Lines in the sand have been drawn at Fox.
Discussing the Supreme Court's opinion upholding health care reform legislation, Fox White House correspondent Wendell Goler reported today that a fee for individuals who don't have health insurance would only affect one percent of the population. Goler's report is in marked contrast to his Fox News colleagues, who are claiming the fee is a massive tax on all Americans.
In contrast to Goler's report, Fox has been aggressively claiming that the fee would amount to a massive tax on all Americans.
For instance, Fox News contributor Monica Crowley said that the ruling will lead to "one of the biggest tax increases in American history and a highly regressive tax that is going to hit the poor and the middle class," and Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy claimed it creates a tax that is "going to hit everybody."
Likewise, Fox host Sean Hannity claimed that it is "a tax on every single American" and "the largest tax increase in American history," and Fox News Radio's Todd Starnes said it "will force a massive new tax on the American people."
In fact, Goler's reporting is backed up by the facts. In April 2010, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that only 4 million people will face a fine for not having insurance in 2016.
A March 2012 report by the nonpartisan Urban Institute found that 94 percent of Americans "would not face a requirement to newly purchase insurance or pay a fine."
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.
From the October 5 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Fox News White House Correspondent Wendell Goler promoted the false claim that unions are exempt from a draft executive order that would require federal contractors to disclose more information about their political contributions. In fact, the order would apply to unions that have federal contracts, such as the AFL-CIO.
Reviving a nearly two-year-old GOP falsehood, Fox News' White House correspondent Wendell Goler falsely reported that under the Obama administration, "the Census director report[ed] to former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel instead of the Commerce Secretary." In fact, the administration made clear that the Census director reported directly to the Commerce Secretary.
On tonight's episode of his Fox News show, Glenn Beck continued his criticism of Michelle Obama's trip to Spain, calling the First lady's accommodations "opulent" and claiming the "mother-daughter" trip that was "just for her and approximately 40 of her friends." As an added bonus, Beck even threw in a conspiracy theory about how the First Lady's trip is part of President Obama's "plan" to be a one-term president and to become so unpopular that when Hillary Clinton steps in, she'll "look like Ronald Reagan" in comparison. From the show:
BECK: I thought the President was out of touch with the average American because he prefers arugula, plays basketball with LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, sings with Paul McCartney. And his wife threw me off the scent of 'struggle' just a little bit with her recent mother-daughter trip to Spain. She flew on an AC32A, that's a 757, which usually serves as Air Force Two, and sometimes Air Force One. It only costs $11,351 per hour to operate.
Then the First lady reserved 30 rooms at an opulent 5-Star hotel. Oh, it's beautiful. It was just for her and approximately 40 of her friends. Now I'm not a sacrifice expert, so forgive me, but where exactly is the sacrifice here? Was this your vacation? Did she sacrifice your vacation? The security cost alone cost you the taxpayer reportedly 75 thousand dollars per day.
They're either incredibly tone deaf, or - or - Obama's just not running for re-election. He's going to be a one term president and he knows it. That was his plan, just do one term. He knew jamming everything through would make him unpopular. In fact, all the people had all the plans laid before he even, you know, won the nomination told him that. He'll take the fall for it, because the Presidency is no longer a destination. It's a portal, it's a stepping stone. And then Hillary will step in in about a year to carry all the water. Yeah, she'll say 'I gotta break with this guy.' She's gonna look like Ronald Reagan compared to Barack Obama. Oh it'll be the common sense that America is looking for. But, let's not forget that she just threw a 5 million dollar wedding for her daughter. But at least, in this case, that was her money. And she also spent all that money here in America.
Barely 20 minutes later, Fox White House correspondent Wendell Goler offered a very different take on the First Lady's trip, noting that reports that Obama has "filled a jet with friends" and "put them up at a five-star hotel" were false:
BAIER: Meanwhile Wendell, the First Lady's vacation in Spain has ended, but it continues to draw some criticism. What can you tell us about that?
GOLER: Well, we reported on the trip before she went. We also reported that reports out of Spain that she was going to fill an Air Force jet with friends and put them up at a five-star hotel were wrong. It turns out the First Lady met a couple of friends and their daughters over in Spain. The friends paid their own travel and accommodations. She flew on an Air Force jet that was mostly filled with uniformed and plain clothes Secret Service agent. They chose the hotel.
Media Matters has previously noted that right-wing media have deployed falsehoods in attacking Michelle Obama for her trip.
Over the past week, Fox News figures have repeatedly asserted that emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia that critics have dubiously claimed undermine the scientific consensus on climate change were "leaked" -- citing no evidence for their claim -- or have described those emails as having been "revealed," "uncovered," or "discovered." In fact, CRU has stated that the emails were stolen from CRU's servers by one or more hackers.
Responding to President Obama's September 8 back-to-school address, the text of which was posted online on September 7, several conservative media figures have echoed Florida Republican Party chairman Jim Greer's assertion that Obama altered his speech after "the White House got their hand in the cookie jar caught." Numerous media conservatives, as well as Greer, had previously made the baseless charge that Obama would use the speech to push an ideological agenda or indoctrinate children.
Fox News White House correspondent Wendell Goler reported that the "controversy" over President Obama's September 8 speech to students on the importance of education "spread quickly over the Internet and on conservative talk shows, and some parents are now threatening to keep their kids home next Tuesday." But Goler ignored that Fox News has repeatedly hyped the "controversy," with hosts and guests describing Obama's speech as an "indoctrination;" advancing comparisons of Obama to dictators; and, highlighting the plans of some to "keep kids home" on the day of Obama's address.
From the September 3 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:
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From the July 28 edition of Fox News' Special Report:
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Yes, as Politico's Michael Calderone points out, Huffington Post is asking readers to vote for their favorite White House correspondent:
Current nominees: Chuck Todd, Savannah Guthrie, John Yang, Suzanne Malveaux, Ed Henry, Bill Plante, Jake Tapper, Major Garrett and Wendell Goler.
Henry would like your vote. But some think there are some notable exemptions: Former White House press office staffer Pete Seat wants Chip Reid and Washington Times White House correspondent Christina Bellantoni thinks Mark Knoller was robbed.
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Fox News' Wendell Goler cropped a comment by President Obama and took it out of context to falsely suggest that he supports creating a health care system "like the European countries." In fact, Obama was paraphrasing the town hall question he had been asked before explaining why he opposed such a system.
Wendell Goler aired a clip of Carly Fiorina criticizing President Obama, but identified her only as a "[f]ormer Hewlett-Packard CEO." Goler did not note that she was a senior economic adviser for John McCain's presidential campaign.