Brian Thorn

Author ››› Brian Thorn
  • WSJ's Moore Invents Effects Of Minimum Wage Increase

    Blog ››› ››› BRIAN THORN

    The Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore attacked striking fast-food workers' demands to increase the minimum wage by falsely claiming that such a raise would result in less teenage employment and more workplace automation.

    Moore, a senior economics writer for the Journal, appeared on the August 29 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto to discuss the fast-food protests that are underway across the country. Moore claimed that strikers' demands, if met, would result in "a lot less teenagers hired for those kinds of jobs" and fast-food restaurants deciding to "substitute workers with machines and automated things":

    Moore's claim that a higher minimum wage would negatively affect teenage employment is baseless. The Huffington Post quoted University of California, Berkeley economist Sylvia Allegretto, who was the lead author of a 2011 study on minimum wage and teen employment, explaining that those who "fight such [minimum wage] hikes, arguing that higher wages discourage growth, particularly in down economies" are not supported by her research:

  • Fox's Payne Distorts Argument Against Minimum Wage Increase

    Blog ››› ››› BRIAN THORN

    Fox's Charles Payne attempted to discredit fast-food workers' planned attempt to organize for union representation and a higher minimum wage by falsely claiming workers are arguing for a sliding scale of extra income.  

    Neil Cavuto hosted Fox Business contributor Charles Payne on the August 28 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto to discuss protests planned by fast-food workers, who are demanding higher pay and the right to unionize. Payne claimed during the segment that employers don't owe a debt to their employees and mischaracterized the minimum wage increase as a sliding scale of pay:

    PAYNE: Listen, I don't begrudge anyone for trying to earn extra money, but what they're essentially saying is that their salary should be doubled from where they are. It doesn't match the skill set. Now, if we start to talk about this -- and listen, it's something that's been echoed all day long with theme of the March on Washington -- that somehow corporations owe a debt to people who work for them. So if Susan has two kids, she gets X amount of income, then she has another child, then the corporation should pay more money specifically because they owe her a debt and she had another kid -- sort of the responsibility or the welfare state that's been such a burden on America is now being thrusted, or attempted to be thrusted on the shoulders of corporate America.

    But workers aren't demanding a sliding scale of income. They're organizing for fair representation at work and a single minimum wage increase. As Ezra Klein explained: "most workers have less power to negotiate raises than they did a generation ago":

  • Fox News Smears Ellison By Misleading On Robin Hood Tax

    Blog ››› ››› BRIAN THORN

    Fox News ignored economists' support for Rep. Keith Ellison's (D-MN) financial transaction fee bill, called him "radical," and claimed he believes "citizens are indentured servants to the state."

    On the August 6 edition of America Live, Gregg Jarrett hosted Fox News contributors Tony Sayegh and Sally Kohn to discuss a recent video of Ellison's appearance at a roundtable hosted by the Progressive Democrats of America. After playing a short clip of Ellison's remarks, Sayegh claimed Ellison's remarks represent "a radical view of progressives who believe that the American people are indentured servants to the state," adding that "literally he thinks we should be an ATM machine for government programs." Jarrett responded by claiming: "you get the clear sense that he thinks that your hard earned wages are literally government property and folks in Washington can reach into your pocket and grab more of it anytime they want":

    But Jarrett and Sayegh misrepresented his remarks. Ellison was specifically discussing the Inclusive Prosperity Act, a bill that would impose a fee of a fraction of a percent on certain financial transactions, also known as a Robin Hood tax. As Kohn pointed out, the addition of small financial transaction fees on the billions of transactions that take place on Wall Street is not a radical or controversial idea. According to RobinHoodTax.org, a group that advocates for the tax, the fee would only affect Wall Street transactions and would have no impact on other Americans:

    This small tax of less than ½ of 1% on Wall Street transactions can generate hundreds of billions of dollars each year in the US alone.

    It won't affect ordinary Americans, their personal savings, or every day consumer activity, such as ATMs or debit cards. It's easy to enforce and tough to evade.

    This is a tax on Wall Street, which created the greatest economic crisis in our nation, and globally, since the Great Depression. The same people who have returned to record profits and bonuses while ordinary Americans, the 99%, continue to pay the price of their crisis.

    In a December 2009 open letter that was signed by over 200 economists, the Center for Economic and Policy Research pointed out that the tax would generate revenue "while having little impact on trades that have a positive impact":

    The cost of trading financial assets has plummeted over the last three decades as a result of computerization. This has led to an enormous explosion in trading volume, with most trades having little economic or social value and redistributing disproportionate resources to the financial sector. A set of modest financial transactions taxes, which would just raise trading costs back to the level of two or three decades ago, would have very limited impact on trades that have real economic value.

