Blog ››› ››› TODD GREGORY & CHELSEA RUDMAN
In Palin's time on Fox News, she made many false and outrageous statements. Below are the 10 worst:
In Palin's time on Fox News, she made many false and outrageous statements. Below are the 10 worst:
Sean Hannity attacked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her comments during the Senate hearing on the September 11 attack in Benghazi, Libya, calling a portion of her remarks "a monumental gaffe." But Hannity is basing his criticism on a baseless conspiracy theory that Fox has been promoting for months.
During a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Wednesday, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) asked Clinton about an initial assertion that the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi had originated from protests. Clinton responded: "With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk last night who decided to kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator."
Johnson's focus on whether protests played a role in the attack mirrors Fox News' focus on initial reports that the attack began as a protest over an anti-Islam video, which had sparked protests in Cairo earlier that day and later sparked protests in at least 20 Muslim countries. Though initial intelligence suggested the attack had begun as a spontaneous protest over the video, subsequent intelligence suggested the report was a pre-planned terrorist attack.
Fox News figures, including Hannity, have focused on this to suggest that initial reports mentioning the video were part of a "cover-up" conducted by the administration to hide what really happened in Benghazi. There is no evidence that the Obama administration has engaged in a cover-up: An FBI investigation is ongoing, and an independent investigation released a report that was strongly critical of the State Department.
On his January 24 show, Hannity used that conspiracy theory to attack Clinton's remarks to Johnson, calling her comments a "monumental gaffe" that "may haunt her for the rest of her political career":
As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton prepares to testify before Congress about the September 11 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, Media Matters reviews the falsehoods conservative media have pushed regarding Clinton and her response to the attack.
Rep. John Lewis corrected Rush Limbaugh's misrepresentation of the civil rights movement, responding to Limbaugh's suggestion that Lewis would not "have been beat upside the head" during the march to Selma if he had had a gun.
Earlier on Friday, Limbaugh had asked on his radio show, "If a lot of African-Americans back in the '60s had guns and the legal right to use them for self-defense, you think they would have needed Selma?" He continued, "If John Lewis, who says he was beat upside the head, if John Lewis had had a gun, would he have been beat upside the head on the bridge?"
During the 1965 march from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery in support of voting rights for African-Americans, state troopers beat the unarmed protesters on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Lewis suffered a concussion.
Responding to Limbaugh today, Lewis said in a press release:
"Our goal in the Civil Rights Movement was not to injure or destroy but to build a sense of community, to reconcile people to the true oneness of all humanity," said Rep. John Lewis. "African Americans in the 60s could have chosen to arm themselves, but we made a conscious decision not to. We were convinced that peace could not be achieved through violence. Violence begets violence, and we believed the only way to achieve peaceful ends was through peaceful means. We took a stand against an unjust system, and we decided to use this faith as our shield and the power of compassion as our defense.
"And that is why this nation celebrates the genius and the elegance of Martin Luther King Jr.'s work and philosophy. Through the power of non-violent action, Dr. King accomplished something that no movement, no action of government, no war, no legislation, or strategy of politics had ever achieved in this nation's history. It was non-violence that not only brought an end to legalized segregation and racial discrimination, but Dr. King's peaceful work changed the hearts of millions of Americans who stood up for justice and rejected the injury of violence forever."
Fox News' Megyn Kelly debunked the right-wing media myth that President Obama will require doctors to ask their patients if they have guns -- a myth pushed by her Fox colleague Andrew Napolitano. In fact, as Kelly noted, Obama's provision simply reiterates that doctors may legally ask patients about a potential lack of gun safety in their homes.
On The O'Reilly Factor Thursday, host Bill O'Reilly discussed Obama's recent executive orders on guns, claiming that the "most controversial part of the president's vision" is a directive clarifying that doctors are not prohibited from asking patients about firearms. After airing clips of Obama and NRA president David Keene speaking about the directive, O'Reilly said that "if it's true that doctors and nurses are being directed by the federal government to make inquiries about guns in some cases, that's troubling."
Guest and Fox News host Megyn Kelly agreed that such a requirement would be troubling if it existed, but explained that "it's not true." Kelly went on to say that Obama's executive order only clarifies that "Obamacare does not prohibit the doctors from asking [patients] about guns" "if they want to ask." She further noted that during the passage of health care reform, the NRA successfully lobbied to ensure the bill contained a provision "saying patients don't have to answer if they are asked by their doctor whether they have a gun."
