The right-wing media are claiming that the "liberal agenda" President Obama outlined in his second inaugural address is out of the mainstream, even though polling has shown that the majority of Americans agree with Obama's stances on marriage equality, sustainable energy, and other issues.
Fox News analyst Peter Johnson Jr. falsely claimed that President Obama neglected to highlight economic problems such as poverty or joblessness in his second inaugural address.
Johnson appeared on Fox & Friends to discuss Obama's second inaugural address, calling it a "hard-left manifesto." But while he argued that Obama outlined "a very bizarre, disordered priority of what our national interests were," Johnson dishonestly criticized Obama for not addressing poverty, unemployment, and economic uncertainty.
In fact, the president did mention poverty, the insecurity that comes with job loss, and the economic fears many Americans share:
For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. (Applause.) We believe that America's prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship. We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American; she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own. (Applause.)
We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. So we must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, reach higher. But while the means will change, our purpose endures: a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American. That is what this moment requires. That is what will give real meaning to our creed.
We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. (Applause.) For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn.
We do not believe that in this country freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us at any time may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our initiative, they strengthen us. (Applause.) They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great. (Applause.)
After President Obama announced an executive action clarifying that doctors are permitted -- but not required -- to discuss gun safety with patients, conservatives in the media trumpeted a number of falsehoods, including the baseless claim that Obama is requiring doctors to report all gun owners to law enforcement.
From the December 20 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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A Fox News contributor who network CEO Roger Ailes reportedly uses to communicate his views on-air suggested that he might support new gun laws in the wake of the Newtown massacre.
Peter Johnson, Jr., a Fox News legal analyst, said that "the government has the right to register and regulate... firearms" and suggested that we should consider restricting ownership of assault weapons in light of recent events during a monologue on the December 18 edition of Fox & Friends.
JOHNSON: People have the right under the Second Amendment to own firearms. The government has the right to register and regulate those firearms. At the same time we need to be thinking about where should we be allocating law enforcement resources. How can we better register?
Let's look at AK-47s and AR-15s. The numbers show that it's a small portion of the deaths and violence in America. But it's a high portion, it's a high proportion of these mass violence episodes. Let's look at everything in a dispassionate, smart, objective way that protects Americans and protects the Constitution both.
During the same segment, Johnson suggested that Americans should also examine the "entertainment industry" because of their support for "videos." The Washington Post has noted that data show no correlation between video game spending per capita and gun-related homicides.
Johnson's role at Fox is reportedly much greater than a typical contributor. In addition to his regular appearances on Fox & Friends, Johnson serves as Ailes' personal attorney, confers regularly with the Fox chief and is reportedly the outlet Ailes uses to channel his views on the network.
From the November 29 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Fox News used the tragic story of a grieving father to continue smearing undocumented immigrants as violent criminals and attack the Obama administration's deportation policies. In fact, data shows that immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated and do not commit crimes at higher rates than others. Moreover, the Obama administration's deportation of undocumented immigrants is at an all-time high.
Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy interviewed Don Rosenberg to discuss the death of his son, Drew, who was killed in California when his motorcycle was hit by an unlicensed driver in 2010. As San Francisco Chronicle columnist Debra J. Saunders reported, Roberto Galo was charged in the incident for driving without a license and with felony negligent homicide for causing Drew's death. He is reportedly slated for release on Friday.
As Saunders noted, Rosenberg has called for Galo to be deported upon his release. However, Galo is "a legal immigrant with 'temporary protected status,'" which, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, means Galo cannot be deported under certain circumstances: Conditions in his home country temporarily prevent him from returning safely or his country is unable to adequately handle his return.
Galo is reportedly from Honduras, which affords its nationals and those without nationality who last resided in that country protected status in the United States until July 2013. However, those eligible under these conditions might forfeit protected status if they have been convicted of a felony or have committed two or more misdemeanors in the United States.
In introducing the segment, Doocy called Galo "an unlicensed illegal immigrant" while onscreen text repeatedly identified him as an "illegal immigrant."
Fox News website Fox Nation also highlighted the story, linking to Saunders' column with the headline, "Obama Won't Deport Illegal Alien Killer," even though she reported that Galo is in the country legally:
Fox appears poised to manufacture a scandal involving the New Black Panther Party appearing at a polling station in Philadelphia.
On Election Day 2008, two members of the New Black Panther Party appeared outside a polling station in Philadelphia, with one of them carrying a club. The Department of Justice (DOJ) under then-President George W. Bush brought a civil voter intimidation lawsuit against the New Black Panther Party and several of its members over the incident. After President Obama took office, the DOJ decided to pursue the case against the defendant carrying the club but dropped the lawsuit against the other defendants.
Fox and other right-wing media outlets obsessed about DOJ's decision to drop some of the claims, saying that DOJ was corrupt and refused to pursue charges against African Americans. The story never added up and was dismissed by a broad and bipartisan group of media and political figures.
Ultimately, DOJ's Office of Professional Responsibility investigated the allegations against DOJ attorneys and determined that Justice Department attorneys "did not commit professional misconduct or exercise poor judgment, but rather acted appropriately, in the exercise of their supervisory duties in connection with the dismissal of the three defendants in the NBPP case." The investigation also found no evidence that decision-makers at DOJ "were influenced by the race of the defendants, or any considerations other than an assessment of the evidence and the applicable law."
But Fox appears ready to go through the same cycle again, highlighting a reported member of the New Black Panther Party who reportedly showed up outside the doors of a polling station and was shown on video opening a door for someone going inside. Co-host Steve Doocy stated that "the organization claims they are monitoring the 2012 election, but some critics say that it looks like intimidation like in 2008."
Fox invented a contradiction between a reported August 16 cable from State Department officials stating concerns about security at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya and the Obama administration's statements that an anti-Islam video was a catalyst for the attack on the consulate.
Fox is reporting that it has exclusively obtained a classified cable from State Department officials on the ground in Libya to the office of the Secretary of State warning that the "Al Qaeda had training camps in Benghazi, and the consulate could not defend against a 'coordinated attack.' "
In a segment on the cable, Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson asserted: "The big question still remaining for so many people is, who came up with the narrative about the video tape? Because it was pretty obvious that a month before there were security concerns with regard to possible terror. So who came up with the idea that floating the videotape idea would be enough to carry through the discussion quite possibly until after the election?"
But Fox's narrative is self-debunking. In addition to saying that officials had security concerns, the cable also reportedly said that officials had no information that militants in Benghazi "were targeting Americans."
Thus, the reported cable does nothing to contradict the administration's narrative that an anti-Islam video was a catalyst for the attack. Indeed, the people responsible for the attack reportedly said that they attacked the consulate because of the video.
Also, the report that there were growing security concerns in Benghazi, but no specific threats against the consulate is not news. For instance, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said in a September 27 briefing that there had been no specific, actionable threat in advance of the Sept. 11 consulate attack:
GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY: There was a thread of intelligence reporting that groups in the environment in western -- correction -- eastern Libya were seeking to coalesce, but there wasn't anything specific and certainly not a specific threat to the consulate that I'm aware of.
Nevertheless, Fox hyped the reported cable a "smoking gun."
From the November 1 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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New York magazine is reporting that resident Fox News conspiracy theorist Peter Johnson Jr. acts as the on-air mouthpiece for Fox News chairman Roger Ailes.
Johnson is officially a legal analyst for Fox News and has appeared on the network at least 75 times* in the last six months. But rather than commenting on legal issues, he often uses his appearance on Fox to make bizarre attacks on President Obama and others.
In addition to appearing on Fox, Johnson serves as Ailes personal attorney, and New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman reports that this election season, "when Ailes has a message to communicate, chances are that it is Johnson who articulates it on air":
[I]f you want to know what Roger Ailes really thinks about the news these days, here's a tip: Pay close attention to Peter Johnson Jr., Fox News's legal analyst. The Columbia-educated lawyer is certainly not as familiar to most viewers as Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity, but inside the network, Johnson has become, in many respects, more influential, thanks to his ties to Ailes. To understand Fox right now, you have to understand the unique role Peter Johnson Jr. has come to play in Ailes's inner circle.
Consider this: Johnson is an on-air pundit, weighing in on topics as varied as Trayvon Martin, Occupy Wall Street, Obamacare, and Benghazi. He is a regular fill-in host on Fox & Friends. And he is Ailes's personal attorney who negotiated the network chief's new four-year contract with News Corp., said to be worth upward of $30 million a year. Fox executives frequently find Johnson conferring with Ailes privately. "He is a fixture in Ailes's office," one Fox source explained.
But Johnson's value to Ailes extends far beyond his work as a lawyer. This election season, when Ailes has a message to communicate, chances are that it is Johnson who articulates it on air.
It makes one wonder if any of these comments by Johnson consisted of a message Ailes wanted to communicate:
* Text edited.
Fox News hosts and contributors repeatedly suggested that the Obama administration made a "political decision" to allow Americans to be killed in the September 11 Benghazi, Libya, attack on an American compound. But U.S. agents and the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli rushed to the aid of the compound during the attack, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said that the attack was over before the U.S. military had sufficient information on which to act.
Fox's coverage of the September 11 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi has increasingly been prone to extreme paranoia, excluding key evidence, and plain misinformation. Last night on his show, Stephen Colbert examined how Fox has been covering the Benghazi attack and why the network may be covering it that way.
From the October 24 edition of Comedy Central's The Colbert Report:
From the October 25 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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From the October 21 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends Sunday:
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