hannity aired an audio clip of Justice Antonin Scalia speaking during the arguments, and another of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Hannity then aired the RNC ad:
This left the impression that the RNC ad simply uses a clip of Verrilli to show that he had fared poorly during the arguments. In reality, as Bloomberg noted, Verrilli's speech was doctored to exaggerate the effect.
The time of publication on Bloomberg's article is 5:05 p.m. Eastern on March 29.
Hannity's show airs at 9 p.m. Eastern, and graphics throughout his March 29 show indicated it was airing live. But Hannity didn't apologize for airing the misleading ad. He didn't even mention it.
Even worse, during the show that follows Hannity, On the Record, host Greta Van Susteren aired the RNC ad and discussed it with The Washington Examiner's Byron York -- without ever mentioning that it was doctored.
From the March 21 edition of Fox News' On the Record with Greta Van Susteren:
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Writing in Foreign Policy, Harvard University international affairs professor Stephen M. Walt listed his "Top Ten Media Failures in the 2012 Iran War Scare" and provides examples of media outlets that he believes are responsible for those failures. One other media outlet that quickly comes to mind as an example of extremely poor Iran coverage is Fox News.
For some time now, Fox's coverage of the Iran debate has left much to be desired, and indeed, Fox has committed many of the "top ten media failures" that Walt identified.
"#1 Mainstreaming the war." Walt wrote that media outlets repeatedly push the idea that "war is imminent, likely, inevitable, etc.," which could potentially "convince the public that it is going to happen sooner or later and it discourages people from looking for better alternatives." Fox has done this repeatedly. For example, Fox military analyst Jack Keane said on Happening Now: "I think it's inevitable" that the United States will have "some kind of conflict" with Iran. Regular Fox guest and former CIA official Michael Scheuer has likewise said that the U.S. is "going to war against the Iranians," and Fox News host Sean Hannity has even said that he thinks war with Iran "has already started."
"#2: Loose talk about Iran's 'nuclear [weapons] program.' " Walt stated that a "recurring feature of Iran war coverage has been tendency to refer to Iran's 'nuclear weapons program' as if its existence were an established fact." Fox has done this too. During an appearance on America's Newsroom, Fox News national security analyst KT McFarland distorted comments by Secretary of Defense and former CIA director Leon Panetta to claim that "Iran will have a nuclear weapon in a year or sooner," co-host Martha MacCallum failed to point out that there are significant questions about whether Iran is planning to build nuclear weapons at all.
Indeed, 2007 and 2011 National Intelligence Estimates found no conclusive evidence that Iran is even trying to build a bomb. And in January 31 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper reiterated the fact that the U.S. intelligence committee does not have evidence to say that Iran is trying to build a bomb.