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Eric Schroeck

Author ››› Eric Schroeck
  • Fox & Friends Stays Silent About Its Anti-Obama Attack Ad Amid Criticism

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC SCHROECK

    Fox & Friends this morning did not address the widespread criticism of the 4-minute anti-Obama attack video it aired twice on Wednesday.

    The video, which was loaded with misleading attacks on President Obama's economic record, drew widespread criticism. Baltimore Sun television critic David Zurawik wrote that "[a]ny news organization that puts up this kind of video is rotten to the core." The Associated Press described it as "a format that looked similar to a campaign advertisement." Even conservative blogger Ed Morrissey, while noting that he wouldn't "disagree with much, if anything," in the video, asked, "Should a news organization produce and publish attack ads like this?"

    Fox has since pulled the video from its websites.

    Bill Shine, Fox News executive vice president of programming, said on Wednesday: "The package that aired on 'Fox & Friends' was created by an associate producer and was not authorized at the senior executive level of the network. This has been addressed with the show's producers."

    Washington Post media writer Erik Wemple wrote that Shine's "statement answers one question -- whether Fox News is standing by the video -- even as it raises many others." He continued:

    1) Are we supposed to believe that the producer was working on his own? The video itself reflects an enormous amount of splicing and searching and cutting and producing, a fact noted by one of the "Fox & Friends" co-anchors this morning. Oh, and it's about the president of the United States. Such an effort got around the suits?

    There's another point related to the video's raw ambition. Would a producer really sink hours and hours of tedium into a package of this sort under the notion that it would displease his bosses? Or would he undertake such a heave only if he thought it would send them into fits of Foxical joy?

    2) So the senior executive level never "authorized" the video. Does that mean they never viewed it? And what would they have done if they had engaged more thoroughly with the thing? Would they have killed it or just asked the producer to stick a couple of pro-Obama snippets in there for "balance"?

    3) What's the interpretation of Fox News's claim to have addressed the matter "with the show's producers." How do you address what gave rise to this video? Hey guys, next time let's disguise our intentions a little better.

    Wemple went on to note that while Fox "has piled the depravity high in this episode," it "did the right thing, however imperfectly. It bailed on a video that bore unfairness in its every second, and it did so in the course of a single day."

    As Media Matters reported Wednesday, Fox News' ad was the equivalent of nearly $100,000 of free advertising for the Republican Party.

  • Fox & Friends Never Misses A Chance To Demonize Muslims

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC SCHROECK

    Fox & Friends, a home for rampant Islamophobia, returned to demonizing Muslims this week by literally sounding the siren over the Los Angeles Police Department's recent decision to change the way it stores suspicious activity reports that end up being unrelated to terrorism. The LAPD's move came in response to privacy concerns from Muslim leaders and other advocacy groups.

    While LAPD officials have called the groups' concerns a "legitimate point" and stated that its suspicious activity reporting program will be "as robust as it is now," Fox & Friends claimed that the LAPD is "bowing to the demands of Muslims and relaxing their terrorism programs" and asked if they're "putting political correctness before safety."

    Here are the changes the LAPD is implementing, according to the Los Angeles Times:

    The department, after coming under fire from civil liberties and community groups, will no longer hold on to so-called suspicious activity reports that the LAPD's counter-terrorism unit determines are about harmless incidents.

    Until now, the department stored the innocuous reports in a database for a year. That gave rise to worries among critics of the reporting program that personal information about people who had done nothing wrong could be entered inappropriately into the federal government's vast network of counter-terrorism databases and watch lists.

    [...]

    Once completed by an officer, a [Suspicious Activity Report] is forwarded to the department's Counter-Terrorism and Criminal Intelligence Bureau, where officers conduct a follow-up investigation to assess if there is a threat. Under the new procedures, hard copies of SARs will be destroyed and electronic versions deleted once officers conclude that the reports had no significance.

    As before, information about suspicious activity will be forwarded to a regional analysis center for further vetting and, if necessary, onward for investigation by federal authorities.

    And, really, that's it. Reports of suspicious activity deemed harmless will immediately be deleted from the LAPD's terror database in response to privacy concerns. The LAPD's deputy chief called it a "legitimate point" and the Times noted that the change "will have a relatively small impact." Despite this, Fox & Friends devoted two segments over two days to fearmonger about the change.

  • Fox News' Shame Test For The Poor

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC SCHROECK

    In 2010, 48.8 million Americans lived in food-insecure households, including 16.2 million children. The worst economic downturn since the Great Depression has swelled the numbers of Americans receiving SNAP benefits (commonly referred to as food stamps) to more than 46 million people.

    But according to Fox contributor and New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin, the problem that struggling Americans receiving SNAP benefits have isn't really hunger or poverty. It's that they're not ashamed enough about taking the help.

    Plugging his latest Post column on this morning's Fox & Friends, Goodwin lamented that the "sense of shame is gone" in receiving government assistance.

