Fox News' Trace Gallagher cited a poll showing 54 percent of Americans don't like Obamacare as a reason to back the Republican plan to shut down the federal government if the law is not defunded. Gallagher's analysis is at odds with multiple polls cited earlier the same day by his Fox colleague Gregg Jarrett that showed a majority of Americans do not support Republican defunding efforts.
On September 20, House Republicans passed a continuing resolution that would defund the Affordable Care Act (ACA) but continue to fund the government. Senate Republicans have criticized the plan, with Richard Burr of North Carolina describing it as "the dumbest idea I've ever heard of."
On the September 20 edition of Studio B with Shepard Smith, guest host Trace Gallagher said during an interview with The Hill's managing editor, Bob Cusack, "[T]hey're not just a bunch of nutty House members up there voting for this thing. I mean look, 54 percent, the latest polls show 54 percent of Americans are against Obamacare, so the House is at least fighting for the majority of Americans."
But Gallagher ignored polls showing that a majority of Americans oppose the Republican effort to defund Obamacare -- a fact made clear during an earlier Fox News segment. During that segment, Fox News host Gregg Jarrett advised Monica Crowley that he had "looked at three different polls today. They all say the same thing. That is, as unpopular -- and it is -- as Obamacare is, they don't want the government shut down because of a defunding effort."
An August poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 57 percent of Americans disapprove of cutting off funding "as a way to stop the law from being implemented, a finding that has been consistent in Kaiser Health Tracking Polls since January 2011."
[E]ven this push poll that dramatically oversamples Republicans (more on that in a minute) finds respondents are more likely to say that the Affordable Care Act should be kept than scrapped -- and that a plurality would blame Republicans if the government were to shut down.
Only 44.5 percent "oppose the health care law and think it should be repealed," while 52 percent either support the law as is or have some concerns, but say they think implementation should move forward. And asked whom they would blame if "there was an impasse between president Obama and Congress on whether to continue to fund the health care law, and that impasse resulted in a partial government shutdown," the top response (28 percent) was Republicans in Congress. The next option, Obama, got 21 percent of respondents.
Gallagher's dishonest reading of the American public's attitude toward defunding the Affordable Care Act is the latest example of Fox's dishonest characterization of the House vote to defund the law, which FoxNews.com recently described as a vote "to keep government open."
With their prior efforts to generate a scandal regarding the Internal Revenue Service collapsing, Fox News spent 17 minutes and 41 seconds on a federal report that found less than $20,000 of improper use of credit cards by agency employees out of more than $100 million in charges.
The report from the Treasury Department Inspector General for Tax Administration's office, released on Monday, noted that purchases made with IRS-issued credit card accounts were reviewed over a two year period ending in September of 2011. During that period, IRS had 5,241 purchase card accounts and made approximately 234,000 purchases totaling $103.2 million with the cards. In a press release, Inspector General J. Russell George said "the majority of IRS cardholders appear to use their purchase cards properly" but pointed out that the audit "identified some troubling instances of inappropriate usage."
The IG identified, based on a non-scientific sample of purchase card transactions, $3,939 in card transactions the IG considered "improper decorative and give-away items" (the IRS responded that those purchases were in fact proper under federal laws supporting purchases for training and decorative items). The IG also identified a single cardholder who "made 38 transactions totaling $2,655 for what appeared to be personal purchases."
Finally, the IG criticized $12,474 in credit card expenditures during a five-day conference that cost the government "more than 50,000"; the IRS had been authorized to spend more than double that on the week's meals, receptions, and meetings, but the IG still termed "the cost of the expenses related to this conference to be high."
Even if all of this spending was improper, which the IRS denies, it would still constitute a mere $19,068 in spending over two years.
But on Fox, this spending was treated as a major story.
Between 3:30 pm on Monday and11:30 am Tuesday, the network highlighted the improper purchases in 17 minutes and 41 seconds of coverage over seven segments - on Studio B, Special Report, On The Record, Fox & Friends First, Fox & Friends, America's Newsroom, and Happening Now.
From the October 26 edition of Fox News' Studio B:
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In the second presidential debate, moderator Candy Crowley corrected Mitt Romney after he falsely claimed that President Obama had waited 14 days to describe the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya as an act of terror. In the two days after the debate, Fox News aired 55 segments, totaling more than four hours, that attempted to portray Obama's reference to "acts of terror" as a general statement or as referring to another incident.
Fox News has ignored the role of lax regulation in a multi-state meningitis outbreak that has killed at least 8 people and prompted a Center for Disease Control alert and voluntary recall from the manufacturer of a steroid treatment. The legal status of the medicine in question is murky, and is not subject to strict federal or state regulation. Last year, Fox ran a week-long campaign attacking government regulations, claiming that they would "expose how excessive laws are drowning American business." Fox News has a long track record of attacking government regulation.
From the September 20 edition of Fox News' Studio B:
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When video of Mitt Romney dismissing 47 percent of American voters surfaced this afternoon, many media outlets found the surprising video newsworthy. Fox News, however, buried the remarks until forced to cover Romney's follow-up press conference late in the evening.
Today at 4 pm EDT, Mother Jones released secretly-taped footage of the Republican presidential candidate speaking at a private fundraiser, where Romney declared to donors that his job is "not to worry about" the 47 percent of Americans who pay no income taxes, since they will "vote for the president no matter what." He described these voters as people who "believe they are victims" and believe they are entitled to "housing" and "food," among other things.
