A Media Matters analysis found that since the day after President Obama's inauguration, broadcast and cable news figures have been stating that Obama's "honeymoon" is "over" or questioning whether it is, rendering the cliché all but meaningless. During this period, media figures have suggested Obama's "honeymoon" is "over" with respect to "some ... die-hard Republicans," the media, African-Americans, Cuban President Fidel Castro, "Republican critics of his economic recovery plan," and economists.
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After Matt Drudge posted the headline "ENEMIES LIST: WHITE HOUSE PLOTS LIMBAUGH COVERAGE" on his website, several media figures -- including Rush Limbaugh, Lou Dobbs, Tony Blankley, and Newt Gingrich -- advanced Drudge's claim that Obama, like President Nixon, had an "enemies list," or compared the Obama White House to the Nixon administration.
Lou Dobbs claimed that "President Obama's honeymoon with Americans on the economy appears to be at an end," asserting that the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showed that "only 54 percent of Americans say the president has the right goals and policies for this country." However, the survey results for the same question from the previous two months' polls are nearly identical.
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In a February 25 press conference, Attorney General Eric Holder asserted that "reinstitut[ing] the ban on the sale of assault weapons" would "have a positive impact in Mexico." The next day on Lou Dobbs Tonight, correspondent Bill Tucker stated that "as you well know and we reported here often," drug cartel members are "often armed with weapons that were issued by the Mexican military." Dobbs responded, in part: "Eric Holder has no empirical basis for anything he's saying. The man is completely at sea on this." In fact, U.S. agencies have repeatedly acknowledged that drug cartels have illegally trafficked firearms from the United States into Mexico, and Dobbs himself acknowledged in August 2008 that "victims on both sides" of the border "have been killed by weapons smuggled from the United States."
Lou Dobbs falsely claimed, "President Obama sign[ed] a $800 billion stimulus package that we now know will come to about $3 trillion with debt servicing over the next decade," echoing a false claim in a Washington Times editorial that the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the full cost of the bill would reach $3.2 trillion by 2019. In fact, more than half of 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.
CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight and Fox News' Hannity advanced the claim that the economic recovery bill contains $30 million to protect the salt marsh harvest mouse in San Francisco. In fact, the bill does not contain any language directing funds to San Francisco wetlands or the salt marsh harvest mouse in the San Francisco wetlands. Even the GOP aide who originated the claim has reportedly said that "[t]here is no language in the bill that says this money will go to this project."
During appearances on Lou Dobbs Tonight and Glenn Beck, Dobbs and Beck allowed Betsy McCaughey to advance the false claim that provisions in the economic recovery act would permit the government to control health care. In fact, the provisions she cited address establishing an electronic records system in part for the purpose of "reduc[ing] health care costs resulting from inefficiency, medical errors, inappropriate care, duplicative care, and incomplete information." It does not say that the federal government will determine what constitutes "unnecessary care."
On his radio and television shows, Sean Hannity again claimed that "[n]o other speaker had" a military plane "before" Nancy Pelosi and that she is the "first speaker to ever have that plane." In fact, following 9-11, the House sergeant-at-arms, the Defense Department, and the White House agreed that military planes should be made available to the speaker of the House for national security reasons, and the first speaker to use such a plane was Dennis Hastert in 2001.
CNN's Lou Dobbs repeated the Republican talking point that the House-passed recovery bill "call[s] for more than $4 billion ... for something called 'neighborhood stabilization activities,' " adding, "That means funding for low-income advocacy groups such as ACORN." In fact, the recovery bill does not mention ACORN or otherwise single it out for funding; ACORN itself has said that it is ineligible for the funds and has no plans to apply for them.
CNN's Lisa Sylvester again uncritically reported Republican claims that "people living in the United States illegally might be able to access" health insurance benefits under new legislation extending SCHIP. Lou Dobbs also stated that "opponents say it will make it easier for illegal aliens to receive taxpayer-funded health insurance." But neither Sylvester nor Dobbs noted that the legislation includes a citizenship verification process in which states would use SCHIP applicants' names and Social Security numbers to verify that they are eligible.
Echoing a Republican talking point, Lou Dobbs claimed that in the economic recovery bill, "There's more than $4 billion for ... neighborhood stabilization activities -- $4 billion, which translates into funding for so-called advocacy groups such as ACORN." In fact, the recovery bill does not mention ACORN or otherwise single it out for funding; Dobbs was echoing a common attack by Republicans, who have falsely accused Democrats of trying to appropriate money for the group.
Lou Dobbs falsely claimed that the economic recovery bill, which the House recently passed, "would allow people who don't have Social Security numbers to be eligible" for the bill's Making Work Pay tax credits and would therefore make undocumented immigrants "eligible for checks." In fact, illegal immigrants without Social Security numbers are not eligible for tax credits under the stimulus bill.