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Greg Lewis

Author ››› Greg Lewis
  • Sean Hannity, meet basic reading comprehension

    Blog ››› ››› GREG LEWIS

    Watch Sean Hannity last night breathlessly report on the latest Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll:

    In the second portion of the above video, Hannity claimed that the poll "indicat[ed] that 79% of you think the economy could collapse throughout the Obama administration." [Emphasis added]

    But the poll didn't specifically ask whether people thought the economy would collapse during the Obama administration. The question and possible answers read as follows:

    Do you think it's possible the nation's economy could collapse or is the nation's economy so big and strong that it could never collapse?

    SCALE: 1. Yes, economy could collapse 2. No, economy could never collapse 3. (Don't know)

    Using the question to suggest that it has anything to do with Obama doesn't make any sense, since the question gives respondents the choice between: the economy could never collapse and the economy could collapse sometime between now and forever.

    I don't think it's a stretch to assume that economists who don't think the economy will collapse in the near future would generally agree that the economy might collapse at some point before the end of time.

    Or maybe Hannity just thinks that the length of the Obama administration and the time we have left before the end of days are one in the same.

  • Former individual mandate champion Gingrich now cheerleads efforts to declare it unconstitutional

    ››› ››› GREG LEWIS

    In recent days, Newt Gingrich has approvingly cited efforts by Republican attorneys general in several states to challenge the constitutionality of the health care reform legislation's provision requiring individuals to purchase health insurance or pay a fine. But as recently as 2008, Gingrich proposed such an individual mandate on some Americans as part of his own health care reform plan.

  • Beck's promotion of King's anti-health care reform protest latest example of Fox News activism

    ››› ››› GREG LEWIS

    On Glenn Beck's radio program, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) announced a March 20 Capitol Hill rally to protest the health care reform bill, which Beck urged his listeners to attend. In past months, Beck and other Fox News personalities have promoted other rallies for conservative causes and regularly engaged in right-wing advocacy, functioning as the communications arm of the Republican Party.

  • Fox News anchors can't grasp "pretty simple" legislative procedure

    ››› ››› GREG LEWIS

    On March 16, Fox News anchors during their self-described daytime "news hours" repeatedly forwarded the false suggestion that, by using a legislative procedure known as the "self-executing rule" to finalize health care reform in the House, Democrats would be passing health care reform "without actually voting for it." In fact, implementing the proposed procedure requires a majority vote.

  • Luntz inadvertently shows why Fox News prefers to call reconciliation the "nuclear option"

    Blog ››› ››› GREG LEWIS

    On tonight's Hannity, Fox News contributor and "Word Doctor" Frank Luntz appeared to make a very revealing error during his health care reform focus group segment.

    As shown in the clip below, Luntz asked the focus group participants if Democrats "should try to get any health care through and accept 51 votes as being enough," noting that, "it's called reconciliation." At that point, close to half of the group raised their hands, apparently in agreement with this idea. After a brief pause, Luntz altered his question, asking who wanted Democrats to use the "so-called nuclear option." At that point, several people in the focus group lowered their hands. Check out the video:

    As Media Matters has repeatedly documented, "nuclear option" has been the preferred term for reconciliation on Fox News (and this is after they redefined what the "nuclear option" meant). And based on the negative reaction that is invoked by using "nuclear option" displayed in that clip, it's clear why.

  • No, Glenn Beck, SEIU's Stern is not an advocate for "distorting politics" through political contributions

    Blog ››› ››› GREG LEWIS

    In his apparent quest to distort and attack everything ever said by SEIU president Andy Stern, Glenn Beck aired another chopped-up distortion of another set of Stern's comments on his show earlier tonight:

    BECK: I'm going to have Andy Stern answer why is it we're passing and jamming health care through.

    STERN: The politics aren't complicated. People are making investments in politics, and they expect a return on their investments. There's not ideology involved in corporations. They're looking for return on their investment. [Cut in video clip.] I'm totally involved in distorting the political system you know, with contributions. That's what we've become in America so we have to do that.

    BECK: Wow, I didn't know that's what we've -- have you gotten that memo? I didn't think that we were into distorting politics for -- and just looking for a return on my investment. That's what's happening, from the guy who helped design this health care nightmare. He just wants a return on his investment.

    The manner in which Beck presented Stern's comments makes it sound like Stern is endorsing or justifying the state of our political system. Beck also suggested that Stern is brandishing his "distortion" of politics to get health care reform.

    But a closer look at what Stern actually said shows that Beck is being disingenuous. The video Beck played comes from a June 20, 2007 discussion with Stern at an event hosted by NDN. During the Q&A portion of the event, Stern is asked the following question, which occurs around one hour and six minutes into the video:

    QUESTION: The other [question] is on political contributions. Someone mentioned that many of these multinational companies are operating on a completely global basis [...] Yet they're able to make the political contributions that help to determine policy and elections. If you can speak a little about some of those points, the politics of this. What lessons can we learn and how do we move forward?

    Stern responded by telling the audience that that the way the campaign finance system works now, corporations and others are essentially making "investments in politics" that Stern suggests distort the political system, a reality which he acknowledges he is a part of. But Stern, in the portion of his answer that Beck skips over, makes clear that he opposes the current campaign finance system and advocates a system of publicly financed campaigns in which Americans wouldn't be forced to make campaign contributions to have their voices heard. That's pretty much the opposite of what Beck suggested Stern was saying.

    Here's Stern's full answer, with the portion that Beck didn't air on his program in bold:

    STERN: The politics aren't complicated. You know, people are making investments in politics, and they expect a return on their investments. There's not ideology involved in corporations. They're looking for return on their investment. So they're going to make as much investment as they think is good policy. I'm just talking macro, there's lots of individuals that have -- So I'm just saying, let's just publicly finance these elections and get that over with. I appreciate that there's always going to be independent expenditures. One of these days Buckley v Valeo will get overturned because it was written at a different time under different circumstances. But unless we want people investing in politics like they invest in capital and they invest in training, you know, we're just going to have a distorted political system. I'm totally involved in distorting the political system you know, with contributions. You know, that's what we've become in America so we have to do that.