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Todd Gregory

Author ››› Todd Gregory
  • Drudge Smears Justice Roberts Over His Seizures

    Blog ››› ››› TODD GREGORY

    In response to the Supreme Court's ruling in favor of health care reform, the Drudge Report is smearing Chief Justice John Roberts over the possibility that he might use epilepsy medication and suggesting that it affected his judgment.

    Drudge linked to a Real Clear Politics post that contains a clip of right-wing radio host Michael Savage claiming that "if you look at Roberts' writings you can see the cognitive disassociation in what he is saying."

    Roberts had a seizure in 2007, after suffering one 14 years earlier. The Washington Post reported this month that Roberts has not publicly addressed whether he has epilepsy.

    Drudge also linked to a 2007 New York Times report that discussed Roberts' medical options. The article described the side effects of epilepsy drugs, but it has never been reported that Roberts actually takes such medication.

    Among Savage's numerous outrageous remarks, he said in 2008 that autism is a "fraud, a racket" and called it "a phony disease."

  • How Fox News Edits An Obama Clip

    Blog ››› ››› TODD GREGORY

    People who watch Fox News closely are familiar with the fact that Fox has been misleading viewers with deceptively edited videos for years. On the June 26 edition of Special Report, Fox aired an edited clip of President Obama that is interesting because it is symbolic of the whole story Fox is trying to tell about the 2012 presidential election.

    During a report about the campaign, correspondent Ed Henry noted that some Democrats are not planning to attend this summer's Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. Then, he aired an edited clip of President Obama's speech at a June 26 campaign event in Atlanta:

    HENRY: [Sen. Claire] McCaskill is the ninth no-show so far among officeholders across the country, including Pennsylvania Congressman Mark Critz. Critz's office bluntly notes internal polls show in his district, the president is down double digits to presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

    OBAMA: They'll say, you know, the economy is bad, and it's Obama's fault. [break] And because times are tough and because they're spending these ungodly sums, you know, it's going to be close.

    HENRY: While the president did not complain about big money last time, when he enjoyed a massive edge over Republican John McCain, his campaign aides privately say Romney may raise $100 million this month alone, which is why the president today penned a fundraising letter warning supporters, "I will be the first president in modern history to be outspent in his re-election campaign." [emphasis added]

    The White House transcript of the event in Atlanta reveals what Fox News didn't think was worthy of inclusion in its report (in bold):

    OBAMA: [T]his is still going to be a close election because the economy is still tough and folks are still frustrated. And what that means is that you're going to have more money spent in this election than ever before by the other side on negative ads. And their message will be simple. They'll say, the economy is bad and it's Obama's fault. (Laughter.) They suffer a little bit of amnesia so they don't remember -- (applause) -- all the stuff that happened before I was sworn into office, but that's going to be their message.

    And because times are tough, and because they're spending these ungodly sums, it's going to be close.

    Fox is doing its best to sweep away this very fact: that the economy was in a time of historic trouble before Obama took office.

  • O'Reilly Tries To Grasp Complex Argument From Melissa Harris-Perry, Fails

    Blog ››› ››› TODD GREGORY

    Every year, the progressive group Campaign for America's Future hosts a conference called Take Back the American Dream. At this year's event, held this week in Washington, MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry gave a speech about the "choices that we, as ordinary citizens and Americans, made" over the past decade. One part of the speech dealt with the effects of the September 11 attacks on policymaking and how fear motivated many of the actions that the government took.

    On his June 20 Fox News show, Bill O'Reilly attacked Harris-Perry over this section of the speech, claiming she said that "we, the United States, are racists because we defended ourselves against radical Islam after 9/11."

    It is a huge stretch to read that into what she said.

  • 4 Minutes And 4 Lies From Karl Rove

    Blog ››› ››› TODD GREGORY

    Bill O'Reilly brought Karl Rove onto his Fox News show for a dizzying spin session about the Obama administration's announcement that it will allow some young undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S. In a short span, Rove managed put forward numerous falsehoods about the new policy and the recent history of the immigration debate.

    Here are four facts about immigration -- and how Rove tried to jam them up:

    1. The change in deportation policy for young people is legal. The Department of Homeland Security announced that it will exercise its prosecutorial discretion and consider exempting some young immigrants from deportation. This is consistent with current law and has decades of precedent. But on The O'Reilly Factor, Rove claimed that President Obama is saying that "we will selectively apply the laws of the United States" and that "[w]e will exempt a class of people from the statutes. There's no authority, I think, to do that."

    2. The new policy will be applied case by case. The DHS press release describing the policy change says, "Under this directive, individuals who demonstrate that they meet [certain] criteria will be eligible for an exercise of discretion ... on a case by case basis." On The O'Reilly Factor, Rove falsely asserted that Obama is saying that "we will selectively apply the laws of the United States, not individual, case by case by case, but by class."

    3. Comprehensive reform legislation was introduced in Congress under Obama. In December 2009, Democrats introduced a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the House of Representatives. On The O'Reilly Factor, Rove falsely claimed that in August 2009, Obama promised to introduce comprehensive legislation, but "nothing has happened."

    4. Republicans led the way in killing 2007 reform legislation. In June 2007, Senate Republicans played a dominant role in killing comprehensive reform legislation, which was backed by President Bush. A majority of the Democrats in the body voted to advance the legislation, while a majority of the Republicans voted to block it. Rove dubiously claimed that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid "was the guy who screwed up comprehensive immigration reform in 2007. He really is not a fan of comprehensive immigration reform."

    From the June 18 edition of The O'Reilly Factor:

  • AP Chops Off Context To Falsely Suggest Obama Told Celebs They're "Ultimate Arbiter[s]"

    Blog ››› ››› TODD GREGORY

    An Associated Press article about President Obama speaking at a June 14 fundraiser in New York omitted key context to portray Obama as having said that the celebrities in attendance are the "ultimate arbiter of which direction this country goes." In fact, Obama said that the attendees and "the American people" are the "tie-breaker" and the "ultimate arbiter" of the country's direction.

    Right-wing blogs and Fox News ran wild with the AP's distortion of Obama's comments.

    From the AP article:

    President Barack Obama soaked in the support, and the campaign cash, of Manhattan's elite entertainers Thursday as his re-election team sought to fill its fundraising coffers.

    The president and first lady Michelle Obama made a rare joint fundraising appearance when they visited the home of actors Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick. The intimate dinner banked about $2 million, with 50 people paying $40,000 each.

    The dinner was the Obama campaign's latest attempt to bank on celebrities for fundraising help in countering the growing donor enthusiasm from Republicans supporting Mitt Romney's presidential bid.

    Speaking in a dimly lighted, art-filled room, Obama told supporters they would play a critical role in an election that would determine a vision for the nation's future.

    "You're the tie-breaker," he said. "You're the ultimate arbiter of which direction this country goes."

    Among the celebrities on hand to hear Obama's remarks were Oscar winner Meryl Streep, fashion designer Michael Kors and Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who moderated a private question-and-answer session between the president and the guests. Broderick, who was starring in a Broadway musical, was absent. [emphasis added]

    From the White House website's transcript of the event:

    In some ways, this election is more important than 2008 -- because in 2008, as much as I disagreed with Mr. McCain, he believed in climate change. He believed in campaign finance reform. He believed in immigration reform. And now what we have is a Republican nominee and a Republican Party that has moved fundamentally away from what used to be a bipartisan consensus about how you build an economy; that has said our entire agenda is based on cutting taxes even more for people who don't need them and weren't asking for them; slashing our commitment to things like education or science or infrastructure or a basic social safety net for seniors and the disabled and the infirm; that wants to gut regulations for polluters or those who are taking advantage of consumers.

    So they've got a very specific theory about how you grow the economy. It's not very different from the one that actually got us into this mess in the first place. And what we're going to have to do is to present very clearly to the American people that choice. Because ultimately you guys and the American people, you're the tie-breaker. You're the ultimate arbiter of which direction this country goes in. Do we go in a direction where we're all in this together and we share in prosperity, or do we believe that everybody is on their own and we'll see how it plays out? [emphasis added]

  • Right-Wing Bloggers Falsely Suggest Immigration Policy Change Is Lawless

    ››› ››› ADAM SHAH & TODD GREGORY

    The Obama administration has announced that it will allow some young undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States. In response, right-wing bloggers are falsely suggesting that this policy change is evidence that President Obama is "putting politics above national security and the rule of law" and "acting like a king." In fact, the change is an exercise of prosecutorial discretion that is consistent with the current law and has decades of precedent.

  • Fox Skips Past Leak Investigations, Declares Obama Admin. Guilty

    Blog ››› ››› TODD GREGORY

    Congress and the Department of Justice are investigating the possibility that classified national security information has been leaked to the media and published in a series of recent news reports. But Fox News figures are not waiting for the results of these investigations.

    Instead, they are attempting to scandalize President Obama's foreign policy achievements, declaring definitively -- and without hard evidence -- that the White House disclosed classified information through politically motivated leaks.

    On Special Report, Charles Krauthammer said that "it's obvious that the administration had to have some hand in some of this." Fox News national security analyst K.T. McFarland wrote in a column for FoxNews.com that "the Obama administration seems to have engaged in a systematic program of leaking the most highly classified information about our successful intelligence operations for its own political gain." And Fox co-host Greg Gutfeld said flatly that "the leaks are coming from the White House."