    GRETCHEN CARLSON (co-host): Are too many Americans avoiding work to collect welfare? Well, check this out. Just last year, 45 million Americans received food stamps. That's a 70 percent increase since President Obama took office. So you have to wonder: Are entitlements the new American dream. Joining me now, Michael Goodwin, Fox News contributor and columnist for the New York Post. You know, I almost get a stomach ache saying that because when you think of the American dream, you certainly don't think about handouts, but is that what we're becoming?

    GOODWIN: Well, it's interesting. The thing I write about in here is the idea that shame used to be part of this. In other words, people didn't want to accept a handout because they were ashamed to do it. There was a kind of social contract that said you don't do it. You're independent, you're reliant. That was part of the American founding virtue, as Charles Murray calls them.

    And yet now we look at them, we see this explosion of entitlements. The sense of shame is gone. So I focus this week on food stamps, which I think is a real cultural issue, because it's now 47 million people in the country are on food stamps.

    Goodwin is upset that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently proposed regulations that would prohibit New York City from fingerprinting food stamp applicants. In his Post column, Goodwin calls this opposition to the city's policy part of the "left's war on shame."

    But Cuomo and advocates for the hungry say that the city's policy causes some people who are eligible not to apply for assistance because of the stigma associated with fingerprinting. The New York Times quoted Albany Bishop Howard J. Hubbard as saying, "Poverty and hunger are not crimes."

    According to Jennifer March-Joly Further, executive director of the Citizens' Committee for Children, "The finger-imaging requirement has long deterred thousands upon thousands of potentially eligible applicants from applying for food stamps."

    Goodwin joins the growing list of Fox News figures who have demonized those who receive food stamps and minimized the struggles of poor Americans. Charles Payne once castigated the poor for not being sufficiently ashamed of their poverty. Stuart Varney dismissed "the image we have of poor people as starving and living in squalor," claiming that "many of them have things -- what they lack is the richness of spirit." Sean Hannity recently urged people struggling with food insecurity to make pots of beans and rice "for relatively negligible amounts of money," claiming that the "idea Americans are going to bed hungry" isn't true.

    Nearly 50 million Americans are struggling with food insecurity. Fox News wants them to pass a shame test before they can get help to buy food.

  • Is Fox's Andrew Napolitano Encouraging Americans To Shoot Down Surveillance Drones?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC SCHROECK

    On Fox & Friends this morning, Fox News judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano suggested that it would be heroic if an American were to shoot down a surveillance drone above U.S. skies, saying that "[t]he first American patriot that shoots down one of these drones that comes too close to his children in his backyard will be an American hero." Watch:

    NAPOLITANO: When the president bombed Libya, the Congress looked the other way. Now the president wants to dispatch plastic drones to spy on Americans. It would be reprehensible for the Congress to look the other way. And I want to give a shoutout to Charles Krauthammer. He's 100 percent correct. The first American patriot that shoots down one of these drones that comes too close to his children in his backyard will be an American hero.

    Napolitano was responding in part to news that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has taken steps to explain rules regarding the increased domestic use of surveillance drones, a controversial issue that has drawn widespread criticism and concern. Napolitano was echoing his Fox News colleague Charles Krauthammer's comments opposing domestic drone use. Krauthammer said on the May 14 edition of Special Report: "I would say you ban it under all circumstances, and I would predict -- I'm not encouraging, but I'm predicting -- the first guy who uses a Second Amendment weapon to bring a drone down that's been hovering over his house is going to be a folk hero in this country. ... I'm not encouraging, I'm simply making a prediction."

    There are serious and widespread privacy concerns regarding the use of drones for domestic surveillance. In a letter to the FAA, GOP Rep. Joe Barton and Democratic Rep. Ed Markey each expressed concerns about the need for strict privacy standards and transparency in the FAA rules. The American Civil Liberties Union has likewise expressed similar concerns. But while there are serious concerns over the use of drones domestically, Napolitano's suggestion that an "American patriot" should fire at one being used by law enforcement could lead to serious and potentially dangerous consequences.

  • Contrary To Claims On Fox, Obama Has Repeatedly Thanked And Praised Troops Who Killed Bin Laden

    ››› ››› JUSTIN BERRIER & ERIC SCHROECK

    Fox News figures celebrated the anniversary of the operation that killed Osama bin Laden by attacking President Obama for not giving the military personnel that carried out the mission "the credit that's due to them." But Obama has repeatedly praised and thanked the Navy SEALs and other military and intelligence individuals who participated in the mission.

  • Big Digging: Now Obama's Embrace Of Derrick Bell Means He Might Be Anti-Semitic

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC SCHROECK

    Team Breitbart is out with yet another post attacking President Obama over his connection to late Harvard law professor Derrick Bell, this time claiming that Bell "promulgat[ed] ... antisemitic conspiracy theories," which might have led Obama to embrace Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and call him a "friend."

