Conservative media figures have recently claimed that the use of a legislative procedure called a "self-executing rule" to pass health care reform in the House is unconstitutional. However, Yale law professor Jack Balkin has explained that the procedure in question would pass constitutional muster; additionally, federal appeals courts have recently held that the constitutional requirement that both houses pass a bill has been met when the House speaker and Senate president attest the bill has passed.
Media conservatives have falsely characterized a legislative proposal reportedly being considered to finalize health care reform in the House as unprecedented, undemocratic, and unconstitutional. But the rule in question is an accepted part of House procedure, and Congress repeatedly used the rule under GOP leadership, according to a former GOP staff director of the House Rules Committee.
Living up to its name, HotAir embedded a ridiculous YouTube clip into a March 8 post to falsely claim that the Senate health care bill expands federal coverage of abortion beyond current law. The clip, titled "They Lie," shows an image of subsection 1303(b)(2) -- named "Abortions for Which Public Funding is Allowed" -- to prove that there is public funding for abortions. After all, the very title of the section says so!
However, the sleuths at HotAir (and their "Salem colleague Greg Hengler") neglected to mention that the subsection allowing for public funding of abortions is "based on the law as in effect as of the date that is 6 months before the beginning of the plan year involved." The "law as in effect" is the Hyde Amendment, which currently prohibits federal funding for abortions, except in cases of rape or incest or when the pregnancy endangers the life of the mother. This is not a new revelation; federal funding for these specific cases of abortion has been allowed under the Hyde Amendment consistently since 1993. And as Media Matters for America has noted -- ad nauseam -- neither the Senate nor House health care bills provide federal funding for abortions beyond the Hyde Amendment.
But, to the right-wing noise machine, it seems that every little blatant distortion helps when trying to sabotage the health care debate.
After previously falsely claiming that Democrats did not include GOP ideas in the health care bill, Fox News and right-wing blogs are now attacking President Obama's plan to consider four GOP ideas as part of a new health care proposal as a "gimmick." They have also seized on a Republican congressman's claim that "Snooki" from MTV's reality show Jersey Shore has "more substance" than Obama's offer to consider the GOP proposals.
HotAir.com is linking to video of a floor speech by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) under the headline "Pence: Why is deficit commission barred from recommending discretionary cuts?" and reporting that a bipartisan commission to study deficit reduction would "be limited to one option" -- presumably tax increases.
In his floor speech, Pence stated that "the devil is always in the details in Washington, D.C.," adding, "the president's proposal as I've heard about it is prohibited from recommending cuts in any discretionary spending."
HotAir gave no further indication as to the source of the claim.
But The New York Times tells a different story:
The agreement is tentative, pending consultations between Congressional leaders and some House and Senate lawmakers. Some details remained in flux.
But according to people familiar with the deal, in principle it commits Democrats to work with Republicans to do what they have not been able to do for a decade through the regular process: compromise on spending cuts and tax increases to produce reductions in annual deficits that, under George W. Bush and now Mr. Obama, have reached the highest levels since World War II.
After hackers reportedly stole emails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU), word of the criminal breach and use of the emails to attempt to undermine the overwhelming consensus on global warming moved from the blogs of climate-change skeptics, where links to the emails were originally posted by anonymous commenters, to foreign media outlets and right-wing political blogs. Media Matters for America tracks the story's movement across the Internet, which took less than two days and culminated in a call by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) for an investigation into "the IPCC and on the United Nations on the way that they cooked the science to make this thing look as if the science was settled."
Conservative media have recently suggested that scientists at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia intentionally "threw out" or "destroyed" the raw temperature data "underpinning the man-made-warming theory," in the words of the New York Post, echoing a recent London Times article that said it is "now impossible" to examine how the CRU made its conclusions. In fact, according to the scientists, the raw data is still available at the meteorological services where they obtained it -- director Phil Jones said the CRU simply did not keep copies for "less than 5 percent of its original station data" in its database because those "stations had several discontinuities or were affected by urbanization trends."
