From the February 10 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources:
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Wasn't it fitting that Sarah Palin's exit from Fox News was made official the same week President Obama celebrated his second inauguration? Didn't it just seem apt that the once-future star of Fox News and the Tea Party movement lost her national media platform just days after the president she tried to demonize for four years basked in the glow of his easy re-election victory?
The move represents the end of a brief, ill-conceived era within the conservative media movement, and specifically at Fox, where in the wake of Obama's first White House win Palin, along with preposterous cohort Glenn Beck, was irresponsibly tapped to become a high-priced pundit who trafficked in hate.
At Fox, Palin represented a particularly angry and juvenile wing of the conservative movement. It's the part that appears deeply obsessed with Obama as a person; an unhealthy obsession that seemed to surpass any interest in his policies. With lazy name-calling as her weapon of choice, Palin served as Fox News' point person for misguided snark and sophomoric put-downs. Palin also epitomized the uber-aggressive anti-intellectual push that coincided with Obama's swearing in four years ago.
And for a while, it looked like the push might work. In 2010, it seemed like Palin and Beck might just succeed in helping Fox change the face of American politics with their signature calling cards of continuous conspiracies (Beck) and perpetual victimization (Palin).
But it never happened.
In the wake of Beck's cable TV departure in 2011, Obama's re-election win in 2012, and now Palin's farewell from Fox last week, it's obvious the blueprint drawn up by Fox chief Roger Ailes was a programming and political failure. Yes, the name-calling and conspiratorial chatter remains at Fox, but it's no longer delivered by Palin who was going to be star some loyalist thought the channel could ride all the way to the White House.
Let's also note that Fox's Palin era was marked by how the Beltway press often did everything in its power to prop her up as a "star" reaching new heights, when with each passing month Palin's standing with the public seemed to register new lows.
In Palin's time on Fox News, she made many false and outrageous statements. Below are the 10 worst:
Fox News figures have tried to use an investigative panel's recent report on the Benghazi attack to congratulate their network on its coverage of the attack. But the report actually debunks several incorrect and misleading narratives Fox pushed about Benghazi.
On December 18, the independent Accountability Review Board, which was set up by the State Department to investigate the Benghazi attack, released their findings in a report that "sharply criticized the State Department" for oversights that led to insufficient security at the U.S. compound in Benghazi, as The New York Times reported.
During the December 19 broadcast of On The Record, host Greta Van Susteren asked Fox News contributor Sarah Palin for her thoughts on the report, and Palin answered, in part, "Kudos to Fox News for being the news outlet that stayed on top of this story. Americans deserve these answers." Van Susteren responded that she felt "some level of pride" for Fox's Benghazi coverage, because of "all the sort of heat we took from people, saying that it wasn't a story." She added, "[T]here's been a lot of resistance to my national security colleagues getting this information. So, I do take some pride with them."
Similarly, Fox contributor Kirsten Powers suggested on Special Report that the Benghazi report wasn't even necessary because of the program's coverage of the attack, saying, "Well, it's interesting that that report -- you could have known all that if you'd just watched this show. So, it's sort of funny that they had to do an investigation to figure all of that out."
In fact, the review board's report actually discredits Fox's coverage of the attack.
Fox News' Stuart Varney misleadingly cited the Great Depression to warn that the economy would slip into recession if Congress adopts President Obama's plan to increase taxes on the wealthy. In fact, economists agree that a small tax increase on the wealthy today will have little effect on the economy, and it was drastic spending cuts, which Fox has advocated, that actually caused the second plunge of the Great Depression that Varney cited to bolster his fear mongering.
Conservative media outlets pushed at least eleven misleading attacks on President Obama's energy policies that have become talking points used by Mitt Romney's campaign. The conservative media bubble has largely prevented voters from hearing the facts about clean energy programs, fossil fuel production and environmental regulation under the Obama administration.