    Such taxes could both reduce the volume of speculation in financial markets and provide substantial revenue for either important public purposes and/or deficit reduction. Financial transactions taxes could be an important part of a reform package that seeks to remake the financial sector so that it better serves the larger economy.

    Economist Paul Krugman explained in November 2011 that the small tax "could yield several hundred billion dollars in revenue over the next decade" without hurting the economy:

    And then there's the idea of taxing financial transactions, which have exploded in recent decades. The economic value of all this trading is dubious at best. In fact, there's considerable evidence suggesting that too much trading is going on. Still, nobody is proposing a punitive tax. On the table, instead, are proposals like the one recently made by Senator Tom Harkin and Representative Peter DeFazio for a tiny fee on financial transactions.

    And here's the thing: Because there are so many transactions, such a fee could yield several hundred billion dollars in revenue over the next decade. Again, this compares favorably with the savings from many of the harsh spending cuts being proposed in the name of fiscal responsibility.

    But wouldn't such a tax hurt economic growth? As I said, the evidence suggests not -- if anything, it suggests that to the extent that taxing financial transactions reduces the volume of wheeling and dealing, that would be a good thing.

    And it's instructive, too, to note that some economies already have financial transactions taxes -- and that among those who do are Hong Kong and Singapore. If some conservative starts claiming that such taxes are an unwarranted government intrusion, you might want to ask him why such taxes are imposed by the two countries that score highest on the Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom.

  • Brent Bozell Defends Fox's "Atrocious" Aslan Interview

    Blog ››› ››› BRIAN THORN

    Fox News hosted conservative activist and media critic Brent Bozell to defend a widely criticized interview by Fox's Lauren Green and continue the right-wing media's attack on Muslim scholar Reza Aslan.

    During an interview with writer and scholar Reza Aslan, Fox News religion correspondent Lauren Green ignored the content of his book and his academic credentials, instead repeatedly questioning the motivation and propriety of a Muslim writing a book about Jesus, suggesting a religious bias.

    Bozell, president of the conservative Media Research Center, defended Green during the America Live segment, saying: "I'll be the first one to stand up and applaud Lauren Green for the question that she asked. It was the exact, correct question that needed to be asked." He went on to criticize Aslan's response to Green's suggestion of religious bias -- that he's a scholar of religions, that it's his job to write about religion -- calling it arrogant and further claiming that if Aslan was indeed writing without bias, then "he's not a very good Muslim."

    Green has come under widespread criticism for the interview. As Media Matters pointed out, Green failed to meet her own standards since she, a Christian, has reported on Muslims in the past. Aslan responded to his interview with Green by pointing out Fox's "inherent anti-Muslim bias."

    Green's interview has since been described by critics as "atrocious." Abe Levy, a religion writer for the San Antonio Express-News wrote: "anyone can scrutinize a particular faith if they have studied it, you don't have to be of that particular faith. In my line of work, you want to have a deep respect for a particular religion, even if it is not your own, but you don't have to be of a particular faith to cover it." A former writer for Christianity Today magazine said: "when it comes to the author, she could have looked at his credentials, she was trying to get at a controversy and wasn't sure what the controversy was."

    The interview first gained attention after Buzzfeed posted it under the headline "Is This The Most Embarrasing Interview Fox News Has Ever Done?" The segment was also described by Slate as "the single most cringe-worthy, embarrassing interview on Fox News."

  • Fox Guest Decries Immigration Reform: Naturalized Immigrants Can't Be Exploited

    Blog ››› ››› BRIAN THORN

    Fox News CutlerFox News guest Michael Cutler argued immigration reform would hurt the economy and American workers because naturalized immigrants "will no longer be willing to be exploited."

    On the July 15 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto, Stuart Varney hosted former Center for Immigration Studies fellow Michael Cutler to discuss immigration reform. Cutler argued against what he called "amnesty," saying that after naturalization and employment, immigrants "will no longer be willing to be exploited" and "legally cannot be discriminated against." Cutler went on to warn that, if immigration reform is passed, immigrants "will have the right to expect that they will be treated equally as Americans":

    CUTLER: I had a front-row seat to the '86 amnesty. If you give lawful status to a bunch of illegal aliens who are being exploited, guess what, they will no longer be willing to be exploited. They will demand to be paid on the books, they will have the right to expect that they will be treated equally as Americans, but more importantly, they will have an equal standing in a labor pool that's already unable to find work. An alien who is naturalized or given employment authorization legally cannot be discriminated against, so they could get the same jobs that Americans desperately need to avoid losing their homes to foreclose.