Numerous conservative media figures have attacked a recently released ABC News/Washington Post poll that found that 57 percent of respondents supported "having the government create a new health insurance plan to compete with private health insurance plans," with Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich reportedly claiming that "this poll was deliberately rigged and produced a result that's fundamentally false" and that "It's a typical Washington Post effort to slant the world in favor of liberal Democrats" and Rush Limbaugh calling the poll "totally fraudulent." Additionally, Fox News' Gretchen Carlson suggested that the poll should have referred to a "government-run option," and Fox News' Steve Doocy suggested the poll should have instead asked about the "government taking over the health care situation in this nation" - terms similar to the preferred language Republican pollster Frank Luntz has identified for the use of opponents of the public option and health care reform.
Following the release of the 1,502-page Senate Finance Committee health reform bill, Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich and Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy parroted conservative bloggers' complaints that the bill is excessively long. Specifically, Gingrich repeated RedState managing editor Erick Erickson's claim that the bill is longer than "the last two Harry Potter books," while Doocy amplified HotAir blogger Allahpundit's criticism that "[a]t a steady clip of two minutes per page, working a full eight-hour day, you'd be through it in just under a week."
In an October 7 post, right-wing blogger Gateway Pundit falsely claimed that President Obama "is forcing a private Catholic institution to cover abortion in its insurance plan," and Ed Morrissey similarly wrote on HotAir.com that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) "demanded that a private Catholic college offer abortion" coverage. In fact, the EEOC -- in a letter of determination that did not address the issue of abortion -- stated that the institution, Belmont Abbey College, violated discrimination laws by denying employees health insurance coverage for "prescription contraceptive drugs."
Some conservative media figures are spoiling the celebration for others who have taken joy in the International Olympic Committee's decision to award the 2016 Olympic Games to Rio de Janeiro rather than Chicago, whose bid for the games was supported by President Obama. While Glenn Beck crowed that the IOC's decision was "so sweet," and Rush Limbaugh stated, "I don't deny it. I'm happy," Joe Scarborough argued that "middle Americans that swing elections" will see conservatives celebrating Chicago's defeat and say, "My God, the Republicans have gone off the deep end."
Recently, the right-wing media have engaged in relentless attacks on President Obama and his administration and progressive organizations. Those attacks have repeatedly turned out to be based on demonstrably false claims -- such as the claim that Education Department official Kevin Jennings "cover[ed] up statutory rape."
Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, and prominent conservative bloggers followed the lead of conservative website Breitbart.tv after the site falsely claimed that an online video showed community organizers from the Gamaliel Foundation "pray[ing]" to President Obama. Breitbart.tv subsequently updated the original post with an editor's note acknowledging that "there is a debate over what is actually being said" and that the crowd may, in fact, be saying "oh God" rather than "Obama"; the Gamaliel Foundation subsequently stated that "at no time have we prayed to President Obama" and that in the video, the organizers "can be heard saying, 'Hear our cry oh God,' 'Deliver us oh God,' etc."
Just days after claiming that a video showing elementary school kids in New Jersey singing a song about President Obama was evidence of "indoctrination," the conservative media are at it again -- this time flogging another video of kids performing at a PTA meeting in North Carolina. Hotair.com posted the video with the caption "liberal indoctrination camp," while Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy compared it to a Barack Obama "campaign commercial."
On the heels of ACORN filing a lawsuit against conservative activists Hannah Giles, James O'Keefe, and Breitbart.com LLC, Sean Hannity, Andrew Breitbart, HotAir.com's Allahpundit, and NewsBusters have offered to -- in the words of Hannity -- "put out the word" to "help" Giles and O'Keefe raise money for their legal defense. Conservative media figures -- led by Glenn Beck -- helped Breitbart strategically release and aggressively promote the undercover videos that sparked ACORN's lawsuit.