The Federal Reserve announced on September 13 that it is taking new measures commonly referred to as quantitative easing to boost employment and stimulate the economy. Immediately following the announcement, Rush Limbaugh told his radio show listeners that this means the United States will eventually turn into Zimbabwe.
Limbaugh claimed that the Fed's actions mean "we're basically printing more money" and "printing money equals inflation, equals Zimbabwe -- third world." This is a common response from the right wing media whenever the Fed moves to boost the economy. But the idea that inflation in the United States will ever explode into unmanageable levels is farfetched.
To understand what Limbaugh is saying, think about what matters for your economic situation: Ultimately, what's important is not the amount printed on the pieces of paper in your pocket; it's what the money can buy. The idea that Limbaugh is trying to get across -- which is false -- is that by "printing money," the Federal Reserve is debasing the currency -- making each dollar worth less. But if the Fed, for example, doubled the amount of dollars in circulation in the world, all that would happen is that prices would in turn double. So instead of your morning coffee costing $2, it would cost $4, because each dollar would only have half the value it did before. That's what Limbaugh's getting at when he said "printing money equals inflation."
But he's wrong. The fact is that the Fed has already "printed" $2.3 trillion since 2008. (Actually, it doesn't physically print anything. Imagine selling some of your Facebook stock to the bank, and the bank pays you by dropping money straight into your account. That's what the Fed does -- it buy bonds from banks, and drops money in their accounts.) But it hasn't resulted in runaway inflation. This chart shows how fast prices have risen over the previous year going back to 1947, with a black line added at zero to make clear how historically low inflation currently is:
As economist Mark Thoma wrote several weeks ago, "it appears the biggest worries about further easing -- inflation and market disruption - are unfounded."
On Thursday night, Mitt Romney's campaign announced an ad blitz across eight swing states over the next several days. On Friday, Fox News' Sean Hannity aired one of the new ads in full, providing the Republican campaign with free advertising. However, the ad dishonestly edited remarks from former President Clinton, which Hannity did not point out.
In a segment on the Democratic National Convention with Fox News contributor Sarah Palin, Hannity called into question Clinton's support for President Obama by playing the new ad in full. The ad is a part of the GOP's new carpet-bombing ad campaign, which "will run 15 separate ads spread across Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia" and cost the campaign "about $4.5 million." According to the Huffington Post:
The commercials suggest that Americans are not better off after nearly four years of Obama's leadership. They link Obama to high foreclosure rates, defense cuts, government regulations and the national deficit.
Ignoring the ad's deceptive editing, Hannity asked Palin whether Clinton was "a good lawyer defending a guilty client." As Fox News itself has pointed out, however, the ad uses footage of Clinton that is deceptively edited to make it seem as if his support for Obama is not genuine. As the FoxNews.com article noted, "the old campaign video in its entirety made no mention of the economy or Obama's campaign promises. Clinton was instead referring to Obama's claim that he was one of the earliest opponents of the Iraq war."
Fox has a history of providing free advertising for GOP campaigns, even when those ads are riddled with falsehoods. The network has aggressively promoted ads from GOP Super PAC American Crossroads. Recently, The O'Reilly Factor declared a misleading Romney ad "basically...true," while Fox's Carl Cameron supported a hypocritical Romney ad on welfare reform.
Fox News itself has produced an anti-Obama ad.
Over three days, Fox News spent at least 17 segments and over 43 minutes of airtime smearing Massachusetts U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren over benign comments she made about infrastructure spending and the success of the wealthy.
On July 30, Democrats announced that Warren will be given a key speaking slot at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina in September.
In response to that announcement, Fox, over the following three days, seized on benign remarks Warren had previously made in an effort to smear her. Warren's opponent is Sen. Scott Brown, whom Fox relentlessly campaigned for in 2010.
