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Ned Resnikoff

Author ››› Ned Resnikoff
  • Beckel Pulls Back The Curtain On Fox News' Editorial Policies

    Blog ››› ››› NED RESNIKOFF

    Fox News' Bob Beckel, co-host of The Five, seems to be perpetually disgruntled. You can hardly blame him -- not only is he the sole progressive on the show, but he's forced to spend five hours a week debating politics with a brain trust that includes Greg Gutfeld, Eric Bolling, and Monica Crowley.

    But Beckel's Fox News blues are about more than just being outnumbered. As he made clear on tonight's episode of The Five, he's also stymied by Fox News producers who want to hobble The Five's one progressive voice.

    BECKEL: I'll tell you what's also off the table was the discussion about the Republicans splitting the party apart, but the producers decided to can that.

    This isn't the first time that Beckel has called out his network's behind the scenes management. Just yesterday he criticized Fox News producers for cherry picking stories about the stock market -- and the week before that he called out the "crap" he said Fox News producers wrote for the show.

    If Fox can't actually manage to be "fair and balanced," they at least have someone willing to tell the truth about what is going on behind the scenes.

    We'll see how long Fox allows Beckel to do that.

  • Fox, Limbaugh Campaign Against Majority Rule In Secret-Ballot Union Elections

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    Rush Limbaugh and Fox News contributor Dana Perino have claimed that the FAA shutdown was caused by a dispute over the Democrats' "backdoor way to help the unions with the card check bill." In reality, the dispute involves corporate and Republican opposition to a decision by the National Mediation Board to change the way it conducts unionization elections to a method that allows workers to unionize if a union wins a majority of the ballots cast.

  • Fox's The Five Indulges In Shariah Panic

    Blog ››› ››› NED RESNIKOFF

    Panic about "creeping Shariah" has never been anything more than a modified version of McCarthyite red-baiting, updated to stoke fear of Muslims instead of left-wing intellectuals. Such was the case with tonight's episode of Fox News' The Five, which continued Fox's tradition of wedding right-wing paranoia about "activist judges" to xenophobic coded language about Muslim immigrants and outright misinformation regarding the nature of Shariah. Watch below:

    The only original contribution The Five had to offer was its now-trademark amateurish production values. But what made this segment remarkable was its awful timing: just the day before Bolling and company decided to fan the flames of Islamophobia some more, The New York Times published a long profile that exposed just how insubstantial "creeping Shariah" conspiracy theories really are.

  • Fox's Bill Hemmer Doesn't Quite Get This Whole "Default" Thing

    Blog ››› ››› NED RESNIKOFF

    Today, America Live anchor Bill Hemmer tried to tell Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) (and the Fox News audience) that the federal government will be able to cover all of its bills, even if the debt ceiling doesn't get raised. In the process, he turned an entire interview segment into a showcase for his virtuosic reality denial.


    HEMMER: Where are we, from your view?

    WELCH: Well, it's a mess. You know, there's a reason Ronald Reagan, who was a fierce fighter on budget and tax issues, kept this issue of the debt ceiling and America paying its bills completely separate. And that is, America paying its bills, and linking these two things up, when we're up against the wall, is probably the worst time to try to have a long term fiscal solution that this country needs.

    HEMMER: No, no. I apologize to interrupt here. No one's suggesting the United States would not pay its bills. There still would be revenue into Washington August 3.

    WELCH: Well, you know what, I actually think that's a hopeful theory. I hope you're right. But if we default on August 2, we're gonna -- it's looking more and more like this whole spectacle is contributing to a down -- likelihood of a downgrade. It's just very regrettable. I mean, if we have to pay $100 billion more in debt service, that's gonna be bad for the Republican point of view, it's going to be bad for the Democratic point of view. So, bottom line, we've got to get somewhere to a compromise.

    HEMMER: But my comment was not just one that was born out of hope, it was born out of fact: $200 billion a month in revenue to Washington. You use that money, prioritize your spending, and who gets paid. And that's how the bills are paid.

    Hemmer is right, insofar as his comment "was not one that was born out of hope." Rather, it seems to be born out of total fiscal and mathematical illiteracy.

    He's in the ballpark when he says that the government raises $200 billion a month, but that's nowhere near enough to make all of its outstanding obligations. According to Jerome H. Powell, George H.W. Bush's Treasury undersecretary, the federal government will make roughly $172 billion between August 3 and August 31. But its bills will add up to about $306 billion, "a shortfall of $134 billion."

    So when Hemmer argued that, "No one's suggesting the United States would not pay its bills," he should have said, "Everyone with any grasp of the issue at hand and basic arithmetic understands that it would be mathematically impossible for the United States to pay all of its bills."

  • Washington Examiner Conflates "White Millennials" With "Millennials"

    Blog ››› ››› NED RESNIKOFF

    Following a pernicious right-wing media pattern, The Washington Examiner is trying to knock down Democrats' popularity by pretending that only the views of white people matter. The Examiner headlined a piece by Michael Barone:

    Under Obama, Millennials move into the GOP column

    But if you look at the text of Barone's piece, it's clear that while white non-Hispanic millennials are supporting the GOP, this is not true of all groups:

    Now Pew Research has come out has come out with figures for 2011. They're not good news for Barack Obama and the Democrats.

