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Alexandrea Boguhn

Author ››› Alexandrea Boguhn
  • Right-Wing Blogs Dishonestly Accuse Obama Of Trying To Reduce Minority Births

    Blog ››› ››› ALEXANDREA BOGUHN

    Conservative media ran dishonest headlines suggesting that the Obama administration is attempting to reduce minority births when it is actually trying to reduce teenage pregnancies.

    In an April 16 post, the Daily Caller selectively pulled language from a CDC program in order to suggest that the Obama administration was trying to reduce births among minorities. In a post with the headline "Obama program aims to reduce 'births' among blacks, Latinos," the Daily Caller claimed that "President Barack Obama is attempting to lower the rate of 'births' - and separately pregnancies - among blacks and Latinos."

    Fox Nation used the same misleading language while hyping the Daily Caller's post, posting an excerpt under the headline "Obama Program Aims To Reduce 'Births' Among Blacks, Latinos":

    Fox Nation Hypes Daily Caller

    Both headlines, and the Daily Caller's description, are incredibly dishonest. The Obama administration is not trying to reduce minority births, but the rate of teen pregnancies in minority communities. In fact, the CDC material that the Daily Caller links to is titled "Teen Pregnancy Prevention 2010-2015." The CDC page makes it clear that the program is intended to reduce the rate of pregnancy among minorities between the ages of 15 and 19:

    The purpose of this program is to demonstrate the effectiveness of innovative, multicomponent, communitywide initiatives in reducing rates of teen pregnancy and births in communities with the highest rates, with a focus on reaching African American and Latino/Hispanic youth aged 15-19 years. A communitywide model is an intervention implemented in defined communities (specified geographic area) applying a common approach with different strategies. Communitywide approaches will be tailored to the specified community, and will include broad-based strategies that reach a majority of youth in the community (i.e., through communication strategies and media campaigns); and intensive strategies reaching youth most in need of prevention programming (i.e., through implementation of evidence-based programs and improved links to services).

    The Daily Caller also attacked the CDC by manufacturing outrage over the fact that the organization does not differentiate between "births" and "pregnancies." But using both terms when discussing teen pregnancy is a common practice widely used across their own literature outside of the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative in order to analyze and discuss teen pregnancy rates and outcomes, as well as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' literature on teen pregnancy

  • A Tale of Two Reports: Fox Doesn't Trust CBO On Obamacare Costs, Embraces Discredited Survey Instead

    Blog ››› ››› ALEXANDREA BOGUHN

    Fox News attempted to discredit a Congressional Budget Office report that estimated lower costs for the Affordable Care Act, while it also embraced a dubious survey claiming that health care premiums are skyrocketing.

    On the April 14 edition of Fox News' Your World, host Neil Cavuto brought on Fox contributor and serial health care misinformer Betsy McCaughey in order to baselessly attack the CBO's latest projections, which show that the ACA will cost $104 billion less over 10 years than previously projected and that premiums for the most popular plans under ACA are expected to rise only "slightly" for 2015. McCaughey unleashed a series of already debunked lies about the health care law. After Cavuto called the CBO's savings estimates "deceiving," Mccaughey agreed and denied there would be any savings,asserting that it is actually "a cost-shifting":

    CAVUTO: So what is the CBO looking at? It's limiting it to what they expect it to be, that millions more will sign up under these exchanges, and I guess because of subsidies and special breaks see their premium increases actually stabilize. Do you buy that?

    McCAUGHEY: Well, no, I don't buy that. I think the insurance company executives know exactly what they're talking about, and they're worried about the public pushback from these huge premium hikes ahead. That's only part of the bad news. You're also going to see a million people or more default. In other words, they've paid their first premium, but when they discover what it really means to pay a three or five thousand dollar deductible on their plan, they go to their doctor again and again and have to pay full freight even though they're paying their premium, they're going to stop paying their premium.

