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Alexandrea Boguhn

Author ››› Alexandrea Boguhn
  • Fox News Investigative Report On Crisis In Iraq To Feature Iraq War Architect Dick Cheney

    Blog ››› ››› ALEXANDREA BOGUHN

    Cheney

    Fox News' upcoming investigative report on the growing crisis in Iraq will feature Iraq War architect Dick Cheney blaming President Obama for the turmoil there.

    The special, Iraq and the Rise of a Terrorist State, is set to air on June 27 and will examine the current state of Iraq as "al Qaeda threatens to take over." The report will also feature former Vice President Dick Cheney in order to add his commentary on "who says he knows who is to blame: President Barack Obama":

    Iraq is in turmoil as an offshoot of al Qaeda threatens to take over and expand their reign of terror. We look at what happened there and the danger this explosion of violence has created for the entire Middle East and beyond. Chris Wallace interviews former Vice President Dick Cheney who says he knows who's to blame: President Barack Obama. We examine that claim and explore the threat America and the rest of the world faces if the violence spreads beyond the Middle East.

    Fox's willingness to give air time to Cheney to cast blame on President Obama for the current situation in Iraq completely ignores the former vice president's own role in creating the problems there. Even the network's own Megyn Kelly called out Cheney, telling him that "[t]ime and time again, history has proven that you got it wrong in Iraq as well, sir." Fox's promotion for the Iraq special does not indicate if Cheney will be held accountable for his Iraq role.

    Former President Bill Clinton also weighed in on Cheney's denial during an interview with NBC Meet the Press host David Gregory, calling Cheney out on "the mess that he made" in Iraq:

    "Mr. Cheney has been incredibly adroit for the last six years or so attacking the administration for not doing an adequate job of cleaning up the mess that he made," Clinton told NBC News "Meet The Press" host David Gregory. "And I think it's unseemly. And I give President Bush, by the way, a lot of credit for trying to stay out of this debate and letting other people work through it."

    Clinton argued that if the U.S. had not gone to war with Iraq during the Bush administration, the chaotic sectarian violence that has plagued Iraq in recent weeks would not be happening.

    "Well, it might be happening in Syria, but what happened in Syria wouldn't have happened in Iraq. Iraq would not have been, in effect, drastically altered, as it has been," said the former president.

    Mainstream media have been quick to embrace Iraq war architects in their rush to explain the growing turmoil in the region, often without calling them out for their part in creating the crisis. Bill Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, and Cheney have all been regular figures across the Sunday news shows since the current Iraq crisis surfaced.

    This won't be the first Fox News special to practice questionable judgment in an effort to make the news fit into the network's narratives. Previous specials have been met with controversy after relying on debunked myths on Benghazi, providing no evidence of voter fraud in a report on voter fraud, and falsely blaming unions for problems created by the recession.

  • Fox's Bret Baier Rehashes Already-Answered Benghazi Question During Clinton Interview

    Blog ››› ››› ALEXANDREA BOGUHN

    Clinton and Bret Baier

    During Fox News' interview with Hillary Clinton, Bret Baier rehashed an already-answered question about whether or not the former secretary of state had been in contact with then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta the night of the attacks on the U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, despite a House committee determining months ago there was no evidence that Clinton had done so.

    Baier and fellow Fox host Greta Van Susteren interviewed Clinton on June 17 as part of her tour for her new book, Hard Choices. Baier focused much of his questioning on the September 2012 attacks in Benghazi, asking Clinton whether or not she had spoken with Panetta the night of the attack:

    BAIER: Did you talk to Secretary Panetta that night?

    CLINTON: I talked with [then-CIA] Director [David] Petraeus. I talked on a video -- secure video conference with a full array of officials. I knew because I had talked with the National Security Adviser, Tom Donilon, that Secretary Panetta and [Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] General [Martin] Dempsey were doing everything they could. We had open lines.

    BAIER: You didn't speak to him that night?

    CLINTON: I didn't. You know, I can't recall. I know that the Defense Department was in the room in the video conference that I held.

    This isn't the first time Fox has pushed the false claim that Clinton spoke to Panetta the night of the Benghazi attack. The network hasrepeatedly speculated that a "stand down order" had been issued the night of the attacks on Benghazi, often linking that false claim to Clinton or Panetta.  

    However, a February 2014 report on the Benghazi Investigation from the House Armed Services Committee definitively found that Clinton did not communicate with Panetta on September 11, 2012, during the attacks on Benghazi:

    "[A]s to specifics" of the U.S. reaction, Secretary Panetta testified to the Senate that the President "left that up to us." Secretary Panetta said the President was "well informed" about events and worried about American lives. He and General Dempsey also testified they had no further contact with the President, nor did Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ever communicate with them that evening.