    Cutler has taken part in the Black American Leadership Alliance (BALA), which People for the American Way has described as "the latest incarnation of a shifting series of front groups for the anti-immigrant nativist group FAIR [Federation for American Immigration Reform] which has been trying for years to drive a wedge between African-Americans and Latinos." FAIR has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which noted:

    FAIR leaders have ties to white supremacist groups and eugenicists and have made many racist statements. Its advertisements have been rejected because of racist content. FAIR's founder, John Tanton, has expressed his wish that America remain a majority-white population: a goal to be achieved, presumably, by limiting the number of nonwhites who enter the country.

    Participants in the BALA march have a history of inflammatory anti-immigrant rhetoric, including Cutler himself who used the Boston Marathon bombing investigation to attack a program that would provide asylum for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States before age 16.

    The right-wing media continues to promote inflammatory rhetoric by hosting members of anti-immigrant groups such as Cutler.

  • Fox Nation Highlights Calls For Revolution Ahead Of July 4

    Blog ››› ››› BRIAN THORN

    Fox Nation highlighted a PJ Media post that suggested America may be "headed for a Tahrir Square of our own" under the headline "Is America In A Pre-Revolutionary State This July 4?"

    Fox Nation republished July 2 article by Roger L. Simon of PJ Media article that described the Affordable Care Act as "the monster of all monsters" and called the IRS "a kind of post-modern American Gestapo."

    Fox Nation Revolutionary

    The PJ Media article went on to ask if America and wondered if the United States is "headed for a Tahrir Square of our own with the attendant mammoth social turmoil, possibly even violence":

  • Fox Nation Rewrites Obama's Africa Speech

    Blog ››› ››› BRIAN THORN

    A Fox Nation headline mischaracterized President Obama's recent speech in Africa, falsely claiming that President Obama warned the continent of Africa about the United States.

    Fox Nation highlighted a June 30 Washington Times article by claiming that Obama, in his speech, warned Africa to "Be Wary of [the] USA." Fox Nation included a portion of the Times article, which was titled "Obama to Africa: Be wary of foreign powers, even United States": 

    Fox Nation Wary

    But the Fox Nation headline distorted what Obama was saying. In the speech, Obama emphasized the role that the U.S. would play in the future economic development of African nations, but also explained the importance of due diligence when considering foreign business opportunities, context that was included in the original article, but excluded by Fox Nation:

    "When we look at what other countries are doing in Africa, I think our only advice is make sure it's a good deal for Africa," Mr. Obama told reporters in Johannesburg.

    "If somebody says they want to come build something here, are they hiring African workers? If somebody says that they want to help you develop your natural resources, how much of the money is staying in Africa? ... Don't just assume that folks come here and they're automatically benefiting Africans. And that includes the United States. Ask questions in terms of what we do." 

  • Fox Guests Use Texas Anti-Choice Bill To Downplay Access Restrictions, Invoke Gosnell

    Blog ››› ››› BRIAN THORN

    Monica CrowleyFox contributors Kirsten Powers and Monica Crowley mischaracterized a Texas bill that would have limited reproductive rights by downplaying the restrictive measures in the bill, which would have closed almost all abortion-providing facilities in Texas, and repeatedly invoking convicted criminal Kermit Gosnell.

    On the June 26 edition of Fox News' America Live, Megyn Kelly hosted Monica Crowley and Kirsten Powers -- both Fox News contributors -- to discuss Senate Bill 5 (SB5), a measure that failed to pass after Texas Senate Democrats held a successful filibuster.

    During the segment, Powers claimed that concerns from reproductive rights groups were exaggerated, adding: "I don't think that many clinics are going to close." Crowley agreed, saying reproductive health advocates "always try to go right to hyperbole -- that women are going to have to flee to Tijuana because they're not going to have access in Texas to abortion. It's all ridiculous." 

    Crowley went on to claim that restrictions in SB5 were "completely reasonable" and that they were "a direct response to the horrors of the Gosnell case." She also used the story to revive the disgusting and long-debunked myth that Obama voted as a state senator to support the killing of infants who were born alive.

    Because of a restriction in SB5 that would, according to Bloomberg.com, "require abortions to be done in ambulatory surgical centers by doctors with admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic," it's estimated that almost 90% of facilities that provide abortions in Texas -- the percent that do not currently meet that high threshold -- could be forced to close. The Washington Post explained how the bill would impact reproductive access by imposing requirements that only five existing centers would meet: