On the September 2 edition of Special Report, Weekly Standard editor Stephen Hayes responded to Juan Williams' assertion that Republicans "took a strategy of obstructing Obama" by stating:
HAYES: But that's okay if voters believe that obstructing the president as he tries to enact this agenda that many people disagree with is a good thing. And I think Republicans now -- or voters now are saying, "Yeah, it's fine if they want to obstruct the president."
In contrast to Hayes' statement, an August 11-16 AP-GfK poll found that only 30 percent approve "of the way Republicans in Congress are handling their jobs." The poll found that 49 percent approve of the way Barack Obama is handling his job and 37 percent approve of Congressional Democrats' performance.
An August 19-22 Reuters/Ipsos poll also found that 78 percent believe "Washington no longer works effectively because of fighting between parties and branches of government means that nothing can be accomplished." Thirty-six percent of those respondents said that Republicans have "done more to cause this situation" while 28 percent said Democrats were more to blame and another 28 percent blamed both parties.
I don't think anyone can look at these numbers and conclude that voters think the obstruction strategy is "a good thing."
During the run-up to the Iraq war, some of the worst purveyors of misinformation about Iraq had a home at Fox News, and their ranks have swelled considerably since then. Media Matters takes a look at the track record of wrong predictions and shoddy analysis about the war in Iraq by many of Fox News' contributors and analysts.
Before President Obama delivered his address tonight about the end of combat operations in Iraq, Charles Krauthammer said on Fox News that the speech would be "a mistake," adding, "You don't declare an arbitrary milestone on a fixed timetable when you have no Iraqi government and Al Qaeda is resurgent":
KRAUTHAMMER: He had one task. He has not succeeded. I'm with Michael O'Hanlon ... who says this is a mistake. You don't declare an arbitrary milestone on a fixed timetable when you have no Iraqi government and when Al Qaeda is resurgent. You do it when you have a stable government and then you have a ceremony in which the president and the new leader of Iraq have a ceremony in which the transition is declared mutually acknowledged. This is premature and political and it could be very costly.
But after the speech, Fox News' Sean Hannity complained that Obama didn't explicitly declare victory in Iraq:
HANNITY: If he had his way, we wouldn't have had this today. But he couldn't even utter the words, "we were victorious," which, if I was one of the brave men and women that served there, I think I would be a little offended tonight.
Before the speech, Stephen Hayes said on Special Report that "the real question" is "whether the president treats this as sort of a campaign speech ... or whether he talks to the country as the president, as he should while speaking from the Oval Office":
HAYES: The real question is going to be whether the president treats this as sort of a campaign speech as he did in his radio address this week or whether he talks to the country as the president, as he should when speaking from the Oval Office. From the excerpts and from everything we've been hearing from the White House today, it seems like they didn't make a decision. It sounds like he's going to do a little bit of both.
After the speech, Fox News' Bill O'Reilly said he wished the "boring" address had sounded more like Obama's campaign speeches:
O'REILLY: Why was he so boring? ... Here's my problem: I watched this guy on the campaign trail. He was Elvis. the guy was out -- he did this and hope and change and we're and that and the place was going wild, all right? And he was talking about serious things. ... What I'm telling you is that he has changed his demeanor -- still talking about serious things. Talking about serious things in the campaign, he's talking about serious things now. But now he's the boring professor -- not the nutty professor, the boring professor.
CROWLEY: During the campaign, he was campaigning, which is the only thing that this man knows how to do --
O'REILLY: Then why doesn't he keep doing it?
Prior to President Obama's speech about the Iraq war, Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard said on Fox News that in the past, Obama has not talked "about the troops in a way that treats them as warriors," rather than "as victims":
HAYES: The things that I'm going to be looking for in the speech are a basic acknowledgement of the sacrifice of troops, which I expect we'll hear and hear at some length. But I hope he talks about the troops in a way that treats them as warriors, not as victims. I think that's an important thing for the president to do. He hasn't done it in the past -- it's an important way to talk about it.
In fact, President Obama has praised U.S. forces for, among other things, their "honor," "courage," "heroism," and "incredible dedication." Contrary to the narrative Hayes is trying to push, Obama has called U.S. troops "our best and brightest, our finest young men and women."
In fact, just earlier today Obama spoke at Fort Bliss and stated that "there has not been a single mission that has been assigned to all of you in which you have not performed with gallantry, with courage, with excellence." The remarks echo statements that Obama has made throughout his term.
