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Andy Newbold

Author ››› Andy Newbold
  • Utility Companies Deny Right-Wing Media Claims Of Union Discrimination

    Blog ››› ››› ANDY NEWBOLD

    The right-wing media falsely reported that Alabama-based utility companies were turned away in New Jersey for hurricane disaster relief because they use non-union labor. However, multiple Alabama utility companies mentioned in these media reports say the claims are "rumors" and simply "not true," and New Jersey utility companies have also denied that non-union working crews have been turned away.

    Local Alabama news station WAFF was quoted in multiple right-wing news reports after it claimed that three utility crews from Alabama were not allowed to help with storm aid in New Jersey because they were non-union. Predictably, Fox News picked up the report almost immediately. During the November 2 edition of Fox & Friends, the hosts asserted that non-union crews were not allowed to help in New Jersey hurricane relief, and frequent guest Charles Payne added that this is "one of the more despicable aspects of what we are seeing":

    Following this report, Drudge linked to other right-wing websites making similar claims under the headlines "Non-union crews turned away from NJ..." and "'No Red Tape'?":

    Later on Fox, host Gretchen Carlson issued a minor update explaining that many of their viewers had in fact seen Alabama crews working in New Jersey.

    WAFF, the source of the original reports, has since updated its post about these claims. It continues to report claims from an Alabama-based Decatur Utilities employee that his crew was presented with documents by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) that required union affiliation in order to provide disaster relief. However, WAFF clarifies that Decatur Utilities' general manager said crews "were not turned away but were made to believe that affiliating with the union was a requirement to work."

  • Fox's John Roberts Whitewashes Romney's Position On Auto Rescue

    Blog ››› ››› ANDY NEWBOLD

    Fox correspondent John Roberts misrepresented Mitt Romney's position on rescuing the auto industry to suggest President Obama was lying.

    During the October 26 edition of America's Newsroom, Roberts suggested Obama was lying to the audience during a campaign rally in Iowa when he said Romney wanted the auto industry to go through bankruptcy with private financing. Roberts claimed that "in truth," Romney believed the auto industry simply could not be given another bailout and that "managed bankruptcy with government backing was the best thing to save the auto industry in the long run." 

    Roberts misrepresented what Romney has said regarding government assistance for U.S. auto companies. In the New York Times op-ed Roberts referenced in his report, Romney stated: "The federal government should provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing." Experts disagree about the meaning of this phrase, and even the Romney campaign could not clarifiy it.

    There is no question, however, that Romney's ever-changing argument differs from President Obama's decision to loan federal funds to GM and Chrysler, allowing them to survive bankruptcy and save the auto industry in 2009.

  • Fox News Hides The Truth On Romney's "Apology Tour" Myth

    Blog ››› ››› ANDY NEWBOLD

    Fox News provided one-sided coverage to support Mitt Romney's debate claim that President Obama began his presidency with "an apology tour." The lie, which was  manufactured by Fox, has been debunked by fact-checkers and reporters numerous times, including repeated "pants on fire" ratings by PolitiFact.

    During the October 22 debate, Mitt Romney said that President Obama began his administration with "an apology tour of going to various nations in the Middle East and criticizing America," a claim he has used throughout his campaign. Romney went on to suggest that other countries saw this as a sign of weakness. During the October 23 edition of America's Newsroom, Fox highlighted the remarks and turned to Romney supporters John Bolton and Jack Keane to discuss the accusation. Fox News' one-sided analysis of Romney's claim lacked any mention of fact-checkers disputing the charge or even Obama's response to the attack during the debate. 

    Following Romney's claim during the debate, Obama called his remarks "the biggest whopper that's been told during the course of this campaign" and correctly pointed out that fact checkers and reporters have disagreed with Romney's claim.

    Fact-checkers have repeatedly debunked this claim in the past. More recently, a post today by CNN fact-checkers offered a similar explanation of Obama's comments saying:

    "Obama did indeed mention past U.S. flaws in speeches. But in those addresses, Obama never uttered an apology for the United States. Those statements were snippets, part of larger and grander narratives about repairing ties, building friendship and working together."