    The Democratic party identification edge has been reduced to 47 to 43 percent. That's a 4-point drop for Democrats and a 4-point rise for Republicans since 2008.

    The Pew analysts note, as if they were analyzing a growth stock, that the Republicans' numbers haven't improved since 2010. But the 2010 numbers yielded a 52 to 45 percent Republican lead in the popular vote for the House.

    If -- and it's always a big if -- Republicans can maintain that standing in party identification, they should be in fine shape in November 2012, even with increased presidential year turnout.

    It's interesting to see which groups have moved most in party identification.

    As the Pew analysts note, there has been little change among blacks, who are overwhelmingly Democratic. Hispanics come in at 64 to 22 percent Democratic, somewhat better for the president's party than last year, when they voted 60 to 38 percent Democratic in House elections.

    But there has been big movement among whites. In 2008 they were 51 to 40 percent Republican. In the first half of 2011 they were 56 to 35 percent Republican -- more Republican than Southern whites were three years ago.

    The most noteworthy movement among whites has been among voters under 30, the so-called Millennial generation. Millennials voted 66 to 32 percent for Barack Obama in 2008 and identified as Democrats rather than Republicans by a 60 to 32 percent margin.

    But white Millennials have been moving away from the Democrats. The Democratic edge in party identification among white Millennials dropped from 7 points in 2008 to 3 points in 2009 to a 1-point Republican edge in 2010 and an 11-point Republican lead in 2011. [emphases added]

    It gets even worse when you look at the the Pew survey this article cites. When you actually count all millennials -- not just the white ones -- Democrats still maintain a 13-point lead.

  • Media Rushed To Suggest Radical Muslims Might Have Been To Blame For Norway Terrorism

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    Before there was any evidence of who was responsible for the terrorist bombing and shooting in Norway, mainstream media outlets rushed to finger Muslims and Muslim groups as potential perpetrators and listed grievances that radical Muslims had against the country. Norwegian officials have since said that a non-Muslim was responsible for the terrorist acts.

  • More Willful Misinterpretation Of Obama's Warning About Social Security

    Blog ››› ››› NED RESNIKOFF

    Two days ago President Obama noted that if Congress failed to raise the debt ceiling, he would not be able to guarantee full Social Security benefits to all eligible seniors. Subsequently the right-wing media has jumped on this statement of reality, claiming that Obama was issuing a "threat" to seniors. But conservative coverage of Obama's remarks didn't truly reach its nadir until yesterday, when Jim Hoft weighed in.

    Hoft, parroting a press release from Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp (KS), claimed that "Obama was just playing games with seniors." His evidence was video of an exchange between Huelskamp and the Social Security administration's Chief Actuary Stephen Goss. In the video Goss says that the Treasury Department, not the Social Security administration, is in charge of dispersing funds.

    I don't speak Hoft, so I'm not sure how you get from there to arguing that the president is "threatening" Grandma. In fact, Goss' simple factual observation is entirely compatible with the president's simple factual observation. Treasury may have final authority over Social Security payments, but if the debt ceiling doesn't go up, they will have to weigh their obligation to senior citizens against a massive amount of other debts and obligations. Something will have to go, and by not making any firm promises Obama was only being prudent.

    Here is Jerome Powell, a former Treasury official from the first Bush administration, making basically the same point in the pages of Politico:

    The United States has never prioritized or failed to pay any obligation when due during a debt limit impasse. Despite the institutional risks and the lack of clear legal authority, we assume that Treasury will attempt to prioritize payments in a last-ditch effort to avoid default.

    Federal Government Operations: For Aug. 3-31, 2011, we project inflows of $172 billion and bills due of $306 billion -- a shortfall of $134 billion. As an illustration, Treasury would exhaust all inflows just by paying six major items: interest, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, unemployment insurance and defense vendors. Without cutting from these six, there would be no money for entire departments such as Justice, Labor and Commerce among many others, or for veterans' benefits, IRS refunds, military active duty pay, federal salaries and benefits, special education, Pell Grants for college students or food and rent payments for the poor. An overnight 44 percent cut in spending would slash many popular and essential programs.

    Indeed, even Karl Rove acknowledged today that the United States won't be able to fully pay for Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Defense Department vendors, active-duty members of the military, IRS refunds, and unemployment benefits.

    But Hoft and others in the right-wing media are desperate to downplay the catastrophic consequences of failing to raise the debt ceiling, and blame what consequences there are on Obama. And they appear willing to twist statements and ignore facts to do so.

  • Right-Wing Media Figures Pushed Boehner To Abandon Debt Talks

    ››› ››› NED RESNIKOFF

    Prominent media conservatives such as Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh have been pressuring House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) not to accept a $4 trillion debt deal that would stave off economic catastrophe by allowing Congress to raise the debt ceiling and prevent the government from defaulting on its obligations. On July 9, these conservatives met success, as Boehner abandoned negotiations aimed at a $4 trillion debt deal.