Discussing the House vote to levy a 90-percent tax on executive bonuses, NBC, ABC, and Fox News all advanced the false Republican allegation that by passing the recovery bill, Democrats created the right for AIG to pay bonuses. In fact, the bill did not create the right for AIG -- or any company -- to pay bonuses; rather, it restricted the ability of companies receiving TARP money to award bonuses in the future.
Fox News reporter Shannon Bream said regarding appeals court nominee David Hamilton: "Critics say Hamilton has ties to the liberal activist group ACORN." Bream did not note that Hamilton's "ties" reportedly consist of "raising contributions door-to-door for the advocacy group ACORN for one month after college" in 1979.
A Media Matters analysis found that since the day after President Obama's inauguration, broadcast and cable news figures have been stating that Obama's "honeymoon" is "over" or questioning whether it is, rendering the cliché all but meaningless. During this period, media figures have suggested Obama's "honeymoon" is "over" with respect to "some ... die-hard Republicans," the media, African-Americans, Cuban President Fidel Castro, "Republican critics of his economic recovery plan," and economists.
On Special Report, Bret Baier reported on emails from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office concerning requests for air transportation for congressional delegation trips, citing one email calling a lack of a certain type of plane "totally unacceptable" and saying, "The Speaker will want to know where the planes are." But Baier failed to report that according to ABC's The Note, the email in question "came in reference to planes available for bipartisan trips by congressional delegations -- not the speaker's personal travel" or that Republicans participated in several of the congressional delegations for which Pelosi's office requested transportation.
On Special Report, Brian Wilson stated of EFCA, "[O]ne economist warned of what would happen if the bill passed and met its predicted goal of growing unions by 5 to 10 percent," and then aired a video clip of Anne Layne-Farrar testifying to Congress: "This would result in an increase in the unemployment rate of around 1 and a half to 3 percentage points." Fox's on-screen graphic identified Layne-Farrar only as "Economist." At no point did Wilson note that Layne-Farrar's testimony was based on the results of a study conducted by Layne-Farrar and funded by industry groups that oppose EFCA.
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On Special Report, Bret Baier reported that Rush Limbaugh "has been under fire for saying he wants President Obama to fail. Limbaugh has since explained he was talking about the president's policies and not the president specifically or the economy." In fact, Limbaugh has said he hopes the economic recovery package "prolongs the recession" and has also repeatedly said he wants Obama specifically to fail.
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At a March 5 health-care forum, President Obama said, "The cost of health care now causes a bankruptcy in America every 30 seconds." On Special Report, Major Garrett reported that when asked to support that statistic, the White House cited a 2005 op-ed by Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren in which she referred to a Harvard study that supports the statistic. But Garrett did not note this. Instead, he referred to Treasury Department statistics from 2000 and pronounced Obama's assertion "[n]ot even close."
Fox News' Brit Hume asserted that "climate alarmists certainly did not foresee the cooling trend of the past decade" and, therefore, the Obama administration is premature in implementing cap-and-trade policies to curb global warming because it is merely a "scientific consensus" and "something that is not yet a fact." In fact, according to climate scientists, the temperature data continue to show a long-term upward trend in global surface temperature, and a cooling trend would need to last longer than a decade before it could be distinguished from the natural variability in the Earth's global surface temperature.
In separate reports, Fox News' Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly misrepresented the reported plans of the Obama administration to rescind a December 2008 Bush administration regulation to falsely assert that the Obama administration's decision could result in doctors' being prosecuted or discriminated against for refusing to perform abortions. In fact, federal law -- which the Obama administration cannot "repeal" -- prohibits public officials from requiring recipients of public funds to perform abortions or sterilizations in violation of their religious or moral beliefs.
On Special Report, Molly Henneberg reported that "Democrats control the White House and Congress, and they want government-run health-care programs." In fact, the White House health-care Web page states: "On health care reform, the American people are too often offered two extremes -- government-run health care with higher taxes or letting the insurance companies operate without rules. President Obama and Vice President Biden believe both of these extremes are wrong."
Fox News' Bret Baier reported that an AP article "list[ed] a number of Democrats embroiled in ethical issues." But Baier did not point out any Republican public officials currently "embroiled in ethical issues."
On Special Report, Carl Cameron uncritically reported, "The president wanted 75 percent of the package distributed in 18 months. Republicans say that's not going to happen with this package." Cameron then aired a clip of Rep. Jerry Lewis asserting, "Only 11 percent of the appropriations in this bill would be spent by the end of '09, 47 percent would be spent by fiscal year '10, 53 percent would not be spent until after October of 2-11." In doing so, Cameron misleadingly suggested that Lewis had been discussing the entire recovery bill, when Lewis was discussing only the appropriations provisions in the bill. According to the CBO, 74.2 percent of the total package would be spent within 19 months.
On Fox News' Special Report, Carl Cameron repeated a frequent GOP talking point in reporting that "there could be money ... for such organizations as ACORN" included in the economic recovery plan. In fact, the bill does not mention ACORN or otherwise single it out for funding; ACORN itself has said that it is ineligible for the funds and has no plans to apply for them.