On Tuesday, I noted that two nonpartisan campaign finance watchdogs had asked the IRS to investigate whether Crossroads GPS -- a GOP slush fund promoted by Karl Rove -- had violated its tax status through excessive electioneering. I concluded the post by saying, "It will be interesting to see if Fox chooses to ignore this story altogether, or bring Rove on to spin for his group."
Well, Fox fooled me; they did neither. Instead, the network's Megyn Kelly hosted Dana Perino -- not only Rove's current colleague at Fox News, but also his former colleague at the Bush White House -- to discuss the allegations. Rove has reportedly praised Perino as "one of the most talented professionals I've seen."
Oh, and of course, neither Kelly nor Perino mentioned the allegations by the campaign finance groups, who issued similar calls for action after the 2004 election against Democratic-linked groups, resulting in more than $1 million in fines.
Instead, they focused on identical allegations by Democratic Sen. Max Baucus. That way, you see, they could call it a politically-motivated smear tactic.
Seems like a tactic straight from the Rove playbook.
Fox's Megyn Kelly hosted Dana Perino to portray calls for an IRS audit of a Republican slush fund promoted by Karl Rove as a politically motivated "conspiracy," ignoring that such calls have been issued by non-partisan organizations that called for similar audits of Democratic-leaning groups in 2004. They also furthered the bogus claim that the White House illegally accessed the tax information of Koch Industries.
Following a pattern of absurd, baseless, and false charges lobbed against the Justice Department by Fox News, today Fox's Monica Crowley claimed on America Live that there is a "concerted effort" by President Obama and Attorney General Holder to "open the door to international law, to have international law hold sway over the U.S. Constitution." Crowley also claimed that Obama and Holder are "waging war against the American people."
Crowley and America Live host Megyn Kelly were attacking the Obama administration because the governments of Mexico and other Latin American countries had filed a brief arguing that Arizona's controversial immigration law, S.B. 1070, violated the U.S. Constitution. Crowley suggested that the Justice Department should have opposed the Latin American countries' motions to be allowed to file a brief.
In fact, there's nothing in the Latin American countries' brief or the federal government's brief suggesting that international law is relevant to the question of whether S.B. 1070 is unconstitutional. Furthermore, there's nothing unusual or nefarious about a foreign government filing a brief in U.S. court.
From the October 5 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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Following allegations that Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman knowingly employed an undocumented immigrant, Fox News has taken pains to cast doubt on the charges, alleging a "political stunt" by her Democratic opponent and that Whitman is the "victim of a last-minute smear campaign." However, Fox personalities have criticized Timothy Geithner for similar issues.
Discussing Justice Department lawyer Christopher Coates' testimony on the phony New Black Panthers Party scandal, Bill O'Reilly and Megyn Kelly pushed claims that the case shows the Obama administration's Justice Department is "not interested" in protecting white voters from discrimination. But their claims were riddled with falsehoods and misrepresentations.
Coverage of CNBC's economic town hall meeting with President Obama has been dominated by analysis over poignant comments made by middle-class Maryland resident Velma Hart. Hart, who voted for Obama in 2008, told the president she was "exhausted" of defending him, expressed her fears about her family's economic future and famously asked him, "Quite frankly, Mr. President, I need you to answer this honestly: Is this my new reality?"
Unsurprisingly, Hart's comments, which were evocative of the nationwide uncertainty in the wake of the economic downturn, have been distilled by Fox News into a simplistic attack on the president: "Is Velma Hart the next Joe the Plumber?"
On this morning's Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy went from describing Hart as speaking "from the heart and sa[ying] I don't want to have to make those choices at the grocery store. I got kids going to college," before marginalizing her by asking, "Is she the new Joe the Plumber?" On September 22, America Live's Megyn Kelly repeatedly teased a segment on Hart by asking, verbatim, the exact same question:
Megyn Kelly predictably jumped all over reports that Justice Department attorney Christopher Coates would testify before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights tomorrow about the department's handling of a voter-intimidation case against members of the New Black Panther Party. Kelly called this development a "bombshell" that could show that the DOJ is not enforcing voting rights laws equally based on race -- but she made no mention of the DOJ's actual work enforcing voting laws against black defendants.
Kelly hearkened back to her interviews earlier this summer with right-wing activist J. Christian Adams, who has claimed that there is a "hostility in the voting rights section" of the Justice Department "to bringing cases on behalf of white victims for the benefit of national racial minorities." Fox News -- Megyn Kelly in particular -- relentlessly fanned these flames throughout the summer. Coates' decision to testify was no exception:
That testimony could potentially be damaging to DOJ officials who have testified before that same commission under oath that the Department of Justice does not have a policy of enforcing voting right laws unequally, depending on the race of the parties involved.
