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Chelsea Rudman

Author ››› Chelsea Rudman
  • Fox News' Malignant Distortion Of Michelle Obama

    Blog ››› ››› CHELSEA RUDMAN

    Fox News is twisting comments Michelle Obama made to claim she said that voting for Republicans could cause people to "die from cancer." In fact,  the first lady was simply pointing out that repealing health care reform would increase the number of people without health insurance.

    At a campaign event in Los Angeles on Monday, Michelle Obama discussed the presidential election and noted calls from the right to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The first lady pointed out that the reform bill was in part an effort to expand health care access, including a hypothetical "woman dying of cancer whose insurance company wouldn't cover her care."

    Here's Fox & Friends' sinister interpretation of Michelle Obama's comments:

    CARLSON: Let's talk a little bit about Michelle Obama, the first lady, out on the campaign trail, and she was talking about this cancer ad, the controversial one, or was she?  Do you believe that she was insinuating back to that ad when she said that if you elect Mitt Romney, women will die from cancer?

    MICHELLE MALKIN (Fox News contributor): Well, it's an interesting parallel -- it's an interesting echo of the ad's theme, of course, which is that somehow, if Republicans are elected to the White House, that all of these people are going to die, die, die.

    Text aired during the segment read:

    Later, on America's Newsroom, Fox News contributor Deroy Murdock said, "We've got President Obama's supporters and even Michelle Obama saying that if you vote for the Republicans, people will get cancer."

    Fox did not make clear when Michelle Obama supposedly said this, but Carlson's commentary echoes a Washington Examiner post from August 13 highlighting comments Obama made at a campaign event that day. And in those comments, the first lady did not say that "if you vote for the Republicans, people will get cancer." The full context of her remarks shows that she was pointing out that prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which conservatives have said they want to repeal, more people lacked health insurance:

    But this election is also a choice about the health of our families.  Now, the fact is that over the past century -- all right, 100 years -- there have been so many Presidents who have tried and failed to meet the challenge of health care reform.  But fortunately your President was determined.  Fortunately he was driven by the stories of people he'd met.  We all know these stories -- the grandparents who couldn't afford their medications; the families going broke because a child got sick; the woman dying of cancer whose insurance company wouldn't cover her care.  And let me tell you something, that's what kept Barack going day after day.  That's why he fought so hard for this historic reform. 

    And today, because of that reform, things are different for so many Americans.  Our parents and grandparents are paying hundreds less for their prescription drugs.  Our kids can stay on our insurance until they're 26 years old.  You know what that means for our young people?  That when they graduate from college, and they're out there looking for a job, trying to get themselves settled, they don't have to go without health care.  Because of this reform, insurance companies have to cover basic preventative things like contraception, cancer screenings, prenatal care, with no extra cost.  Because of this reform, insurance companies can't discriminate you because you have an illness that they call a preexisting condition.  And if you get really sick, a real serious illness -- something like breast cancer -- and you need expensive treatment, you really need your insurance to work for you, no longer can your insurance company tell you, sorry, you've hit your lifetime limit and we're not paying a penny more.  Today, because of health care reform, that is now illegal.  (Applause.)

    But make no mistake about it, this November we're going to get to decide:  Do we want these reforms to be repealed?  Because there are those who do.  Or do we want the people we love to have the care they need?  That's the choice we face.

  • Fox Showers Paul Ryan With Same Praise It Heaped On Palin


    In the days since Mitt Romney chose Paul Ryan as his running mate, Fox News has been gushing over the Wisconsin congressman, calling him a "rock star," a "bold, transformational" pick, and "the future" of the Republican party.

    Some of that praise sounded familiar, so Media Matters took a look at Fox's coverage of another Republican vice presidential candidate -- current Fox News contributor Sarah Palin, who was 2008's "rock star" pick and "future of the Republican Party." 


  • Fox Ignores Wyden's Rejection To Invent Bipartisan Support For Ryan Plan

    Blog ››› ››› CHELSEA RUDMAN

    Fox News host Jon Scott suggested today that Democrats shouldn't criticize Medicare provisions in Paul Ryan's budget because "one of their own," Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), was a "cosponsor" of Ryan's plan. But while Wyden did write a Medicare policy paper with Ryan, he ultimately voted against Ryan's budget and has criticized the idea that it has bipartisan support.

    On today's broadcast of Fox's Happening Now, Scott asked his guest about the Ryan plan, saying: "The Democrats are saying, you know, 'Extremist position on Medicare.' They're saying it's Social Darwinism, that kind of thing. And yet, conveniently ignoring that one of their own, Ron Wyden of Oregon, is a cosponsor of the Ryan plan."

