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Andy Newbold

Author ››› Andy Newbold
  • REPORT: Fox News Spends Two-Plus Hours Distorting Obama's Small Business Comments


    Over two days, Fox News spent 42 segments and more than two hours of airtime manufacturing a scandal by deceptively editing comments President Obama made at a campaign appearance in Virginia.  

    On July 13, Obama made the unremarkable observation that business owners do not achieve success in a vacuum, but that public infrastructure - such as roads, schools, and fire departments - create a community that supports businesses:

    OBAMA: If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.  Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet. 

    The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don't do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires. 

    Media conservatives have distorted those comments to accuse the president of expressing hostility toward business.

    In discussing the speech relentlessly in the past 2 days, Fox has fixated on the passage where Obama said, "If you've got a business, you didn't build that." But Fox ignores what Obama was talking about before saying "you didn't build that," when he touted "this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive," and said: "Somebody invested in those roads and bridges."

    Fox's manufactured controversy has now become the focus of an official Mitt Romney campaign ad.

  • One Year Later: A Look Back At 5 Of The Five's Worst Moments


    On the one-year anniversary of Fox News' The Five, Media Matters looks back at five of the program's worst moments. 

    Bolling Casted Doubt On Obama's Religion

    On November 30, 2011, The Five co-host Eric Bolling used a phony "War on Christmas" segment to cast doubt on President Obama's religion. During the segment, Bolling said, "Mr. Obama highlighted the beginning of Ramadan. He highlighted another Muslim holiday. He didn't mention the beginning of Easter. He didn't mention Good Friday, other than the fact that it was Earth Day, and he talked about Earth Day, not Good Friday."  

    Bolling Compared Obama To A Drug Dealer Who Opens "Barry's Pot And Coke Emporium" 

    On February 7, 2012, during a discussion of Obama's position on super PACs, Bolling compared Obama to a drug dealer, saying: "What if a guy spends the better part of two years saying he's against drugs, he hates drugs, drugs kill kids, drugs are bad for you. And then the next day he says you know what, I'm opening up Barry's pot and coke emporium." 

    Gutfeld Said Many Sexual Harassment Claims Are "Inherently Meaningless"

    On November 1, 2011, while discussing sexual harassment allegations directed at former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, The Five co-host Greg Gutfeld said, "We are beginning to understand the ubiquitousness of sexual harassment claims and how because they're happening so often and they're everywhere, and many of them are inherently meaningless, they're done to safeguard future reputation damaging things, and you might not be guilty."  

  • Right-Wing Media Fearmonger About Strategic Closing Of Border Patrol Stations

    Blog ››› ››› ANDY NEWBOLD

    Right-wing media figures are fearmongering over the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) newly announced decision to shut down several Border Patrol stations. In fact, the CBP's decision is a strategic one, aimed at focusing efforts on high-priority areas closer to the border.

    Within the next six months, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will close nine Border Patrol stations to move forty-one agents closer to the southern and northern borders, media outlets are reporting, citing CBP spokesman Bill Brooks. Brooks said that some of stations that will be closed are hundreds of miles from a border and that the decision is part of a strategy to use resources wisely and "increasingly concentrate our resources on the border."

    In a statement to Fox News, Brooks likewise said, "These deactivations are consistent with the strategic goal of securing America's borders, and our objective of increasing and sustaining the certainty of arrest of those trying to enter our country illegally." He continued: 

    By redeploying and reallocating resources at or near the border, CBP will maximize the effectiveness of its enforcement mandate and align our investments with our mission.

    Nevertheless, right-wing media seized on the announcement to fearmonger about border security. The Drudge Report posted the following headline:

    Drudge's headline linked to a article, which has the same headline. However,'s article clearly explains that the CBP is closing the stations to "reassign agents to high-priority areas closer to the border."

    Fox News Radio reporter Todd Starnes, in a post to his Twitter feed, wrote: "Obama is shutting down 9 border patrol stations ... and the invasion continues." (Following the June 25 Supreme Court ruling striking down several parts of Arizona's immigration law, Starnes similarly warned of "Mexican Invaders.")

    Starnes also wrote: "Obama wants to close 9 border stations ... Maybe he's turning them into voting stations instead?"

  • Fox Helps Clean Up After GOP Rep.'s Attack On Wounded Veteran

    Blog ››› ››› ANDY NEWBOLD

    Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham lent Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) a helping hand as the congressman sought to do damage control on his recent attack on wounded veteran Tammy Duckworth.      

    During a July 1 campaign speech, Walsh claimed that Duckworth, his opponent, was unlike "our true heroes" because her military service is "all she talks about":

    WALSH: Understand something about John McCain. His political advisers, day after day, had to take him and almost throw him against a wall and hit him against the head and say, "Senator, you have to let people know you served! You have to talk about what you did!" He didn't want to do it, wouldn't do it. Day after day they had to convince him. Finally, he talked a little bit about it, but it was very uncomfortable for him. That's what's so noble about our heroes. Now I'm running against a woman who, my God, that's all she talks about. Our true heroes, it's the last thing in the world they talk about. That's why we're so indebted and in awe of what they've done. [emphasis added]

    Following widespread criticism of Walsh's comments, Ingraham, while filling in for Bill O'Reilly on The O'Reilly Factor tonight, hosted the congressman and helped clean up after him.

