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Fox News' Sean Hannity repeated the false claim that an amendment Sen. Chris Dodd added to the recovery bill "protected" AIG bonuses. Fox & Friends' Steve Doocy further advanced this falsehood by asserting that Dodd "inserted into the stimulus package specific language that kept these bonuses in." In fact, the relevant provision in the recovery act, which was based on an amendment by Dodd, actually restricted the ability of companies receiving funds under the act to award bonuses; it did not create a right for executives at AIG -- or anywhere else -- to receive bonuses.
Fox & Friends' Steve Doocy falsely asserted that President Obama has proposed eliminating the ability of high-income taxpayers to take income tax deductions for their home mortgages. In fact, Obama has not proposed eliminating income tax deductions for any taxpayers; rather, a provision in Obama's budget proposal would, beginning in fiscal year 2011, reduce the tax rate at which families earning more than $250,000 per year can take itemized deductions to 28 percent.
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In recent days, Fox News hosts and contributors have advanced the false claim -- pushed by Republican lawmakers -- that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid included a provision in the recovery bill directing that $8 billion be spent on a high-speed rail line between Southern California and Las Vegas. In fact, the bill does not direct high-speed rail funds to any specific project, and any funding would be allocated by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman.
While criticizing President Obama for saying that the economy is currently doing poorly, Steve Doocy purported to contrast what Obama has said with FDR's famous statement that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." In fact, in the very speech in which Roosevelt made that remark, he said of the economy at the time, "Values have shrunk to fantastic levels; taxes have risen; our ability to pay has fallen; government of all kinds is faced by serious curtailment of income." Roosevelt later added: "Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment."
On Fox & Friends, Steve Doocy repeated the falsehood that the economic stimulus bill includes "$4 billion for ACORN." In fact, the bill does not mention ACORN or otherwise single it out for funding.
In numerous instances, the media have falsely stated or suggested that a CBO analysis of less than half of the economic recovery bill examined the entire bill, resulting in the false suggestion that the analysis, in the words of the Politico, "shows very little money will be spent in the first six or so months after enactment" of the recovery plan. But as the AP noted, the CBO analysis did not "cover tax cuts or efforts by Democrats to provide relief to cash-strapped state governments to help with their Medicaid bills." Six days later, some outlets were still making the false suggestion.
Fox & Friends' Brian Kilmeade falsely suggested that only "people at the U.N." want to close Guantánamo, while co-hosts Steve Doocy and Gretchen Carlson, as well as Glenn Beck, used TV drama 24 as a justification for the use of torture. In fact, Sen. John McCain, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and five former secretaries of state are among those who have said that Guantánamo should be closed.
Media figures have claimed or suggested that President-elect Barack Obama is only now admitting that he may have to scale back his campaign agenda as a result of the weak economy. In fact, Obama repeatedly said prior to the November 2008 election that some policies he proposed on the campaign trail might need to be delayed because of economic conditions.
On Fox & Friends, following co-host Steve Doocy's remark that Caroline Kennedy "is a constitutional lawyer," co-host Brian Kilmeade asked: "Is that American Constitution?"
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Media figures have recently accused Democrats of attempting to direct millions of dollars in government money to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) in the financial bailout bill. The accusation is false. Neither the draft proposal nor the version of the bill that was voted down in the House contained any language mentioning ACORN. Those making the false claim were misrepresenting a provision -- since removed -- that would have directed 20 percent of any profits realized on troubled assets purchased under the plan into the Housing Trust Fund* and the Capital Magnet Fund.
On Fox News' Fox & Friends Saturday, Steve Doocy stated that FactCheck.org said it was "true" that Sen. Barack Obama voted for a "bill that ... would increase taxes on people earning as little as $42,000 a year." Doocy added: "[Sen.] John McCain said, 'That was true, you did.' " In fact, FactCheck.org stated that "McCain was correct -- with qualification," adding that the votes McCain has previously cited for the claim were on a measure that "actually would not have altered taxes without additional legislation. ... McCain is referring to the provision that would have allowed the 25 percent tax bracket to return to 28 percent. The tax plan Obama now proposes, however, would not raise the rate on that tax bracket."
Since the release of an Obama campaign ad asserting that Sen. John McCain "admits he still doesn't know how to use a computer, can't send an email," several Fox News figures and talk-radio hosts have claimed that McCain doesn't use a computer or email because of injuries he sustained during his service in the Vietnam War. But the McCain campaign itself did not make this claim in response to the ad, reportedly responding that "John McCain travels with a laptop."
During an appearance on Fox & Friends, Donald Trump claimed, "The worst thing that can happen [in this economy] is everybody has to pay double and triple the taxes, and that's what [Sen. Barack] Obama is looking to do." Fox & Friends co-hosts did not challenge Trump's claim, even though it is false. Obama has proposed cutting taxes for low- and middle-income families and raising taxes only on households earning more than $250,000 per year in income.