    Another big problem ahead is the 25 to 30 million people who currently get on the job coverage who are going to lose it in the coming months when their employers realize that they're not going to be able to renew those old plans and they're stuck between the very costly Obamacare plans or sending their workers and their families onto the exchanges. And finally, you're going to hear a lot of desperation from cancer patients when they discover these Obamacare exchange plans won't let them go to any specialty cancer hospitals, even though the data show that, for example, women with ovarian cancer live longer when they're treated at a high-volume cancer hospital.

    CAVUTO: But the argument that the CBO is raising that all those problems notwithstanding -- they're big ones, it's like saying "Outside that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the show?" -- they're still going to see premiums for those in these exchanges go down. But what I did look at in the CBO study, it's all dependent on these special write-offs and allowances and subsidies that those in a certain income group get to give you what seems like a deceiving savings.

    McCAUGHEY: That's right, and I'ts really not a savings, Neil. It's just a cost-shifting.

    In contrast to Fox's attack on the CBO report, earlier in the day it uncritically promoted a discredited Morgan Stanley survey claiming "rate acceleration" in ACA premiums. Correspondent Jim Angle appeared on both Fox's Happening Now and The Real Story With Gretchen Carlson to hype fears that fit into the channel's narrative that Obamacare will causes insurance premiums to soar. However, the report Angle cited has been discredited for its absence of methodology and small survey sample. Even Fox News' sister organization, Fox Business, pointed out problematic elements of the study, noting that "some states had only one broker respond to the Morgan Stanley survey so the results may not be reliable."

    Fox News' willingness to dismiss a report from the respected and nonpartisan CBO while embracing a flawed study is just the latest effort in Fox News' struggling crusade to discredit the ACA by stoking fears of negative impact.

  • Fox Runs Defense For Rep. Gohmert After Altercation With Eric Holder

    Blog ››› ››› ALEXANDREA BOGUHN

    Holder gets heated

    Fox News presented Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) with a friendly platform to continue attacking Attorney General Eric Holder, selectively cropping footage of the men's altercation during a House Judiciary Committee hearing to absolve the congressman of blame. 

    Sparks flew at a House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing when Gohmert accused Holder of indifference about previously being held in contempt by the House over the Fast & Furious gun operation. Holder responded that Gohmert "didn't want to go there" and explained that while the House contempt vote was "inappropriate," he took it seriously.

    Fox ran defense for the Republican congressman during the April 9 segment of Fox & Friends, misrepresenting Gohmert's remarks that led to the exchange and selectively edited clips of the hearing to omit Gohmert's initial comments and the bulk of Holder's response. 

    Rather than admitting Gohmert's accusation towards Holder, co-host Brian Kilmeade simply claimed, "Texas congressman Louie Gohmert struck a nerve, obviously, when he referenced pending contempt charges against Attorney General Eric Holder. Watch."

    When Gohmert joined the program to continue attacking Holder, Kilmeade propped up the congressman's claims: "Basically, the attorney general is able to say 'get away, leave me alone,' and get away with it."

    The full video of the hearing reveals that Gohmert accused the DOJ of giving documents to terrorist front groups before lobbing personal attacks at Holder, prompting Holder to respond that the contempt vote was "inappropriate" and "all about the gun lobby":

    HOLDER: I think that what we promised to do is to provide you and your staff with --

    GOHMERT: Sir, I've read you what your department promised and it is inadequate, and I realize that contempt is not a big deal to our attorney general, but it is important that we have proper oversight, so--

    HOLDER:  You don't want to go there, ok?

    GOHMERT: I don't want to go there?

    HOLDER: No.

    GOHMERT: About the contempt?

    HOLDER: You should not assume that that is not a big deal to me. I think that it was inappropriate, I think it was unjust. But never think that was not a big deal to me. Don't ever think that.

    GOHMERT: Well, I'm just looking for evidence, and normally we're known by our fruits, and there have been no indications that it was a big deal because your department has still not been forthcoming in producing the documents that were the subject of the contempt. Let me move on -

    [CROSSTALK]

    HOLDER: The documents that we were prepared to make available then, we are prepared to make available now. That would have obviated the whole need. This was all about the gun lobby. And a desire to have --

    This isn't the first time Fox News has dishonestly framed a segment in order to attack the attorney general: the network has a long history of distorting the truth around Holder's statements to baselessly attack him.