One of the comments Fox fixated on came from a recent ad released by Warren's campaign. Fox claimed that in the ad, Warren said she wanted the United States to be "like China" and that she may have "call[ed] for America to go communist." In fact, the Senate candidate said that the U.S. should increase its infrastructure spending in order to compete with countries like China. Warren's comment -- which is supported by studies showing that U.S. infrastructure is deteriorating and needs significant investment -- echoed a similar observation from former Fox contributor Newt Gingrich.
Fox also attacked Warren over a comment she made during a campaign stop in August 2011 that "[t]here is nobody in this country who got rich on his own." But Warren was merely making the unremarkable observation that the private sector success of the wealthy is driven by government investments funded by the public -- an observation Fox itself has made.
Fox began their attacks on Warren on July 31, following the announcement that she will be speaking at the Democratic National Convention.
Among the attacks over Warren's proposal to spend more on infrastructure projects like roads and bridges was Fox Business host Stuart Varney calling Warren a "collectivist" and "anti-private enterprise." Among the attacks over Warren's unremarkable observation on private sector success was Fox's Sean Hannity calling Warren and Obama -- who made similar remarks that were distorted by Fox -- "clueless."
Fox's Sarah Palin, commenting on Warren speaking at the convention, said that Warren has "almost confessed to her Marxist views."
Media Matters monitored Fox's coverage of Warren on July 31, August 1, and August 2 -- the three days following the announcement that she would be speaking at the Democratic National Convention -- and found that Fox News devoted at least 17 segments, including teases, and over 43 minutes to attacking Warren over her comments.
From the August 1 edition of Fox News' Your World:
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Fox News is not disclosing its clear conflict of interest in defending Chick-fil-A against criticism over the fast-food restaurant's stance on marriage equality, as the controversy stands to benefit HarperCollins, a publishing company owned by Fox News' parent company, News Corporation.
Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy set off a controversy when, during a July 16 interview, he said that his company supports "the biblical definition of the family unit." Cathy later said in a radio interview, "As it relates to society in general, I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.' "
Amid calls to boycott the company over the anti-marriage equality remarks, The Jim Henson Company, which created toys for Chick-fil-A, spoke out against the restaurant, writing on Facebook: "[W]e have notified Chick-Fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors. Lisa Henson, our CEO is personally a strong supporter of gay marriage and has directed us to donate the payment we received from Chick-Fil-A to GLAAD." Chick-fil-A then announced it had pulled the Henson toys, citing safety concerns.
Following the split with The Jim Henson Company, Chick-fil-A replaced the toys with the children's books The Berenstain Bears. As reported by NBC News, a statement on the Berenstain company website "said the books' publisher, HarperCollins, has been working on this marketing project for more than a year." The statement read, in part:
The Berenstain family does not at this time have control over whether this program proceeds or not. We hope those concerned about this issue will direct their comments toward HarperCollins and Chick-fil-A.
While all this has been going on, Fox has been defending Chick-fil-A while not disclosing that it has an interest in doing so. Both Fox and HarperCollins, the publisher of the Berenstain Bears books, are subsidiaries of News Corporation. If the HarperCollins marketing project suffers as a result of a decline in sales brought about by the Chick-fil-A controversy, News Corp. stands to take a hit to its bottom line.
From WFAA.com's video of U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz's (R-TX) July 31 speech:
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From the July 31 edition of Fox News' On The Record with Greta Van Susteren
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Ted Cruz has the support of several prominent Fox News personalities in today's runoff for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Texas. Cruz's website touts endorsements from Sarah Palin and Sean Hannity. Palin, Hannity and Dick Morris have backed Cruz on Fox, and the network has conducted softball interviews with him.
Cruz, once considered a longshot to beat Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, has attracted the backing of Tea Party groups like the Tea Party Express. Since 2009, Fox News has promoted and nurtured the Tea Party and its cause.
Dewhurst, however, hasn't been completely shut out from Fox News support. Host Mike Huckabee endorsed Dewhurst in January and starred in a campaign ad calling Dewhurst "the only proven conservative in this Senate race."
Among the Fox Newsers endorsing Ted Cruz: