MSNBC's Joe Scarborough asserted that nations "are testing" President Obama "in a way ... that they wouldn't have tested Dick Cheney," citing as examples Iran "g[etting] the uranium they need," "North Korea going ahead with this long-range missile launch," and Pakistan "strik[ing] a deal with the Taliban." But during Cheney's two terms as vice president in the Bush administration, Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan each took actions similar to the ones Scarborough discussed.
On Morning Joe, Pat Buchanan stated that under President Obama's plan, "we're looking at permanent tax increases," while Joe Scarborough said that the White House suggested it will propose "an increase of taxes." But neither Scarborough nor Buchanan noted, as Peter Orszag said during a later segment, that Obama proposes letting the Bush tax cuts expire only "for those who are earning more than ... a quarter of a million dollars a year."
Twice on February 20, MSNBC promoted Rick Santelli's rant the previous day over President Obama's proposed foreclosure reduction plan, which Santelli said "promot[es] bad behavior" and "subsidiz[es] the losers' mortgages." In neither case did MSNBC provide any substantive response to those criticisms.
In discussing Sen. Judd Gregg's decision to withdraw his nomination for commerce secretary, media outlets have echoed myths and falsehoods about the census, advancing conservative misinformation about potential census procedures, the Obama administration, and progressives.
On MSNBC, Pat Buchanan perpetuated the myth that government efforts to expand affordable housing to underserved communities caused the financial crisis, a charge that has frequently taken the form of attacks on the Community Reinvestment Act. In fact, as Fed chairman Ben Bernanke has stated: "Our own experience with CRA over more than 30 years and recent analysis of available data, including data on subprime loan performance, runs counter to the charge that CRA was at the root of, or otherwise contributed in any substantive way to, the current mortgage difficulties."
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough falsely suggested that Rep. Barney Frank is only now, in the wake of the mortgage crisis, taking the position that the government should focus on the expansion of affordable rental housing, rather than enacting policies geared toward universal home ownership. In fact, Frank has long advocated that the government focus on expanding affordable rental housing.
A New York Times essay by Jason DeParle highlighted a resurgence of the use of the word "welfare" among conservatives, this time to attack President Obama's economy recovery plan. Indeed, while economists agree that provisions in the legislation targeting needy people are among the most economically stimulative, Media Matters documents below the pervasiveness of what DeParle called the "weaponiz[ation]" of the "very word, welfare," in the media, particularly, but not exclusively on Fox News, to denounce the stimulus bill.
Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski did not challenge Sen. John Thune's claim that the creation of "government jobs" does not stimulate the economy. In fact, Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Elmendorf has stated that, "in terms of the short-term stimulus, either kind of job [government or private sector] works because the people who get those jobs and receive the paycheck go out and spend it, and that's -- or spend much of it, and that is the multiplier effect that economists talk about."
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski continued their assault on the economic recovery package, misrepresenting New Deal unemployment figures to argue that government spending does not boost employment.
Fox News' John Gibson and MSNBC's Joe Scarborough each asserted that if President Obama abandons Bush administration policies and procedures "which kept us safe for the last seven, eight years," in Gibson's words, Obama will bear responsibility for any future act of terrorism. However, neither mentioned evidence that President Bush's policies did not eliminate the terrorist threat to America and that some Bush policy decisions, such as the invasion and occupation of Iraq, may, in fact, have aggravated the threat.
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough falsely suggested that assertions in The Wall Street Journal about the Minnesota Senate race were the result of "reporting," including the Journal's reference to "double counting" in the race. But in claiming that there was "double counting," the Journal did not cite reporting and echoed an accusation by the campaign of the incumbent, Republican Norm Coleman.
On Morning Joe, shortly after Mika Brzezinski remarked that the weather was "so cold" that "[i]t'll freeze your car door shut," Joe Scarborough recounted, "I tried to turn the key, and it was ... locked." Then, in response to Brzezinski's comment, "Oh, American car. That's the problem," Scarborough declared: "The American car -- you know what? It's probably some Japanese engineer that made the key hold -- just sabotaged us. Kinda like blowing up things at Pearl Harbor."
On Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough again claimed that Al Franken "can steal" enough votes in the Minnesota Senate race to emerge victorious, marking at least the sixth time Scarborough has invoked "steal[ing]" votes since the recount began. Scarborough later denied that he was "saying Al Franken's stealing votes" but was instead "just saying how easy would it be for Al Franken to steal 150 [votes]." He added: "I'm like a scientist. This is a theory that I'm trying out there."
Previously having stated that Democrat Al Franken "only needs to steal 130 more votes to win" his race against Republican Sen. Norm Coleman for Minnesota's U.S. Senate seat, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough again raised the subject of "steal[ing]" votes on the December 16 edition of Morning Joe -- at least the fifth time he has made such comments since the recount began on November 19. After co-host Mika Brzezinski reported that Franken is behind Coleman by 188 votes, Scarborough asked Pat Buchanan, "Buchanan, can you steal 188 out of 1,500? That's easy, right?"
Joe Scarborough responded to Media Matters' highlighting of his assertions that Al Franken "only needs to steal" a small number of votes to win his Senate race, by saying: "Can I have my Media Matters moment here, because it drives them crazy when I say this. How many -- how many votes does Al Franken have to steal to get elected in Minnesota? OK, there, I've said it. Now you guys can write another article. That's my little present to you." He continued: "Now, for the record, Media Matters, I've never accused Al Franken of stealing votes. I just asked Pat Buchanan, 'Hey, how many -- he needs 250 votes. Would those votes be hard to steal?' And, of course, Pat said, 'No, I've got those in the back of my station wagon, Joe.' "