ROMNEY: There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what.
And I mean the president starts off with 48, 49 -- he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn't connect. So he'll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean, that's what they sell every four years.
And so, my job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.
Even then, in a segment during On the Record, Fox declined to show the actual footage of Romney at the fundraiser, or even quote from his statements. Instead, only Romney's press conference defending his remarks was aired.
Today, Fox News' James Rosen revived the month-old distortion of President Obama's comments about small businesses not only benefitting from their own initiative, but also from the successes and contributions of others, including government.
Reporting live on the August 17 edition of Fox's Studio B from a Virginia campaign event for Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, Rosen said that "aides to Representative Ryan like to call Virginia the scene of 'the line.'" Rosen added that "the line" reference derived from Obama's "now-famous comment in Roanoke, Virginia, last month ... when he told small business owners, quote, 'if you have a small business, you didn't build that'":
Of course, President Obama's comments take on an entirely different meaning in their full context. During his July 13 Roanoke speech, Obama simply pointed out that the success of small businesses can also be attributed to outside influences such as "a great teacher somewhere in your life" and investment "in roads and bridges":
OBAMA: [L]ook, if you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own. You didn't get there on your own. I'm always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.
The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don't do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.
So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together. That's how we funded the GI Bill. That's how we created the middle class. That's how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam. That's how we invented the Internet. That's how we sent a man to the moon. We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that's the reason I'm running for President -- because I still believe in that idea. You're not on your own, we're in this together.
Fox News is bolstering its anti-tax crusade with bogus numbers about the taxes that American Olympic medalists will have to pay on their prizes.
The bogus numbers come from Grover Norquist's group, Americans for Tax Reform, which claims that gold medalists will owe up to $9,000 on their medal and the accompanying $25,000 cash prize.
But PolitiFact has rated this claim "mostly false." PolitiFact noted that ATR's calculations assume the prizes will be taxed at the top income tax rate, despite the fact that many Olympic athletes earn far less than that. PolitiFact also noted the calculations assume the medalists will fail to deduct any business expenses on their winnings.
Yet Fox uncritically hyped ATR's claim -- a guest from ATR on Your World with Neil Cavuto even speculated that these taxes could result in American competitors deliberately "throwing races" to get silver medals and lower their tax bills:
Fox also promoted ATR's shady statistic on four other shows on August 1: Studio B, The Five, Special Report, and The Fox Report.
Last week in Virginia, President Obama made a fairly basic point about succeeding in business: you benefit not just from your own initiative, but also from the successes and contributions of others, including government. Since then, Fox News has led the way in tearing two sentences of Obama's argument out of context and distorting them to claim that the president said small business owners deserve no credit for their own success. Now the Romney campaign has picked up Fox News' distortion of Obama's comments, and Fox News is reporting on Romney's use of the false attack they helped create.
Yesterday morning's Fox & Friends aired a deceptively edited clip of Obama's remarks, which host Gretchen Carlson called "startling."
From the July 9 edition of Fox News' Studio B:
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From the June 25 edition of Fox News' Studio B with Shepard Smith:
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While numerous news outlets have already issued corrections for misrepresenting comments economist Larry Summers, a former Obama economic adviser, made about extending the Bush tax cuts, Fox News is still pretending that Summers said something he didn't.
During an interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe this morning, Summers warned that "we've got to make sure that we don't take the gasoline out of the tank at the end of this year," adding, "That's got to be the top priority. We've got to make sure that we keep providing energy to the economy."
The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and others took those comments to mean that Summers had endorsed extending the Bush tax cuts. In fact, as both outlets later admitted, Summers said no such thing.
In fact, the misrepresentation is particularly glaring considering that immediately after his comments about "making sure there's the energy to keep the economy growing," Summers specifically alluded to the fact that the wealthy should pay their fair share of taxes. From the MSNBC interview:
MIKA BRZEZINSKI (co-host): Larry Summers, let's start with you. You heard Bill Clinton talking about the tax cuts. We had terrible unemployment numbers coming out last week. What would you advise the president to do at this point?
SUMMERS: Look, the real risk to this economy is on the side of slowdowns, certainly not on the side of overheating. And that means we've got to make sure that we don't take the gasoline out of the tank at the end of this year. That's got to be the top priority. We've got to make sure that we keep providing energy to the economy.
And the areas where we've done that, like manufacturing with the support for the automobile industry, we haven't had great results but we've had much better results. In the areas where we weren't able to do what we wanted to do, areas like preserving jobs for teachers, areas like construction and investment and maintenance of the country's infrastructure, you look at the employment report, and we've really got terrible results.
So the key priority has got to be, for the short run, making sure there's the energy to keep the economy growing 'cause we're not going to do anything about the deficit unless we do that.
Labor Department statistics say that government employment has decreased by 608,000 since February 2009. Nevertheless, Fox News and Politico both uncritically reported Mitt Romney's false claim that "[w]e have 145,000 more government workers under this president."
Reporting on emails selectively released by House Republicans, numerous media outlets falsely claimed the documents show Obama donor George Kaiser -- whose family foundation invested in Solyndra -- discussing Solyndra's federal loan with the White House, with Fox going even further to claim "quid pro quo." In fact, the emails occurred after Solyndra had already received the loan guarantee and do not indicate that Kaiser discussed the loan with the White House.