In the absence of any actual allegations of wrongdoing by President-elect Barack Obama or his staff in connection with the scandal involving Gov. Rod Blagojevich, several media figures have in recent days ominously asserted that a "cloud" hangs over Obama because of the Blagojevich scandal, or that the scandal threatens to cast a "cloud" over Obama's presidency.
On The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly claimed that "[t]he Army Field Manual bans any questioning that would make a suspect uncomfortable in any way," echoing his previous assertion that "[t]here is no interrogation under the manual. No unpleasantness." In fact, the Army Field Manual includes an entire section on "Interrogation Operations," as well as a chapter listing and describing "Approach Techniques and Termination Strategies" for use in interrogations of detainees, including several techniques intended to make detainees "uncomfortable."
On The O'Reilly Factor, Dick Morris predicted that Sen. Hillary Clinton would challenge President-elect Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination in the 2012 presidential election. But some of Morris' past attempts at political prognostication have been wildly off the mark. Morris' latest prediction is also inconsistent with his assertion in April that "[o]bviously, if Obama beats [Sen. John] McCain, Hillary is out of the picture until 2016."
Fox News hosts, reporters, and contributors have repeatedly provided or echoed the claims of only opponents of the Employee Free Choice Act, which would give workers the right to form or join a union if a majority of workers sign a card stating they want to unionize. Absent from numerous reports and discussions on Fox News is the argument made by proponents of EFCA that under the current system, employers often fire union supporters and pressure employees to vote against unionizing.
Since the beginning of October, Dick Morris has repeatedly used his columns and Fox News appearances to promote and raise money for the National Republican Trust PAC without disclosing that the organization has paid $24,000 to a company apparently connected to Morris, according to FEC filings. During that time, Morris' email newsletter has frequently included ads that state: "Paid for by The National Republican Trust PAC."
Echoing Sen. Norm Coleman's campaign, Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that Coleman "was certified the winner" in the Minnesota Senate race against Al Franken, adding, "Coleman won by a mere 215 votes." In fact, the Minnesota State Canvassing Board did not certify a winner in the Senate race, having authorized an automatic recount of ballots for that race.
Discussing actions by individual protesters of Proposition 8, Newt Gingrich stated: "I think there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us, is prepared to use violence, to use harassment. I think it is prepared to use the government if it can get control of it. I think that it is a very dangerous threat to anybody who believes in traditional religion."
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Bill O'Reilly claimed that Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie (D) was "actively rooting for Al Franken" in the Senate race between Franken and incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman (R) and that "the fix is in." But O'Reilly did not note that Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty approved of the composition of the canvassing board Ritchie named to certify the vote and oversee the recount or that a lawyer for Coleman's campaign reportedly said that the "state should feel good about who's on the panel."
On The O'Reilly Factor, Dennis Miller stated of Gov. Sarah Palin: "[M]ostly women on the left hate her, because to me, from outside in, it appears that she has a great sex life." He continued, "I think she has non-neurotic sex with that Todd Palin guy. I think most of the women on the Upper East Side, their husbands haven't been aroused since Mailer signed copy of The Executioner's Song at Rizzoli's back in the early '70s."
Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, Megyn Kelly and Lis Wiehl falsely claimed that the ACLU has not raised privacy objections to the search by Ohio government officials of "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher's records, with O'Reilly saying the organization's response has been "nothing." In fact, ACLU of Ohio executive director Christine Link wrote in a letter that she "was deeply disturbed to hear that state officials approved the use of government databases to obtain information" Wurzelbacher, and the legal director for the ACLU of Ohio told Media Matters, "We would be very happy to talk to him and see if there's something we could do to pursue redress for this violation of his privacy rights."
Dick Morris falsely claimed that Sen. Barack Obama said that "it was a tragedy that the United States Supreme Court never addressed the issue of redistributing the nation's wealth to achieve social and economic justice." In fact, the "tragedy" Obama identified during the 2001 radio appearance to which Morris referred was that the civil rights movement "became so court-focused" in trying to bring about political and economic justice.
Fox News' Bill O'Reilly stated on The O'Reilly Factor that "we're going to document every ACORN situation and any other voter fraud," but according to a Media Matters search of Nexis, the program has yet "to document" the reported complaints against Young Political Majors, a group hired by the Republican Party to register voters.
Fox News' Bill O'Reilly purported to defend his previous false assertion that Sen. Barack Obama did not cast a vote on a Senate amendment denouncing both a MoveOn.org ad that targeted Gen. David Petraeus and "Swift Boat" attacks on Sen. John Kerry by claiming he was referring to an amendment "sponsored by John Cornyn that also condemned MoveOn," which Obama did not vote on. But O'Reilly explicitly said in his previous remarks that the amendment Obama did not vote on was one that condemned both the MoveOn Petraeus ad and "the Swift Boating of Kerry." The Cornyn amendment did not condemn the Swift Boat attacks; an amendment by Sen. Barbara Boxer, which Obama voted for, did.
On The O'Reilly Factor and in a FoxNews.com article, Bill Sammon suggested that Rep. Barney Frank allowed his relationship in the 1990s with Herb Moses, a Fannie Mae official at the time, to improperly influence his conduct as a member of the House Financial Services Committee. However, in his article, Sammon cited only an anonymous Republican congressional staffer and a member of the conservative Media Research Center. Sammon also misrepresented Frank's record by reporting that Frank "spent years blocking GOP lawmakers from imposing tougher regulations" on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac without noting that during the period in question, Frank supported legislation to increase regulation of Fannie Mae and create a government regulatory agency that would oversee some aspects of the company.
On The O'Reilly Factor, after guest Tonya Reiman claimed that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's body language during a recent speech suggested she "practices the speech too much," Bill O'Reilly responded: "You know who used to do that, who practiced for hours before making a speech? And I'm not making any comparison here. So, don't -- you crazy left-wing websites out there, it's not a comparison. Adolf Hitler. Adolf Hitler practiced for hours, all of his ... gestures and everything else before he went out there."
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