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Mike Burns

Author ››› Mike Burns
  • Fox Scapegoats Hagel For Shutdown It Cheered

    Blog ››› ››› MIKE BURNS


    Fox News is leading a charge to fire Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel after the Republican-led government shutdown Fox helped orchestrate actually shut down the government and led to the suspension of military death benefits to families of fallen soldiers.

    On October 8, the Defense Department issued a release confirming that it had suspended military death benefits to the families of at least five deceased soldiers because of the shutdown. "The department does not currently have the authority to pay death gratuities for the survivors of service members killed in action," the release explained.

    Fox quickly seized on the news to assail Hagel and call for his firing. During the October 9 edition of The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson, Bill O'Reilly said that Hagel "should resign immediately" because "it's his fault" that the shutdown delayed death benefits. The following day, on his Fox News show, O'Reilly said that Hagel "should be fired immediately. He has no right to be there. He's lost all credibility with the military." And on the October 11 edition of America's Newsroom, Fox contributor Katie Pavlich said, "I would hope in a moment of leadership that President Obama would ask [Hagel] to submit his resignation. This is something you do not violate."

    Fox's attempt to scapegoat Hagel is lacking considering the Pentagon warned Congress prior to the shutdown -- which Fox repeatedly cheered -- that it wouldn't have the authority to pay these benefits in the event of a shutdown. NBC News reported:

    Lawmakers and the White House have voiced outrage over the shutdown fiasco that has deprived military families of death benefits, but the Pentagon warned of the situation days before the shutdown began.

    Under Secretary of Defense Robert Hale advised of the effects a shutdown would have on military personnel and their families during a news conference on Sept. 27.

    "We would also be required to do some other bad things to our people. Just some examples - we couldn't immediately pay death gratuities to those who die on active duty during the lapse," Hale said.

    Although the Republican-led shutdown prevented the Pentagon from paying military death benefits, the Pentagon struck a deal with a charity to ensure that the benefits are provided to the affected families. CNN reported that "the government will reimburse the Maryland-based Fisher House Foundation once the shutdown is over, Hagel said in a written statement." Obama has since signed a bill providing military death benefits during the shutdown.

  • Fox Falls For Fake Story About Obama Personally Funding Muslim Museum During Shutdown

    Blog ››› ››› MIKE BURNS

    Fox & Friends Saturday criticized President Obama for offering to personally pay for a "museum of Muslim culture" during the government shutdown, a claim that originated from a satire website.

    On October 5, the co-hosts of Fox & Friends Saturday discussed the closure of the World War II Memorial, which resulted from the Republican-led shutdown. During the discussion, co-host Anna Kooiman claimed that while the memorial is closed, "President Obama has offered to pay out of his own pocket for the museum of Muslim culture."

    KOOIMAN: The Republican National Committee is offering to pay for it to keep it open so that the veterans from Honor Flight are going to be able to go and see this because who did it honor? It honored them. It really doesn't seem fair, especially -- and we're going to talk a little bit later in the show too about some things that are continuing to be funded. And President Obama has offered to pay out of his own pocket for the museum of Muslim culture out of his own pocket, yet it's the Republican National Committee who's paying for this. 

    Unfortunately for Kooiman, the claim that Obama offered to pay out of pocket for a "museum of Muslim culture" originated from the satirical website the National Report. As the fact-checking site points out, a now-removed disclaimer on the National Report noted: "National Report is a news and political satire web publication, which may or may not use real names, often in semi-real or mostly fictitious ways. All news articles contained within National Report are fiction, and presumably fake news."

    Fox has a history of passing off satirical stories as actual news. 

  • What Fox Won't Tell You About The Slavery Card

    Blog ››› ››› MIKE BURNS

    Fox News digital politics editor Chris Stirewalt dishonestly accused President Obama of invoking slavery in a "blistering attack" against Republicans, ignoring that Obama was actually responding to the inflammatory rhetoric of Affordable Care Act opponents.

    On America Live, Stirewalt claimed the president "went out in a blistering attack speech, invoking the Fugitive Slave Act and other things against Republicans yesterday," referring to a September 26 speech Obama gave in support of the health care law. 

    Later on America Live, Fox News host and media analyst Howard Kurtz similarly said, "In today's media-filled, media-centric world, it almost seems like you've got to ratchet up and talk about terrorism or Nazis or the Slave Act, as the president referenced in his speech in Maryland yesterday, in order to break through." This comes on the heels of the Drudge Report falsely accusing Obama of playing the "slavery card" to promote the law.