    Ingraham began the interview with a softball question: "Do you think Tammy Duckworth, who lost both of her legs in a Blackhawk helicopter accident in Iraq in combat -- do you think she's a hero?" Walsh replied, "Oh absolutely, Laura, and I've said that hundreds of times," but then added that "all [Duckworth] does is film me talking to people, and the left-wing blogs just went crazy with it."

    Ingraham went on to remark that Duckworth has said "blistering things about the tea party movement" and Walsh, and that it seems as if Walsh is in a position where he has to "watch every word" he says to avoid being "branded as insensitive to her plight as a disabled American and as a war hero." She continued:

    INGRAHAM: So, I guess, what do you do? You have to argue with her, you have to be sensitive, you have to be tough, but you gotta be careful. I mean it's a tough mix, but you gotta watch your Ps and Qs, I guess.

    Ingraham concluded the interview by saying that Duckworth is a "war hero with whom" Walsh disagrees on the issues, and adding: "Most disabled people that I know just want to be treated like everybody else and they don't want to be babied."

    In her interview with Walsh, Ingraham downplayed that Walsh's initial remarks created a distinction between Duckworth and "our true heroes" in the military. In fact, after being given the chance to walk back his statement earlier today, Walsh called Duckworth a hero but qualified it by stating that "unlike most veterans I have had the honor to meet since my election to Congress, who rarely if ever talk about their service or the combat they've seen, that is darn near all of what Tammy Duckworth talks about."

    Ingraham's effort to help Walsh with damage control comes the same day that CNN contributor Erick Erickson defended the congressman.


  • Drudge Promotes Birther Conspiracy Theory About Obama's Social Security Number

    Blog ››› ››› ANDY NEWBOLD

    The Drudge Report has reignited the bogus claim that President Obama's Social Security number is illegitimate.

    On Wednesday, WND columnist and noted conspiracy theorist Jack Cashill reported on a court filing challenging the legitimacy of Obama's Social Security number. Today, Drudge linked to Cashill's column with the headline "Obama's Social Security Number challenged...":

    Cashill's column seized on the point that the first three digits of Obama's Social Security number are exclusive to individuals who register in Connecticut. But the Social Security Administration explained that "the Area Number [the first three digits of an SSN] does not necessarily represent the State of residence of the applicant":

    Prior to 1972, cards were issued in local Social Security offices around the country and the Area Number represented the State in which the card was issued. This did not necessarily have to be the State where the applicant lived, since a person could apply for their card in any Social Security office. Since 1972, when SSA began assigning SSNs and issuing cards centrally from Baltimore, the area number assigned has been based on the ZIP code in the mailing address provided on the application for the original Social Security card. The applicant's mailing address does not have to be the same as their place of residence. Thus, the Area Number does not necessarily represent the State of residence of the applicant, either prior to 1972 or since.

    As the urban legends website Snopes noted, the ZIP code for the Honolulu area, 96814, is very similar to the ZIP code of Danbury, Connecticut, 06814:

    Why Barack Obama's Social Security card application might have included a Connecticut mailing address is something of a curiosity, as he had no known connection to that state at the time, but by itself that quirk is no indicator of fraud. The most likely explanation for the discrepancy is a simple clerical or typographical error: the ZIP code in the area of Honolulu where Barack Obama lived is 96814, while the ZIP code for Danbury, Connecticut, is 06814. Since '0' and '9' are similarly shaped numbers and are adjacent on typewriter keyboards, it's not uncommon for handwritten examples to be mistaken for each other, or for one to be mistyped as the other (thereby potentially resulting in a Hawaiian resident's application mistakenly being routed as if it had originated from Connecticut).

    The Drudge Report has joined Rush Limbaugh in hyping this inflammatory lie about Obama. During the May 7 edition of his radio show, Limbaugh asked in response to a caller who cast doubt on Obama's birth certificate: "What are your thoughts on the fact that Obama's Social Security number is from Connecticut, and he's never been there?"

    Drudge has repeatedly highlighted and encouraged stories questioning Obama's U.S. citizenship.   

  • Fox Vs. Fox On "Massive New Tax" That Only Affects A Small Number Of People

    Blog ››› ››› ANDY NEWBOLD

    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."

  • Right-Wing Media Attacks SNAP Outreach To Elderly Americans


    Right-wing media are attacking a program designed to increase awareness of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) among the elderly, saying they hope the effort "come[s] to a quick end." But SNAP outreach programs have been crafted and employed by previous administrations, hunger is increasing among all groups, including the elderly, and the elderly are under enrolled in SNAP.

  • Fox News Pushes Unsubstantiated Claim That Obama Campaign Outsourced Work Overseas

    Blog ››› ››› ANDY NEWBOLD

    Fox's chief Washington correspondent James Rosen hyped a Washington Free Beacon report alleging the Obama campaign employed call centers in Canada and the Philippines. But neither the Fox segment nor the Free Beacon article provided any substantial evidence to support such a claim.