For instance, in a July 10 address, Obama said:
Despite the right-wing media's claim that their opposition to Park51 -- the planned Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan -- is not about restricting religious freedom, protests have sprung up nationwide in opposition to local mosques and Islamic community centers in the wake of the manufactured controversy. These protests follow the right-wing's relentless assault on not just Park51, but Islam in general.
On Fox News Sunday, Steve Hayes joined a long line of commentators whitewashing conservative attacks on Muslims' religious freedom by falsely claiming that "[n]obody's making the argument" that the organizers of the proposed Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan "don't have the constitutional right to do it." In fact, opponents have advocated using government intervention to restrict construction of the center or have asserted that the planners don't have a right to build it at the proposed location.
From the August 20 edition of Fox News' Special Report:
Loading the player reg...
With a new poll out showing that an astounding 18 percent of Americans incorrectly believe that President Obama is Muslim, many in the media wonder who is to blame for generating the rumor. Unsurprisingly, right-wing pundits are quick to shirk responsibility for propagating such a notion, and instead, absurdly, place blame on the President himself. Tonight, the conservative members of Special Report's All Star Panel concluded that they can understand why Americans think Obama is a Muslim given his "affinity for Muslim culture."
Fox News contributors Steve Hayes and Charles Krauthammer, and even Special Report host Bret Baier assign blame for the misconception to President Obama. Krauthammer claimed that "the emphasis Obama placed on Muslim outreach might incline people to conclude that he's not a Christian," while Hayes agreed "absolutely" with host Bret Baier's suggestion that the fact that Obama "has talked openly about his -- the Muslim heritage in his family" has contributed to misconceptions about his religion.
The fact that these right-wing pundits are blaming Obama is astoundingly egregious. If they truly wanted to discover who is to blame for such conspiratorial rumors, the right-wing media need look no further than themselves. In fact, Fox News is in part responsible for launching the notion from fodder in the conservative blogosphere to the mainstream. Had Special Report's All Star Panel turned back the clock a year, they would have discovered that the show aired a segment in June of 2009 which asked of the President, "Islam or Isn't He?"
In addition, blogger and frequent Fox News guest Pamela Geller has tagged 267 blog posts with the phrase "Muslim in the White House." Other conservative figures, including Fox's own Glenn Beck, frequently call Obama's Christianity into question, even claiming that he has "contempt for the Scriptures."
The right-wing media has been pushing the idea that Obama is a Muslim for years. Any attempt by the right-wing media to whitewash their involvement in forwarding the rumor by blaming Obama is simply dishonest.
Stephen Hayes criticized the Obama administration's response to the recession by reviving the myth that President Reagan ended the 1981 recession by cutting taxes. In fact, economists have said that the recession was ended under Reagan primarily due to federal interest rate cuts.
The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes writes:
There is no question about the fact that voter intimidation took place. Not only are there numerous eyewitness accounts, one of the NBP members was videotaped at the front of the polling station wielding a baton. That "no voters attested to being turned away" is meaningless. Voter intimidation, as Smith allows, is against the law. Period. And it's certainly possible that some voters, upon seeing a NBP member with a nightstick, simply turned and left without saying anything.
Not one voter has said he or she was intimidated! Not one person. How can voter intimidation have occurred without intimidated voters? And yet Stephen Hayes is certain: "There is no question about the fact that voter intimidation took place."
Then again, Stephen Hayes is best-known for his dubious claims about "The Connection" between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and Al Qaeda, so he's never been one to let a lack of evidence stand in the way of his certainty.
From the July 2 edition of Fox News' Special Report:
Loading the player reg...
From the June 23 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:
Loading the player reg...
Fox News' Bret Baier and Stephen Hayes falsely suggested that a White House offer to Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) of a position on a presidential panel violated the "plain language" of a federal statute. But President Bush's chief ethics lawyer has reportedly called this interpretation of the statute a "big stretch," and numerous legal experts have stated that no crime was committed.
From the May 18 edition of Fox News' Special Report:
Loading the player reg...
Right-wing media have falsely claimed that Attorney General Eric Holder "refus[ed] to say 'radical Islam' is a cause of terrorism." In fact, Holder specifically mentioned "a radical version of Islam" as a possible motivation for Faisal Shahzad, a suspect in the attempted Times Square bombing.