  • David Brat And The Defeat Conservative Talk Radio Built

    Blog ››› ››› SOPHIA TESFAYE & ALEXANDREA BOGUHN

    radio hosts

    Conservative talk-radio hosts like Mark Levin, Glenn Beck and Laura Ingraham devoted considerable time touting Republican anti-immigration congressional candidate David Brat, and they took credit for his surprise victory over Rep. Eric Cantor during the Virginia primary election.

    Brat's candidacy was most vocally championed by conservative radio host and ABC News contributor Laura Ingraham. Ingraham led the charge against Cantor with a sustained effort to put Brat into office. Holding true to her extreme anti-immigration stance, Ingraham applauded Brat and his "consistent, principled stance against Amnesty," attending multiple rallies for the candidate and even posting a "Vote Brat, Stop Amnesty" election day reminder in order to get out the vote.

    However, after Brat's victory, Ingraham was quick to point out that she didn't do it alone. On a June 11 appearance on Fox News' Fox & Friends, she praised her fellow conservatives, including Mark Levin, for being "the only people covering this race" (emphasis added):

    INGRAHAM: This is being branded as a tea party victory. That's not quite accurate, and Brat addressed this last night. Not one major tea party organization came out and endorsed Brat. Supported Brat in any meaningful way. We had a difficult time getting the tea party groups and Brat connected. They bascially told him, 'you don't have a chance,' they wrote him off. 

    And there were a few people -- myself, Mark Levin, Ann Coulter, Mickey Kaus, Breitbart News, The Daily Caller -- they were pretty much the only people covering this race. I said this yesterday on Fox & Friends. We had 625 people hanging off the balcony of Eric Cantor's own country club last Tuesday night and there was no major media there except for Breitbart News and a little reporter from the local NBC. That's it. 

    Mark Levin hosted David Brat four times since April to discuss both his campaign and Eric Cantor's stances on immigration policy, of which Levin has long been a vocal critic. During a May 29 interview on Levin's show, Brat received the host's full-throttle endorsement. Levin encouraged his audience to visit the candidate's website adding, "in my humble opinion if you have a few bucks, give the guy some help because he needs it and he would be a great member of Congress." Levin also supported Brat on his social media platforms:

    Levin and Brat

    levin endorses Brat

    On June 9, the day before the election, Levin again hosted Brat on his show, telling him that "I'm all for you, I want you to win" during and allowing him to thoroughly explain his platform to listeners.

    Ingraham and Levin's support propelled Brat further into the conservative media sphere as Brat gained momentum in the run up to Tuesday's primary. A day before the election, Brat appeared on the The Glenn Beck Radio Program. Beck began his interview with Brat by noting that a variety of conservative media figures supported his cause, saying, "Doc Thompson, Laura Ingraham, Pat & Stu have talked to him and are big fans."

    Cantor's defeat was especially stunning after his campaign raised more than $5.4 million dollars, a number that towered over the meager $123,000 that Brat's campaign spent. However, what little Brat did spend came in part from the support of those driven by conservative radio's urging. As the Washington Post wrote in a June 11 article, the talk-radio hosts were responsible for driving many donations to the Brat campaign:

    Brat was boosted for months by conservative talk-radio hosts, including Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin, who touted him as a contender to their listeners and drove small-dollar donations into Brat's coffers.

    Now that the Brat's win is clear, conservatives have wasted no time patting themselves on the back for a job well done. Fox News quickly quickly moved to credit conservative radio, with contributor Brit Hume claiming that ""There are parts of this country where if Laura Ingraham, and Ann Coulter, and Mark Levin are on the radio supporting you, that's worth a lot" during an appearance on the June 11 edition of The Kelly File. Levin later appeared himself on Hannity to complete the victory lap.

  • Washington Post's New Venture Walks Back Headline Telling Women To Marry Their "Baby Daddies"

    Blog ››› ››› ALEXANDREA BOGUHN

    Washington Post

    The Washington Post's new venture, PostEverything, featured a controversial author who published a piece urging women to "get hitched to their baby daddies" in order to prevent violence against themselves -- language that was removed from the post after editing. PostEverything aims to "expand the conversation," but changes to its latest piece post-publication indicate this effort must also include extensive editorial oversight.

    PostEverything describes itself as a place for "freelance contributions, essays, news analyses and opinions" aimed to "expand the conversation" out from the Post's normal range of topics and authors." A June 10 article by W. Bradford Wilcox and Robin Fretwell Wilson claimed that the best way to end violence against women was for women to "stop taking lovers and get married," a headline that was subsequently changed. The post originally declared that women "would be safer hitched to their baby daddies." Later, it was changed to say that women "would be safer with fewer boyfriends around their kids."

    According to a later report from Poltico, PostEverything editor Adam Kushner walked back his previous decision to run the controversial headline:

    The headline we originally put on the piece distracted people from taking seriously a raft of social science that the authors discuss. That was my bad." Kushner tweeted. "Regarding the substance of the piece, we've said from the beginning that (Post Everything) is dedicated to publishing a wide range of perspectives about issues in politics and culture."

    One of the post's authors is no stranger to controversy. W. Bradford Wilcox also played a role in putting together the controversial and deeply flawed 2012 study that claimed to uncover the dangers of same-sex marriage.

  • CNN's Cuomo: "The Female Agenda" Is "Just Hard To Deal With As A Male Candidate"

    Cuomo: "What Is A Guy Supposed To Say?"

    Blog ››› ››› ALEXANDREA BOGUHN

    Cuomo

    CNN's Chris Cuomo asserted that "it's just hard" for male politicians to navigate "the female agenda" that female candidates may put forward in campaigns. 

    On the June 10 edition of New Day, co-hosts Brooke Baldwin and Chris Cuomo spoke with Politico's Maggie Haberman about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's book tour to promote her new book Hard Choices. Jumping off a discussion of Clinton's efforts to deal with gender in the 2008 campaign and the possibility that she might become the first female president, Cuomo asserted that male politicians may have a hard time dealing with "the female agenda," because "what is the guy supposed say?": (emphasis added)

    HABERMAN: It was not that she didn't address it enough, as she put it last night in that interview, she really didn't address it at all in the 2008 race. She did not run a gender-based candidacy. Her campaign was very concerned about a projection of weakness. The demographics have shifted enough, and also I think that the voter attitudes have shifted enough about a female president, that she knows this is essentially - she would be carrying the mantel as first female president. That's going to be very meaningful for a lot of woman. That's going to be significant. She's not going to shy away from it.

    CUOMO: I'll tell you, it's just hard to deal with as a male candidate. You know? Whatever Hillary or any female candidate wants to put forward as a female agenda, right? Not even feminist agenda, just female agenda. What is the guy supposed to say? 'Oh, I'm taking issue with that?' 'Oh, I want to be that also?' You know, I just think -- it's just smart politics, and you can very much argue it's come to be that time, you know?

    Of course, numerous male politicians have successfully advocated for women's issues. For example, NARAL's list of endorsed candidates for the 2014 elections includes more than 30 male candidates whom the organization has deemed to be "pro-choice champions." 

  • Fox News Runs With Falsehood That U.S. Paid Ransom In Exchange For Bergdahl

    Blog ››› ››› ALEXANDREA BOGUHN

    Bergdahl ransom

    Fox News ran with the unsubstantiated and explicitly discredited claim that the U.S. might have paid a cash ransom to an Afghani militant group in exchange for the recent release of an American soldier, an assertion that has been repeatedly denied by the White House.

    During the June 9 edition of America's Newsroom, co-host Martha MacCallum and Fox's senior political analyst Brit Hume hypothesized that in addition to releasing five Guantanamo Bay detainees in exchange for the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. may have paid a cash ransom to the Haqqani network, Bergdahl's captors. Hume claimed that because the Haqqani network "is interested in money," "that gives rise to the question, which the administration has yet to answer, as to whether in addition to the release of these five Taliban prisoners, some ransom was paid."

    MacCallum ran with the ransom idea:

    MACCALLUM: A lot of layers and a lot of questions. And I would imagine Congress would have questions about that money as well.

    HUME: Of course.

    MACCALLUM: Whether or not they would have been put in the loop on that, right?

    HUME: Sooner or later that question's going to be asked to somebody under oath, or perhaps the administration may come out and say, 'Yes, in addition we paid X amount of money to get this guy freed because we thought it was so important. And we'll see how people react to that.

    MACCALLUM: But that raises the question then, why would you need to release these Taliban prisoners if that was part of the deal? And that goes back to perhaps some of these other questions about --

    HUME: Well if it turns out that ransom was paid -- and this is speculation -- if it turns out ransom was paid, and that was what did the trick, that really does, as you suggest Martha, sharpen the question of well, why did you need to release these Taliban starting-five, as they've been called by some people?

    Fox even floated their theory in the following segment with Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy (CA), asking McCarthy, "What about this other question with the money ... how will you get to the bottom of the question whether or not money was exchanged?"