    They all made their accusations without offering any proof. And in fact, President Obama has denied that the White House purposely leaked classified information, calling such suggestions "offensive" and "wrong." And the managing editor of The New York Times, whose reporting is at the center of the controversy, has denied that "the paper is on the receiving end of silver-platter leaks from the Obama administration."

    Even Republican leaders of the congressional intelligence committees have said that they're committed to a fair investigation.

    But not Fox News.

  • Obama Said Job Growth Is "Doing Fine" In The Private Sector

    Blog ››› ››› TODD GREGORY

    BuzzFeed is stripping comments by President Obama at today's press conference out of context and calling that distortion of what Obama said "a gift to Republicans."

    Obama addressed reporters on the economy on Friday and said, "The truth of the matter is that, as I've said, we've created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone. The private sector is doing fine. Where we're seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government."

    Obama was clearly drawing a contrast between job growth in the private sector -- which, as Obama said, has added about 4.3 million jobs in the past 27 months -- and the public sector, which has lost 550,000 jobs over the same period.

    There is nothing controversial or shocking about those comments. Yet BuzzFeed is leading a media campaign to present that observation as beneficial for conservatives.

    BuzzFeed declared this line, stripped of context, to be "a gift to Republicans."

    In fact, during the press conference, Obama renewed his calls on Congress to pass a jobs bill, which Republicans blocked last fall. Fabricating this "gift to Republicans" helps the GOP divert attention from their obstruction of action to create more jobs.

  • National Review Clings To Fantasy That Obama Is A Secret Radical

    Blog ››› ››› TODD GREGORY

    National Review claims it has new evidence that President Obama associated with a minor political party in Chicago in the 1990s. This is apparently supposed to reveal more about Obama's political views and the way he governs than his service in the U.S. Senate and the three years he has been president.

    The article instead appears to be part of the right's ongoing effort to further the absurd myth that the media has not vetted Obama -- an argument that is destroyed by the facts.

    National Review's Stanley Kurtz writes that he has minutes from a meeting of the New Party's Chicago chapter showing that Obama requested an endorsement and joined the party in 1996. Kurtz describes the New Party as "deeply hostile to the mainstream of the Democratic party and even to American capitalism."

    Kurtz is trying to create confusion about the New Party's place on the political spectrum. Questions about Obama and the New Party arose during the 2008 election, and in a Politico blog post, Ben Smith accurately described where the New Party fell:

    [T]he New Party was a attempt to build a model of political fusion. It dissolved after losing a Supreme Court ruling aimed at making fusion -- a system under which more than one party can run the same candidate, which exists in some states -- universal.

    It's strongest heir, run by another New Party founder, is New York's labor-backed Working Families Party, which cross-endroses (mostly) Democratic candidates in the hopes of pulling the party to the left. Such noted socialists as Hillary Clinton and various Republican state senate candidates have run on the line. There are running arguments over whether they're good for the political process, but no particular taint of radicalism.

  • Lila Rose's AZ Video Doesn't Change The Facts On The Rarity Of Sex-Selective Abortion

    Blog ››› ››› TODD GREGORY

    Anti-choice activist Lila Rose's campaign to stoke fears that America faces an epidemic of sex-selection abortion sputtered once again, as Rose released another video that utterly failed to alter the fact that sex-selection abortion is not a growing problem.

    Rose and her group, Live Action, released a video showing a woman posing as a patient at abortion clinics in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona. As with Live Action's previous videos, the fake patients claim that they want to have an abortion because the fetus is female and discuss their options.

    Live Action is trying to use these videos to distort the reality about sex-selective abortion in America -- facts show that it is rare:

    • The absence of a gender imbalance in the U.S. indicates that sex selection is not happening on a large scale. As the Guttmacher Institute wrote, "the U.S. sex ratio at birth in 2005 stood at 105 boys to 100 girls, squarely within biologically normal parameters."
    • Most abortions are performed before gender is identifiable. The Centers for Disease Control reported that in 2008, 91.4 percent of abortions were performed before the 13th week of pregnancy. Robert Shmerling of Harvard Health Publications noted that gender identification by means of ultrasound, by far the most popular method, is usually only available by the 16th to 20th week. Although there are methods to detect gender earlier on in a pregnancy, "these procedures are usually performed to detect potential health problems such as Down's syndrome, spina bifida, or cystic fibrosis, not to find out a baby's gender."

    Rose's barrage of videos has coincided with an effort by House Republicans to outlaw some abortions on the false premise that sex selection is widespread problem. The end result of the movement behind the legislation, which was voted down, would be to eliminate abortion rights entirely.