    But while Wyden did co-author a paper with Ryan in December 2011, he was not a "cosponsor" of Ryan's budget, nor did he support the Medicare changes the budget would have imposed. In fact, Wyden voted against Ryan's plan -- which called for "significant cuts for future Medicare benefits" -- when it was put forward in the Senate in May 2011. As Roll Call noted this week, Wyden "never signed on to support the House-adopted budget resolution written by Ryan that included plans for a premium support approach."

    Not only did Wyden vote against Ryan's plan, he has specifically rejected the idea that his work with Ryan suggests there is bipartisan support for Ryan's plan. As Roll Call reported, Wyden called such an idea "nonsense":

    At a Saturday campaign stop with his new vice presidential pick, Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), Romney praised the House Budget chairman's work with Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.) to develop a Medicare overhaul plan.

    "This man said, 'I'm going to find Democrats to work with.' He found a Democrat to co-lead a piece of legislation that makes sure we can save Medicare," Romney said in Ashland, Va. "Republicans and Democrats coming together. He's a man who has great ideas and the capacity to lead to find people to cross the aisle - to work together."

    Wyden was quick to push back on Romney's version of events.

    "Gov. Romney is talking nonsense. Bipartisanship requires that you not make up the facts. I did not 'co-lead a piece of legislation.'" Wyden said. "I wrote a policy paper on options for Medicare. Several months after the paper came out, I spoke and voted against the Medicare provisions in the Ryan budget."

  • Fool's Gold: Fox Pushes Shady Stat On Olympic Medal Taxes

    Blog ››› ››› CHELSEA RUDMAN

    Fox News is bolstering its anti-tax crusade with bogus numbers about the taxes that American Olympic medalists will have to pay on their prizes.

    The bogus numbers come from Grover Norquist's group, Americans for Tax Reform, which claims that gold medalists will owe up to $9,000 on their medal and the accompanying $25,000 cash prize.

    But PolitiFact has rated this claim "mostly false." PolitiFact noted that ATR's calculations assume the prizes will be taxed at the top income tax rate, despite the fact that many Olympic athletes earn far less than that. PolitiFact also noted the calculations assume the medalists will fail to deduct any business expenses on their winnings.


    Yet Fox uncritically hyped ATR's claim -- a guest from ATR on Your World with Neil Cavuto even speculated that these taxes could result in American competitors deliberately "throwing races" to get silver medals and lower their tax bills:

    Fox also promoted ATR's shady statistic on four other shows on August 1: Studio B, The Five, Special Report, and The Fox Report.

  • CNN Vs. CNN: Loesch Backs Muslim Brotherhood Conspiracy That Cooper, Blitzer Call "McCarthy-Like"

    Blog ››› ››› CHELSEA RUDMAN

    Last week, CNN contributor Dana Loesch claimed a State Department official has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood -- even as her CNN co-workers Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper dismissed such charges as "McCarthy-like."

    On her July 19 radio show, Loesch was discussing charges initially brought by Rep. Michele Bachmann, who in June sent a series of letters to federal agencies claiming that "individuals and organizations associated with the Muslim Brotherhood" are influencing State Department policies. Bachmann singled out Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin -- who is also married to former Rep. Anthony Weiner -- and claimed that Abedin's family has connections to the Muslim Brotherhood; she later openly wondered how Abedin "was able to avoid being disqualified for a security clearance."

    Loesch discussed Bachmann's Brotherhood infiltration theory with anti-Islam activist Brigitte Gabriel. When Gabriel said that it was "about time our government begins an investigation into the infiltration of the Muslim Brotherhood into our government," Loesch agreed, saying, "Absolutely," then added:

    LOESCH: Looking especially at how some of our foreign policy has been handled, Hillary Clinton essentially siding with the Muslim Brotherhood candidate in Egypt, and then it was discovered that her top aide -- Huma Abedin -- is essentially a member of the female version of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Muslim Sisterhood. All of this -- it seems enough to me to pose questions as to why our government is becoming so close with a group that has been so hostile to the United States, has fought against the United States, has sided with terrorists, and is a very oppressive regime that believes in Sharia law.

    Bachmann's letters have received bipartisan condemnation -- Sen. John McCain even blasted the accusations from the floor of the Senate -- for failing to support her charges with concrete evidence. Indeed, Loesch's colleagues at CNN also criticized Bachmann's charges.

    On his July 17 show, host Anderson Cooper said that Bachmann's evidence was "questionable at best." He laid out her guilt-by-association claims in a graphic and said:

    COOPER: So that's how many degrees of separation Bachmann's claim is based on. Huma Abedin's deceased father, who started an organization decades ago, had the support of a guy who had another organization that might have had the support of another organization, the Muslim Brotherhood. And because of that, Huma Abedin might be some sort of spy or infiltrator and deserves to be investigated.