Kelly is right: Obama only announced that he would "[c]larify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes."
Fox Business host Lou Dobbs pushed the extreme conspiracy theory that President Obama wants to destroy the Second Amendment as a first step in eliminating the entire Bill of Rights. But Obama has consistently voiced his support for the Second Amendment, including during the Monday press conference that Dobbs referenced on his show.
During his program, Dobbs aired a partial clip of Obama saying at the press conference, "The issue here is not whether or not we believe in the Second Amendment. The issue is: Are there some sensible steps that we can take to make sure that somebody like the individual in Newtown can't walk into a school -- "
Dobbs responded by claiming that Obama is "so committed to constraining or dismissing outright our Second Amendment rights, it makes you wonder why he's not ridding the Constitution of the First Amendment as well." He later said, "You've got to wonder why the president doesn't double down in his assault on the Constitution, taking on not only the Second, but the First Amendment, the Fourth, the Fourteenth." Dobbs then suggested that the reason Obama has "begun with the Second Amendment" is because "[w]ithout our rights under the Second Amendment, removing the rest of our Bill of Rights would be a lot easier."
The context of Obama's comments clearly shows that Obama was not "dismissing outright" Second Amendment rights.
Fox News is emphasizing the decline in violent crime and murder rates since the 1990s to oppose calls for laws to prevent gun violence. But recent reporting indicates that the number of gunshot wounds has actually increased in recent years and that the lower homicide rate is partly due to improved care for gunshot victims.
Fox News used debunked statistics to support its suggestion that guns may "deter more crimes than they cause." In fact, evidence shows that guns are involved in nearly 70 percent of homicides, but are rarely used successfully in self-defense.
In the weeks following the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, Fox News has repeatedly pushed the misleading claim that owning guns makes people safer.
On the Wednesday edition of Fox News' Happening Now, correspondent William La Jeunesse gave a report on gun violence and mass shootings. La Jeunesse began by saying, "America has a record-high number of guns, but a lower crime rate. So is it demographics, police work, or because guns deter more crimes than they cause?" La Jeunesse went on to claim that "Americans use guns every day to stop crime, up to 2.5 million times a year. ... Others lower that figure to 1 million."
But La Jeunesse's report is misleading. His figure of 2.5 million gun owners stopping crime annually has been debunked. This number comes from the discredited research of criminologist Gary Kleck. The director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, David Hemenway, concluded that Kleck's study was conducted with "serious methodological deficiencies" that led the self-defense figure to be "an enormous overestimate." In order for Kleck's figures to be correct, Hemenway wrote, victims of burglaries would had to have used guns in self-defense over 100 percent of the time.
Media figures have smeared President Obama's nominee for secretary of defense, former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), by misrepresenting Hagel's support for sanctions against Iran and his support for Israel. The media have also cast doubt on the bipartisan support for Hagel's nomination.
Fox News has repeatedly hidden the danger of keeping guns in homes behind a handful of anecdotes about home owners who frightened off criminals with their own firearms. Research actually shows that guns kept in homes are far more likely to kill or injure those living there than deter crime.
On Monday's edition of America Live, host Megyn Kelly juxtaposed reports that the White House may push for laws to prevent gun violence with a story about a homeowner near Atlanta who successfully repelled a burglar with her gun. Kelly said that the home invasion "could have ended tragically for a family, but for the fact that the mother had a .38 revolver and knew how to use it."
As correspondent Mike Emanuel gave a report on the White House's interest in gun-violence legislation, text aired on-screen that read: "Mom's Shooting of Intruder Puts New Twist On Gun Control Debate."
On the December 5 edition of The Five, the co-hosts recited two stories of homeowners who had repelled invading criminals with firearms in the first five minutes of the show. Co-host Andrea Tantaros concluded that "burglars are less apt to break in if they think they might have their brains blown out."
Yet Fox's emphasis on these reports hides the fact that such successful self-defense stories are extremely rare. In a 2011 report summarizing scientific literature about the health risks and benefits of having a gun in the home, David Hemenway, director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, found that one study in Atlanta determined victims of break-ins used firearms in self-defense 1.5 percent of the time. Hemenway cited a second study that found guns were used in self-defense by victims of sexual assault in fewer than 0.1 percent of incidents. He concluded that "genuine self-defense gun use is rare" and that "the evidence does not indicate that having a gun reduces the risk of being a victim of a crime or that having a gun reduces the risk of injury during the commission of a crime."