    But as Time reported, Obama's remarks were in response to the inflammatory rhetoric of the health care law's detractors:

    Mocking Republicans for their escalating rhetoric on how dire the health care law will prove to be, Obama said one Republican's assertion that it was the worst law in the nation's history is an awfully tall order. "You had a state representative somewhere say that it's as destructive to personal and individual liberty as the Fugitive Slave Act," the president said as the audience booed. "Think about that. Affordable health care is worse than a law that lets slave owners [space added] get their runaway slaves back."

    Obama was indeed correct -- Bill O'Brien, a Republican representative in New Hampshire's state legislature, compared the law to the Fugitive Slave Act during an Americans for Prosperity rally in August, as reported [space added] by The Wall Street Journal:

    The man who charged Mr. Obama with creating a health-care system akin to slavery was Bill O'Brien, a representative in New Hampshire's state legislature and former speaker of the House. In August, Mr. O'Brien spoke at an Americans for Prosperity rally in New Hampshire and likened the Affordable Care Act to an 1850 pro-slavery federal law.

    "What is Obamacare?" Mr. O'Brien said his remarks. "It is a law as destructive to personal and individual liberty as the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 that allowed slave owners to come to New Hampshire and seize African Americans and use the federal courts to take them back to federal ... to slave states."

    Conservative media personalities, including Rush Limbaugh, have repeatedly invoked slavery to attack the health care law.

  • Right-Wing Media Go Wild For Sen. Cruz's Fake Filibuster


    Following a 21 hour fake filibuster by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), right-wing media figures were quick to praise the effort as "genius." Fox host Sean Hannity opened his September 25 show, Hannity, with an over-the-top montage of Sen. Cruz's filibuster alongside images of Gadsden flags, American flags, trains, and Americans getting their hair cut, while conservative radio host Bill Cunningham compared Cruz to Davy Crockett, James Bowie, and John Wayne:

  • Fox Pushes Dishonest Claims To Defend GOP's Food Stamp Cuts


    Fox News rushed to defend a GOP plan to cut $39 million from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), misportraying the program as riddled with fraud and abuse and downplaying the effects those cuts would have on families with children. In reality, fraud amounts to less than 1 percent of the total program, and the cuts would take benefits away from 3.8 million people*.

  • On CNN's Crossfire, Van Jones Exposes Conservative Media's Cherry-Picking On Guns

    Blog ››› ››› MIKE BURNS

    CNN host Van Jones chastised contributor Will Cain for "cherry-picking [legislative] districts" to paint stronger gun laws as wildly unpopular, pointing out that such laws have strong support nationwide.

    During the September 13 edition of CNN's Crossfire, Jones hosted Cain and Colorado State Sen. John Morse (D-Colorado Springs), who was defeated in a recent recall election after being targeted over his support for expanded background checks and a 15-round limit for firearm magazines, to discuss the recall and gun reform. After explaining that gun reform measures such as background checks are "massively popular ... all across the country," Jones criticized Cain for "cherry-picking [legislative] districts" like Morse's to argue that the American people don't support gun reform.

    Jones is supported by the data. The three gun violence prevention measures supported by Morse and signed into law in March by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper require a background check on all gun sales except those between family members, impose a $10 fee to process background checks, and limit firearm magazine capacity to 15 rounds. An August Quinnipiac University poll found that the majority of voters in Colorado approve of the specific pieces of the gun law package:

    Colorado voters support 82 - 16 percent requiring background checks for all gun buyers. Support is strong among all groups.

    Voters are divided 49 - 48 percent on a ban on the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds.

    Likewise, voters across the nation strongly support legislation to expand background checks on gun sales as well as proposals to limit high-capacity magazines. 

  • Fox's Rove Pushes Myth About Obamacare And Part-Time Jobs

    Blog ››› ››› MIKE BURNS

    Fox News' Karl Rove falsely claimed that the Affordable Care Act is fueling an increase in part-time jobs, despite the fact that economists have found no evidence to support that notion.

    Appearing on the August 30 edition of America's Newsroom to comment on the "consequences of Obamacare," Rove claimed that "one of the big consequences" of the Affordable Care Act is the creation of "more part-time jobs in the place of full-time jobs."

    Contrary to Rove's claim, economists agree that the health care law is not causing an increase in part-time work.