Peter Barnes

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  • Fox News Hypes Fringe Petition Calling Global Warming A "Hoax"

    Blog ››› ››› SHAUNA THEEL

    Fox News is hyping a petition that calls for Congress to repeal the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to regulate greenhouse gases, on the grounds that global warming is a "hoax." But while hyping 15,000 signatures gathered by a group that is in the business of misleading the public on climate science, Fox ignored that over 3 million comments have been submitted in favor of EPA's greenhouse gas regulations.

    Fox News uncritically repeated the conservative Heartland Institute's declaration that the extensive science behind manmade climate change is just a "hoax." The group's petition, which is being promoted by Republican Senator James Inhofe, tries to cast doubt on everything from the basic physics of the greenhouse effect to the fact that Arctic sea ice has hit record lows and sea levels are rising. Based on that misinformation, the petition argues that the EPA should allow businesses to continue spewing huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the air at no cost to the polluters.

    Fox News did not give any background on the Heartland Institute, which has received significant industry funding and came under fire earlier this year for a billboard campaign associating acceptance of climate science with murderers. Heartland took down the billboard, but refused to apologize for its "experiment."

    The Heartland Institute's Billboard

  • Fox Distorts Democrats' Proposal To Modify Filibuster Rules

    Blog ››› ››› HARDEEP DHILLON

    On today's edition of Fox News Channel's Special Report, Fox Business correspondent Peter Barnes reported on the efforts by certain Democrats to modify Senate rules regarding the filibuster. After airing the arguments in favor of modifying the rules, Barnes stated that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell defended the Republicans' use of the filibuster because "Democrats refuse to allow Republican amendments to legislation."

    In fact, the proposal would guarantee the minority party the ability to offer amendments.

    Senator Tom Udall (D-CO), one of the primary proponents of the proposed rules changes, states:

    While many conservatives claim that the Democrats are trying to abolish the filibuster, our resolution maintains the rule but addresses its abuse.

    [...]

    "The third provision in the resolution is included based on the comments of Republicans at last year's Rules Committee hearings. Each time Democrats complained about filibusters on motions to proceed, Republicans responded that it was their only recourse because the Majority Leader fills the amendment tree and prevents them from offering amendments. Our resolution provides a simple solution - it guarantees the minority the right to offer amendments (emphasis added).

    The New York Times also stated:

    This situation would be resolved by allowing a fixed number of amendments from each side on a bill, followed by a fixed amount of debate on each one

    Thus, the proposed changes to the filibuster rules specifically address McConnell's complaint that the minority has been shut out of the amendment process. But watching Special Report -- billed as Fox's premiere daily straight-news program focused on politics -- you would never know that.

  • Fox figures ignore health bill's ban on subsidies for illegal immigrants

    ››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

    After Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) accused President Obama of lying for stating that health care reform "would not apply to those who are here illegally," media have cited a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, highlighted by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), which found that under the House bill, illegal immigrants would not be prohibited from purchasing insurance through the health insurance exchange established by the bill. However, Fox News' Sean Hannity and Greta Van Susteren and Fox Business Network's Peter Barnes ignored that the bill would require illegal immigrants to purchase insurance with their own money, just as they currently are able to do for private insurance, and that the CRS report they are citing specifically notes that the bill prohibits illegal immigrants from receiving federal subsidies to assist low-income families purchasing insurance.