    The Obama campaign has been attacking Mitt Romney for his history of moving jobs overseas as a businessman at Bain Capital. After mentioning these reports on Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier, Rosen touted the Beacon's claims, stating: "The Romney campaign, in turn, circulated a report in the Washington Free Beacon" which Rosen uncritically said "found the Obama-Biden campaign has paid companies headquartered in Canada and the Philippines more than $80,000 for telemarketing services."

    However, ABC reporter Devin Dwyer pointed out that "the Beacon's claims are not fully substantiated" after looking at the actual facts. Dwyer first explained that Pacific East is based in Canada but has a division headquarters in Oregon. He went on to explain that the FEC filings provided no indication as to which Pacific East call centers were used by the Obama campaign or where they may have been based:

    Closer examination of the facts, however, finds the Beacon's claims are not fully substantiated.

    First, Pacific East, while based in Canada, has a division headquartered Beaverton, Ore., to oversee U.S. business operations. There is also no indication from FEC filings of where Pacific East call centers possibly employed by Obama's campaign may have been based. The Beacon does not cite any evidence.

    Dwyer then said that the Beacon "points to expenditures in the Obama campaign's most recent Federal Election Commission filing that showed" money spent on telemarketing services from "the Los Angeles-based Donor Services Group (DSG)." Dwyer found that the Beacon's reporting on DSG also lacks convincing evidence:

    As for DSG, the picture is much the same. The U.S.-based company specializes in call centers and donor outreach, according to its website. However, there is no mention of foreign operations there, or in FEC filings.

    So where does "Manila" come from?

    The bit appears in a 2009 services contract between DSG and a Maryland charity (Foundation Fighting Blindness, Inc.) that was obtained and posted by the Weekly Standard. The document outlines four different types of DSG call centers -- one of which was based in Manila "to make inexpensive calls designed to reinstate older lapsed donors more affordably."

    It's unclear whether those call centers still exist or whether the Obama campaign benefited from their services. The FEC filing, again, shows no direct evidence to support the Beacon's claim that Team Obama "paid a call center in Manila."

  • George Will Joins Dick Morris In Fearmongering Over Sea Treaty

    Blog ››› ››› ANDY NEWBOLD

    George Will has joined Dick Morris and other media figures in fearmongering over the United States potentially joining the Convention of the Law of the Sea. Will's position puts him at odds with Republican senators, military leaders, and five former Republican secretaries of state, with the latter writing that joining the treaty "will be a boon for our national security and economy interests."

    In his Washington Post column, Will argued that the Law of the Sea treaty would undermine U.S. sovereignty by "empowering a U.N. bureaucracy":

    For centuries there has been a law of the sea. There might be marginal benefits from LOST's clarifications and procedures for resolving disputes arising from that law -- although China and the nations involved in contentious disputes about the South China Sea have all ratified LOST, not that it seems to matter. But those hypothetical benefits are less important than LOST's actual derogation of U.S. sovereignty by empowering a U.N. bureaucracy -- the International Seabed Authority (ISA), based in Jamaica -- to give or withhold permission for mining, and to transfer perhaps hundreds of billions of dollars of U.S. wealth to whatever nation it deems deserving -- "on the basis of equitable sharing criteria, taking into account the interests and needs of developing states, particularly the least developed and the land-locked among them."

    Will's fearmongering over the treaty echoes that of others in the right-wing media in recent months. Morris has repeatedly used his platform as a Fox News contributor to push numerous falsehoods about the treaty and claim that it is part of a plot by the Obama administration to create a "one world government." Conservative pundit and Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin and others in the right-wing media have similarly fearmongered about the treaty.

    In fact, five former Republican secretaries of state -- Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, James Baker, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice -- have come out in strong support of the United States joining the Convention of the Law of the Sea, writing in a May 30 Wall Street Journal op-ed that joining the treaty "will be a boon for our national security and economy interests." (Will acknowledged their support of the treaty, but dismissed it in favor of an argument by Donald Rumsfeld, who he said is "five times more persuasive than these former secretaries of state.")

    Moreover, the Law of the Sea Treaty has previously received overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate. In 2004, the GOP-controlled Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously recommended ratification. In 2007, the committee again recommended ratification, that time by a 17-4 vote. Adm. Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said that the treaty "supports national security interests," and former President George W. Bush urged the Senate to ratify the treaty in 2007, stating that it would "secure U.S. sovereign rights."

  • Right-Wing Media Side With Pro-Romney Forces In Wash. Post's Internal Bain Capital Dispute


    Right-wing media are touting a Washington Post Fact Checker article alleging that the Obama campaign "failed to make its case" in a new ad claiming that Romney "shipped jobs" overseas. But a different Post article pointing to data from the Securities and Exchange Commission has affirmed that Bain Capital, with Romney as head, "owned companies that were pioneers in the practice of shipping work from the United States to overseas."