    Not surprisingly, this latest attempt by the Breitbart team to gin up outrage over Bell, a respected academic, falls as flat as the rest. From Big Journalism (emphasis in original):

    Let's be honest about Bell's promulgation of antisemitic conspiracy theories and let's be honest about what it might have to do with Obama's embrace of the Islamist, antisemitic conspiracy theorist Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who the President described as, a "friend and colleague. We find ourselves in frequent agreement upon a wide range of issues."

    The suggestion that Obama's comments about Erdogan reveal latent anti-Semitism is outrageous. Turkey is a NATO ally of the United States that has supported the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In September 2011, the United States and Turkey reached an agreement that allows for the U.S. to install a "sophisticated American radar system" in Turkey as part of the NATO missile defense shield designed to protect "Europe against a potential Iranian missile attack."

    And if that's not enough, Obama isn't the first president to call Erdogan a friend.

    When Erdogan visited the White House in October 2006, President Bush said, "I consider the Prime Minister a friend and a man of peace, and I welcome him." And in November 2007, Bush said of Erdogan:

    Mr. Prime Minister, welcome back to the Oval Office. As usual, we had a very constructive conversation. Turkey is a strategic partner and strong ally of America. I value our friendship at the state level, at the personal level.

    Perhaps Team Breitbart should start digging around for Bush's connections to Derrick Bell.

  • Fox Whitewashes Tea Party Group's History To Push For Voter ID Laws

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC SCHROECK

    Fox News continued its relentless advocacy of disenfranchising voter ID laws this morning, as Fox & Friends' Gretchen Carlson hosted Catherine Engelbrecht, the founder of the Tea Party-affiliated organization True the Vote, to trump up voter fraud claims and tout voter ID laws.

    During the segment, Engelbrecht said that "we absolutely agree that photo voter ID would help improve the overall integrity and accuracy of the process" and suggested that voter fraud was a rampant problem undermining "free and fair elections." And Carlson even prompted Engelbrecht to tell viewers how they could get involved, leading Engelbrecht to tell potential volunteers to check out the group's website. Watch:

    But contrary to the claim that voter ID laws would "improve the overall integrity" of the voting process, NYU's Brennan Center for Justice has found that more than 3 million voters across the country do not possess photo IDs required by newly passed voter ID laws.

    For example, as the Los Angeles Times reported in May 2008, elderly nuns and college students "were turned away from polls" after Indiana's voter ID law was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. In January 2008, The New York Times reported that more than 30 eligible voters in a single Indiana county had their votes thrown out because of the law.

  • Free Beacon's Data Don't Show White House Is "Hostile Workplace" For Women

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC SCHROECK

    In an article titled "Hostile Workplace," The Washington Free Beacon reported Wednesday that the Obama White House "pays women less than men," citing 2011 salary data released by the White House. The Beacon's report suggests that President Obama, who signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, is a hypocrite because of this wage gap, and implies that gender-based wage discrimination is being practiced at the White House.

    Here's how the Beacon presented it:

    According to the 2011 annual report on White House staff, female employees earned a median annual salary of $60,000, which was about 18 percent less than the median salary for male employees ($71,000).

    [...]

    The Obama campaign on Wednesday lashed out at presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney for his failure to immediately endorse the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, a controversial law enacted in 2009 that made it easier to file discrimination lawsuits.

    President Obama has frequently criticized the gender pay gap, such as the one that exists in White House.

    "Paycheck discrimination hurts families who lose out on badly needed income," he said in a July 2010 statement. "And with so many families depending on women's wages, it hurts the American economy as a whole."

    It is not known whether any female employees at the White House have filed lawsuits under the Ledbetter Act.

    The president and his Democratic allies have accused Republicans of waging a "war on women," and have touted themselves as champions of female equality. Obama's rhetoric, however, has not always been supported by his actions.

    Of course, the gender pay gap is a long-term overall economic trend, not simply a problem that exists in Obama's White House. In fact, the gap is actually smaller at the White House than in the overall economy. According to BLS data, in the fourth quarter of 2011, women earned about 81 percent as much as men in the overall economy. Based on the Beacon's numbers, women earn about 85 percent as much as men overall in the White House.

  • Fox Complains About "BFD" Shirts But Hosted Palin's "WTF Moments"

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC SCHROECK

    After its years-long misinformation campaign against health care reform, Fox News is now down to attacking the Obama reelection campaign for selling what Fox deems as "vulgar" T-shirts to celebrate the law. The campaign recently released a line of T-shirts bearing the slogan, "Health reform still a BFD," which plays off Vice President Joe Biden's famous open mike moment during the health care law signing ceremony in March 2010.

    But Fox is not amused.

    On March 23, Fox's leading culture warrior, Todd Starnes, called the "BFD" shirts "vulgar." Fox Nation quickly trumpeted his attack:

    vulgarbfd