    During a October 23 broadcast on Bloomberg TV, chief Washington correspondent Peter Cook fact-checked Romney's claim and found that President Obama had not gone on "an apology tour" and that Romney "doesn't pass the fact-checking test here." An August 31 post on PolitiFact.com labeled Romney's claim "pants on fire." From the fact-check:

    [A] review of Obama's foreign travels and remarks during his early presidency showed no evidence to support such a blunt and disparaging claim. (In later years, we found two formal apologies, but they were not at the start of his presidency and not part of a tour.)

    While Obama's speeches contained some criticisms of past U.S. actions, he typically combined those passages with praise for the United States and its ideals, and he frequently mentioned how other countries had erred as well. We found not a single, full-throated apology in the bunch."

    Media Matters intern Brian Rabitz contributed to this post. 

  • "Deliberate Misinformation": Fox Host Juan Williams Debunks His Own Network On Libya Attack

    Blog ››› ››› ANDY NEWBOLD

    In a blow to his own network, Fox News host Juan Williams debunked false narratives that Fox News has frequently pushed since the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

    In an opinion piece for The Hill, Williams offered three "corrections" for what he describes as "deliberate misinformation" from Republicans (and their conservative media mouthpieces) about the Benghazi attack.

    Misinformation #1: "U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice lied to the American people in the days after the attack" when she suggested that a viral anti-Islam video sparked violence and wide-spread protests. Fox News has repeatedly pushed this narrative to make it seem like the administration was deliberately misleading the American people.

    Correction: Williams debunked this false narrative, pointing to the "simple fact" that James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, "confirmed that Rice told the truth in describing the assessment of the intelligence community at the time of her remarks." Williams went on to explain that CIA Director David Petraeus briefed the House Intelligence Committee with the same intel Rice used, as did Undersecretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy in testimony before Congress earlier in October. Furthermore, as Media Matters has previously exposed, Williams noted that Rice "stressed that there was an ongoing investigation where conclusions were subject to change." Indeed, Rice appeared on all major networks and repeatedly stressed that there was an ongoing investigation into the attacks. 

    Misinformation #2: "[R]equests for extra security in Benghazi were denied by the administration," coupled with the suggestion that the "attack would have been stopped, and the ambassador still alive, if the requests had been granted." Fox News pushed this myth on multiple occasions.

    Correction: Williams pointed out that requests for extra security were focused on the embassy in Tripoli, not Benghazi, and State Department officials believe that even if the requests had been granted, they would likely not have changed what happened in Benghazi because the consulate would have been ill-equipped to respond to such a large-scale assault (again echoing a previous report by Media Matters):

  • Fox's Doocy Cherry-Picks Obama's Comments On Benghazi

    Blog ››› ››› ANDY NEWBOLD

    Fox News' Steve Doocy misrepresented President Obama's response to the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Libya by cherry-picking Obama's comments. Doocy contrasted several out of context quotes from Obama on Libya with aggressive talk about the anti-Islamic film to falsely attack the president as weak in response to the deaths of Americans.

    Previewing the final presidential debate, which will focus on foreign policy, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy highlighted two previously debunked attempts to smear Obama's response to the attack. Doocy suggested that the "not optimal" and "bumps in the road" remarks showed Obama's insensitivity regarding the deaths of four Americans. He then attempted to contrast those comments with Obama's strong rhetoric regarding the anti-Islam film asking, "Where was that kind of language regarding the deaths of those four Americans?" 

    But Fox failed to mention multiple comments made by Obama in response to the attacks that were highly critical of the violence against Americans. In response to the death of U.S. consulate staff in Libya, President Obama condemned the attacks from the White House Rose Garden saying, "there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence" and called on the world to "unequivocally reject these brutal acts." While discussing the consulate attack, Obama said "no acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation":

    No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.  Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America.  We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act.  And make no mistake, justice will be done.

