While some Fox News hosts and contributors such as Sean Hannity and Sarah Palin have supported a right-wing Republican plan to defund Obamacare by threatening a government shutdown, other Fox News contributors like Karl Rove and Charles Krauthammer have criticized the idea as unworkable and "nuts."
Republican Senator Mike Lee (UT) threatened to shut down the government in order to stop funding health care reform -- signed into law in 2010 and found to be constitutional in 2012. He proposed that Republicans refuse to vote for any continuing resolution -- a measure that continues funding the operations of the federal government until a budget and annual appropriations can be passed -- that includes funding for the continued implementation of health care reform.
Other Republicans are critical of this approach, with Senator Richard Burr (NC) calling it "the dumbest idea I've ever heard of." Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman noted in a July 25 New York Times column that even Republican leaders now recognize that confrontations like this threat to shut down the government will "inflict substantial harm on the economy."
Despite this, some Fox News hosts and contributors have rallied in support of the right-wing Republican brinksmanship plan. On the July 23 edition of his radio show, Fox host Sean Hannity hosted Lee and expressed support for the effort. Two days later on his radio show, Hannity called the issue a "litmus test" for the conservatism of Republicans and threatened to primary any Republican who did not support the effort.
In a July 25 RedState post, Fox News contributor Erick Erickson similarly wrote that Republicans who did not support the defunding effort should be challenged in primary elections:
Why would Republicans keep funding a law that hurts so many people and is so unpopular? Why would they do that?
Republicans in Congress have a choice this fall with the latest continuing resolution. They can choose to not include funding for the implementation of Obamacare. Negotiate everything, but make that their line in the sand. If the Democrats choose to shut down the government over an unpopular law that hurts people, it is their choice. Republicans should not fund Obamacare.
Any Republican who chooses to fund Obamacare should be primaried. The advertisements write themselves. Republicans, by voting to fund Obamacare, are putting people out of work, driving up healthcare costs, and hurting families. Republicans are not listening to voters who hate the law if they fund Obamacare.
Fox News contributor Sarah Palin also jumped on the government shutdown bandwagon, arguing on the July 30 edition of Hannity that using a government shutdown as leverage to defund Obamacare was "common sense."
Other Fox News contributors have found the idea of government shutdown over health care reform to be "ludicrous" and "nuts." On the July 30 edition of America's Newsroom, Fox News contributor Jonah Goldberg said that the idea "works fantastically well for fundraising when you want to go and run in 2016 for president" but is "ludicrous" as a winning legislative strategy.
From the July 30 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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Former Republican vice presidential candidate and on-again Fox News contributor Sarah Palin is once again teasing the possibility that she may run for political office.
During a July 9 interview on Sean Hannity's radio show, Palin explained that while she hopes somebody with "new blood" challenges Mark Begich (D-AK) for his Senate seat, she has "considered" a run, "because people have requested me considering it."
Palin joins an ever-expanding roster of Republicans who have used their employment at Fox News as a staging ground for a possible political run, including Liz Cheney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Angela McGlowan, Pete Snyder, John Kasich, Geraldo Rivera, Keith Ablow, Allen West, Scott Brown, and Palin herself during her previous stint as a Fox contributor.
In 2010 and 2011, Fox and Palin drummed up interest in her regular appearances on the network -- which were otherwise just Palin lobbing trite, canned attacks at the Obama administration -- by repeatedly suggesting Palin was gearing up for a presidential run.
Even after Fox suspended the contracts of contributors Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum in early 2011, the network kept Palin under contract for months until she made her formal announcement deciding not to run (or, as Fox Nation put it at the time, "Palin Passes on Presidency").
Those intervening months were marked by Fox personalities repeatedly speculating on whether their colleague would run for president, including several pointing to various events -- such as her June 2011 bus tour -- as definitive evidence Palin was going to enter the race.
The fact that Fox suspended Gingrich and Santorum while continuing to employ Palin and Mike Huckabee was critiqued at the time by none other than Fox's new media critic, Howard Kurtz. In a piece for The Daily Beast, Kurtz criticized the network for allowing its employees to "utilize the platform of the country's top-rated cable news channel, and pad their bank accounts to boot" while pondering a run for office.
With Palin back at Fox, it seems the mutually beneficial "will she or won't she" machine is kicking into gear again. On cue, Fox Nation is currently featuring Palin's comments on Hannity's show as their top story.
After stressing the importance of no longer just "preach[ing] to the choir" when she and Fox News parted ways in January, Sarah Palin is rejoining the conservative network.
The day after Fox and Palin announced that her contract at the network would not be renewed, the former Republican vice presidential candidate gave an interview for Breitbart.com to Stephen K. Bannon, the director of the Palin hagiography The Undefeated.
During that interview, she told Bannon that it was important for conservatives to "jump out of the comfort zone, and broaden our reach." According to Palin, who indicated she was "taking my own advice here as I free up opportunities to share more broadly the message of the beauty of freedom," it was imperative for the conservative movement to no longer "just preach to the choir; the message of liberty and true hope must be understood by a larger audience."
Less than six months later, apparently preaching to the choir is no longer a pressing concern. In her statement accompanying the announcement that she was rejoining Fox, Palin praised the power of the network as "unparalleled":
Palin's statement: "The power of FOX News is unparalleled. The role of FOX News in the important debates in our world is indispensible. I am pleased and proud to be rejoining Roger Ailes and the great people at FOX."
Fox portrayed the split with Palin as amicable and Palin herself had portrayed it as her own decision. But some media observers suggested that it was part of Fox's effort to "purge some of its more controversial characters" after the Republican Party had been "damaged badly in 2012 by loud, partisan voices that stoked the base - but that scared the hell out of many voters."
Palin's return to Fox would appear to signify that any such strategy is no longer in effect.
In Palin's previous turn at Fox News, she made many false and outrageous statements. Here are some of the lowlights:
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.