From the November 14 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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On today's edition of her fake "straight news" program, Fox News host Megyn Kelly hosted conservative Mike Gallagher and progressive Alan Colmes to discuss the State Department's recent decision to delay consideration of the Keystone XL pipeline project. Kelly, like the rest of Fox News, has been busy misinforming on the subject. But her bias was even more evident than usual today.
During the conversation, Gallagher went on a wide-ranging attack on "green energy companies" and President Obama's administration. Gallagher even mentioned the failed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) operation Fast and Furious -- a law enforcement operation that was aimed at stopping gun running into Mexico. These things had nothing to do with the topic at hand. But Kelly did not step in.
However, when Colmes was given a chance to speak about Gallagher's misleading assertion that cancellation of the Keystone project would have a significant negative effect on jobs, Colmes began to speak about House Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) failure to produce jobs. At the mention of Boehner's name, however, Kelly cut Colmes off, saying: "Alright. Now we're going off point." She wouldn't let Colmes say anything about Boehner and moved on to a different topic.
Straight news, indeed.
One of the myths that Fox uses to prop up its credibility as a news-gathering operation is that it has "straight news" shows that possess the same integrity as those on any other channel.
It's a helpful argument for them, made all the more believable because these shows really look like news. Fox makes use of television conventions to convince its audience that what they are seeing is "news."
But anyone who closely watches these purportedly straight-news shows knows that, in fact, they're unlike any other news on television.
Actress Ellen Barkin recently made this point in an interview with the Los Angeles Times Magazine. Discussing "the enormous success that has killed us in terms of Fox News," Barkin said:
The blatant lying that passes itself off as journalism. I don't even need to get there to go mental. Can you imagine a legitimate newsperson -- Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw -- just lying on the news?
This earned her a jab in Bill O'Reilly's daily briefing*. (The instinct to defame critics, rather than engage them, is one of the qualities that separates Fox from legitimate news operations -- see here, for instance.)
The evidence that Fox disregards journalistic ethics, including outright "lying on the news," is extensive.
Imagine this: A news anchor uses talking points cribbed from a document released by a political party and presents them as his own news outlet's research. So faithfully, in fact, that the outlet reproduces a typo in the original document. When pressured on the issue, the anchor apologizes ... for the typo.
Jon Scott, co-anchor of one of Fox's daytime straight-news shows, Happening Now, did exactly that on Fox News. Plenty of other Fox straight-news shows have presented Republican Party research as their own.
From the November 10 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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Fox News has claimed that TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline would create somewhere between 50,000 and a million jobs. In fact, even TransCanada acknowledges that the total jobs created would be far fewer, and an independent report has found that the project could actually destroy more jobs than it creates through higher fuel costs and environmental damage.
Thousands of demonstrators formed a human chain around the White House on Sunday in protest to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport Canadian tar sands crude to Gulf Coast refineries. Protesters highlighted environmental concerns related to the risk of oil spills and groundwater contamination along the pipeline route and expressed frustration with the "clout of oil company interests in Washington."
Based on the attention paid to the over-hyped threat of voter fraud in the 2012 election cycle, observers of Fox News, the right-wing blogosphere, and Republican state legislatures might believe that double-voting, fraudulent absentee ballots and undocumented aliens casting votes on Election Day is such a frequent phenomenon that the very foundation of our democracy is being pulled out from underneath us. As many states look to pass controversial voter ID laws that make it more difficult to vote, right-wing commentators like the Heritage Foundation's Hans von Spakovsky and The American Spectator's John Fund are pushing the voter fraud agenda to the public. When questioned about the vote-suppressing effects of these laws and the absence of any evidence of widespread voter fraud in America, however, voter ID proponents slip on their dancing shoes.
Von Spakovsky, in a November 5 segment on CNN Saturday Morning, was pushed by host T.J. Holmes to explain the justification for these laws, given the lack of evidence that any widespread voter fraud exists. Spakovsky, who last month admitted that there is no massive voter fraud problem in America, dodges answering twice and argues that whether voter fraud is widespread or not isn't important.
HOLMES: What evidence do you have that that's happening on a widespread level?
VON SPAKOVSKY: Well, you don't need it on a widespread level. As the U.S. Supreme Court said when it upheld Indiana's voter ID law, that kind of fraud can make the difference in close elections. And you know, in Missouri, where Ms. Lieberman is from, we had an election just two years ago that was decided by one vote. And if I may say, what's said is Ms. Lieberman has been misled by her attorneys. She is exempt from the voter ID law that Missouri is going to have go in place if it is approved in a referendum. That law, which was passed a couple of years ago, specifically says anyone born before 1941, and that includes her, is exempt, as are people with physical and mental disabilities.
HOLMES: Well sir, a lot of people don't feel that way. And they feel like a lot of people just throw up their hands and say, 'ok, I can't deal with this and can't do this.' And you talked about the Supreme Court case with Indiana - yes, they ruled for Indiana, but also Indiana couldn't come up with a single case of voter fraud there, so I guess where do you see the voter fraud taking place that justifies states changing laws like this?
VON SPAKOVSKY: Well look, I can't give you an inventory here today. I've written about a lot of case studies on various kinds of voter fraud.
John Fund, editor of The American Spectator, was questioned by Media Matters at the Americans for Prosperity's "Defending the American Dream Summit" in Washington, DC where he defended von Spakovsky and struggled to rationalize the voter suppression laws he supports.
MEDIA MATTERS: Hans von Spakovsky was quoted in The New York Times saying that there isn't massive fraud in American elections. Do you agree with him?
FUND: Well, depends on how you define "massive." In some places, it's enormous. In some places, it's not a problem. In some places, it's minor. So it depends. Is there massive fraud throughout all 50 states? No. Is there massive fraud in many states where the elections are close and can decide the presidency? The answer is yes.
MMFA: So you sort of agree with him, sort of don't?
FUND: Well, you know, I think - remember, I talked to him. He was quoted out of context. Now, he did say that, and I would agree with that, but I think the context is important.
While Fund claims that "enormous" fraud is taking place in some states, the record suggests. The Justice Department, for example, prosecuted only 17 individuals for casting fraudulent ballots from October 2002 through September 2005. During that period, DOJ charged a total of 95 individuals with "election fraud," convicting 55. Even Fox News, who has consistently over-hyped the menace of voter fraud, suffered a blow on the issue when America Live host Megyn Kelly was forced to admit that the problem of voter fraud is "not overwhelming."
Right-wing media, and Fox News in particular, love embellishing the terrifying specter of voter fraud as a way to support and justify restrictive voter identification and registration laws. It's hardly surprising -- the more restrictive the law, the fewer people vote; and when fewer people vote, more Republicans win elections. Unfortunately for the fear-mongers, study after study shows that cases of voter fraud are few and far between and fears of a massive-scale voter fraud effort are unfounded.
Surprisingly, Fox News' Megyn Kelly now agrees. In a segment on voter fraud on the November 4 edition of America Live, Kelly admitted that the problem is "not overwhelming."
KELLY: Well that's the classic debate. Because Democrats always say it's about disenfranchising, the Republicans always say it's about voter fraud. And you guys are never going to see eye to eye.
ALAN COLMES: We don't have enough cases of fraud to make this a real issue. It's an invented issue.
KELLY: Well, but there have been some instances, but you're right it's not overwhelming.
Kelly's reality-based opinion about the state of voter fraud in the country is entirely inconsistent with her network's feverish, obsessive coverage of the issue. Before practically every election, Fox breathlessly warns of potential fraud; every vote is constantly in peril of being stolen. The network has even gone so far as to establish a voter fraud hotline:
Why would Fox News devote such resources to a problem that is "not overwhelming"? Because Fox is a GOP mouthpiece and the party benefits from driving their voters into a frenzy about supposed fraud and passing laws to suppress the vote.
From the November 3 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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From the November 2 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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Bill O'Reilly and Megyn Kelly suggested that Planned Parenthood conspired with the state of Kansas to shred evidence implicating Planned Parenthood in covering up statutory rapes. But the charges are based on accusations by attorney Phill Kline who has been found to have engaged in "dishonest conduct" during his crusade to prove that Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers are violating Kansas law.
From the October 28 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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Today's edition of Fox News' "straight-news" program America Live featured a segment on Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry's new tax plan. Far from being "fair and balanced," the segment was policy advocacy in the guise of a news report -- it presented Perry's proposal in a positive light, featured only sympathetic commentators, and paid lip service to criticisms of and deficiencies in the new plan.
The segment featured video of Steve Forbes -- a longtime evangelist for the idea of a flat tax as well as a prominent Perry adviser -- arguing in favor of the plan, along with conservative economist Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute. Opposition to the plan was represented only by anonymous quotes from "Obama campaign aides" and "the Obama campaign team," as read by correspondent Jim Angle. The content of the segment presented Perry's plan as a "solution," argued that "economists say it offers big benefits," and brushed aside the vital issue of how much revenue Perry's tax plan would generate.
Here's how host Megyn Kelly introduced the segment:
KELLY: Hot from the race for the White House, a new solution to America's tax mess.
Not a "campaign plan." Not a "proposal." A "solution."
A Fox Nation "report card" evaluating President Obama's first 1,000 days in office bears a striking similarity to an RNC "research briefing" issued one day earlier. In a Fox News segment today on the "report card," host Megyn Kelly said the statistics came from "our brain room" and listed them on screen as "Fox Facts."
Fox News, of course, has a history of passing off Republican research as its own, typos and all. What exactly happened here, we can't be sure, but what is clear is that Fox and the Republican Party are pushing the same message at the same time.
Below are some key excerpts from the RNC research document, published October 11, and the Fox Nation "report card," published October 12:
RNC says: "$4.2 Trillion: Added To The National Debt Since Obama Took Office. (U.S. Treasury Department, Accessed 10/6/11)"
Fox says: "DEBT: Total Public Debt Outstanding has increased by $4.2 trillion [source: Treasury Dept]"
RNC says: "40.5: Number Of Weeks That It Takes To Find A Job. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 10/7/11)"
Fox says: "AVERAGE WEEKS UNEMPLOYED: Unemployed out of work for an average of 40.5 weeks - that's more than double since Jan 2009 [source: BLS]"
RNC says: "2.2 Million: Jobs Lost Since Obama Took Office. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 10/7/11)"
Fox says: "JOBS: 2.22 million jobs lost [source: BLS]"
RNC says: "15.1%: Americans Living In Poverty. (U.S. Census Bureau, 9/13/11)"
Fox says: "POVERTY: Nearly 3 million more Americans in poverty--poverty rate has gone from 13.2% to 15.1% [source: Census]"
RNC says: "$1.17 Trillion: American Debt Held By China. (U.S. Treasury Department, Accessed 10/6/11)"
Fox says: "CHINA: Owns $1.17 trillion of our debt (as of July) - a 58% increase from January 2009 [source: Treasury Dept]"
RNC says: "45,696: Pages Of New Rules Added To The Federal Register During Obama's First Two Years In Office. (Competitive Enterprise Institute, 2011)"
Fox says: "REGULATIONS - FEDERAL REGISTER: 45,696 pages of new regulatory rules were added to the Federal Register [source: National Archives and Records Administration, Office of the Federal Register, various years]"
RNC says: "818,000: Manufacturing Jobs Lost Since Obama Took Office. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 10/7/11)"
Fox says: "MANUFACTURING: 818,000 manufacturing jobs lost
a -6.5% drop since Jan. 2009 [source: BLS]"
Zachary Pleat contributed research to this report.
In an attempt to create a "solar scandal" that will be "even bigger than Solyndra," Fox News is claiming that SunPower, which recently received a federal loan guarantee, is a "failing company" that is creating jobs "not in America, but in Mexico." In fact, industry experts see SunPower as "a success story" and the loan guarantee supports the construction of a power plant in California, not Mexico.