    It's a conspiracy theory that parrots Fox contributor Oliver North's unsourced speculation that "somebody paid a ransom" for Bergdahl -- and one that has already been explicitly debunked.

    The White House has flatly denied that money was exchanged for Bergdahl's release. While a ransom was previously considered as a possibility in the prisoner swap negotiations, a National Security Staff spokesperson explicitly denied the idea last week, according to the Houston Chronicle:

    The White House countered Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Clear Lake, in a statement Friday after the congressman had questioned whether President Barack Obama paid ransom for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's release.

    "The United States did not provide money in return for Sgt. Bergdahl," National Security Staff spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said.

    In fact, after Fox's lengthy speculation, an official White House Twitter account reiterated the fact that no cash was exchanged in response to right-wing claims:

  • Fox's Kurtz Cherry-Picks To Portray Obama With "Scaled-Down Ambitions And Ramped Up Partying"

    Blog ››› ››› ALEXANDREA BOGUHN

    Fox News' Howard Kurtz cherry-picked from a Politico article on President Obama to misleadingly portray him as having "checked out" of the presidency during his second term in order to "take advantage of the perks of office" like hanging out with celebrities and playing golf.

    In a June 3 article for FoxNews.com, Kurtz criticized Obama's actions during his sixth year of presidency, claiming that he had "greatly diminished clout" and that he had "lowered his expectations" in order to "ramp up the partying."  As proof, Kurtz pointed to excerpts from a recent Politico article on Obama's second term:  

    Barack Obama's presidency seems to be drifting in its sixth year, as he is all too aware.

    Obama has downsized his ambitions, tempered his expectations and is trying to take advantage of the perks of office. He is inviting celebrities for private dinners and spending more time on the golf course.

    Oh, and he's thinking more about his post-White House years.

    These are among the takeaways in a major Politico piece that is largely sympathetic to the stymied president, even as it reports on his greatly diminished clout.  

    "The portrait emerges of a president shadowed by a deepening awareness that his time and power are finite, and that two-thirds of his presidency is already in the past tense," the piece says.

    But the Politico article mainly focused on Obama's recent work on racial issues and political outreach. Kurtz downplayed the outreach angle, portraying it as "too little too late," and he completely ignored Obama's work on race.

    Politico stated that Obama's coordination with Congress has "never been better":

    For the first time, aides said, Obama is trying to respond to almost every letter from an individual lawmaker with a handwritten note. He is doing more public bill signings at the request of members, as he did May 23, when Rep. Denny Heck (D-Wash.) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) got an Oval Office ceremony for two minor pieces of legislation establishing new congressional gold medals. Almost 40 lawmakers have received invites to travel on Air Force One this year, an increase from 28 at this time last year. He's directed staff to organize another round of cocktail hours with House and Senate Democrats at the White House.

    Also this year, Obama began setting aside 45 minutes in his schedule every week to call a handful of Republican and Democratic lawmakers -- more than 70 so far -- to discuss issues, from ambitious initiatives like immigration to lower-profile bills such as patent reform. Obama had a dedicated "call time" early in his first term before it dropped off during the reelection campaign, although he has made calls outside this window, as well. The White House also has worked with lawmakers ahead of major announcements.

    "The coordination between the White House and the Congress has never been better," said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the No. 3 Senate leader who has served as the main point of contact with the White House.

    Politico also pointed to Obama's recent work to discuss and push legislation around race through programs like My Brother's Keeper, accomplishments that were deemed too "polarizing" and "distracting" to work during previous terms:

    The man who broke barriers as the first African-American president is tackling race -- a subject he once shooed aside as a polarizing distraction -- in a far more personal and public way than ever.

    Obama was selective about when he waded into the issue during his first term, after the controversy ignited by his off-the-cuff comment on the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, an African-American who was suspected of burglary, by a white police officer.

    Instead, Obama emphasized broad economic equality as the best way to deal with lingering racial injustice and disparities, a message that blurred the lines between black and white in the same way his candidacy aimed to do. That approach -- an electoral necessity in the view of Obama's brain trust -- disappointed African-Americans, who saw it as a lost opportunity for Obama to exert his voice.

    Obama no longer feels so constrained, especially as he seeks ways besides legislation to have an impact.

    Kurtz's analysis of Obama not only ignored his administration's recent political accomplishments such as the groundbreaking proposed EPA regulations to reduce carbon emissions, but also echoes the right-wing media's false narrative that Obama is lazy for playing golf or taking vacations.

  • Fox Host Fabricates Clinton Book Excerpts To Claim She "Doesn't Care" About Benghazi Deaths

    Blog ››› ››› ALEXANDREA BOGUHN

    Tantaros on Clinton

    Fox News host Andrea Tantaros completely fabricated a passage from Hillary Clinton's forthcoming memoir, claiming that the former secretary of state wrote that she "doesn't care" about the details of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens' death during the Benghazi attacks. Widely reported excerpts from Clinton's book contradict Tantaros's attack. 

    On the June 2 segment of Outnumbered, co-host Andrea Tantaros attacked Clinton based on the recently released excerpt of her new book Hard Choices, which discussed the attack on Benghazi that led to the death of Stevens and three others during the September 2012 attacks on diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya. After proclaiming that the book was "disingenuous," Tantaros launched into an assault on Clinton, claiming that she wrote in the book that "she didn't care about" how Stevens was murdered or who had done it (emphasis added):

    TANTAROS: And also, for her to just disregard how Ambassador Stevens got killed -- in that same chapter she says, "Well it doesn't really matter what led up to it. It's like the intruder getting into your house. It is what happened afterwards." That was supposedly a friend of hers. If it were a friend of mine, and I were Secretary of State, I would care about how he was murdered in the first place, and certainly about still bringing whoever did it to justice. And she in the book says she doesn't care about either one.

    According to Politico's exclusive report on the excerpt, the truth is almost exactly the opposite. Not only did Clinton take personal responsibility for the attack, but she also expressed her grief at the loss of her colleague while explaining that her highly publicized and often mischaracterized "what difference does it make" remark was pulled out of context:

    Early on in the chapter, she describes her grief over losing U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three of his diplomatic colleagues -- "a punch in the gut," she writes -- and says she takes responsibility.

    The deaths of "fearless public servants in the line of duty was a crushing blow," Clinton writes. "As Secretary I was the one ultimately responsible for my people's safety, and I never felt that responsibility more deeply than I did that day."

    Clinton also addresses her much-seized-upon remark before a congressional committee in January 2013, when she used the phrase "what difference at this point does it make." Republicans have claimed it betrayed Clinton's lack of interest in getting to the bottom of the attack. Clinton writes that her words were blatantly twisted.

    "In yet another example of the terrible politicization of this tragedy, many have conveniently chosen to interpret" that phrase "to mean that I was somehow minimizing the tragedy of Benghazi. Of course that's not what I said," she writes. "Nothing could be further from the truth. And many of those trying to make hay of it know that, but don't care."

    She adds, "My point was simple: If someone breaks into your home and takes your family hostage, how much time are you going to spend focused on how the intruder spent his day as opposed to how best to rescue your loved ones and then prevent it from happening again?

    Tantaros's false assertion is just the latest attempt by Fox to to spin the former Secretary of State's words in order to fit its debunked Benghazi narratives and undermine Clinton's efforts to correct the record.

  • Keith Ablow's Armchair Analysis of Obama Revives Discredited Right-Wing Tropes

    Blog ››› ››› ALEXANDREA BOGUHN

    Fox News' Dr. Keith Ablow once again attacked President Obama by using his trademark armchair analysis, this time relying on discredited right-wing tropes to back up his outrageous claims.

    Serving as the designated #OneLuckyGuy on the May 29 edition of Fox's Outnumbered, Ablow leveled a series of attacks on the president while discussing Obama's recent commencement speech at West Point. Ablow claimed that Obama "has it in for the American public" because people "abandoned him in his life again and again":

    ABLOW: Well, when a president takes office and immediately apologizes for the country he's leading and goes on an apology tour, when he says "You didn't build that business" so if you thought you were using capitalism and your own smarts to build something, you didn't. He's a dispiriting president who has it in for the American public, and he masterfully -- why? Um, well, because I think he -- well, it's a long story, but I think he distrusts autonomy. I think people abandoned him in his life again and again and again, and individual decision-making is anathema to him. He hates it.

    Such dubious armchair analysis is nothing new for the discredited psychiatrist, but Ablow is invoking debunked right-wing tropes to smear Obama.

    In reality, Obama's 2009 overseas tour -- which was repeatedly maligned by Fox News as an "apology tour" despite fact-checkers pointing out that Obama never once apologized for America -- was Obama's effort to make good on previous promises to repair strained relationships with allies.

    Similarly, Obama's "you didn't build that" statement, made in a July 2012 speech, was not an assertion that Americans did not accomplish anything on their own, as Ablow claimed. The full context of his statement shows that he was commenting on the role that infrastructure and education, as well as individual drive, play in a business's success. Fox played a leading role in promoting that distortion as well.