  • Limbaugh Complains Romney's "47 Percent" Comments Were Taken "Out Of Context" While Promoting "You Didn't Build That"

    Blog ››› ››› ANDY NEWBOLD

    Rush Limbaugh complained that Mitt Romney's "47 percent" comments were taken out of context, at the same time advising Romney to highlight President Obama's deceptively edited comments on small businesses. But even Romney doesn't argue his comments were misrepresented, instead saying they were "not elegantly stated" while Obama's words have been constantly twisted to distort their meaning.  

    During his radio show, Rush Limbaugh suggested Romney is avoiding a discussion on welfare reform during the debates because of his comments that 47 percent of voters believe they are victims and won't take "personal responsibility" for their lives. Limbaugh suggested that those remarks were being taken out of context, but went on to advise Romney to attack Obama using the distorted "you didn't build that" video:

    But Romney's comments were not taken out of context, a fact he admits himself. Obama's comments, on the other hand, were taken out of context and distorted in a way that turned praise for infrastructure, teachers, and public improvements into an attack on small businesses. 

  • Rush Limbaugh Recalls His Own "Binders Full Of Women"

    Blog ››› ››› ANDY NEWBOLD & THOMAS BISHOP

    In his first show after the second presidential debate, Rush Limbaugh took advantage of Mitt Romney's answer to a question about gender pay inequality to recall his own "binders full of women," a time when he required photographs of all female callers.

    On his radio program, Limbaugh discussed a moment from last night's debate when Romney explained how he attempted to find qualified women for cabinet positions as governor of Massachusetts. Romney claimed he reached out to a number of women's groups to help find people and they proceeded to bring him "whole binders full of women." After asking what was "so offensive about the phrase 'a binder filled with women,' " Limbaugh used the story to remind his audience of a period of time on the show when he required pictures of female callers before they could speak on his show. Limbaugh called his practice of cataloging and rating women based on their appearance "nirvana":

    If you were going to be on this program -- you were allowed to call and be on the air -- we had to have a photo of you on file. Only of women. We didn't make this rule applicable to men. Women had to have a photo of themselves on file with us before they could go on the air.

    If they called and couldn't establish that a photo we had was of them, they didn't get on. So we did it. And we were deluged with photos. We had women in the nude on the rocks at Mendocino Beach. We had women in the kitchen. The pictures ran the gamut. Snerdley was in heaven. It was nirvana.

    Limbaugh's sexism didn't end there. After a caller told him that the "Democrats are losing the war on women" and referenced a Fox News post-debate focus group with GOP strategist Frank Luntz, Limbaugh described two female members of the panel as "babes" and Obama "robots" seeking to destroy Romney's reputation with "mind-numbing war on women dribble." Limbaugh went on to call the women "the perfect cookie cutter liberal women" and "your classic feminazi-liberal woman."

  • Limbaugh Whitewashes Romney's 47 Percent Comments Ahead Of Presidential Debate

    Blog ››› ››› ANDY NEWBOLD

    One day before the second presidential debate, Rush Limbaugh advised Mitt Romney not to apologize for his comments to donors about 47 percent of the voting public, downplaying the remarks as merely "statistical fact." However, the video released by Mother Jones last month shows Romney attacking supporters of President Obama as "dependent on government" and unwilling to "take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

    While giving advice to Romney about tomorrow's presidential debate, Limbaugh said Romney "accurately" pointed out that 47 percent of the voting public will support Obama "no matter what." Limbaugh claimed the 47 percent "are your average Democratic voters" but "it doesn't mean [Romney] is not going to represent them." Limbaugh also claimed Obama, not Romney, has "written off a whole class of Americans."

    Limbaugh then went on to spin Romney's comments as a "statistical fact" and called his statement a "throwaway comment." 

    But Romney's remarks were more than just a "statistical fact" about "your average Democratic voter." Romney disparaged Obama supporters overall, describing them as people "who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims." Romney concluded by saying "I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."