Last week, discredited conservative activist James O'Keefe released a video in which former NPR executive Ron Schiller appeared to disparage the tea party movement and say that NPR would be "better off" without federal funding. Since then, several media outlets have noted that the full video shows that these and other comments Schiller made were taken out of context, yet Fox & Friends has continued to promote O'Keefe's video without noting that it is deceptively edited.
The right-wing media has consistently portrayed the medical case of Canadian baby Joseph Maraachli as a fight for survival, claiming he was "rescued" from the Canadian hospital treating him, thus "sav[ing]" the child's life. In fact, Maraachli's condition is incurable -- a fact conceded even by the conservative priests who facilitated moving Maraachli to a Catholic hospital in the U.S. -- and the Canadian hospital had agreed to all of his parents' requests to discharge and transfer the child.
Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum granted legitimacy to the claim that 85 percent of U.S. mosques are led by extremists. This claim has been spread throughout the conservative media, but studies of the Muslim community have debunked the claim and an academic who has studied Muslims in America called it "nonsense."
The conservative media has steadily advocated for Republicans to force a government shutdown, with a recent piece in the Washington Examiner saying that a shutdown "doesn't sound that bad." At the same time, however, conservative media figures are pushing the talking point that a shutdown would be the Democrats' fault.
Imagine for a moment that a major newspaper published a front-page story pointing out ties between a Democratic member of Congress and the terror group Hamas. Imagine if the paper reported that the member of Congress had told attendees at a pro-Hamas rally to "pledge ourselves to support those brave men and women." Imagine if the paper reported that a judge had thrown him out of a Hamas murder trial as an "obvious collaborator."
Imagine that rather than deny any of those allegations or renounce his past support for a terrorist organization, that Democratic member of Congress told the paper that Hamas was a "legitimate force."
How do you think Fox News would respond?
They'd be doing wall to wall coverage, wouldn't they? There would be theme music and a logo -- "Terrorist In The House?" with that question mark if he was lucky. He'd be denounced by the network's daytime hosts, and Fox's crack terrorism "experts" would be called upon to question how he could remain in Congress.
And Heaven help him if he were to venture onto the network to defend himself; he'd be subject to withering criticism and probably have "Terrorist Sympathizer" added to his captions.
The reason I bring this up is that the New York Times published a front-page story today on Rep. Peter King's (R-NY) unrepentant support for the IRA. And I'm not seeing any of the above hoopla on Fox.
The story finally came up during King's interview on America's Newsroom. Watch how Martha MacCallum handles the issue:
Notice how she doesn't even start the interview with the incredible disclosure that the chairman of the Homeland Security committee has supported a terrorist organization. When she gets around to it, she asks an open-ended question, then sits silently as he completely ducks the question, choosing to talk not about his support for the IRA but instead about how much he has been praised for his work on the Northern Ireland peace process.
That's about it. Apparently satisfied with King's non-answer, MacCallum moves on to other topics.
And that's how Fox News handles the revelation that a GOP congressman supported a foreign terror group.
Fox figures and guests have continued their aggressive promotion of Rep. Peter King's (R-NY) upcoming hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims.
From the March 8 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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On today's edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom (supposedly one of Fox News' straight news programs), co-anchor Martha MacCallum hosted Fox News contributor Karl Rove to discuss President Obama's standing in the polls. They discussed a Rasmussen Reports poll question asking "how would you rate the president as a leader," and Gallup questions about Obama's standing on economic and deficit questions. But During the nearly-four minute segment, MacCallum and Rove did not once mention the most comprehensive measure of Obama's standing -- his job approval numbers.
According to Rove, Obama "moved up after he signed the tax cut deals with Republicans and after the speech in Tucson" but that the numbers were now pointing in the opposite direction. Rove argued that the Rasmussen and Gallup numbers spelled bad news for the president, and may hurt his re-election chances.
This seemed suspicious. Did Fox have a reason for ignoring Obama's overall job approval ratings? It would seem so. Gallup's daily tracking poll currently shows that 49 percent approve of Obama's performance while 44 percent disapprove. That number has remained relatively steady since the beginning of the year with Obama's approval number generally in the high 40s and his disapproval in the low 40s. And the numbers don't jump around that much over the entire previous year.
