Author Page | Media Matters for America

Cal Colgan

Author ››› Cal Colgan
  • O'Reilly Parrots Anti-Tax Group's False Claim That Obama Raised Taxes 442 Times

    Blog ››› ››› CAL COLGAN

    Fox News host Bill O'Reilly parroted a previously debunked claim that President Obama raised taxes more than 442 times since taking office -- a claim rated "Mostly False" by PolitiFact in 2014.

    During the April 20 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly pointed to federal tax revenue to dismiss political rhetoric on income inequality, lamenting the tax rates of "Americans earning more than $400,000" and noting that "the U.S. has the highest tax rate on business in the world." O'Reilly complained that President Obama has imposed "punishing taxation," claiming that "since taking office, President Obama has proposed a whopping 442 tax increases" and asking, "how much more can the government take from the affluent without crashing the entire free market economy?": 

    But O'Reilly's claim that Obama raised taxes comes from Americans for Tax Reform, a conservative anti-tax group headed by Grover Norquist, and was rated as "Mostly False" by PolitiFact in 2014. According to PolitiFact, Americans for Tax Reform "overstate[d] the total number by a significant amount," noting that "removing duplicates eliminates about 159 of the proposals" and "failed to account for other tax cuts that are part of Obama's record, including nearly $220 billion in tax cuts that were part of the federal stimulus."

  • Media Misleadingly Compare Anti-LGBT Indiana Law With Federal And State Religious Freedom Laws

    ››› ››› SOPHIA TESFAYE & CAL COLGAN

    Media outlets have argued that Indiana's new Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) mirrors RFRAs passed in other states as well as the federal RFRA signed into law in 1993 by then-President Bill Clinton. In fact, Indiana's RFRA is broader than other versions of the law, and experts say it could allow private businesses to discriminate against LGBT customers on the basis of religion.

  • Special Report Promotes "GOP Alternatives" To ACA That Would Leave Millions Without Health Insurance

    Blog ››› ››› CAL COLGAN

    Fox News' Special Report promoted "GOP alternatives" proposed by Republican presidential hopefuls that would supposedly replace the Affordable Care Act if the Supreme Court strikes down the law's health insurance tax credits. But Fox's flagship program glossed over the fact that the GOP alternatives would not repair the damage and leave millions of Americans without health care coverage.

    On March 4, the U.S. Supreme Court heard the opening arguments of the King v. Burwell case. The case involves whether the language of a subclause in the ACA, "Exchanges established by the State," could prevent the IRS from providing tax credits to consumers who purchased insurance over the federal exchange.

    During the March 11 edition of Special Report, Fox senior political correspondent Mike Emanuel highlighted "alternatives" proposed by GOP presidential contenders. The proposals ranged from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's plan to shift health care choice back states, to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's plan to repeal ACA:

    But none of the plans promoted by Fox proposed a way to help the millions of Americans left without a way to purchase affordable health insurance. As US News & World Report's Robert Schlesinger writes, the GOP "has yet to produce a plan encompassing the latter half of their 'repeal-and-replace' mantra."

    Nevertheless, despite the lack of a solution for this potential human and economic disaster, right-wing media continue to baselessly pretend there is a fallback plan in the event this attack on the ACA is successful.

    A RAND Corporation study released in February found that, if the Court rules against the federal exchanges, 8 million people would lose their coverage, and unsubsidized health insurance premiums would increase by 47 percent. 

  • Fox & Friends Justifies Detroit's Decision To Shut Off Water For Poor Residents

    Blog ››› ››› CAL COLGAN

    Thousands of low-income Detroit residents denied access to water over delinquent bills did not find much sympathy from the hosts of Fox & Friends, who argued, "If you're not paying for water, why should you get it?"

    The city of Detroit has shut off water service to more than 27,000 households this year, an effort to address the water department's more than $5 billion in debt in a city where over 50 percent of residents are delinquent on their water bill.

    An estimated 2,300 homes are still without water, despite the fact that the city has established a payment plan for some who are unable to afford their water bill. The city says that 33,000 customers are currently enrolled. According to U.N. human rights officials who made an informal visit to Detroit, the water disconnection constitutes a human rights violation

    But to the hosts of Fox & Friends, the water shutoffs were more justified. Co-host Ainsley Earhardt said that it is "devastating" that several thousand Detroit families don't have water and that she's sorry they can't afford to pay their bills, but declared:

    EARHARDT: Why is that any different than any other bill that we have to pay? You don't pay your car payment, you don't pay your house payment, you lose your car. You lose your house. If you're not paying for water, why should you get it?

    The hosts condemned the U.N. officials' determination that the water shutoffs constituted a human rights violation, claiming the U.N. was making "a deliberate attempt to embarrass the United States."

    Fox's indignation didn't extend to the commercial and industrial businesses similarly behind on their water bills -- as of July, the city had not reported which delinquent businesses had seen their service disconnected. According to recent reports, the Detroit Red Wings' hockey arena and the Detroit Lions' stadium owe tens of thousands in unpaid water bills but still have service.

    Detroit's water shutoffs take the greatest toll on low-income residents, a significant number of people given that nearly 40 percent of the city lives below the poverty line. People are often forced to choose between paying for rent, electricity, or water, and the water department has recently increased the price of service by almost 10 percent. Beyond water being a basic necessity for life, the lack of access has other repercussions -- it could be grounds for child protective services to remove children from their homes.

  • Fox Host Falsely Claims New York's Municipal ID Program Will Give Undocumented Immigrants Voting Rights

    ››› ››› CAL COLGAN

    Fox News co-host Steve Doocy claimed New York City's new law allowing municipal identifications to all city residents will allow undocumented immigrants to vote in state and local elections. But New York City's election law clearly stipulates that only U.S. citizens can vote, and experts explain that the municipal IDs provide much-needed services the city's residents.

  • Downplaying Republican Obstructionism, CNN Suggests Obama Is To Blame On Immigration Reform

    ››› ››› CAL COLGAN

    CNN's Candy Crowley and John King portrayed President Obama as having failed to generate significant progress on immigration reform because the White House has said that it will delay executive action on the issue until after the midterm elections. But this analysis ignores the reality that House Republicans refused to vote on a bipartisan Senate immigration bill and threatened to impeach Obama over plans to take executive action on immigration.

  • Right-Wing Media Resurrect False Claim That Administration Ignored Major General's Funeral

    ››› ››› ELLIE SANDMEYER & CAL COLGAN

    Right-wing media outlets criticized the Obama administration over news that three administration officials planned to attend shooting victim Michael Brown's funeral, citing the myth that the White House failed to send representation to the funeral of Maj. Gen. Harold Greene, who was killed in Afghanistan -- In reality, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel attended the two star general's service.

  • What Fox & Friends Doesn't Understand About The Khatalla Trial And Military Intelligence

    Fox Host Pushes Dubious Notion That Trying Benghazi Suspect In Federal Court Will Leak Sensitive Military Secrets

    ››› ››› CAL COLGAN

    Fox News host Steve Doocy argued that the decision to try accused Benghazi terrorist Ahmed Abu Khatalla in a civilian court will allow terror networks access to U.S. intelligence, but the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA) gives the government and courts broad authority to prevent such disclosures.