  • Fox's Bolling Falsely Claims DOE Loan Guarantee Programs Are A Failure

    Blog ››› ››› ALEXANDREA BOGUHN

    Fox News' Eric Bolling falsely claimed that the success of Tesla was an anomaly among Energy Department loans and that most loans were a failure. 

    Bolling appeared on the April 1 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor to debate host Bill O'Reilly's claim that Tesla and other electric cars would be beneficial to the environment and American economy. During the segment, Bolling attacked the Department of Energy program that provided a loan to Tesla, claiming that, although Tesla repaid the money, most loans given out by the program were failures, invoking the solar energy company Solyndra as an example:

    While Bolling and other members of the right-wing media have repeatedly claimed that the DOE's Loan Guarantee Program is a failure, the truth is exactly the opposite. In congressional testimony, Jonathan Silver, the former executive director of the DOE's loan program, explained the success of the program:

    While not every investment will succeed, the portfolio is in good shape. The funds represented by investments that have failed represent less than 3% of the total portfolio. This is a record the private sector would consider remarkable, but is particularly impressive for a portfolio of technologically innovative projects being built at a commercial scale for the first time anywhere.

    A recent article from the National Journal quoted Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz discussing the successes of the loan guarantee program, noting that the overall loan portfolio is performing well and "has been a major success" at advancing technology:

    He noted that in the main, the $30 billion loan portfolio--which includes a number of green power-generation projects and loans to automakers for green-car development--is performing well.

    "Any rational view of that portfolio is that it has been a major success in doing exactly what it ... is designed to do in terms of first-movers of technologies at commercial scale," Moniz said.

  • MSNBC Criticizes Fox News For Airing Dishonest Obamacare Enrollment Chart

    Blog ››› ››› ALEXANDREA BOGUHN

    After Fox News aired a deceptive chart suggesting that the Obama administration would fall far short of the initial Obamacare enrollment estimate of 7 million, MSNBC criticized the network for its misrepresentation of the enrollment numbers.

    During the March 31 edition of MSNBC's PoliticsNation, Al Sharpton denounced Fox for airing the misleading chart, asking, "Since when is 6 million less than half of 7 million?":

    SHARPTON: This weekend, Fox News showed this dramatically skewed chart to suggest that the law would come up far short of its initial estimate of 7 million enrollees. Since when is 6 million less than half of 7 million? Anyone? They distort. You decide. Here is what the chart should look like according to reality.

    Politicsnation chart

    Later on All In with Chris Hayes, guest host Steve Kornacki also spoke of the misleading graphic aired by Fox News. Kornacki noted that the graphic attempted to "portray 6 million enrollees as actually only about a third" of the initial CBO estimate of 7 million enrollees:

    KORNACKI: And Fox News resorted to making graphics that try to portray 6 million enrollees as actually only about a third of the enrollment goal of 7 million. Check that out.

    Steve Benen, producer of The Rachel Maddow Show, also weighed in on the misleading chart for the Maddow Blog. In the post, Benen calls the graphic "ridiculous" and notes that Fox may have "manipulated the axes" because the numbers were not on its side:

    Fox clearly manipulated the axes, to a comical degree, in the hopes of making some kind of ideological point.

    [...]

    But let's not miss the forest for the trees: Fox News felt the need to put that ridiculous chart on the air because reality is starting to look pretty good for the Affordable Care Act. If the facts were on ACA opponents' side, there wouldn't have been any need to manipulate the axes in the first place.

    Below is the chart aired on America's Newsroom on March 31:

    Fox News chart

  • Fox's Perino Falsely Accuses The Affordable Care Act Of Deepening Income Inequality

    Blog ››› ››› ALEXANDREA BOGUHN

    Fox News' Dana Perino falsely claimed that the Affordable Care Act would be responsible for deepening income inequality in the United States and would hurt low-income families.

    The co-hosts of Fox News' The Five attacked the ACA on the last day of open enrollment in the law's health care exchanges. Amid reports that a last-minute surge had brought enrollment over 6 million people, Perino declared that the law "exacerbates income inequality" and will "end up hurting low-income people":

    PERINO: My big concern from the beginning on this, on the bigger picture Tom that you were talking about, is actually how it exacerbates income inequality. And it actually will end up hurting low-income people a lot more because as we've seen in the last few weeks you have more and more doctors deciding not to take insurance at all and not to take Medicaid patients, and they're not going to be told that they have to.

    Perino's claim is absurd for a number of reasons. A January 2014 study by the Brookings Institution found that the Affordable Care Act will boost the incomes of Americans in the second-lowest income decile by more than 5 percent and those in the bottom income decile by more than 7 percent:

    ACA chart 

    Perino's suggestion that the ACA will cause doctors to refuse Medicaid patients is also dubious. The ACA expands Medicaid eligibility for adults with incomes at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level. The Urban Institute and Robert Wood Johnson foundation estimated that the expanded eligibility meant that about 15.1 million uninsured adults could gain coverage. The ACA also increases certain payments to health care providers, a change that Wonkblog pointed out could "entice more providers to participate":

    That could mean that the states with the highest likelihood of expanding Medicaid might be those with the lower reimbursement rates - and fewer doctors willing to accept these patients by proxy. That could prove true in a state like California, where 1.8 million residents are expected to gain coverage - but fewer than 60 percent of providers accept new patients in the program.

    It could also speak to the importance of some of the payment increases in the Affordable Care Act. The law increases Medicaid reimbursements for primary care doctors to match those of Medicare providers. That means that everyone on the right side of this chart will move over to the left. And that could entice more providers to participate. Decker estimates using this data set that it would raise the Medicaid participation rate to 78.6 percent, an 8.6 percent increase from where it stood in 2011.

  • Fox's Brian Kilmeade Advises Women Lawyers To Use Their "Great Body" To Get Ahead In Court

    Blog ››› ››› ALEXANDREA BOGUHN

    During a segment of Fox News' The Five, guest co-host Brian Kilmeade continued his history of sexism while discussing a blog post by a federal judge who wrote about the attire of women lawyers in the courtroom.

    In a March 25 blog post, U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf called himself a "dirty old man" while offering three rules for young women lawyers to follow when considering how to dress for court. In the post, he comments on the "ample chest" of one such lawyer and advises others to "tone it down" so that law clerks won't label you "an ignorant slut":

    Around these parts there is a wonderfully talented and very pretty female lawyer who is in her late twenties. She is brilliant, she writes well, she speaks eloquently, she is zealous but not overly so, she is always prepared, she treats others, including her opponents, with civility and respect, she wears very short skirts and shows lots of her ample chest. I especially appreciate the last two attributes.

    In a recent case involving this fine young lawyer every female law clerk in the building slipped in and out of the courtroom to observe her. I am not exaggerating. I later learned that word had gotten around about this lawyer's dress. Acknowledging that the lawyer was really good, the consensus of the sisterhood was uniformly critical. "Unprofessional" was the word used most often. To a woman, the law clerks seethed and sneered. They were truly upset.

    From the foregoing, and in my continuing effort to educate the bar, I have three rules that young women lawyers should follow when considering how to dress for court:

    1. You can't win. Men are both pigs and prudes. Get over it.

    2. It is not about you. That goes double when you are appearing in front of a jury.

    3. Think about the female law clerks. If they are likely to label you, like Jane Curtin, an ignorant slut behind your back, tone it down.

    Slate's Amanda Hess reminded Kopf that as a federal judge, "he's responsible for making sure that his personal weaknesses don't interfere with his judgment and that he refrain from making statements that would reasonably make one type of attorney feel uncomfortable approaching his bench."

    During the March 27 edition of Fox News' The Five, the show's co-hosts agreed the judge "had a point" in harshly criticizing the attire of young women in the courtroom. Brian Kilmeade then asserted that women should in fact use their assets such as "a great body and a great figure" to get ahead in the courtroom:

    KILMEADE: If you could try a case, and you have an asset which is a great body and a great figure, you've got to do everything you can to be successful. So if it means somebody in the jury is going to be swung to your side because of the fact that you work out ... then go ahead and do it.

    This isn't the first time Brian Kilmeade has commented on women's appearances in the workplace. During a November 16, 2012 segment of his radio show, Kilmeade told listeners that Fox finds female hosts by going "into the Victoria's Secret catalogue" and saying "can any of these people talk?"

    Kilmeade also has a history of other sexist behavior on air that once even prompted then-Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson to walk off-set after commenting that "women are everywhere. We're letting them play golf and tennis now" and later telling viewers that he is "pretty much not sexist."

    Kilmeade's statement fits nicely into the long pattern of The Five's co-hosts using the show in order to perpetuate sexism and attack women.

  • How A Pastry Chef's Resignation Became The First Lady's Fault

    Blog ››› ››› ALEXANDREA BOGUHN

    The Daily Caller and Rush Limbaugh accused the First Lady and her healthy eating initiative of 'forcing' the White House pastry chef to resign, conveniently omitting the fact that the chef is leaving to pursue his own healthy eating initiative.

    Upon news that White House executive pastry chef Bill Yosses plans to leave the White House in June to join his husband in New York City, the Daily Caller accused Michelle Obama of pushing Yosses out with her healthy eating initiatives. According to the conservative site, the pastry chef resigned after Michelle Obama "fundamentally changed his job duties to focus on healthier foods," though Yosses "was never fully committed to the new policy."

    On March 19 Rush Limbaugh hyped the Daily Caller's claims, declaring that Yosses "has been forced out" by Michelle Obama:

    LIMBAUGH: Michelle Obama still told him, "I don't' care what you're good at. You're not going to use butter in the White House. And you're not going to use cream, and you're not going to use sugar, and you're not going to use eggs. So this guy had to come up with fruit puree as a sugar substitute in his baked goods. And he finally threw up his hands and said, 'The heck with it, I'm out of here.'

    The truth is nearly the opposite - Yosses' departure is actually due in part to a new found interest in "the relationship between food and health," according to The New York Times, a passion that he discovered after beginning to work with healthier ingredients during his time at the White House. He reportedly plans to begin working on a food literacy program to promote "delicious food as healthy food," citing how he had been inspired by the first lady's requests for healthier desserts:

    Hired by Laura Bush in 2007, when he was already acclaimed in New York for the raspberry and pear soufflés he created at restaurants like Montrachet and Bouley, Mr. Yosses began moving beyond the traditional sugar sculptures and cookie plates after Mrs. Obama arrived at the White House. He was directed to make more healthful desserts, and in smaller portions, that were to be served only sparingly to the first family.

    Mr. Yosses began experimenting with alternatives to what he called "the usual blitzkrieg" of butter and cream. Now, he said, "we replace butter with fruit purée, which gives some body." He often uses honey and agave in place of sugar, has added whole grains to desserts and is considering heirloom varieties of whole wheat without the bitterness of wheat bran and germ in modern whole-wheat flour.

    Mr. Yosses has also been inspired by the White House garden, where he has chosen from a cornucopia of strawberries, blueberries, rhubarb, figs, papaya, carrots, sweet potatoes and herbs like lemon thyme flowers, lavender and pineapple sage. Nearby is honey from the White House beehives. The result -- oatmeal bars, baked apples and pear-quince cobblers, among many others -- will have a lasting impact on his eating habits, as will Mrs. Obama.

    Even the Blaze, Glenn Beck's website, called out The Daily Caller for distorting the pastry chef's departure, writing that "Yosses' reasons for leaving are actually quite the opposite" of what the Daily Caller wrote.