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Olivia Marshall

Author ››› Olivia Marshall
  • O'Reilly And Rivera Continue Fox Tradition Of Demonizing The Poor

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVIA MARSHALL

    Fox NewsFox hosts Bill O'Reilly and Geraldo Rivera cited a U.S. census study which found that many poor Americans own appliances to paint entitlement recipients as lazy or unwilling to work. This analysis ignores the fact that 9 out of 10 Americans receiving entitlements are elderly, disabled, or were members of working households.

    On the September 12 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly and Rivera claimed that government benefits are creating a disincentive for work. Rivera concluded that "it's one thing to be poor in India or even Mexico, it's another thing to be poor, according to these statistics, in the United States":

    O'Reilly's attempt to demonize poor Americans as lazy, comfortable, or unwilling to work mischaracterizes the vast majority of Americans who receive benefits. According to a 2012 report from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), 9 out of 10 Americans receiving entitlement benefits were either elderly, seriously disabled, or members of a working household in 2010:

    91 percent of the benefit dollars from entitlement and other mandatory programs went to the elderly (people 65 and over), the seriously disabled, and members of working households.  People who are neither elderly nor disabled -- and do not live in a working household -- received only 9 percent of the benefits. 

    Moreover, the vast bulk of that 9 percent goes for medical care, unemployment insurance benefits (which individuals must have a significant work history to receive), Social Security survivor benefits for the children and spouses of deceased workers, and Social Security benefits for retirees between ages 62 and 64.  Seven out of the 9 percentage points go for one of these four purposes. 

    O'Reilly's segment on poverty in American also dismissed a September 3 report which found that income inequality is wider than it has been in almost a century. Rivera acknowledged the report but downplayed its findings, reasoning that government entitlements create a disincentive for the poor to work and "bootstrap themselves." 

    Contrary to O'Reilly and Rivera's claims, the CBPP also notes that the safety net has become more work-based, as the United States has significantly reduced assistance to the jobless poor and increased assistance to low-income working families. Programs like SNAP, the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, and Medicaid have done much more to promote work over the last 30 years.  For example, the EITC has boosted employment among single mothers and has produced large declines in the number of single mothers receiving welfare.

    This dishonest depiction of entitlement recipients is the latest example of Fox's longstanding tradition of maligning the poor. 

  • Fox's Friendly Forum For Rumsfeld


    Fox continued to prove itself a safe haven for conservatives as former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld enjoyed an easy interview on Fox & Friends. Fox News chose to ignore Rumsfeld's role in the Iraq war while other outlets questioned him about manipulated intelligence and the role the war played in America's standing in the international community. 

    The softball questions lobbed by hosts Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson, and Brian Kilmeade stood in stark contrast to the challenging questions asked by Chris Cuomo of CNN's New Day and Savannah Guthrie of NBC's Today.  The Fox interview comes on the heels of a new report detailing the cozy relationship between Fox News and Republicans and the friendly forum Fox presents to their conservative guests.

    While Cuomo and Guthrie asked Rumsfeld questions about the lingering effects of the Iraq war and Rumsfeld's role in the intelligence failures leading up to it, the hosts of Fox & Friends chose to avoid any mention of Iraq.  Hosts Gretchen Carlson, Brian Kilmeade, and Steve Doocy made no mention of the botched intelligence and instead asked leading questions that gave Rumsfeld an opportunity to criticize President Obama's handling of the developing situation in Syria.

    Fox's treatment of the former Defense Secretary, and Republicans in general, has become a noticeable pattern. The Rumsfeld interview comes after a recent report by Harvard University's Shorenstein Center detailing Fox's unique role as a safe haven for conservative candidates.   

  • Fox's Dishonest Attempt To Manufacture A Planned Parenthood And Obamacare Scandal

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVIA MARSHALL

    Fox host Shannon Bream and correspondent Molly Henneberg continued Fox's relentless campaign to demonize Planned Parenthood and stoke fears about their participation in an initiative to expand health insurance.  Bream and Henneberg dishonestly linked abortion with federal funds going to Planned Parenthood to cover federal funds helping enroll Americans in health insurance.  

    On the August 22 edition of America Live, Bream proclaimed there was "outrage over a new plan to give federal money to Planned Parenthood," and concluded that "critics are upset that the government wants to give funds to clinics that also provide abortions."  Henneberg brought up the irrelevant red herring that Planned Parenthood is "the largest abortion provider in the country":

    Despite Henneberg's dishonest attempt to tie the funding to abortion, the purpose of the navigators is to provide "'fair, impartial and accurate information that assists consumers with submitting the eligibility application, clarifying distinctions among [qualified health plans] and helping qualified individuals make informed decisions during the health plan selection process.'"

    Henneberg then attempted to portray the funds as a broken promise by the president by claiming Obama said "no federal dollars that fund Obamacare would go to abortion providers."  As The Daily Beast's Amanda Marcotte notes, this is a blatant falsehood:

    Well, if you're watching Fox, you'd think it's apocalyptic. Right-wing radio host Mike Gallagher acted like there was nothing more outrageous than a public health clinic getting involved in a program that helps people get better access to health care. "I always try to anticipate what my friends on the left will possibly say to try to defend this egregious about-face," he chuckled on Fox. The "about-face" is a reference to the overt lie underpinning this entire campaign against Planned Parenthood, which is the conservative claim that Obama somehow promised that Planned Parenthood as an entity would not get any federal funding under the Affordable Care Act. Obama made no such promise. He signed an executive order disallowing abortion to be covered in health-care plans sold on the exchange, but signing people up for health care should not be equated with giving them abortions or even giving them plans that cover abortion. That's like saying the Department of Motor Vehicles is casting your ballot for you by giving you the opportunity to register to vote--an outright and inflammatory lie.

    Fox even read a statement by Planned Parenthood Vice President Eric Ferrero, who assured that the grants "have nothing to do with abortion and won't be used for abortion services," which would fulfill Obama's promise. 

    Planned Parenthood is one of 105 groups to receive federal funds under the Affordable Care Act to aid in enrolling Americans in health insurance.  According to The Hill, "organizations on the other side of the ideological spectrum also received grants," including Ascension Health, the nation's largest Catholic and non-profit health system, and Catholic Social Services, an arm of the Archdiocese of Mobile, Alabama.  

  • Despite Fox's Claim, North Carolinians Do Not Support Controversial Voter ID Law

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVIA MARSHALL

    Fox News reported on the new North Carolina voting restrictions signed into law by Governor Pat McCrory, but misrepresented how North Carolinians actually feel about the legislation while dismissing critics' charges of racial bias in the law. 

    On August 12, Gov. McCrory signed into law a controversial bill that "overhauls the state's election laws" by requiring government-issued photo ID's, reducing the early voting period by one week and ending same day registration.

    On Happening Now, Rick Leventhal reported that the governor's signing the bill into law was a move supported by "an overwhelming majority" of North Carolina residents.  Though the voter ID provision on its own enjoys majority support in the state, the law as a whole does not.  According to Public Policy Polling, only 39% of voters in North Carolina support the bill, while 50% are opposed.  Additionally, 59% oppose reducing the early voting period by a week, and 68% are opposed to eliminating straight-ticket voting.

    Fox News also reported that the law shortens the early voting period from 17 to 10 days but failed to mention how this provision would reduce voter fraud.  Critics say the shortened early voting period would reduce minority turnout and make voting more difficult in North Carolina.  CBS News reported that in 2012, Democrats cast 47% of early votes, while Republicans cast 32%.  Additionally, 70 percent of blacks in North Carolina voted early in 2012.  Critics of the law draw similarities to voting laws in Florida, where Governor Rick Scott cut the early voting period from 14 days to eight.  A study by the Orlando Sentinel  found that at least 201,000 Floridians were deterred from voting because of hours-long lines at polling stations. 

    According to ABC News, the law contains less stringent requirements for absentee voters:  as long as they are registered, absentee voters need not show a photo ID during the voting process.  As reported by The Atlantic Wire, whites cast 86.4 percent of absentee ballots, while blacks cast only 8.7 percent. 

    Rev. William Barber, President of the North Carolina NAACP has said the law "is trampling on the blood, sweat and tears of the martyrs - black and white - who fought for voting rights in this country."

    Since 2004, only two cases of alleged voter impersonation fraud have been referred by the North Carolina State Board of Elections. 

  • Fox's Michelle Malkin Misleads On The Consequences Of Texas Abortion Bill

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVIA MARSHALL

    Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin falsely claimed that provisions in Texas' controversial abortion bill would make women safer. Her assertion ignores that the state already performs annual inspections of abortion clinics as well as expert testimony which argues that the legislation would actually "erode women's health."

    On the July 8 edition of Fox News' America Live, Malkin joined guest host Alisyn Camerota to discuss the controversial legislation that would outlaw abortion procedures after 20 weeks with exceptions only for the life of the mother, require abortion clinics to meet the same requirements as ambulatory surgical centers, and require abortion providers to have permission to admit patients at a hospital within 30 miles of the provider's facility. Despite these sweeping restrictions, which would be some of the strictest in the country, Malkin claimed that the Texas legislation was simply a question of whether or not abortion providers would "abide by standards that will ensure safety":

    According to Dallas Newshowever, the Texas Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) inspects abortion clinics every year, while it inspects surgical centers only every three years. Furthermore, in 2011, no pregnant females died of abortion-related causes in the state, while there were 116 deaths associated with pregnancy complications.

    Medical experts including the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) argue that the Texas legislation would "jeopardize women's health care as well as interfere with medical practice and the patient-physician relationship."  Additionally, Dr. Lisa M. Hollier, ACOG's Texas district chairwoman said in July that "The bills would erode women's health by denying the women of Texas the benefits of well-researched, safe and proven protocols."

  • Fox's Bolling Trivializes The Economic Mobility Gap

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVIA MARSHALL

    In a discussion on the recent affirmative action case taken up by the Supreme Court, The Five Fox News co-host Eric Bolling claimed that a child born to a poor, drug-addicted mother has the same chance of success as one born to wealthier parents. In fact, a child's prospects are largely dependent on the income and education of his or her parents.

    On the June 24 edition of The Five, co-host Bob Beckel asked co-host Eric Bolling if he believed a baby born to a crack addicted mother in Harlem will have the same opportunities in life as a baby born to a privileged white couple. Bolling responded, "Yes. You have equal opportunity to succeed."

    According to The New York Times, children born to poor parents have far less access to healthcare, nutrition, and education than their wealthy counterparts, regardless of race.  Economic mobility in the United States is lower than in comparable nations, and 65 percent of those born in the bottom fifth of incomes stay in the bottom two-fifths. Similarly, a study by the Brookings Institute found that "only 6 percent of children born to parents with family income at the very bottom move to the very top," casting doubt on Bolling's assertion that equal opportunities exist regardless of socio-economic status.