That's a rather extraordinary allegation that Coates might attempt to corroborate tomorrow. But it's an allegation that is in no way sustainable given the actual actions of the Justice Department -- actions that Megyn Kelly routinely ignores.
Fox News is outraged about the photo some media outlets are using in their reports about Delaware's Republican Senate nominee, Christine O'Donnell. On America Live this afternoon, anchor Megyn Kelly raged, "look at this, this is just an example of the picture some in the media, including the Washington Post, have chosen to use when running stories about Christine O'Donnell." While she spoke, Fox News aired the following image:
She then asked conservative radio host Lars Larson, "Is that an accident, that that was the photo they chose?" Larson, of course, answered "not at all," claiming that the photo indicates that the media are "trying to paint her as a loon" and are "trying to pick particularly unattractive photos of her, and maybe even photos that suggest something a little bit dirty."
I don't know why the Post decided to use that photo to punctuate their O'Donnell reporting. I also don't know why Fox Nation decided to use this image with their own coverage:
Yes, it appears to be a photo taken at the same instant from a slightly different angle. If Megyn Kelly wants to start impugning the motives of media based on their photo selections, perhaps she should have a conversation with her co-workers first.
Fox News claimed that a draft policy under consideration by Immigration and Customs Enforcement means the government is "inching toward" the point of "completely giving a free pass to all illegals who haven't committed a crime." In fact, the policy restricts only who will be detained, not who will be deported, and ICE continues to remove large numbers of non-criminal unauthorized immigrants from the country.
From the September 9 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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Right-wing media omitted essential context from recent remarks made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to falsely claim that she attacked President Obama's economic policies when she said, "I think that our rising debt levels poses a national security threat," and also to speculate that Clinton is planning to challenge Obama in 2012. In fact, Clinton's full remarks clearly condemned the policies of the Bush administration -- not Obama.
For quite some time, right-wing media figures with comically poor prediction track records have tried to stir up trouble by claiming that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is planning to challenge President Obama for the Democratic nomination. These reports are universally similar: they are long on speculation and short on actual evidence.
It must be a slow news day, because today, seeking to push this storyline, Fox News basically fabricated the claim that during an event this morning, Clinton purportedly kicked off her fictitious campaign by attacking Obama's handling of the federal debt.
On America Live, Megyn Kelly aired a clip of Clinton saying at today's appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations, "I think that our rising debt levels poses a national security threat, and it poses a national security threat in two ways. It undermines our capacity to act in our own interest, and it does constrain us where constraint may be undesirable. And it also sends a message of weakness internationally."
This was the excuse for Kelly and Monica Crowley to engage in entirely baseless speculation about whether Clinton is, in Kelly's words, "coasting along in this role of secretary of state, watching President Obama take all the hits on the economy, maybe a tweak here or there about how his policies are undermining not just our national economy, but our international security, which she does have to worry about, and then what, she emerges in a couple of years to say 'I told you so.'" Watch:
Kelly teased this segment by asking, "Did Hillary Clinton just effectively declare her candidacy for president of the United States?" The answer, of course, is no.
Fox deceptively edited the tape of Clinton's remarks, removing essential context. In fact, she made clear in the very next paragraph that she wasn't criticizing President Obama's deficit spending; she was criticizing President Bush's. Full video and relevant transcript below (emphasis added):
CLINTON: I think that our rising debt levels poses a national security threat, and it poses a national security threat in two ways. It undermines our capacity to act in our own interest, and it does constrain us where constraint may be undesirable. And it also sends a message of weakness internationally. I mean, it is very troubling to me that we are losing the ability not only to chart our own destiny but to, you know, have the leverage that comes from this enormously effective economic engine that has powered American values and interests over so many years.
So I don't think we have a choice. It's a question of how we -- how we decide to deal with this debt and deficit. I mean, you know, it is -- we don't need to go back and sort of re-litigate how we got to where we are, but it is fair to say that, you know, we fought two wars without paying for them, and we had tax cuts that were not paid for either. And that has been a very deadly combination to fiscal sanity and responsibility.
So the challenge is how we get out of it by making the right decisions, not the wrong decisions. I mean, there's a lot of wrong things we could do that would further undermine our strength. I mean, it is going to be very difficult for those decisions.
So yes, Fox News used their typical video doctoring techniques to invent this story from nothing.
From the September 1 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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Fox News baselessly suggested that Democrats would attempt to "skew" the fall elections by exempting "battleground" states from a requirement that they ship ballots to overseas military personnel at least 45 days before the election. This manufactured controversy has completely fallen apart: The only "battleground" state (as defined by Fox News) that received an exemption has a Republican official overseeing its elections. Moreover, the waiver process is part of the law and was mentioned during the debate over the legislation, which was co-sponsored by 26 Senate Republicans.