Rasmussen's daily tracking numbers jump around a bit more. Since the beginning of the year, Obama's approval numbers has ranged from a low of 44 percent to a high of 52 percent. His disapproval numbers have ranged from a low of 47 percent to a high of 55 percent. Right now, however, according to Rasmussen, Obama's approval rating is at 49 percent, close to its high point, while his disapproval numbers are at 50 percent.
Furthermore, the Gallup numbers track closely with the RealClearPolitics.com average of the most recent polls, which show Obama at 49.7 percent approval and 44.3 percent disapproval. And aside from Rasmussen no poll included in the RealClearPolitics.com average has found more people disapproving of Obama's job performance than approving of it since mid-January.
Fox News has debuted a new segment called "Taking Liberties" in which it purports to investigate "challenges to the individual's constitutional rights." In its first installment, Fox took the side of a right-wing activist group that is representing a mother in a divorce dispute, repeating its false claim that she was deemed "too religious" to home-school her daughter; Fox all but ignored the father's side of the case.
On Fox News today, Fox's senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano attacked the Illinois Supreme Court decision that Rahm Emanuel met the residency requirements to appear on Chicago's mayoral ballot. Napolitano said in order to be elected, the judges have to be "approved by the same political machine that is approving and supporting and promoting Rahm Emanuel. So, don't think of judges in Illinois as serious scholars devoted to the Constitution and the rule of law. They're politicians in black robes." Napolitano also opined that Emanuel did not meet the residency requirements.
But completely undermining Napolitano's claims that the decision was dictated by the Chicago political machine is the fact that three of the seven Illinois Supreme Court justices who unanimously decided that Emanuel's name should appear on the ballot are Republicans: Justice Robert Thomas who wrote the lead opinion; Justice Lloyd Karmeier; and Justice Rita Garman.
Furthermore, NPR's David Schaper reports that Law Professor Dawn Clark Netsch, who "played a key role in redrafting the Illinois Constitution in 1970" say that the Illinois Supreme Court's unanimous decision was "the right call."
From the January 27 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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In his State of the Union address, President Obama called for a new era of innovation by saying "this is our Sputnik moment," referencing the 1960s-era space race that began after the Soviet Union launched the Sputnik satellite. Right-wing media attacked Obama's remarks by taking the metaphor literally and criticizing Obama's NASA policy.
During a segment criticizing the Obama administration's relationship with the business community, Fox "straight news" anchor Martha MacCallum claimed that "it is not customary for the EPA to tell car companies how to run their business." In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency has set mandatory vehicle emission standards since the early 1970s.
Martha MacCallum led off the 10 a.m. hour of America's Newsroom today with super-scary news that necessitated a Fox News Alert: "The headline this morning, folks, is that inflation is starting to rear its ugly head in America."
"Take a look at this," MacCallum said. "Very significant. Up 1.1 percent in the Producer Price Index. Usually you get a move, you know, in the tenths of a percent. That's a pretty decent move in prices in December." She continued: "Higher energy costs and higher food costs, so that adds up to one thing: that's a confirmation that there is inflation, which people have been fearing for quite some time. We're now actually seeing inflation kicking in."
That is wrong.
The Census Bureau has released the first bundle of their 2010 data and findings, including which states will gain congressional seats based on population growth, and which will lose them. State legislatures need this data first so they can begin the grueling process of redistricting legislative districts as soon as they convene next year. But the Census Bureau has a lot more, less-time sensitive information that it will be releasing as time goes on. But the lack of full information doesn't matter to the Republican PR machine that is Fox News.
Fox News has decided what the preliminary data release means: people moved from states to high taxes to states with low taxes.
Here's Fox News' Martha MacCallum beating the drum:
MACCALLUM: But we do know that people vote with their feet, okay? And when you've got people leaving my beloved home state of New Jersey, I mean, the taxes are too high, and, you know, the government is having a tough time.
COLMES: Yeah, well, that's nice to make the assumption that people are leaving because of union issues, or because of right to work issues. How do we know they're not going there because of the weather? We don't know the motivation, we don't know why people are going from state to state. You're presuming-- Let me look at a map--
COLMES: It could be, hey, I like the warm weather of Arizona. I like the warm weather of Texas.
Of course, Fox News contributor Alan Colmes failed to persuade MacCallum that this particular correlation equals causation.
Of course, Fox News' relentless insistence that taxes are the main driving factor ignores other potential causes besides the weather.