    Wolf Blitzer also dismissed Bachmann's claims, calling her charges "McCarthy-like" on the July 19 broadcast of his show. After a heated back-and-forth with Democratic lobbyist Hilary Rosen about Bachmann and her letters, Blitzer finally said, "It's an outrageous, McCarthy-like charge, to be sure, and she does owe Huma -- who I know well -- an apology."

    This is not the first time Loesch has been at odds with her CNN colleagues -- in January, a number of CNN journalists criticized Loesch for praising U.S. Marines who allegedly urinated on the dead bodies of Taliban members.

    Research intern Ausan Al-Eryani contributed to this item.

  • James O'Keefe Fails To Find A Scandal, Union And Public Works Edition

    Blog ››› ››› CHELSEA RUDMAN


    In the latest of his heavily edited, deceptive videos, discredited conservative activist James O'Keefe claims that he found "union bosses" who "loved the idea" of a company that does nothing but dig holes in the ground and fill them again -- and that those union men said "public officials" would fund such projects. The unedited video, of course, shows nothing of the sort.

    The edited video shows workers from the fictional company Earth Supply and Renewal (ESR) meeting with New York union leaders John Hutchings and Anthony Tocci and former NY state assemblyman Ronald Tocci (Anthony's brother). The faux-ESR employees explain that workers at their company dig ditches and then "put [the dirt] right back in the ground," then ask if the union leaders can help them get public funds for their hole-digging, hole-filling operation.

    In a series of fast cuts, the union leaders are shown advising the supposed ESR employees to "just call it a jobs program for workers," explaining how they lobby officials, and saying that they are "good with [Sens. Kirsten] Gillibrand and [Charles] Schumer." The video repeatedly shows Hutchings saying, "It's awful hard for anybody to vote against a jobs bill right now" -- the implication being, apparently, that anyone will vote to fund any kind of jobs, even useless ones like repeatedly digging and filling holes.

    The Project Veritas press release accompanying the video claims it shows that "UNION BOSSES LOVED THE IDEA!" of funding "a fake company that literally does nothing but dig holes and then put the dirt back," and during the video, O'Keefe claims that "union bosses expressed the willingness of public officials and lawmakers to secure funding for projects just like ours."

    But the raw footage of the video shows no such thing. In the raw footage, the union leaders are highly skeptical of Earth Supply and Renewal, and they never promise to help "secure funding" for it.

  • 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.

  • Fox & Friends Echoes GOP Spin On Welfare Rule, Leaves Out The Facts


    Fox & Friends criticized changes to the federal welfare program with deceptive talking points that were identical to a Republican senator's press. 

    The Fox & Friends co-hosts' target was a recent rule change issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Conservative media last week decried the change and claimed it "guts" TANF's work requirement. Today, Fox & Friends went farther and claimed that the change will allow welfare recipients to get "paid to exercise and read -- even get a massage." Here's how co-host Steve Doocy introduced the segment:

    DOOCY: Meanwhile, imagine getting paid to exercise and read -- even get a massage. Well, under new welfare reform waivers, you may be able to do just that. Last week, President Obama announced the White House will now issue waivers to federal work requirements laid out in the 1996 Temporary Assistance Program. The new waivers still will allow states to qualify such activities as work.

    Co-host Gretchen Carlson later read aloud a list of activities that she claimed would "qualify as work" thanks to the rule change:




    Fox & Friends didn't name a source for these claims. However, a quick Google search reveals an identical list on a press release from GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch (UT):

    Hatch pr

    Hatch's press release specifies that these were activities that a few states defined as "federal work activity" in 2005. This is true, although it lacks context -- "bed rest" and "personal care activities," for example, had to be included as part of a welfare recipient's "recovery from a medical problem."

    Hatch's press release then claims that even though those work requirements were tightened in 2005, the Obama administration's new rule change "opens the door to allowing states to count 'bed rest' as a work activity."

    But in running with criticism identical to that levied by Hatch, Fox & Friends left out critical information.

  • Conservative Media Freak Out Over Improvement To Welfare Reform


    In response to requests from Republican-led states, the Department of Health and Human Services announced it will consider allowing states to create more efficient ways to report on the work requirement for recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The conservative media have responded by falsely claiming that this is the "end of welfare reform" and that it "guts" the work requirement.

  • Fox's Bolton Ignores Obama's Stance Against Iranian Nuclear Weapons

    ››› ››› CHELSEA RUDMAN

    Fox News contributor John Bolton suggested the Obama administration might be willing to let Iran have a nuclear weapons program in exchange for a peace settlement in Syria. But President Obama has made it clear that his policy is to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, and he has signed strong sanctions against Iran.